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RVing in Cold Climate - Preparing to Winter RV in Alaska

Once again, we are winter RVing in cold climate. This year (winter of 2001-2002) we are semi-settled near Seward, Alaska. Folks here tell us that if we could manage RVing in South Dakota last winter that we will do fine here this winter.

We are doing some things differently this winter. Partly, this is because we learned from our experience last year. Mostly it is because circumstances are different this time. (Click here to read about our winterization prep for a winter in South Dakota.)

Not wanting to make an employment commitment this winter, not even a caretaking commitment, we have rented a site in a mobile home park. Here we have full electric, water, and sewer hook-ups, things we did not have last winter.

We also have a different trailer this winter. Instead of our Holiday Rambler, we are staying in the smaller, lighter, less costly, and not as well insulated Forest River Wildwood that we bought for this Alaskan trip. And, we are using materials commonly available in Alaska.

As a side note – we are very pleased with our Wildwood. Although it is an inexpensive trailer, it is holding up extremely well to the demands of full-time living.

Bob put heat tape around the fresh water riser (the part that comes out of the ground) and around the fresh water hose, and insulated them. He also heat taped the exposed gray and black water lines and valves.

Electricity is less costly here than propane, so we are heating more with electricity. We are using a small electric heater for supplemental daytime heat inside the trailer. We are considering putting an electric heater underneath the trailer, because our gray and black water tanks are exposed beneath the trailer.

Bob put a layer of two-inch thick blue foam insulation board under the trailer. He also built siding from the foam, attaching it to the trailer using a wooden framework. He caulked the seams of the skirting to keep out the cold wind.

He’s also been adding insulation to the inside of the trailer. We don’t have a front window, so he covered the entire front wall with half-inch foil covered foam board and topped that with paneling. He also cut foam board to fit one window on the side of the trailer, filled it in, and then covered that entire wall section with another piece of foam and paneling. He neatly trimmed them out so they look professionally done. Those walls run along the head and side of our bed and we can already tell it makes a huge difference in nighttime temps.

He is also adding foam board insulation to the ceiling and outer facing walls inside the cabinets. This is helping in regulating interior temps. It is also keeping moisture from building up inside the cabinets, always a consideration when RVing in cold climate.

We bought insulating pillows to plug the ceiling vents.

We still need to do something to cover or insulate the remaining windows. This trailer does not have a shower skylight, so we don’t have that to contend with.

I’m not sure what else we will do to winterize. Much will depend on how the winter develops. As I write this on October 23, 2001, it is about 26 degrees Fahrenheit outside and we have about an inch of snow on the ground.

Go to the RVing in cold weather index page.

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