Any advice: Thanksgiving camping northern Wisconsin

Discussion in 'Cold Weather Camping' started by AverageMarriedDad, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. AverageMarriedDad

    AverageMarriedDad New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017
    We're a family of four (two kids, 10 and 12) and recently bought a new Forest River Rockwood Freedom 2280 popup. My BIL has a small cabin in northern WI that we've stayed at before. It gets a pretty cramped with two families sleeping (a small one bedroom). We're thinking of hauling the pup up there if it isn't excessively cold or snowy. Average high for where we are staying in late November is 32F, low of 16F. We'd only be sleeping in it, and my BIL is running a new circuit, wiring to where we could plug in (he's an electrician) at least 20 amp.

    We've never cold weather camped. I just winterized the plumbing yesterday, and have reflectix coming for the windows. The camper has a propane heater and heated mattresses for the two bunks we'd be sleeping on. We also can bring an oil filled electric heater if need be.

    I have a few questions:
    1) I've read about condensation, what do we do to minimize that? I've heard crack the vent fan at night. Anything else?
    2) Since we're just sleeping there, do we just fire up the heater at night before bed? I see no reason to keep it on during the day unless there is some other benefit.
    3) How long does propane last? We'd probably be there four nights. Do I bring an extra tank? Is it worth bringing the electric heater?
    4) I imagine we'd need our cold weather sleeping bags (which aren't really special) plus maybe an extra comforter per bunk. Will that suffice?

    Any other input is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Maplewood, MN
    Let me start by saying that I have never "cold weather" camped outside of some very chilly nights up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. But I have done that countless times since I was a kid.

    1. Unfortunately, condensation will always happen in cold weather. I would open one of the windows a crack rather than the vent. You will lose less heat.
    2. If I had a choice, I would use an electric heater over the furnace. One, an electric heater is less noisy. Two, you won't have to worry about running out of gas. Turning on the heated mattresses about 1/2 hour before using the bunks will take the chill out of the bed.
    3. See #2, but if you MUST use the furnace, one tank should do it, but I wouldn't run the furnace all day without having two tanks.
    4. It is difficult to comment on your sleeping bags without knowing their ratings. I have heated mattresses in my MAC 208 and I had to turn them down to half power when using them on multiple 42 degree nights this year. They should keep you toasty warm. I also added an extra blanket (comforter) on top of my sleeping bag. My sleeping bags are rated 35 to 45 degrees.

    I would suggest that you put an extra blanket under the mattress to protect against bunk chill. I use a moving blanket (from Harbor Freight) under my mattresses year round.

    In my experience, keeping warm at night was never a problem, unless I had to get up in the middle of the night! ;)

    EDIT: Before you head into the cold, you may want to driveway camp one night just to make sure you estimated everything correctly.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017

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