Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions

As refugees from the frozen north, snowbirds escape winter at home by migrating southward each year. However, some RVers, either by choice or by circumstance, end up living in their RVs in cold weather areas.

Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo credit:
Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo source:

Winter’s bitter winds can freeze RV door locks, windows, and doors. Use these quick and easy tips to combat the ice.

Frozen Door Locks

Nothing can be more frustrating than finding your RV door locks frozen.

Frozen Door Locks: Prevention

One way to prevent frozen locks is to dip your key into Petroleum jelly or Vaseline, put it into the lock, and turn the key back and forth a few times. Repeat this to make sure the Vaseline is well-distributed onto the parts of the lock.

Frozen Door Locks: Solutions

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline. Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can also be used if you find the lock already frozen. Dip the key into the Vaseline, then insert it into the lock. Once in the lock try to wiggle the key. Do not force the key to turn; this could result in breaking the key off in the lock. If this does not work right away, repeat the steps three or four more times, then wait for five minutes.

Deicer: If you find the lock already frozen, spay deicer into the lock.

Heat the key. An effective option in severe ice conditions is to heat the key. This method usually offers a quick fix.

Hold the key with an oven mitt or gloves with the toothed tip over a lighter or match, then insert it in the lock. The heated key inserted into the lock should melt the ice. If the key is made of only metal, you can heat the key while it is in the lock. Do not try this with keys that have plastic at the top.

Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo source:
Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo source:

Hair dryer. As a last resort when all else fails, you can use a hair dryer. Warm the lock with a hairdryer or your own breath. This method is less effective, but worth a try if no other options are available. A cardboard tube placed over the frozen lock will help direct the warm air. Keep trying for several minutes, especially if you do not have a tube or if conditions are windy. When using this method, you can put the key into the lock to help direct the heat.

Lock Lubricant. Experts tend to have differing opinions about lubricant choices, but some options are recommended more often than others. Use only one of the following options per lock, since a mix could easily gum things up. Options include graphite lubricant, Teflon-based lubricant, WD-40, and rubbing alcohol. Since there’s little consensus, use as a last resort.

Frozen Windows

The simplest solution to frozen windows is to wait until the RV interior warms up. The ice should then melt shortly.

If your RV is equipped with power windows, do not keep pushing the button. If you force the window down, you can damage the motor, and this could be expensive to repair.

Frozen Doors: Prevention

To help prevent your door from freezing shut completely clean the door frame and rubber seals with soapy water and thoroughly dry. This should remove road debris and other detritus that can build up over time. Water can collect around the dirt and freeze the door shut once the temperatures drop.

Apply a rubber conditioner or rubber care product over the rubber seals with a clean cloth. Use 303 Protectant or other non-petroleum based product. This will repel water, reducing the amount that enters the seal and freezes.

Frozen Doors: Solutions

Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo source:
Frozen RV Door Locks, Windows & Doors: Prevention & Solutions (Photo source:

If you have not treated the doors and find them frozen shut, try these steps to unfreeze them.

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door.

While wearing gloves, hit the ice with the palms of your hands, and remove the ice as it breaks.

If this method does not work, you can use a hair dryer to melt the ice. Be  aware that excessive heat will damage the exterior paint.

Worth Pondering…

Forecast for freezing rain…. sometime in the future, but not today!!! What a beautiful day!

Read More

RV Destinations For Cold Weather Camping

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

Preparing Your RV For Winter
Preparing Your RV For Winter

Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.

Spending the winter in an RV where the temperature plunges down to 20 degrees below zero is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But, for some, snow-and-ice-related recreational activities and the beauty and serenity of a winter landscape make it worthwhile.

A camping trip to a ski area; football, basketball, or hockey game; hunting or snowmobiling; cross country skiing, snow tubing, tobogganing, or ice fishing are some of the ways you can continue to enjoy your RV during the winter months. An RV provides an excellent base camp for winter activities with heat, a kitchen, bathroom, and other comforts of home.

