Popup as ski cabin? What can I expect?

Discussion in 'Cold Weather Camping' started by EdZilla, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    I live in Denver and love to ski, but I can’t tolerate driving up on Saturday and then back the same day because the ski traffic is intolerable.

    I’m considering using the popup to sleep in after skiing so I can ski two days instead of just one.

    I expect overnight temperatures as low as 10 deg ferenheight.
    If snow is expected, I’ll abort and not deploy the camper. I realize snow is a deal breaker. If that happens I’ll probably sleep in the back of the 4Runner.

    1. Will the dual propane systems work at these temperatures?
    I’ve heard that regulators might fail at low temperatures.
    2. Will the dual 12v marine batteries work well enough to run the furnace fan at these temperatures?

    advice is welcome, especially experienced advice.

    I have an Evolution E1 with dual tanks. The furnace works well and I also have a Mr. Heater space heater.

    I have dual 12v batteries and they work well in normal temperatures.

    I realize that this is basically a tent so it’s not insulated but I’m ok running the furnace all night and bundling up under piles of blankets and expedition rated sleeping bags
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  2. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Batteries should last 2 nights since you have a Mr. Heater and the propane will last as the furnace won't be running constantly
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I have not camped where the temps got that low but there are some who have. Not sure how well the batteries will do in temps that cold. i camped with temps around 30 and kept the furnace set at 50. I put reflectix in all the windows that helped retain some heat so the furnace wasn't turning on constantly. The more the furnace turns on the quicker that battery will die and you don't want the battery to drain all the way down either. Now if only one night you might be able to make it. I would turn the furnace off during the day use the mr buddy to help bring the temps up then turn the furnace on for overnight. You may want to look into getting some popup gizmos as well and maybe the inside version as well. Anything to provide sole insulation will help keep the heat in. I will tell you, if it's windy that wind can sneak in very quickly.
     
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  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    1. Turn both tanks on, more propane volume can deliver more BTUs at low temperatures. It IS possible to freeze the regulator. But there are a lot of variables to that and I can't promise either way.
    2. You don't mention what size your batteries are but lets assume group 24 to be safe. Each one is probably rated for ~75AH. With 2 that gives you 150AH. If your furnace draws 7 amps and you run it for 12 hours straight, that's 84AH. You're dipping below 50% SoC, but not by a lot. You'll be fine for battery.
     
  5. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    good idea if the popup has hard sides rather than vinyl or canvas. I damaged mine when I camped under 30 degree weather all weekend.
     
  6. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    Thanks for the feedback folks!

    YEs, group 24 batteries, but I think those numbers are significantly derated when in cold weather.

    Hard sides? Aren’t popup campers by definition soft sided?

    I ordered popup gizmos per jmkay1’s recommendation. Hopefully that will help.

    No one mentioned or suggested the use of a generator. I don’t have one but I wonder how big a generator would be necessaryto run an electric heater to heat the cabin and/or to heat a blanket around the LPG tanks.
    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  7. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

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    There are hard sided pop ups. Apache is a good example. A generator could be used to recharge your batteries in a couple of hours.
     
  8. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Bad idea. The only practical camper for ski bumming are truck campers. Pups just aren’t mountain winter ready. And I know here (JH) no way they let you set up in their lot. The truck campers seem to fly under the radar
     
  9. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    YA, that’s what I’m afraid of.
    MAybe I’ll regret it or freeze to death.
    I have to try it though.
     
  10. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    I think "by defintion" they "pop up"; I love my Palomino TXL, which has walls that unfold as it pops up! They're somewhat rare, so it's almost always a conversation starter at the campgrounds.
     
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  11. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I have thought often of camping in below freezing temps, but I worry more about the plastic windows cracking from the cold during setup and take down than anything else. As mentioned above, besides the Gizmos, you should put Reflectix in all of the windows. Maybe you should do a trial run a camp driveway.

    BTW, don't forget that Aliners are also hard-side popup campers. HERE is a guy that winter camps often in his.
     
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  12. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    I have camped many times in the teens & 20's for hunting & fishing trips. I don't think I would do it for 1 night. By myself, it usually takes 20 - 30 minutes to set up the pup. For extreme cold it takes me over an hour ( and that's with no outside stuff). Somethings stay in the pup year round because they help with the extreme heat as well as the cold. I use the pink board insulation under the mattresses ( you could also use the anti-fatigue mats or roll up camping mats). I use pool noodles around the tenting inside (you could use pipe covers just as well). Reflectix & Bunk covers help too. I actually use a cheap Wal-Mart tarp on the end that isn't going to be used (It blocks wind better.). I use a moving blanket as a curtain to block off the unused bunk on the inside. I use a Mr. Heater to heat the pup and have to be careful to not get it so hot I sweat. Then I have an arctic sleeping bag from my military days. I stay warm, but I don't think I would do the extra work for 1 night. Good luck whatever you decide.
     
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  13. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    I’d rather sleep in the back of my truck with a small heater. I don’t think freezing is the issue. It’s snow and wind and breaking it down in the cold. Don’t know where you ski. Would they allow that in their parking lot?
     
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  14. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    For one night, you're far better off to just plan to sleep in the 4Runner. The wear and tear, possibility for fail and stress you put on the p'up, not to mention the energy you'll exert just getting it tolerable, just doesn't bode well, logically speaking, for an overnighter. As you know, set-up/take down will be twice as tough in the bitter cold, not to mention you'll want that furnace/heater running for a bit before it's time to crash for the night, as it will take a minute
    or two to warm that pup up.
    IF you opt to go that route, absolutely make sure that your C02 sensor/propane leak detector/fire-smoke detectors
    are all functioning properly before you go to sleep. "Going gently in your sleep" is not an expression you want to be remembered by because you opted to sleep in the popup as it filled with deadly gas. Out of curiosity, are there not affordable lodges/motels around where you plan to ski?
     
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  15. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    I’m learning that many ski resorts that used to allow overnight “sleep in your vehicle” camping no longer do. I live in Denver so ski mostly in summit county. My plan was to camp at a couple places that do, if there’s room, but the feedback I’m receiving has me reconsidering the popup option. Maybe a hard side is in my future.
     
  16. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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  17. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Just throwing it out there, but could there be a campground (open) nearby the mountain you could drive to to stay at? Not as easy as bunking out in the parking lot I'm sure.
     
  18. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Guess they got tired of pulling out frozen body and thaw them out...
     
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  19. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    Yes. I’m not planning on setting up in any parking lots. Instead I’m planning on going to a camp site that’s about 10 miles north of the ski areas in Summit county and is open year round.
     
  20. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I want to add that I have been in my Pup in 30 degree weather for 3 days. With the extra bunk blocked off with moving blankets,plywood skirt around the bunk and extra bedding I burned a almost 1/2 tank of propane and drained the battery everyday.
     

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