Questions about winter storage of PUP

Discussion in 'Camper Storage / Winterizing & De-Winterizing' started by samsquamch, Nov 18, 2020 at 9:26 AM.

  1. samsquamch

    samsquamch New Member

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    Hey there. First post, and first camper. It's a 2003 Coleman Santa Fe. It's in excellent shape. No warping on the ceiling inside. Everything is nice and dry. No cracks on the roof. The canvas is in great condition. No mold. The mechanical parts still work nice and smooth. It was barely used by the previous owner, and sat in his garage most of the time.

    We purchased it this summer, and put about 3500km on it in travel and camping expeditions since, but winter is coming, and I have a few questions about winter storage, and I'm hoping someone here can shed some light. I'm in Canada, so our winters might be a little harsher than some of you down south.

    I've read that keeping the propane tanks attached to the camper (but in the off position) is fine, and may actually be a good way to keep moisture out of the pipes. Is this correct?

    For tarping, I've read some fairly mixed things. Some people say never to tarp it, others say to tarp it with a breathable tarp, and others say a non breathable tarp is fine as long as it's elevated and lets the air through, so moisture doesn't build.

    I've got mine set up for storage currently with the propane tanks still attached. No battery though.

    For the tarp I have over it, it's a fairly heavy, non breathable industrial tarp (the kind they use to cover large drain pipes for transportation). My camper has bike racks on it, so the tarp is a good 8 inches above the roof on one end, with enough room for air to pass through. On the other end of the camper where there are no bike racks, I have some pool noodles laid out to elevate the tarp and keep it from being flush with the roof.

    Is this ok? The snow hasn't hit yet (which will put some weight on the tarp eventually, but I plan on brushing it off when it does), and there is sufficient room for air to pass over the roof of the camper to dry any moisture build up.

    The tarp part is my biggest concern. Come spring, I'm dreading taking it out to find the roof and ceiling all warped from moisture build up over the winter.

    I've also drained all the pipes of water, so that's taken care of.

    My biggest concern is the tarp and roof though.

    Any other tips and/or tricks for "winter-izing" the camper would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Do you have a water heater? Pull the anoid rod and bypass it. Drain the water and i would use antifreeze up your way. Run it through everything including the water pump. Not sure on the non breathable tarp. It would seem that snow acumulation will negate your pool noddles, so knock the snow off after it falls. Good luck.
     
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  3. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    In the past, I've tarped mine with a standard tarp and I've left it untarped. I never had any ill effects from using the standard tarp, but maybe I just got lucky. I would recommend that if you want to cover it, get something breathable. The only ill effect I had from leaving it uncovered is that the top was filthy in the spring. Also, I never pushed the snow off of it. I've had 30+ inches on it, but not all the time or for an extended period.
     
  4. vagov

    vagov Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I too would recommend. Running. Antifreeze. Trough the water lines. You can buy a kit that hooks to your water pump. Fairly cheap, if not add some Pink Rv/boat anitifreeze. ( not automobile) into your fresh water tank. And pump it trough from there. I’m not a fan of industrial. Tarps, I probally wouldn’t use one at all if I had the choice between the two. Also. Crank the tounge jack. So the camper sits. Either. Nose down, or nose up. For melt runoff, and makes it easier to push the snow off as it accumulates. As far s propane , I don’t think. It would hurt to leave them on. As I do on my home gas grill. And never had a problem, I do usually pull mine off the camper though. As it’s a reminder for me to top it back off come spring. So I don’t run out during a camp trip.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020 at 10:57 AM
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  5. samsquamch

    samsquamch New Member

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    Hey, thanks for the replies so far, especially the anti-freeze suggestion. Hadn't thought of that.

    One other question though, the cables that plug into the vehicle for the signal lights, should I wrap those up as well? I was thinking of sliding them into a garbage back and slipping on some tie wraps to hold it in place. Not too tight as to cut off air flow, but enough so the bags protect the cables.

    Necessary, or no?
     
  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Probably a good idea. Some also tape off or vlock the holes that things may nest in or get snow in.
     
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  7. vagov

    vagov Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I just usually hang my plug Upside down. A garbage bag Is a good idea. But it may hold some Condensation and still make the prongs turn Would be my guess. But I could be wrong
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020 at 7:40 PM
  8. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    Since my battery is brought into my house I actually tuck all my cables in the battery box. That way it keeps everything protected and clean so long as your battery box doesn’t leak. I leave my propane tanks on with no issues.
    I use a heavy duty regular tarp on my camper for winter storage, but during the summer I do not. I also put my gray water container on top of my roof in the front to provide a sturdy way of adding airflow. I saw a post on here where someone made a frame out of pvc and wood to make a tenting frame on top of the camper to provide the steep sides where snow can mostly run off, I may just try myself. We don’t see as much snow as we do ice here and it’s the ice the reason I want to use a waterproof tarp. The constant melting and refreezing is quite destructive if water finds its way into an unseen crack. I would also put your camper on something solid if you haven’t already vrs grass or mud when you store it. Wood, Leveling blocks or bricks will be sufficient. Come spring that ground could suck your camper tires up.
     
  9. mandinga

    mandinga Active Member

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    I stopped covering mine. I had a cover, but mice would make nests underneath it between the roof and solar panels. Finally they chewed a thousand holes in it one year, and used the breathable fabric to make their nests. It went in the garage after that. I even put mothballs between the cover and the roof. That didn't stop them.
     
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