Winter camping in your RV can be a lot of fun if some simple preparations and precautions are observed. Much of it has to do with the RV or camping unit. However, the mind-set of the RVer is also important.

winterrvtipsWhen using your RV in the winter make sure you have a show shovel, window scraper, brush, and an ice chipper (i.e. an axe). Also pack a bag of rock salt (sand or kitty litter) to sprinkle on walkways and to put around your tires in the event you get stuck in snow or end up on slippery patches of ice. Be sure to pack plenty of blankets, at least a gallon of bottled water (per person), and a cell phone.

It is advisable to check the weather forecast for the area you are traveling through and to call the Highway Patrol or AAA for any road condition or weather alerts. Before leaving, make sure your RV is properly prepared for the cold you may encounter.

You should anticipate driving in icy, snowy, and windy weather. Make sure your windshield wipers are functioning and that the wiper blades are in good condition. Check the condition of your tires. Check your antifreeze protection level to make sure it is low enough for the area you plan to visit. Fill your propane tank before departing.

Batteries do not function well in cold weather.  Replace batteries as necessary before starting your trip.

When purchasing an RV for use in cold weather, make sure it has cold weather features including heated holding tanks, dual pane windows, adequate LP capacity, an enclosed underbelly, and heated bays.

Having an RV designed for cold weather use is an advantage, but not a necessity. There are many things that you can do to improve your ability to stay warm in most RVs.

Check your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm for proper operation before every trip and change the batteries as needed. Do not use your range burners or oven as a source of heat. Do not use a gas or charcoal grill indoors. Do not sleep with the generator operating. Remember that carbon monoxide can be deadly. You cannot see it, taste it, or smell it. And never leave a space heater unattended.

Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.
Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.

With a little planning and the right equipment, winter outings in your RV can be a fun way to experience all that Mother Nature has to offer.

When the snow flies it’s time to grab your skis and snowboards, pack the RV, and hit the road. Consider Good Sam campgrounds near Breckenridge, Colorado; Cedar City, Utah (near Brian Head); Mammoth Mountain (California); Lake Placid, New York; Lake Tahoe (Nevada); Whistler, British Columbia; Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper (Alberta).

The Gunflint Nordic Ski area in northern Minnesota offers some of the best cross country skiing in the Midwest. Trails meander through the various landscapes of the highlands covered with stands of old growth white pine, spruce, aspen, and balsam fir. Gunflint lake offers excellent lake trout ice fishing. Neighboring lakes also offer walleye, splake, and rainbow trout. Sliding, snowshoeing, and old fashioned sledding is also available.

Winter can be a spectacular time to go camping, even in the more severe climates.

With careful planning and preparation, your RV can be an enjoyable way to live in or visit the many beautiful winter areas accessible by RVs. Drive safely and enjoy.

Worth Pondering…

Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow…
—Charles duc d’Orléans, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Read More

Top Tips For Driving in Winter Weather

RV travel doesn’t have to stop with the arrival of winter, but there are considerations to keep in mind when driving in cold weather.

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure you and your RV is prepared, and that you know how to handle winter road conditions.

Prepare an emergency survival kit containing a cell phone, warm blankets, gloves, salt or sand, LED flashlights, first aid kit, NOAA Weather Radio, road flares, bottled water, and non-perishable food. Inspect tires, use tires designed to operate in snow and ice, and keep tires inflated to proper levels. Inspect wipers and wiper blades. Make sure you have a snowbrush and ice scraper in to remove snow and ice. Sunglasses help cut glare from snow.

There are no secrets when it comes to winter driving. If there is ice on the road, it is dangerous.

If you’re driving on ice, you may not know it until you need to stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a 4-wheel drive, a fifth-wheel or travel trailer, or a motorhome: brakes are the great equalizer.

Ice on your windshield means ice on the road. The ice doesn’t have to be packed up on the roadway to be dangerous—a thin sheet of ice can develop quickly into a thick problem.

Keep an eye on the temperature. Water freezes at 32 degrees. The roadways tend to be slightly warmer than the air temperature, but once you’re down that low in temperature, you need to be wary.

