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DXSMac
Tomorrow, I will start a two day "extreme boondocking" experience. Yesterday, I arrived at my sis's house in Eastern WA, where the lows are still 28 degrees at night. I'm on a 20 amp connection, so I could only run ONE space heater. (I try not to run my furnace until it's abso-freaking-lutely necessary.... want to save the propane....) It was a little chilly last night, my thermometer shows it was 46 inside my coach despite one space heater.

Tomorrow, I'll be headed to Idaho where we are having my Mom's 80th birthday for the weekend. ( http://myidaholodge.com/ ) I'm going to be the only one "boondocking" in the parking lot in my RV. Weather predicted highs in the 40's lows in the high 20's. And no, I'm not going to chicken out by taking a room in the lodge, after all, my cat is with me, and I will stay in the RV with my cat.

For me, this will be extreme boondocking for two days. Any hints? And what has been your most "extreme" boondocking?

JJ
Beastdriver
jj: The most extreme boondocking experience my wife and I have had was when the television went out at an Outdoor Resorts of America and we had to listen to the radio. Really tough. Don't want it any worse than that.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Beastdriver @ Mar 20 2008, 12:27 PM) *

jj: The most extreme boondocking experience my wife and I have had was when the television went out at an Outdoor Resorts of America and we had to listen to the radio. Really tough. Don't want it any worse than that.


Aw man!!!! WIMP! WIMP!!!!! (Just kidding.....)

Well, for me, I already know some tips to keep the tanks from getting full, (wash dishes in a dishpan, throw water outside.....). I'm just concerned about freezing my butt off at night! Well, I'll post any tricks I learned after I'm done.

JJ
pianotuna
Hi JJ,

I routinely use my RV at -17 F and have used it at -35 F. I usually have only 1 15 amp connection which I must share with my block heater (or my diesel won't start), and I don't often have access to the breaker panel if I happened to "trip it", so I balance my "load" very carefully.

Start by cutting down the area that is being warmed. A nice thick blanket across the Cab area works well, and a blanket over the door can help too. I sometimes cover my windows and have some foam "inserts" for my roof vents.

At night I have a safe place to put my heater in the bedroom area. I close the curtain which again reduces the area being heated.

Look for a radiant heater--I found a grand one at Walmart in December--it has made my life much nicer in the RV. Do a search on this board for radiant and the url to see it may turn up.

The nicest item I have for cold weather boondocking is a 12 volt electric blanket. I'd really rather it were a mattress pad--but I've not found one that is 12 volts yet.

I run my furnace extremely sparingly--but do cycle it to keep my waste tanks warm. I wish I could find a way to run the furnace fan without the burner being on--that would keep my tanks toasty warm, and warm up the floors too, while I'm actually driving down the road.

I do use a carbon monoxide monitor when I am boondocking.

I don't use my water heater. For washing I heat water on either an electric hotplate or the stove. Last year I rewinterized 6 times!

I have a nice long #12 cord so if there is a "2nd" outlet on a different breaker, I'll use that for the block heater--or in really extreme weather the block heater and an additional small electric heater in the tanks area.

I also carry a 2800 watt generator "just in case" the power goes off on me.

QUOTE(DXSMac @ Mar 20 2008, 12:20 PM) *

Tomorrow, I will start a two day "extreme boondocking" experience. Yesterday, I arrived at my sis's house in Eastern WA, where the lows are still 28 degrees at night. I'm on a 20 amp connection, so I could only run ONE space heater. (I try not to run my furnace until it's abso-freaking-lutely necessary.... want to save the propane....) It was a little chilly last night, my thermometer shows it was 46 inside my coach despite one space heater.

Tomorrow, I'll be headed to Idaho where we are having my Mom's 80th birthday for the weekend. ( http://myidaholodge.com/ ) I'm going to be the only one "boondocking" in the parking lot in my RV. Weather predicted highs in the 40's lows in the high 20's. And no, I'm not going to chicken out by taking a room in the lodge, after all, my cat is with me, and I will stay in the RV with my cat.

