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Old 03-26-2019, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Best Class B for Winter Weekend Boondocking?

Hi!

My wife and I currently have a truck camper but want to try to switch to a Class B and I'm hoping you guys might be able to give us some advice. Were trying to figure out which model would best meet our needs. We are ski-bums and live in our camper at ski resort parking lots for most weekends during the winter. These are the things we must have:

-Ability to use full plumbing while boondocking down to 10 degrees F (I'm able to do some modifications myself to get it there if necessary)
-At least one child seat anchor
-A separate dinette and bed (we don't want to make/unmake the bed just to have somewhere to eat)

Can you think of anything that might work?
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:28 AM   #2
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Not a tough problem to solve. All you need is propane to keep the interior at least 55F and a warm place to thaw the dump valves once you get home. Liberal use of antifreeze could also resolve that problem. The fresh water tank needs to be inside.

Insist on a digital furnace thermostat, the analog ones are +/- 10 degrees hysterisis which is not comfortable. Wake up cold and you are hot before the furnace cuts off. We have slept comfortably with full toilet facilities at those temperatures.

You do want at least 200AH of battery for a weekend and/or a generator that will start at 10F.

Taking showers takes some adapting as moisture condensation is a major issue. Use the shower in the afternoon, not in the morning, and not just before you want to drive away.

We have a 2003 Roadtrek 190 on the Chevy chassis. I have no knowledge of how a Sprinter based B handles those temperatures but the Chevy 190 with modified battery capacity, digital thermostat, and Onan generator handled it quite well. The Onan choke has problems at 12F but was able to start. It needs work.

Carrying your ski equipment is another issue. Cold weather gear for two can just bury the interior of a B.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:33 AM   #3
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I think Winnebago Boldt 70B is the best for your needs.




Jump to 25:30 to see the layout. It's fully insulated for freezing weather, has a separate dinette area right behind driver seat and has 3 point seat belt on dinette seat
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Old 03-27-2019, 05:16 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input!

hbn7hj; you make this sound way easier than I thought. For a camper setup as you describe, what would you estimate is the lower limit of temperature it could survive?

ccsicecoke; I saw that Boldt review and was very intrigued... but I can't find any mention of child seat anchors in Winnebago's specs for the Boldt. The 2019+ Travato 59G sounds similar and might be an option. It does have child seat anchors, and seems to be only a bit worse for winter use than the Boldt. Of course the Travato only has lap belts for the bench... but I'm guessing we will change campers again before the kid is old enough to be out of child seats.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:02 PM   #5
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You make this sound way easier than I thought. For a camper setup as you describe, what would you estimate is the lower limit of temperature it could survive?
Hate to burst your bubble but you would be better off and cheaper to get a room.

It is all about energy, propane and battery. Propane is easy, buy some. Battery is the tough one.

Run out of battery at 3AM and you need to leave. Run out of battery at 8AM and you will spend your day getting enough power for the next night while running the furnace during the day, not skiing. Yes, I know about catalytic heaters and they would help if you are comfortable running one unattended.

You need to handle 10F at night and the following day of 35F overcast. Solar is not an option so it is all about battery. You will need a built in generator, not a Honda portable, and a large battery bank, preferably quick charge lithium.

Slide outs are known to leak a lot of cold air.

We have solved the power problem which you can find in other threads but the bottom line remains the same for most:

Get a room! (Shore power would work)
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:16 PM   #6
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Get a room!
Disagree.
Some of our most memorable camping experiences have been in sub-zero weather. Takes work and money, but certainly can be done.

"We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard".
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:32 PM   #7
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Disagree.
Some of our most memorable camping experiences have been in sub-zero weather. Takes work and money, but certainly can be done.

"We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard".
Agreed, I do it a few days most winters, but he wants to ski. Also, I have really been entertained by the technical challange. If you want to ski, get a room, if you want to nursemaid a stationary camper through a 30F day, 10F night, then it can be done. It will take a lot of work once you buy the coach to get an adequate battery bank and charging system figured out. Shore power would be the best compromise.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:06 PM   #8
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It is not uncommon to find state parks near ski areas that keep their campgrounds open year around to service skier/campers, so shore power is often an option. I certainly agree that it makes things a lot easier. The other magic bullet is an efficient diesel- or petrol-fired hydronic heater, such as the Espar D5. Our system (which I have described elsewhere and was modeled after ARV's pioneering work) has outside tanks and plumbing protected by the glycol loop, and can easily handle OP's requirements. Even with my medium-sized AGM battery, I would have no problem with a weekend's parking lot boondocking. With a state-of-the art Li setup, I could go much longer.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:46 PM   #9
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Yea, a room isn't an option.

We've had our truck camper down to -14F with no problems. It has the advantage of a full propane furnace that also heats the water tanks/lines. It will go through a 20lb bottle in about 3 days at those temps, but thats fine for weekend trips.