There are no secrets when it comes to winter driving. If there is ice on the road, it is dangerous.

Look for spray coming up from other vehicles. If spray is coming off the tires, it’s likely that the roads are wet (as opposed to ice covered), but keep in mind that a short stretch of road with ice on it can be just as dangerous as an ice-packed roadway.

Do not follow too close.

Watch for warning signs. If there are vehicles spun out in the median or shoulder, the roads are bad. If you start seeing big semis spun out, it’s time to get your RV off the road. It’s not worth endangering your life and the life of your family. If you can’t find a nearby RV park or campground locate the nearest truck stop or Walmart to overnight.

Be sure to keep your fuel tanks full so you won’t run out.

Prior to departure check weather conditions along your intended travel route. When traveling, listen to local radio stations for the forecast and update on current weather and road conditions.

Minnesota in winter (Source:
Minnesota in winter (Source:

Any vehicles traveling through mountain passes and northern states and provinces may be required to carry a set of tire chains available in case of a snow or ice storm. Practice putting them on while it’s warm and dry. Motorhome owners might want to consider the damage a broken tire chain could inflict upon the fiberglass body of their rig. If possible, avoid roads where chains are required.

Drive an RV slower than you would drive a car—especially in bad weather. Leave extra room between your RV and the vehicle in front of you. RVs require even more time and room to stop in bad weather.

Use extra caution when traveling across bridges and overpasses. They freeze before the road.

Vision can be hindered when driving during a bright, sunny day and the surroundings are snow covered. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and improve vision.

winterrvtipsWorth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot


Read More

Climate a Key Factor in Planning an RV Camping Trip

RV camping styles and activities vary with location and climate.

High deserts are known for causing dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke, and dry skin. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen. Pictured above Arches National Park.
High deserts are known for causing dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke, and dry skin. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen. Pictured above Arches National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Climate is a key factor in the planning and enjoyment of a camping trip. Research the location to be aware of the type of climate and weather you’re likely to experience. Always be prepared for what mother nature may throw at you, especially if you are camping in a season when climate can adversely affect campers.

Desert Camping

Desert camping can be a unique and rewarding experience. The stark beauty of red rock mesas and mysterious hoodoos in the Southwest is enchanting. But the harsh climate and terrain that defines a desert requires certain precautions and special considerations especially during the summer months.

Drink large amounts of water. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Arid climates require one gallon of water, per person, per day—minimum. Hiking in temperatures over 100 degrees in strenuous conditions may need up to four gallons a day.

Sun and heat are related factors to watch. Wear sunscreen, and reapply often. Sun-glasses and a wide-brimmed hat such as the lightweight and comfortable Tilley hat are advisable, as is light-weight clothes that cover exposed skin.

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. Whether by car, bicycle, hiking boots, skis, snowshoes or canoe, in Banff National
Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. Respect the fact that mountain weather can change quickly and it can be severe. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Southwest abounds with places to camp: national parks, state parks, and county parks; national forests; and private Good Sam RV parks. You can camp year-round, and see everything from petroglyphs to ghost towns, white-water rivers to wind-scoured cliffs.

Stay safe in the sun: Slather on the sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun out. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, too.

Camping in the Mountains

Campers who are physiologically used to living close to sea level can experience noticeable effects from high altitudes. Additionally weather conditions in the mountains are often unpredictable. Respect the fact that mountain weather can change quickly and it can be severe.

The air is dryer and sunlight tends to be more intense in mountainous areas—especially the Rockies. These areas are known for causing sunburn and dry skin, even in the winter.

Regardless of the season apply sunscreen. Use it regularly and generously on sensitive areas every day, especially your face and neck.

By taking these simple measures, you can help to ensure that your trip to the mountainous outdoors is the experience of a lifetime.

Storm Watching in the Pacific Northwest

November through February is peak storm season along the Pacific coastline of the northwest United States. As the raw power and energy of the winter storms meet the coastlines storm enthusiasts are captivated as twenty to thirty foot waves pound against the beach heads and steep cliffs. The inspiring display of nature’s power captivates the imagination and energizes the spirit.

