Boondocking Discussions on dry camping
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Prevent water from freezing?


I'd like to use our camper during hunting season - it's going to be below freezing at night. Are there any additives to preventing the water from freezing so we can use it for dishes, toilet, sink? Not for drinking - but I would have to flush the tank and be able to use it for drinking the next season.


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Old 08-30-2011, 08:17 AM   #2
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no there is no aditives that i know of, I use my Hi-lo in the winter also I leave the cabinet doors open so heat can get in and also leave faucets drip in each sink, have to keep heat on the warmer side though.

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Old 08-30-2011, 10:19 AM   #3
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I'd have to ask, "How cold do you expect it to get? If you use the hot water heater, it won't freeze and, if the interior of the trailer is say, above 50, I can't see the water lines freezing either if you leave cabinet doors open. I doubt you'd really need to leave the faucets dripping either, since they're at "room temp" and should not freeze - that procedure is really for the entry supply line to a home, where it might be exposed to very low temps.

That leave the fresh water tank itself. I'd think if your overnight temps were no lower than about 20, and if the daytime temps got up to say, 50?, you'd be all right. You COULD dump some heated water into the fresh water supply before turning in, which would possibly help.

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:01 AM   #4
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It would take a long time of freezing temps to freeze the water tanks with any large quantity of water in them if temps don't stay below 32. The supply lines would be more susceptible to freezing, but doing as Jack said would keep them from freezing.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Didn't freeze this night and we used the furnace sparingly because of battery life. We were at about 7000 feet.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:54 AM   #6
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This is just my opinion and realistically thinking if I was going to camp in bitter cold I guess:

I know that They make a RV (aka 12v) heat strip (remember waterbeds and that heater pad thingy under the mattress?) Well, that is what I thought it looked like... Youd mount it on top of your fresh tank (well any tanks) to keep it from freezing, I would assume this is for pretty cold conditions like guys above me stated, has to be cold a while to freeze stuff up.

you would probably want to put a switch on it, with a LED light so you could save power during the day, turn on at night? I think the one I looked at has a thermostat built in. I have to use similiar at the farm (not 12v ones) and they are on all the time (lights lighted at least), although I dont know if they draw much power when not heating...

Take into consideration! how long will the battery last running the strip and your funace, plus dark earlier (lights)? If you have a generator or hookups then it is a mute point.

If you are without hookups I'll assume when hunting, you might need to engineer a couple of things. 1st thing I would do, is have more batteries, and this wouldnt have to be permanant, if you even just take batteries with you in Tow Vehicle where you can hook jumper cables ya know. Second, make even a nice cardboard box under the camper to cover the water tank, and while there insulate it maybe with blanket or 2, and mount something to strap it in place. should/could make it easily removable, might even make it out of wood, even as one of those things you "put up" when you get camped.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:11 AM   #7
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On my truck bed camper I used that Mylar bubblewrap insulation around the tank. As Sting suggested I have a spare Deep Cycle battery with jumper cables attached in a marine box in my truck. Ever since that cold trip.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:10 AM   #8
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on your black angray water tanks you can add camper antifreeze to toilet and sink drains so your waste tanks dont slush up and freeze- cheaper than replaceing the tanks!
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:55 AM   #9
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Wow, thanks for your input everyone. I went to Camping World and asked them too - bottom line is that there is no water additive for cold weather camping. I'm not worried about the black and gray tanks, could use antifreeze there. Even if I could insulate the main tank the bigger problem is the pipes, since those are narrow (not a lot of water - i.e. time - to freeze what's in the pipes).

I was wondering about Vodka; but I can't get a clear answer on it (ratios, etc). It would seem it has been used to lower the freezing point of water (not necessarily in RV applications) but I have no idea how well it works.

Well the end result is that I winterized it and if we go hunting-camping the toilet will be outdoors like it used to! At least there will be a place to sleep.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:05 PM   #10
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Default Ethyl Alcohol Antifreeze


You are right, ethyl alcohol can be used as an antifreeze. The info on concentrations vs. freeze points is at:
Ethanol Freeze Protected Water Solutions

Just remember that 80 proof vodka is already 40% vol alcohol. Don't know what temps you want to protect against. But if it is say 5 degrees F, you'd need 30% vol alcohol content. That would be about 3/4 cup water for every cup of 80 proof vodka.

A side benefit is that you could drink the mixture to help keep warm!

PS - A chemical engineer in a former life (pre-retirement).

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