For me, this will be extreme boondocking for two days. Any hints? And what has been your most "extreme" boondocking?

JJ

DXSMac
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Mar 20 2008, 05:26 PM) *

Hi JJ,

I routinely use my RV at -17 F and have used it at -35 F. I usually have only 1 15 amp connection which I must share with my block heater (or my diesel won't start), and I don't often have access to the breaker panel if I happened to "trip it", so I balance my "load" very carefully.

Start by cutting down the area that is being warmed. A nice thick blanket across the Cab area works well, and a blanket over the door can help too. I sometimes cover my windows and have some foam "inserts" for my roof vents.

At night I have a safe place to put my heater in the bedroom area. I close the curtain which again reduces the area being heated.

Look for a radiant heater--I found a grand one at Walmart in December--it has made my life much nicer in the RV. Do a search on this board for radiant and the url to see it may turn up.

The nicest item I have for cold weather boondocking is a 12 volt electric blanket. I'd really rather it were a mattress pad--but I've not found one that is 12 volts yet.

I run my furnace extremely sparingly--but do cycle it to keep my waste tanks warm. I wish I could find a way to run the furnace fan without the burner being on--that would keep my tanks toasty warm, and warm up the floors too, while I'm actually driving down the road.

I do use a carbon monoxide monitor when I am boondocking.

I don't use my water heater. For washing I heat water on either an electric hotplate or the stove. Last year I rewinterized 6 times!

I have a nice long #12 cord so if there is a "2nd" outlet on a different breaker, I'll use that for the block heater--or in really extreme weather the block heater and an additional small electric heater in the tanks area.

I also carry a 2800 watt generator "just in case" the power goes off on me.


Ok, you get the award for "extreme." Beats what I will have to deal with. I have the arctic pak with heaters on my tanks, they will run on 12 volt, so not worried about my water tanks. Good idea about the blanket to cover cab, and the water heater. No need to run that thing. Also, I do have a radiant heater, are you talking "heat dish?" I bought one at Costco. My only complaint is that it dries your eyes out if you aren't careful. I'll probably be running the generator a bunch to run that thing.

Also, the B&B just called me. Apparently, "spring thaw" is an issue right now, road is muddy, they were concerned my motor home will have problems (get stuck or something.....). Oh lordy! sad.gif dry.gif

Let's hear some other "extreme" boondocking, ohmy.gif but I don't think anyone can beat Pianotuna at 35 below..... ph34r.gif

JJ
pianotuna
Hi JJ,

These are hybrid radiant heaters. The brand name is Lakewood. They have a thermostat. Any color you want so long as it is white. Dimensions 6" x 9" x 14" $20.00 at Walmart.

http://www.lakewoodeng.com/heaterimages/205.jpg

I don't much like a dish heater in my RV. I do enjoy oil filled--but can't find one that is small enough to be useful to me--the "ribbon" heaters above meet my needs. I'd really love to find a similar one that is 750 watts.

I hope you have some solar panels!
wpr
Hi DXSMac and pianotuna,

My wife and I are not as brave as you guys, whenever night temperatures get close to freezing we take a hotel. I have to add that our trailer is not really made for winter, among others it has no double glazed windows. We do use two mini oil filled heaters though, as we find the propane furnace too noisy to sleep with. When it's just above freezing outside they keep the inside at about 15 C (60 F). The ones we have are 500 watt, the newer models are 700 watt. For pianotuna it should be no problem to get them at Canadian Tire, but for you, JJ, it might need a bit of looking around.

here is the url: http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_...;subctgrid=null

Hope this helps!
pianotuna
Hi Wprigge,

Do you happen to know the dimensions (height, width, length). Space is always a consideration in a Class C.

Anyone seen a ribbon heater that is about 500 watts?