One of the best places to view the storms is along the Oregon Coast. With its many lookout points along the shoreline, it’s easy to see why it’s such a hotspot for storm watching—especially for RVers on the move.

Winter Camping

Ice Fish Early & Stay Late in the All Season Sport Trailer
Ice Fish Early & Stay Late in the All Season Sport Trailer

While RV camping is generally considered fair-weather recreation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. There are numerous ways to enjoy life on the road during the wintertime months, provided that you plan ahead.

Planning a trip in the winter means spending considerable time researching areas and conditions to determine where, when, and how the trip will work. It takes proper trip planning, experience, and the right equipment to travel safely in the winter environment.

Winter camping can offer campers and hikers a wonderful experience. In a tranquil world of white, you can enjoy down-hill and cross-country skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Several RV manufacturers offer travel trailers designed specifically for ice fishing.

It is a winter RV wonderland out there, just waiting for you to explore. Best of all you are camping with all the toasty comforts of home. Where better to sip on apple cider and kick up your winter heels?

Plan ahead for the season and the climate for your intended location and you’ll find your trip that much more enjoyable.

Worth Pondering…

There aren’t four seasons a year in the mountains; there are forty seasons a day up there in those divine altitudes!

—Mehmet Muratildan

Read More

Innovative Energy Introduces Arctic Package for RVs

Three months ago, Lowell, Indiana-based Innovative Energy announced it was launching a program to support RV manufacturers that purchased its Arctic Package insulation.

As of mid-October, the Indiana-based manufacturer of reflective insulation products has become the principal register of the trademark for Arctic Package.

“The popularity of the Arctic Package program within the RV industry is growing and the feedback we’ve received thus far is very encouraging,” said Eric Baker, executive director for RV and technical at Innovative Energy.

“Arctic Package offers the insulation RV owners need so, of course, RV manufacturers are going to have a strong interest in it.”

Innovative Energy plans to establish Arctic Package as a feature RVers come to recognize as a symbol of energy efficiency and comfort in RVs, while also establishing it as a feature RV manufacturers recognize as marketable, Baker explained.

Arctic Package

Arctic Package is an example of a hybrid insulation system whereby the performance of conventional mass insulation used in RVs is enhanced by the addition of R+HEATSHIELD radiant barrier in conjunction with mass insulation.

This hot box test demonstrates how the addition of R+HEATSHIELD radiant barrier enhances the ability of conventional mass insulation to reduce heat transfer. (Source:

R+HEATSHIELD provide a reflective surface that blocks up to 95 percent of radiant heat transfer.

Innovative Energy’s Arctic Package delivers improved comfort and energy efficiency by helping interior spaces cool down faster in hot weather, and warm up faster in cold weather.

R+HEATSHIELD can dramatically improve thermal performance and energy efficiency, keeping energy costs lower and interior spaces more comfortable.

Reflective insulation and radiant barriers are key to maximizing thermal performance and energy efficiency of insulation within an RV.

Innovative Energy products are perfectly suited to help maintain comfortable internal temperatures in an RV, especially in extreme external air temperature situations.

Unlike mass insulation, Innovative Energy’s reflective insulation products are very thin — ideal for installation in the thin wall and roof construction of an RV. The products’ reflective properties help prevent radiant heat transfer, for energy efficiency and comfort year-round.

Innovative Energy’s Arctic Package helps improve the thermal efficiency of RVs by enhancing the performance of conventional insulation used in RVs.

Key Benefits of RV Reflective Insulation Products include:

  • Improve overall thermal performance of the insulation system
  • Reduce overall energy consumption
  • Interior comfort levels are easier to achieve and maintain
  • Thin materials allow for reduction in mass insulation requirements
  • Custom sizes available, including 8-foot widths


Innovative Energy, Inc.