As Avanti said, a hydronic heater powered from the gas or diesel works too... I have friends in custom pro-master's that use those systems with no issues, but I haven't been able to find any production vans with child seat anchors that also use hydronic heat.

The Travato G I mentioned seems like it would be feasible, especially if I upgraded the batteries. The Truma Combi Plus in the travato uses a MAX of 7500 btu/hr and 6.1 amps (combined). The propane tank would last for 61 hours and the batteries would last for 27 hours at the MAX rate. Its hard to guess how close we will be to the max output of the system and how much re-charge we will get from solar and driving around in the evenings, but worst case scenario if I doubled the size of the batteries we'd be fine.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ccsicecoke View Post
I think Winnebago Boldt 70B is the best for your needs.




Jump to 25:30 to see the layout. It's fully insulated for freezing weather, has a separate dinette area right behind driver seat and has 3 point seat belt on dinette seat
And what does one of those cost...?
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:47 PM   #11
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A 300 watt propane fuel cell running 24/7 is a perfect solution for this problem.

Wonder what happened to it? I've got money waiting for it.

Over time you can work up a solution that works for you. A battery bank and use that doesn't need charging during the weekend is one solution. It takes 4-8 hours to charge a lead acid battery to 100% and would work if you could do it at home.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:56 PM   #12
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A 300 watt propane fuel cell running 24/7 is a perfect solution for this problem.

Wonder what happened to it? I've got money waiting for it.
Seems like the watt folks are one of the ones looking for some payment, many losers.
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Old 03-28-2019, 01:29 AM   #13
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I may have the perfect rig for that.

97 xplorer 226XL.

The xplorers fiberglass top is double paned fiberglass. IE VERY well insulated. As are the side walls.

Mine was ordered with the fresh water tank inside the cab and there is enough clearance to further insulate it with 2" insulation if you choose.

Fully integrated wet bath. Great spot to hang your snow soaked gear to drip dry indoors.

Xplorers used a re circulating toilet. No need for a water pump to try and pump potentially frozen lines.

Hell the closet(s) actually can fit your snowboard. And gear. Skis fit under the bed storage compartment accessed from the rear.

Rear bed and 4 front swiveling captains chairs with a table you can deploy between them.

Took me ages to find a rig with the right features. Xplorers were made to order. So there were so many with truly ridiculous features that made you wonder about the people who ordered them. This one was well thought out.

Now to actually head back to Colorado and actually board....which I haven't done in ages.
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:16 AM   #14
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I've gone boondocking for a week with temperatures below freezing at all times during this period with fresh water in the tank (non-winterized). That was 4-1/3 years ago and the temperatures reached 0 deg. F. overnight. This past winter I pushed it to an overnight temperature of -15 deg. F. on the road. So, yes, it can be done.

If you have shore power it is a cinch. 30 some odd vans of all companies and years survive the 3 day Winter Freezeout in Michigan's Upper Peninsula at Tahquamenon State Park every January.
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Old 03-28-2019, 03:30 AM   #15
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The Winnebago Boldt looks like $200k. Etzu has the best deal going.

Interesting that posters from the electrical forum can all do it. That is what we do there.

A year's interest on $200k would pay for all the hotel rooms you would need in a season.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:25 AM   #16
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Winnebago Revel also has cold weather features. But I donít see anything about child seat hooks.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:48 AM   #17
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Bottom line is almost all class Bs can do a winter weekend with shore power. Most of them will require a major battery enhancement to keep the furnace going without outside power.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Bottom line is almost all class Bs can do a winter weekend with shore power. Most of them will require a major battery enhancement to keep the furnace going without outside power.


Most class Bs have outside plumbing and unheated tanks. Until this is addressed, shore power doesn't help.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:55 PM   #19
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Most class Bs have outside plumbing and unheated tanks. Until this is addressed, shore power doesn't help.
I've attended several of Mike Wendland's Winter Freezeouts and the last one it got down to -15 deg. F. temperatures overnight. As I said, all kinds of Class Bs and years probably back to the 90s attend as well as some truck campers, other RVs and this last one, two tent campers with wood stoves. One year we built an igloo and a person slept in it overnight. I don't know what hbn7hj's experience is but with shore power everyone survived the 3 day weekend and the coming and going. They didn't have non-winterized vans with water in the tanks but probably flushed with anti-freeze or sat on a freezing toilet seat in a vault toilet. I may have been the only non-winterized van with fresh water in the tank.

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Old 03-29-2019, 02:02 PM   #20
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I don't know what hbn7hj's experience is but with shore power everyone survived the 3 day weekend and the coming and going. They didn't have non-winterized vans with water in the tanks but probably flushed with anti-freeze or sat on a freezing toilet seat in a vault toilet.
I agree, but OP stipulated full use of water systems, a goal that I share.
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