QUOTE(wprigge @ Mar 21 2008, 04:35 AM) *

Hi DXSMac and pianotuna,

My wife and I are not as brave as you guys, whenever night temperatures get close to freezing we take a hotel. I have to add that our trailer is not really made for winter, among others it has no double glazed windows. We do use two mini oil filled heaters though, as we find the propane furnace too noisy to sleep with. When it's just above freezing outside they keep the inside at about 15 C (60 F). The ones we have are 500 watt, the newer models are 700 watt. For pianotuna it should be no problem to get them at Canadian Tire, but for you, JJ, it might need a bit of looking around.

here is the url: http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_...;subctgrid=null

Hope this helps!

DXSMac
Pianotuna, yes, my radiant heater is a "dish" but I have seen the one you are talking about. Last night at my sis's I used the dish (I'm on 20 amp connection) and it kept the RV toasty! Did a better job than my small ceramic (and WAY BETTER than my oil radiator)! But you're right about (why I think you don't like) the dish, it takes up space. Also, I keep it in the packing box when not in use, so again, it takes up space. I also did the blanket thing you said. It worked, as long as my cat didn't try to pull the blankets down.

I'm leaving today for the lodge. It also snowed last night. I have only driven an RV in the snow once (2004 over the mountain from Bend, OR), I'm freaking out! I will be "moderately extreme boondocking" (can't beat Pianotuna at 35 below....). It will be cold (20's....) ph34r.gif . I will let you know what I did. I made sure I bought gas about 30 miles before I got to my sis's (the only place I COULD buy gas), to make sure I will have plenty of gas to run the generator at the lodge (50 mile drive from my sis's). I anticipate my current tank of gas will get lousy mileage due to generator use.......

JJ
wpr
Hi pianotuner,

You are right about space being at a premium, that's why we got two minis instead of one normal size. I find them easier to stow, and often we only need one. So here are the dimensions of our 500 watt heater. I suppose you are more familiar with inches

5" wide (mostly 4", except the feet at the rear)
13" long
15" high

I suspect the 700w heater has only two fins added and of course the corresponding quantity of oil and the bigger element. That would make it 16" long.

What we like about the principle of oil-filled heaters is their noiseless operation, except a little click when the thermostat cuts in or out, and the fact that it is impossible to burn yourself on them. Also, in some provincial parks you get only 15 amps, that means we can run our fridge, the hot water tank and the microwave plus one heater.

This will not bring the temperature up very quickly, but we use the propane heater for that purpose and the mini-heater to maintain the temperature while we sleep.

Hope this helps...

pianotuna
Hi Wprigge,

What I like about the oil filled is that I can alternate "loads" with them. The oil retains it's heat for some time--so I can flip the heater *off*, then make my breakfast on my electric hot plate, and then switch back to the heater--the oil acts as a lovely buffer continuing to radiate nicely into the RV.

Have you checked yours with a kill-o-watt meter to see what the "real" draw is?

My two ribbon heaters say 1320--but one is 1143 and the other is 1152 (if I remember correctly).

I make "labels" on most of my electrical appliances using scotch "magic" tape. I apply the tape, then print the draw on it--then cover them with a second piece of tape.
pianotuna
Hi JJ,

Just keep your speed down and stop often--make sure your windshield washer fluid tank is full.

Sounds like you are enjoying your cold weather experience!

I'm surprised that the "dish" does a better job than the oil filled as they both are radiant type heaters. Are they the same wattage?

I don't like the dish because it "focuses" too much on what ever it happens to be pointed at. My RV is a class C so there are not a lot of options on "pointing" a dish type. Size does matter, too.

I was actually looking for a small oil filled when I stumbled over the Lakewood heaters. Now if I could stumble again--and find a ribbon heater that is in the 600 watt "window" I'd be in heater heaven. I've even thought about looking for an old nicklechrome electric toaster, but of course those are not intended to be run for hours and hours.

The other reason I want a 600 watt ribbon type (or tiny oil filled) is that I could run it on my inverter for a about 90 minutes before I exhausted my cabin batteries. Of course, if I am driving--it would run all day long.

QUOTE(DXSMac @ Mar 21 2008, 10:06 AM) *

Pianotuna, yes, my radiant heater is a "dish" but I have seen the one you are talking about. Last night at my sis's I used the dish (I'm on 20 amp connection) and it kept the RV toasty! Did a better job than my small ceramic (and WAY BETTER than my oil radiator)! But you're right about (why I think you don't like) the dish, it takes up space. Also, I keep it in the packing box when not in use, so again, it takes up space. I also did the blanket thing you said. It worked, as long as my cat didn't try to pull the blankets down.

