Boondocking Discussions on dry camping
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 20
Default Winter Camping Internal Water Solution

Hello All,

I'm still pretty new to HiLo camping, we have about 5 no hookup trips under our belt with our 17T. We've had it for about 2 years now and so far its been great. One thing I've been wondering about is if there is a way to winter camp in the trailer, we typically bring a generator along and our trips are usually only a few nights in duration. We have found that running the furnace does use batteries but we typically can run the night and just charge in the morning, so my next thought was what to do about water.

I know there are exposed water lines below the trailer so I figured the fresh water tank is out, but would it be possible to hook a 5 gallon tank internally to the antifreeze fill line which is upstream of the pump internal to the trailer? This way the tank would stay in the heated area and I believe no lines would be exposed externally. We store our hilo in the garage year round so we never actually need to use antifreeze in our plumbing. I believe using this method you would also be able to use the water heater as I think the antifreeze fill line is just upstream of the fresh tank. What are the collective thoughts on this, am I missing some detail?

I read that pouring some antifreeze down the black and grey tanks would prevent the valves below from freezing so do you think this would work?


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Old 09-12-2015, 12:47 AM   #2
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Location: Pine, AZ
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Hi and welcome! In my 1707T, there are no water lines that I know of that are "below" the trailer. All my water lines run under the couch on the "drivers" side and are accessible through two doors under the couch. From there, they run under the small cabinet, under the fridge, then under the shower pan and under the kitchen sink. Everything is above the bottom flooring of the trailer. I suspect if you left the access doors under the couch open and maybe the doors of all the cabinets open, nothing would get too cold.

The only "exposed" line that I'm aware of is the short line to the external drain on the curb side. That could certainly freeze.

And, the fresh water tank itself MIGHT get cold enough to freeze, because it IS exposed to the elements under the trailer. But, I suspect that depends a lot on the average temperatures when you will be camping. If it warms enough during the day, I think you'd be safe with night time temperatures down to 25 F.

However, your thought of using a 5 gal tank inside the trailer should also work. Since you are heating the water heater, it won't be in any danger of freezing.

And, I think putting antifreeze into the black and grey tanks should indeed keep the emptying valves from freezing shut. I'm sure there's very little "mixing" at the black water valve. The gray water valve should be in the discharge line too, so it shouldn't get much mixing with unprotected water either.

- Jack

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Old 09-13-2015, 05:16 PM   #3
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Location: NW PA
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Living in NW Pa makes for many cold nights during camping season. We have endured many nights below the freezing mark and have never had any problems with frozen pipes. The only vulnerable spot, as jack said, is the outside drain and being it is made of flexible plastic it can take some freezing without trouble. The fresh water tank has enough volume of water that it would take an extended freezing period to do any harm to it. The gray and black tank outlets could freeze but the product stored in them is not pure water so their freezing point is going to be below 32 degrees, and the diameters of the drain lines make for more time required to freeze. So if it only dips below the freezing mark for part of the night there should be no problems. Remember to open the cabinet doors to allow the heated interior air to get to the pipes.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:18 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Albuquerque
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Thanks for the replies, apparently I'm more afraid of freezing than I should be!
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