Popup as ski cabin? What can I expect?

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

  1. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    We have 2 20 propane tank and 2 12v g31 batteries. We get about 100 hours of run time out of the batteries with mid 20 nights an low 40 day. Setting the stat to 68. At night we have a cycle of 7 mins on and 6 mins off.

    Not sure about how it would do do in the single digits. I'm thinking it would be running full time and might not keep up with the stat.
     
  2. davido

    davido Active Member

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    Set up and take down will be very hard with cold stiff vinyl.

    The propane and batteries will last fine.

    Don't use the water system, keep it winterized.

    It is hard to justify single night camping with a popup but that is your call.

    It will be cold. The furnace will help but still you have one layer of vinyl between you and the harsh winter.
     
  3. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    You know what happens when you try to bend cold clear vinyl?
     
  4. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    I’m guessing that It shatters and little shards of vinyl embed in your face and blind you.

    Am I right?
     
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  5. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    depends on how cold. It would happen at 0 degree and you go blind from all the shards in your eyes! [::)] At 32 it just crack. [RTM] My vinyl ripped off when I tried to set up in 27 degrees. :shocked:
     
  6. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    As a kind of epilogue, here are some notes and details for anyone who is interested in staying warm camping in a popup at 11,000 feet around the Solstice.
    3 nights. That is, I skied during the day so I was in the camper only in the late evening and at night.

    I was never uncomfortable and was able to keep the cabin and bunks as warm as I needed to.

    The outside temperatures were between 13 degrees and 25 deg F.

    It got windy, but I feel pretty lucky it wasn’t bad and not sustained.

    I covered the bunks with “popup gizmos” which are basically tarps with built in bungie cords. It snowed but it seems the wind blew the snow off the bunks so there was little snow load on them. The gizmos reduced ice build up and maybe kept in some heat. It might have been different if there was more snow.

    I used only one 20 lb tank of propane and it was still going strong the morning that I left. The furnace ran continuously during the hours that I was in the camper. That is, it didnt cycle on and off, probably because the thermostat is near the floor under the table where it’s cold.

    I heated using the furnace primarily, and used Mr. Heater just once to heat the cabin faster one morning for a few minutes.

    My dual batteries depleted but kept the lights on and furnace fan running until about 4:AM the second night. When that happened the battery voltage was at 9.5Volts and furnace quit working. I then ran the backup generator for a couple of hours to put more charge on the battery. It was 13 degrees outside that morning. Once the battery voltage was up the furnace worked fine again.

    I have a solar charge system but it was mostly covered with snow so I don’t think it did much.

    I lined the bunks and cabin with reflectix, and tucked foam pipe insulation around the mattresses to keep the draft out. I kinda just put the reflectix around the walls without full coverage so there were a lot of gaps, but it seemed to work well.

    I opened a few inches unzipped at either end to allow air flow and reduce condensation. Condensation wasn’t really a problem.

    I didn’t really cook inside, except que sadillas and to boil water for my thermos. I cooked brats outside on the RVQ.

    The morning that I left, I removed the gizmos and the canvas was mostly dry and no ice. The outside temps were around 27 degrees and the canvas and vinyl was very pliable so it all folded nicely. I’m lucky that after the snow, it was sunny and warmed so I was able to collapse a warm dry popup. No issues.

    I nearly got stuck on one icy hill, so The next time I go I’m bringing a shovel and chains and some p-gravel.

    The 2 days of skiing at Breckenridge was fantastic. The first day it snowed all da the snow was great but low vis and windy. The second day was perfect. I got a good nights sleep, didn’t have to drive through traffic but got there well before the lifts opened, relaxed with a cup of coffee and was first chair!!
    That morning I skied in maybe 10 inches of fresh powder under blue skies and bright sun!! That made all the work and effort worth it.
     
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  7. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Sounds like a very sucessful trip. Good to know your propane lasted the whole time. I managed to make three nights in the cold for me but between the furnace, cooking, etc. I was on fumes on the day I closed up. I ended up buying a second propane tank for next time. At least where I camp, finding a propane filler is nearly an hour drive from the campground. I know I need a second battery as that will make a huge difference for me next time.
     
  8. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    I brought along 3 tanks just I’m case. Dual batteries are key too. I guess the more the merrier when it comes to this stuff. I even brought along a generator to increase my odds of success.
     
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  9. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I'm glad you made it work. Next time try recharging the battery's everyday so you dont wake up early & cold again.
     
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  10. EdZilla

    EdZilla Member

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    As a kind of post epilogue epilogue take two kind of thing, I did another day of E1 camping to support my skiing habit last week. It was much colder out and was a very different experience and not nearly as successful or fun.
    The temperature was about 5 degrees F when I raised the roof.

    Once set up Everything worked great at first, but then after a few hours and as the temperatures dropped to -1 degree F, the furnace flame went out.

    The fan was running strong, but the igniter would repeatedly try to reignite and fail.

    I then turned off the furnace and tried to fire up Mr. Heater, but that too failed to stay lit.

    Yikes!

    Oddly, I was able to light the burner on the stove so it seems that I had propane flowing ok. Mighty peculiar. I did not leave the burner lit because thats not safe and doesn’t provide much hear anyway

    We had plenty of blankets and good sleeping bags so we managed to stay warm and sleep but it was frustrating and disappointing.
    Luckily there was little snow that night and no wind.

    The next morning When the temperatures got back up to around 6 degrees, I was able to get Mr. Heater to work which was good, but we had already decided to pack up and go home. I tried the furnace once more at that time and it too worked again.

    I ran Mr. Heater successfully as we packed up and although the vinyl was stiffer than usual It folded down normally. I’m pretty sure the vinyl is all ok, but next time I raise it in warmer temperatures I’ll carefully inspect it

    I hadn’t planned to camp at those temperatures, but we had two spent the two previous nights in a swanky Breckenridge slope side condo and the skiing was great. We had days off and since the E1 was parked up there anyway, we decided to try it and get one more ski day.

    Lesson learned. Maybe.

    I may try it again as long as the temperatures are above 15 degrees.
     

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