Innovative Energy plans to establish Arctic Package® as a feature RVers come to recognize as a symbol of energy efficiency and comfort in RVs (Source:

For more than three decades, Innovative Energy (I.E.) has been a leader in delivering high-performance reflective insulation products to a growing market of energy-conserving industries.

I.E.’s extensive array of insulation materials meets the requirements of a wide range of applications, such as building products, insulated packaging, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) materials and do-it-yourself solutions.

Innovative Energy offers high-performing insulation products featuring energy-efficient radiant thermal technology.

Address: 10653 W. 181st Avenue, Lowell, IN 46356

Phone: (219) 696-3639 or (800) 776-3645 (toll free)


Worth Pondering…

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
—Percy Bysshe Shelley

Read More

Norcold Introduces Cold Weather Kits for Winter Camping

With RVs increasingly being used during the winter for full-time living or recreation and at work sites such as the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana, users previously needed makeshift solutions to maintain proper refrigerator operation at temperatures below 32 degrees F.

Norcold is now producing Cold Weather Kits that allow RV refrigerators to operate in ambient temps down to 0 degrees F.

Beginning October 1, factory-installed Cold Weather Kits are standard on Norcold’s popular N641.3 and N841.3 gas absorption models, according to a Thetford Corporation news release. SKU numbers do not change.

A kit (No. 634913) is also available separately to the aftermarket to retrofit Norcold 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 17-cubic foot models.



Based in Sidney, Ohio, Norcold is a maker of gas-absorption refrigerator/freezers for the RV, marine and truck markets.  It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thetford Corporation, which is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Thetford Corporation

Thetford, a privately-held company with eight manufacturing facilities in four nations, is a supplier of sanitation and refrigeration products for the RV, marine and heavy-duty truck industries.

Thetford subsidiaries also include Tecma, a maker of fine-china toilets and waste-transfer systems based in Italy and Spinflo, a unit in England that produces high-quality cooking and heating appliances.

Location: 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1285, Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Phone: (800) 543-1219


Worth Pondering…

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.

—Thomas Merton

Read More

Getting RVs Ready for Winter

Spending a northern winter in an RV might sound like a crazy idea, but hundreds of people are about to do it. And if you’re one of them, there are steps that need to be taken immediately to get ready for the cold.

Preparing your RV for winter (Source:

“It’s absolutely critical that everybody gets ready if they`re going to stay in one of these RVs for the winter, they have to get them skirted up and do all these precautionary things to survive,” Coates RV manager Tim “Dutch” Deick told KFYR-TV.

The most critical step is keeping the heating and water systems under the trailer from freezing. This can be done by “skirting” the bottom of the RV with wood or plastic.

“The reality is, when we do get some sub zero weather, it will be near impossible to keep a trailer warm. You will not be warm, plain and simple. Worse-case scenario, people can and will die and that is absolutely what we want to help prevent,” Deick said.

Winterizing Your RVs

Water Systems

If the fresh water storage tank is located inside the coach, the normal heating of the coach during cold weather should be enough to insure it is not freezing.

In severe cold weather however, it is wise to monitor the water temperature in the tank, and take appropriate steps to drain and winterize if necessary. In severe cold it may be necessary to open lower cabinet doors at night in both the bath and kitchen areas to keep warmer air circulating around water fixtures.

Now, it’s time to winterize your RV before the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling. (Source:

If you plan to leave the coach unheated for any length of time in severe cold conditions, it is best NOT to keep water in the fresh tank. It may work best to carry cooking and drinking water with you in plastic jugs instead.

If you will be using you RV when conditions fall below the freezing level, it will be necessary to protect the drainage system components from damage by the addition of an approved antifreeze solution as outlined on the product directions. Drain lines which are exposed outside the RV are especially susceptible to freezing and steps should be taken to protect them from damage.

Food Storage

In the event the RV is left for a period of time without the furnace in operation, canned goods and other foods packed in water should be stored as high as possible, since heat rises.

They may also be stored in the refrigerator as insulation against the cold; store dry foods and other items that are not damaged by freezing in the lower storage areas.