I'm leaving today for the lodge. It also snowed last night. I have only driven an RV in the snow once (2004 over the mountain from Bend, OR), I'm freaking out! I will be "moderately extreme boondocking" (can't beat Pianotuna at 35 below....). It will be cold (20's....) ph34r.gif . I will let you know what I did. I made sure I bought gas about 30 miles before I got to my sis's (the only place I COULD buy gas), to make sure I will have plenty of gas to run the generator at the lodge (50 mile drive from my sis's). I anticipate my current tank of gas will get lousy mileage due to generator use.......

JJ

gwbischoff
Does spending the night in a chair at Newark Airport count?
wpr
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Mar 21 2008, 12:46 PM) *

Hi Wprigge,

What I like about the oil filled is that I can alternate "loads" with them. The oil retains it's heat for some time--so I can flip the heater *off*, then make my breakfast on my electric hot plate, and then switch back to the heater--the oil acts as a lovely buffer continuing to radiate nicely into the RV.

Have you checked yours with a kill-o-watt meter to see what the "real" draw is?

My two ribbon heaters say 1320--but one is 1143 and the other is 1152 (if I remember correctly).

I make "labels" on most of my electrical appliances using scotch "magic" tape. I apply the tape, then print the draw on it--then cover them with a second piece of tape.



Hi pianotuner,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you, but I was called for "grandpa duty"...

I see your point why you like the oil filled heaters, makes sense in your situation. For us the precise number of kilowatts drawn is not as important, so I can't answer your question. If you decide to go with the mini-heaters, remember they have less oil and therefore less thermal energy stored. You might give it a try once they are on sale at Canadian Tire, as they often are in the spring and fall. If you are not happy with them you can sell them with only a minor loss...

Now I have to go back to grandpa duty.... smile.gif
DXSMac
Pianotuna, yes, I seem to like RV'ing in the winter better than summer.

Anyway, I'm back, and now I'm really embarassed. When I booked the reservations for my Mom's party, I was told that RV's have to dry camp. Checking weather, oh my, it will be lows in the mid to high 20's. YIKES! Ok, fine. Based on advice from the boards here, I had my game plan in place. I was going to rise to the challenge, I wanted experience so I would know what to do. So, I show up at the Lodge, and the owners say, "oh, you can plug your RV in right here." I was kind of disappointed, because I had my game plan all worked out! But I wimped and took the connection. Now, technically, they don't have hookups for RV's, but they let me because I was the only one. I got charged $20 for the connection. Ok.....

Pianotuna, I did take your advice about blankets. It helped! Even with the space heaters I was running, it was a little chilly. (I try not to use my furnace unless I really need to.) I also learned another thing. If it's really chilly, pulling in the slideouts will help a LOT! Those slideouts are air leakers!

Mom's party went really great! Also, the lodge owners told me they have hosted RV clubs, but they can only do this in the summer because they don't have RV hookups, all have to dry camp. This lodge is booked a year in advance. It was really great! Snow on the ground, but day of party, it was sunny, no clouds!

JJ
Big Ben
I laugh every time I see this post. Extreme Boondocking. I have full timer friends that I have spent the last couple summers with. Every year for the last 5 they go off in the desert and spend 4to5 with no eletric except for solar power watter has to be hauled in and sewage pick up. That to me is extrem boonddocking.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Big Ben @ Mar 23 2008, 08:00 PM) *

I laugh every time I see this post. Extreme Boondocking. I have full timer friends that I have spent the last couple summers with. Every year for the last 5 they go off in the desert and spend 4to5 with no eletric except for solar power watter has to be hauled in and sewage pick up. That to me is extrem boonddocking.


BigBen, is that 4-5 DAYS or 4-5 WEEKS? As for water, I can last 3 days on one tank of water, maybe 4 days if I push it and do only PTA baths (women will know what those are, if you aren't a woman, don't ask!).

