Tag Archives: cold weather camping

Not All The Water Pipes Were Frozen

We’ve spent the past week volunteering at the Wally Byam Airstream Club’s headquarters in Jackson Center OH on several projects. The office staff are wonderful, there’s plenty of stuff to help with, and it’s something we like doing when we can get here. This visit, though, we encountered more than we bargained for. Well lower than the forecast low temperature, we saw 2 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, unfortunately) overnight.

Chasing 75 Degrees is our well-known slogan amongst our readers. When we meet people they frequently say, “Oh Hi, you’re the couple who’re chasing 75 degrees?” Yep, that’s who we say we are. We wrote two years ago how poor we sometimes are at chasing 75 degrees. We’ve not improved – or we’ve become so calloused we don’t appear to care about the weather.

“Chasing 75 degrees” takes back seat when we’re in such a gorgeous place

We awoke to a beautiful snowfall in the National Park on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon while on a caravan.





Can we get away in time?

On our last day in Ketchum Idaho a snow shower started up. We started up too, and bugged out. Didn’t want to see how much or for how long it snowed.




We’d leave but it’s so pretty and not too cold – yet.

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on the first of November a few years ago we had a pretty snowfall. The next day temperatures rose to over 55 degrees. No threat to our plumbing.






As these pics  show, we’re no strangers to cool weather. In fact we really like it. It’s the Airstream that has limits on getting really cold. We are big fans of having hot and cold running on demand in the Airstream, so haven’t experimented much with camping “winterized”. It’s really cold weather we’re not as familiar with.

Our Airstream is fabulous and has met our living needs wonderfully for more than twelve years. And it isn’t a four-season camper. When the weather’s really hot, the trailer can get pretty warm. When the weather’s really cold, the interior is a little cool sometimes. This, to us, goes with the lifestyle. We’re camping – sort of. Okay, really we’re glamping, right? With our gorgeous and comfortable Airstream, we’re solid for almost all weather we encounter. Especially if we chase 75 degrees, and happen to miss by not too wide margins either way.

Really cold weather sometimes complicates our plumbing system. The Airstream has a gas-fueled battery-powered furnace and a heater in the roof-mounted air conditioning unit. The trailer’s potable water runs from the fresh water storage tank below the floor through a water pump to the faucets on east and west side of the trailer. The furnace, in addition to heating the living area, blows a little heat into the piping area under the trailer. It also carries a little heat behind the cabinets where some of the piping lives above the floor. In freezing weather the furnace can keep the piping from freezing. But not always.

Two degrees overnight, even with our furnace serving overnight as the sole heat source, caused our hot water pipes on both east and west sides and the cold water pipes on the east side to freeze last night. We shouldn’t take such pride in having never winterized this trailer since taking delivery thirteen years ago. We had cold water into the kitchen sink, and no hot water anywhere. We needed to warm the trailer with the furnace all day, cabinet doors opened, hair dryer blowing warmth under the vanity because it’s on the east side.

Finally, at 2pm today our faucets all work. That only took a gallon of propane and seven hours! Last night might have been a great time to have drained the lines. We like sleeping cold. Maybe we’d have avoided this freezing if we’d run the furnace overnight at a higher setting than 46 degrees? We don’t know. We’ve dry camped a week on asphalt in Sun Valley Idaho with lows nightly down to 19. No problem. We’ve camped overnight with shore power in Eastern Oregon with a low of 11. We’ve frozen our west side plumbing in the daytime with 21 degrees but the wind was blowing the cold up into the wheel well.

We’ll probably have another go at it. We love chasing 75 degrees but won’t be limited by it. There are so many things to do, so many places to go, and the weather might not always cooperate. Besides, not all the water pipes were frozen.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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