LP Gas System

Make sure to use an LP gas that will vaporize properly in the colder temperatures. Check with your LP gas representative for the proper fuel, and reread the information on LP gas selection in the LP Gas section of the owner’s manual.


Use ONLY the furnace to heat the RV. It is properly vented to the outside. NEVER use the range/oven for heating—asphyxiation and death could result.


Cooking produces large amounts of moisture. Not just as steam from pots and pans, but also as a product of combustion. Make sure to use the exhaust vents and open a window slightly to control the humidity. At night, leave a roof vent and/or a window slightly open.

Storage Preparation

When storing your RV for winter (or other extreme conditions), certain precautions need to be made to protect it until you open it again for use. Make sure to talk with your local dealer concerning any special requirements for storage in your particular geographic area.

The following steps are general, and your dealer can help you choose those that are most appropriate for your needs:

  • Park the RV on a level surface
  • Winterize the chassis as outlined in the chassis owner’s manual, and also the 110v generator (if so equipped) as outlined in the generator owner’s manual
  • Clean the RV thoroughly, both inside and out, including the refrigerator
  • Turn off all electrical switches and appliances
  • Securely close all windows, doors, and vents
  • Cover exterior vents on appliances to prevent moisture and insects from entering during storage

In storage, a battery will gradually lose charge over a 30 to 45 day period, even when disconnected by use of the battery disconnect switch.

Make sure to follow precautions associated with battery care and maintenance outlined in the electrical section of your owner’s manual.

Be sure to read your owner’s manual and follow any additional information on storage, cleaning, and winterizing procedures.

(The above information on winterizing your RV is provided courtesy CrossRoads RV)

Worth Pondering…

I played as much golf as I could in North Dakota, but summer up there is pretty short.  It usually falls on Tuesday.

—Mike Morley

Read More

Winterizing an RV for a Northern Winter

When it comes to a northern winter and surviving its sub-zero temperatures, few things could be as tricky to prepare for as living in a recreational vehicle.

Well it’s that time of year again. (Source:

At a recent event organized at the Williston (North Dakota) Village RV Resort, Mark Petterson from Coates RV offered suggestions on ways to survive in cold temperatures.

Pettersen reviewed a list of the most important ways to ensure that an RV is ready for an onslaught of winter weather but said that skirting and safeguarding against potential hazards are the most important things to remember, reports Williston Herald.

He said there is a lot to remember, especially when it comes to blocking vents, which could asphyxiate anyone inside the camper.

“You want to make sure what you do is not something that you heard from somebody else that’s going to endanger your life,” Pettersen said.

Skirting can be done fairly easily with a kit and must be done well to ensure energy efficiency, he said.

Also key is making sure to choose the right RV Park so that nothing freezes up in the winter, Pettersen said.

Pettersen provided a complete list of tips to the audience gathered under a tent at the new RV park.

The joys of living in a northern climate (Source:

“Many easily accomplished things can be done that will have a significant accumulative effect on your comfort and safety and will dramatically increase your energy efficiency,” according to the guide.

Beginning with skirting and insulation, energy savings can be dramatic. The trickiest thing is if the trailer has a slide-out that must be particularly well insulated, Pettersen said.

Other tips included never bringing an LP tank into the trailer for safety, having an internally heated hose and exposing the thermostat to the ambient temperature, positioning the RV as close as possible to the sewer connection and using heat tape to keep the connection warm enough, having a fully charged battery and using insulated styrofoam panels on the inside of storage compartments and at hatches, according to the guide.

“If you have something that worked last year, don’t necessarily change it,” Pettersen said.

“Although we didn’t have winter last year,” he joked.

For safety reasons, though, an RV owner should be careful to never restrict venting to the furnace, fridge or water heater, Pettersen said.

“That could be deadly,” he said.

“You have to know what you can do and what you can’t do.”

Inside of the RV, residents should be cautious not to use an unlimited number of heaters and other appliances into outlets, which could overload the service, the guide said.

Condensation and resulting mold is also something to be careful of, in the bathroom area especially, Williston Herald reports.

