Is winter camping possible and a good experience?

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by midifolk, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. midifolk

    midifolk New Member

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    Hi All,

    Let's put this in context the short version ... Lost job due to covid, been in the house WAAAY too long, went into a retraining program and now heading into the last term of my masters. Now I can continue to do that in a 12x10 room in my house with feet of snow outside the window or I can get the heck outta hear! (In New York State)

    So in the land of imagination I'd like to head south and then west across the lower states and circle around and back following weather patterns or the jet stream or something...LOL. Question is, Is this possible and is it possible on a budget? Looking for suggestions of campsites or apps to use that could help me with a plan. Leaving in about a month. Looking towards places mostly without hookups to save on cash but want to be in safe surroundings and don't prefer being too isolated. Stays from a couple days to a week in places depending...total trip time 60-90 days. Oh and I need to study! Sorry something about being middle aged made me forget that! :)

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    Travelling with a small coachmen clipper 806 sport

    Thank you!
     
  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    If it is a spur of the moment trip The hard part is finding campgrounds open past Thanksgiving at least until you get further south than NC then finding availability will be the next hardest. Especially due to all the snowbirds that did or doing the same thing. There isn't much land on the east coast that you are allowed to camp on for free especially with a camper but there could be some but I wouldn't know where and how accessable. However honestly the cost of gas is rising quite fast right now so do keep that in mind as well. Gas prices are different all over the states and even city's. When towing you may be using more then you normally would. I'm on a tight budget myself and it's the gas that gets me every time. I can easily afford state and national parks, it's just getting there is my problem. That however entirely depends on your budget. There are many many people that go south in the winter but they usually had already made advance reservations months in advance. Are you going to need internet access for your studies? That may be something else to keep in mind. Some places you camp may not be in cell range. Gosh knows everywhere I like to camp sure isn't. Some coffee shops may still even be closed to patrons sitting around due to Covid as well especially if the area was harder hit with Covid. So thats another thing to consider.
     
  3. midifolk

    midifolk New Member

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    Thank you for the reply. Yes, I've had the concerns that you have pointed out. I'm over by the lakes so I won't be travelling down the coastal states and will be avoiding the busyness of Florida. I'll try to make a straight run out which means by day 2 driving I'd be around Nashville. So figure that as the starting point. Goal is to head south and then west to milder temps and possibly more choices as expeditiously as possible. I'll need cell/internet intermittently as there isn't a class schedule to adhere to.

    So I guess my question is does the outlook improve for me then? I'm assuming that in the warmer states there would be places that are open year round. I've always just gone to a place and then come home. This would be the first time trying put together a route if you will. So I don't know things that may seem second nature to those that have done that. Do I stick to State or National Parks? Should I use a site like Campendium or something else? See what I mean? haha. Thanks again.
     
  4. Arruba

    Arruba Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I can’t comment for much of your route, but if you do get as far south as the Florida Panhandle and/or Texas, boondocking becomes kinda possible for the budget minded. I’ve worked in both states during the fall/winter in years past, the National Forests in both states have winter camping of various types. A call may get you some insight:

    National Forests in Florida: 850-523-8500
    National Forests in Texas: 936-639-8501

    I’m fairly confident the more “Northern” Forests in the southern states do too, though I’m not near as knowledgeable about them. I’ve never been there, but I know people give Big Bend National Park a look during the winter.

    Big Bend Nat. Park: 432-477-2251
    Big Bend Ranch State Park: 512-389-8900

    If you think you’ll get as far as Arizona or Southern California, The BLM has Long Term Visitor Areas, basically boondock areas where for a fee, you can dry camp for months, an exception to the standard 14 day occupation rule. I will add if you consider this, research throughly. While relatively unmentioned here, boondocking and dry camping in the south lands during the winter is well known among the Rubber Trampers, Van Lifers, and Snow Bird crowds.

    Arizona BLM State Office: 602-417-9200

    Good luck with your trip.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2021
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  5. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    If you intend to camp where the temperatures dip below, say, 28f overnight, your freshwater system will need to be winterized, so you won't be able to use the popup's water system. If daytime temps are above freezing and overnight temps don't drop much below 30f you'll be fine keeping the freshwater system working.

    If you intend to camp without hookups in temperatures below 42, your onboard battery will last you about a day and a half in the winter, since it has to run your furnace, laptop, and lights. So you'll need a way to keep that battery charged; a generator perhaps. Decent 2000W generators will set you back $800 to $1000 before you leave the house. If you intend to just go for 2-3 nights at a time, you could add a second battery and probably be fine without a generator. If temperatures are below 30 you'll run the furnace a lot more, and run the battery down in a day.

    If going south means staying in warm enough climates that you don't need to run the furnace much you can get a few days out of the battery before you need to charge it again. In that case, it's possible you could make do with solar, or with a 1000w generator. Plus you'll be able to use your water system. Unless you're running AC, a 1000W generator is often plenty.

    You'll burn a lot of propane on extended trips, so that's an expense to consider.

    Popup Gizmos on the bunk ends, and Reflectix in the windows will help a lot, and is particularly worthwhile if you spend more than a couple nights camping in cold weather. Sealing drafts is also really important, and pretty hard to do effectively with a popup.

    I think the no hookups part is what is difficult. Again, you'll need a generator, a source of fresh water, a way to refill the propane, and good insulation. If you have those things, you're fine.

    What about connectivity? If you're studying remotely you need to consider how to get Internet.
     

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