Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Roadrunner in 7 Degrees!

The temperature outside said 19 degrees but 'feels like 7 degrees'.  Which meant it was cold outside.  We had been preparing for it for a couple of days and now after a couple of nights of cold weather -- so far so good.

We have a lot to learn in winter camping in the Roadrunner but I thought I'd tell you a number of things we have done:
First of all, we made sure we had a couple of good electric ceramic heaters.  We already had a small one from Walmart.  Believe it sells for about $16.
We weren't too sure about our larger oscillating one we use up front, so we replaced it with one from Costco
This one is listed at $60.
Plug the holes:
Next, we spent time fill up every nook and cranny where air could come into the Roadrunner.  Pam stuffed some 8" foam insulation.  She cut off lengths of it and then folded it under the seam where the slide outs overlaid onto the floor.  
There is a thin strip folded under the PS slideout area beneath the sofa.
On the DS bedroom slideout, we put a $2.97 pillow and some towels down to fill up some gaps to the outside.
 And some more strips of the 8" foam along the lip of the PS slideout.
 Finally, underneath the bed on the DS nearest the closet, there is a area that can collect some cold air from the outside, so more towels went there.
Cover the windows:
Another project she took on was to get a couple of curtains and hang them over the front door and the Passenger Side (PS) window and console near the front door.
Pam found a small curtain rod and then engineered a way hang it up so she could thread a pair of drapes over the windows and door.  We pull down both the day/night and blackout shade, then pull out the curtain.  We used to do a variation of that in our sticks and bricks home years ago.
In the bathroom, I cut a couple of pieces of leftover from the water heater blanket and taped them over the bathroom windows.  It looks pretty bad from the outside, but works well on the inside.

Pam wanted to make curtains for the bathroom so she took down the blinds we had there.  New look and warmer!
Insulate and heat the wet bay:
I put a lot of effort into making it as warm as I could in the wet bay.  I got an 8" roll
Get commercial heated hose:
The water pipes were frozen when we arrived a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how much difference it made to wrap the handle and top of the faucet in fiberglass insulation, but so far so good.
The real difference is probably the commercial heated hose that we have hooked up and plugged in.

One of life's joys in the midst of cold weather is turning the faucet on in the morning and see the water come out in the kitchen sink.  

If it freezes, we have a back up with a two gallon jug of water on standby just in case.
Consider pulling in the Slides:
The main reason I pulled in the slides was to protect the new toppers over the slideouts.  We just had new toppers put on and I know ice and snow tends to take their toll on them.  
We were expecting 8"-12" so I knew I'd probably have to get up on top of the Roadrunner and get all the snow off.  Pulling in the slides meant I wouldn't have to do that. 
The other reason we thought it was a good idea was we thought it would be warmer inside with less space to heat.  We kept it closed up for a couple of days.  It was cozy but not a big deal.

Put away the sewer hose:
I like to put away my hose when it is freezing outside.  It might crack or I might step on it and then I'll have to repair it or get another one.  Also by capping off the sewer connection in the wet bay, we have one less exposed hole/pipe into the RV.  If the tanks fill up, you dig out the sewer hole and hook up the hose, empty and then put it all back.  Takes 10 minutes.

Go easy on the gas heat:
Some installed an adapter to their propane gas tank so they can connect portable propane tank to their RV.  We've chosen not to do that so far.  But that means we have to keep an eye on how much we are burning with the hot water heater (for showers) and we watch the heater furnace.  If it is kicking on too much, we turn it down and rely on our electric heaters.  Our experience has been the coach heat pump is pretty worthless in cold weather.

One thing just started doing is leaving the portable ceramic heater turned on at night so the gas heater doesn't engage.  

We know we will have to pull in the slides and drive about 2 miles over to the KOA and fill up once or twice during the winter, but that is OK.  Its not a bad idea to fire up the Roadrunner and let it run a little bit once every few weeks.

Wear more clothes:
Hate to state the obvious but I will. Winter time is when I pull out those T-Shirts that are too snug on me.  They are great as undershirts.  I usually then have a long sleeve T-Shirt over it with a fleece or sweatshirt over that.  

Put a Snuggie on the Lazy Boy:
Makes a big difference to me when I sit down in the leather Lazy Boy.  I hate to sit on a cold chair and this really works.  I also manage to put a throw blanket on if I need it.
Pam usually has an afghan/blanket on her legs most of the time and she especially does during cold weather!
Flannel sheets and an extra blanket on the bed:
This shows the flannel sheets with a blanket, bedspread, another blanket and a blue throw afghan on top.  Layers work, especially with the flannel sheets!
Heat engine switch:
If you have one of those switches on your Driver Side console, you might want to keep it turned on during the really cold weather - even if you are not planning on going anywhere any time soon.
Ours is turned on and is the second one from the left on the top row of the console.

There are probably some other things we could do to make it warmer inside the Roadrunner, like add more rugs or get carpet for the main area.  And that cold ceramic floor in the morning IS cold!  But we don't intend to spend winter in the cold too often, so we'll probably not do that.

There is a look at some of the things we do to keep warm in cold weather.  It is all part of the adventure.  You probably have some other tips - so please share them!

Thanks for taking a look today and joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


  1. I hope never to have to come up with any ideas for such cold weather camping. I never say never, but I sure can hope. It sounds like you have done just about everything you can to survive. Hang in there.

  2. All wonderful great practices to use for cold weather! Good post. Can i add one? We use an electric mattress pad heater on the bed. We turn it up to high before bedtime and then down or of once we get in. Even when we are boondocking we use it via the inverter to warm it up and then it off later. Comforting!

  3. I think it's sorry that our last fifth wheel was insulated better than our much more expensive MH. We've used a lot of your suggestions. This year we're using two portable electric heaters and trying to not use the very inefficient heat pumps at all. So far, so good.
    The obvious suggestion, however, would be to get out of those cold areas to begin with. Just kidding with you Randy.

  4. What year make and model is your rig? Thats a lot of places to stop up drafty areas.

  5. Lol. Yes the high winds problem would find its way in anywhere. Was just curious as we are now shopping and the 2 brands left on our list is Tiffin and Foretravel

  6. You might try wearing a hat. It does help. And how about some of those hand warmers in your pockets?

  7. For a more thorough discussion on the Engine Preheat please take a look here:

    Thanks for all the feedback!

  8. It got down to 17 degrees for us. We were in the Oliver and stayed toasty warm.
    I would brave most any temps to be a grandmother!! What a blessing for you and Pam!! Thankfully the weather has warmed up for us....hope it has for you all. Stay warm!!

  9. In our first fiver, a Cougar, the basement had no insulation and we went down to 17 degrees in Waco for a few days..went through lots of propane too. Our Hiker has an electric fireplace..That has been worth it's weight in propane!

  10. You've got some great ideas! Thanks for sharing.