RV residents also should be aware that RV fridges were never designed for freezing temperatures. He said his advice is to replace a fridge hesitantly as in many cases, a new fridge will not fix the problem, he said.

“Don’t let somebody talk you in winter into a new refrigerator,” he said.

Foam board insulating skirting (Source:

The most important thing once again, Pettersen said, is to ensure that venting to a gas fridge is not obstructed.

Vern Haugen, developer of the Williston Village RV Resort, said the workshop aimed at helping make the public aware of ways they can be prepared for winter and said at the new park he has allowed extra space for RVs and aims to do things right.

“We’re trying to keep this thing really nice,” he said.

Attendee Sue Hughes, who said she returned to the Williston area a year ago and lives in an RV outside of town, said she appreciated the tips and hopes for another mild winter.

“It wasn’t winter,” she said of last year. “I hope we’re fortunate.”

Chris and Debbi Shafer said they are also living in an RV in another location and are weighing the option of moving before winter. They said they will take away several points to apply to their RV

“It was actually very informative,” Debbi Shafer said, adding that she hopes she can be ready for what comes.

“I hope I won’t make his life too miserable,” she said with a smile.

Worth Pondering…

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

—Alfred Wainwright

Read More

Oilfield Workers Buy Up Bakken Tough Trailers

Camps for Bakken oilfield workers in North Dakota and Montana are dotted with fifth wheel trailers shielded with foam-board insulation and skirting and whatever else workers can muster to keep water pipes and waste tanks from freezing and to lower heating costs.

Dustin Bretz is shown with a super-insulated 34-foot work crew housing unit at Tour America RV Center. Many of the dealership’s RVs are headed to the Bakken oil field where the boom in jobs has created a severe housing shortage. (Source: Larry Mayer/Billings Gazette)

When Bakken oilfield workers come calling Dustin Bretz, salesman at Tour America RV Center in Billings, Montana, knows standard RVs aren’t going to cut it.

There’s camping rough and then there’s Bakken rough, living full time through the winter on the frozen prairie of North Dakota and Montana, where more than a few days of arctic weather are normal, Bretz told The Billings Gazette.

“Winter time can run as cold as 30 below zero, and a lot of RVs aren’t made for that.”

So Tour America started looking for one that could handle these harsh winter conditions and came up with a Camp Lodge, Work and Play fifth wheel custom built for the Bakken environment.

“These go relatively quickly,” Bretz said.

“It has 2 to 3 inches of spray foam on the lower chasse, heated water lines, and holding tanks. They have dual-pane windows, like your house. This is a niche product.”

In this July, 2011 photo, a man walks back to his temporary housing unit in a man camp outside of Williston, N.D. Many oilfield workers say sharing an RV beats living in a man camp any day. And, some of the oilfield work is done far from the nearest man camp, making super-insulated RVs or other manufactured housing a preferred choice. (Source: AP)

Bretz has the rugged trailers, which retail for about $34,000, parked north of his main lot in full view of eastbound Interstate 90, where semis loaded with drilling equipment and bentonite are streaming to the oil patch. His show-pony RVs are in Tour America’s corral, not so easily spotted from the freeway.

Housing of all kinds is scarce in the Bakken oilfield, where high-paying jobs have lured thousands of transient workers. Real homes are hard to come by, but so are campers and trailers. The running joke is that the oilfield holds the record for homeless people with $100,000 incomes. At a western North Dakota housing summit last spring, developers identified the need for 5,000 homes over the next two years.

That insatiable demand for housing of all kinds has become good business for Billings companies with products ready to sell. Pierce Homes now markets a modular model named for the Bakken and built by Commodore Homes. At Canadian-American Structured Solutions Inc. (CASS), the demand for oilfield housing drives a significant portion of the recently created company’s business.

“I would say the fallout from the Williston area is 25 percent of our business,” said Larry Nelson, CASS investor and CFO.