However, I gotta give your friends the award for the other end of "extreme" boondocking. Pianotuna gets the award for LOW temps. Your friends get the award for the higher temps (I'm assuming that the desert, at the time of the year they go, has got to be in the 90's and above.....)

Well, since I failed to get my opportunity for extreme boondocking at "just below freezing" temps, I have to say that I'm with Beastdriver. Extreme boondocking to me is "not having wireless."

JJ
Big Ben
I'm sorry it is months.
Florida Native
We boondocked earlier this week at 24 F. Wasn't too bad. I highly recomend the electric blankets and an inverter. We have 2 170 amp hour batteries, so it isn't a problem. The cat will go to the warmest spot on her own, which will be the electric blanket. Be sure to have something heavy on top of the electric blanket.

Good Luck
DXSMac
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Mar 24 2008, 05:41 PM) *

We boondocked earlier this week at 24 F. Wasn't too bad. I highly recomend the electric blankets and an inverter. We have 2 170 amp hour batteries, so it isn't a problem. The cat will go to the warmest spot on her own, which will be the electric blanket. Be sure to have something heavy on top of the electric blanket.

Good Luck


Well, the place I was going to "boondock at 26 degrees for two nights" ended up giving me a plug in, after telling me I would be "dry camping." I do have a power station that I bought from Costco, it is kind of like an inverter. You can plug in appliances up to 300 watts, plus it has an air compressor and some jumper cables. I think electric blankets is too much for it. I may have to invest in an inverter.

Well, missed out on this opportunity. Hopefully another one will come by.

JJ
pianotuna
Hi JJ,

I'm glad it worked out so well for you.

As to your little 300 watt unit. If it has a 12 volt "outlet" on it you may be able to plug it into your cabin battery and use that as a power source. The same thing may be true of the jumper cables--but that would probably mean leaving the unit outside. NOT recommended.

Look for a cigarette lighter to cigarette lighter "jumper cable" to use with your 300 watt inverter. I found one on ebay and just love using it to "warm" my starter batteries from my cabin batteries--which are in turn connected to my solar panels.

Have a look at item #140218550913 on ebay

QUOTE(DXSMac @ Mar 24 2008, 10:21 PM) *

Well, the place I was going to "boondock at 26 degrees for two nights" ended up giving me a plug in, after telling me I would be "dry camping." I do have a power station that I bought from Costco, it is kind of like an inverter. You can plug in appliances up to 300 watts, plus it has an air compressor and some jumper cables. I think electric blankets is too much for it. I may have to invest in an inverter.

Well, missed out on this opportunity. Hopefully another one will come by.

JJ

pianotuna

Hi Wprigge,

I finally found the oil filled heater of my dreams (many thanks to you!). I'm over heatered now LOL! (two fan type, two ribbon type, one oil filled, one heat strip in the AC unit{not yet sure of wattage} and two electric hot plates! They range in wattage from a low of 320 to a high of 1440)

The oil filled is a perfect fit under a cabinet in my bedroom--space that is otherwise wasted. When I pull the curtain across it keeps the area

QUOTE(wprigge @ Mar 21 2008, 10:18 AM) *

Hi pianotuner,

You are right about space being at a premium, that's why we got two minis instead of one normal size. I find them easier to stow, and often we only need one. So here are the dimensions of our 500 watt heater. I suppose you are more familiar with inches

5" wide (mostly 4", except the feet at the rear)
13" long
15" high

I suspect the 700w heater has only two fins added and of course the corresponding quantity of oil and the bigger element. That would make it 16" long.

What we like about the principle of oil-filled heaters is their noiseless operation, except a little click when the thermostat cuts in or out, and the fact that it is impossible to burn yourself on them. Also, in some provincial parks you get only 15 amps, that means we can run our fridge, the hot water tank and the microwave plus one heater.

This will not bring the temperature up very quickly, but we use the propane heater for that purpose and the mini-heater to maintain the temperature while we sleep.

Hope this helps...

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