CASS, which set up shop in Billings only a few months ago, shipped a four-plex to Powers Lake, North Dakota, and created duplexes bound for Regina, Saskatchewan. The company has an apartment house building in Glendive and multiple accounts from Baker to Williston.

CASS builds its products to suit the building codes for permanent structures in whatever community to which its buildings are headed.

Bakken Reservoir fields in Williston Basin

Even businesses that don’t normally target the Bakken market are picking up customers, reports The Billings Gazette.

“We say we don’t sell single-wides, but we sell a bunch of these little cabins that are right around the $60,000 mark, the cost of a nice, fifth-wheel trailer,” said Jeff Lee, of American Homes.

Lee said American Homes in Billings has sold six of the 560-square-foot cabins since August. Not all of the buildings were Bakken bound, but he expects more will be sold into the oilfield in the future.

American sells a hunting cabin that’s a super-super insulated single-wide modular home with 6-inch walls and homelike features.

“This really is just a souped up single wide, but it has a good look and feel, laminate floors, residential doors and windows and furnaces.”

Lee said American Homes in Billings has sold six of the 560-square-foot cabins since August.

Worth Pondering…

I played as much golf as I could in North Dakota, but summer up there is pretty short.  It usually falls on Tuesday.

—Mike Morley

Read More

Dutchmen Infinity Best Choice for Year-Round Camping

A grueling eight-hour test in sub-zero temperatures has proven that Dutchmen Infinity luxury fifth wheels maintain steady, comfortable indoor temperatures of 72.21 degrees Fahrenheit, even in harsh, wintery conditions.

Dutchmen Infinity exterior

The company’s standard “glacial package” makes Infinity the best RV choice for those who enjoy year-round camping, said Michael Dragoo, marketing director.

Infinity, by Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc., was tested by Dometic, which operates one of the nation’s premiere vehicle climate control facilities, according to a news release.

Sensors were placed in key areas of the coach to measure internal temperatures in the living room, kitchen, bath, bedroom, outside utility center, and outside pass-through storage compartments. The cold chamber’s temperature was then dropped to below 0 degrees.

Dutchmen reported that throughout the eight-hour test, Infinity’s inside temperature of 72.21 degrees remained stable. No waterlines froze and holding tanks maintained an average temperature of 55.5 degrees.

“Infinity performed extremely well compared with its competition,” said Rob Groover, general manager for the company’s Infinity, Komfort, and Dutchmen product lines.

“Infinity’s Glacial Package can maintain a stable temperature because we equip our floors and roofs with R40 insulation and wrap R40 insulation behind the front cap. No one else does that.”

Dutchmen Infinity Front Kitchen Model 3870FK

Groover further noted that the Glacial Package features R24 insulation in slide out floors. “This goes well beyond the industry standard,” he added.

Groover views the test’s success as “proof that we build our coaches for extended use camping.”

The Dutchmen Infinity line of luxury fifth-wheel trailers “Glacial Package” includes:

  • R-Value – roof R-40, floor R-40, walls R-9, slide room floor R-24
  • Enclosed heated and insulated underbelly plus storage area
  • Enclosed and heated tanks
  • Flex foil insulation in roof, underbelly and slide
  • 40,000 BTU Furnace with forced air heat

Infinity high profile luxury fifth wheels lead their class with feature-packed floor plans that include front lounge and front kitchen models. With a focus on spacious living quarters, residential comforts, and unique storage solutions, Infinity is an industry leader in innovation and value, Grover noted.


Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.

Dutchmen Infinity Model 3570RL

Since 1988, Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. has been a leader in the recreation vehicle industry.

Dutchmen RV produces various widely-recognized brands brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada.

Dutchmen RV brands include the Aerolite, Denali, Komfort, Infinity, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Coleman, Four Winds, Grand Junction, Lakewood, and Dutchmen brands.

Goshen, Indiana-based Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is a Thor Industries, Inc. company.

Address: P.O. Box 2164, 2164 Caragana Court, Goshen, IN 46527

Phone: (574) 537-0600


Related Stories

Worth Pondering…

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course, of action and follow it to an end require … courage.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read More