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Old 09-21-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
mopar1
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What is the Arctic package?

Our Mountaineer 345 DBQ does not have the package. The underbelly is enclosed and has a R14 rating. The walls are R9 and the roof is R14 also.
We would like to camp late fall and early spring when the overnight temps may drop down below freezing.
Should I open the underbelly covering and add heat tapes and more insulation? They say that the pipes are insulated.
Also I would imagine running a de-humidifier would also be a good idea too.
Thanks! Bruce
 
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #2
Mrs. CountryGuy
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Congrats on a nice unit

Cannot answer some of your questions, but, can tell you that we have never run a de-humidifier, what we do is open one of the ceiling vents about 1/2 to 1 inch, and leave it open 24/7. If you steam up the windows, then add a fantastic vent or max-air vent to the mix and pull out the damp air for a while. Must run a vent when you shower or cook. After about 2 or 3 days of sitting in one campground, we find that the unit is nice a toasty warm and not overly humid.

Now, humidity may depend on where you are staying, etc. etc. etc. Personal habits, cooking habits, all that good stuff.

When we late fall or early spring camp, we have been known to go without water. OR, use the pump and on board fresh water storage, disconnecting the hoses and be sure to run the furnace. By running the furnace you force some warm air down in the belly of the monsters and unless it goes below 20 for hours and hours, or days, you won't have a problem. A dip into the 20's for a few hours is not a huge problem.

Others who have done some serious cool weather camping will be along to correct me or add to what I have said.

Have fun!!
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:30 PM   #3
Cyrus
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We have the Mountaineer 329RLT and have camped in temperatures below freezing but not below 20 degrees. Forgot to unhook the water line coming to the camper once and the hose did freeze. The furnace runs heat under the floor and keeps things warm for the pipes etc. Running on the road you will not have this heat and then this could become a problem? Open your storage doors after the heat has been running and you will see how warm it is underneath. The water heater is a consern if it is not on or the furnaceis not on. The tank is exposed to the outside even though it does have some insulation around it.
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:29 PM   #4
mopar1
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So it would be best to run both the furnace and the hot water heater on gas while traveling to prevent freezing if the temps are below 32ish?
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:49 PM   #5
Mrs. CountryGuy
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We do run with the furnace on, but only in the dead of winter when we are escaping the brutal winter temps and heading for warmth. We might not even do it then, cept if I am gonna be gone 3 or 4 months, I want my plants with me, and they ride in Tana, and african violets don't like 30 degree temps very long. So, we set the furnace at 45 and away we go.

Note: disclaimers about turning off propance while refueling, etc etc etc .

OKKK, we do not run with water heater on, ever, no matter what the temps, summer, or winter, or anything in between. In the dead of winter during the escape run we travel with NO water, we don't even de-winterize till we hit Georgia, Arkansas, some state like that. A 2.5 day run with out water is interesting, but doable, just a few tricks to get ya by. That is another thread, or maybe two. When we get far enough south to put water in Tana we still don't run with the water heater on, the water gets hot quite quickly and why waste expensive propane to keep it warm for 8 to 10 hours when not gonna be used. In fact, we rarely keep the hot water heater on, electric OR propane 24/7. Again, another thread here, soooooo

Happy fall camping!!!!

Note, lets repeat: disclaimers about turning off propance while refueling, etc etc etc .
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
ols1932
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by mopar1

Our Mountaineer 345 DBQ does not have the package. The underbelly is inclosed and has a R14 rating. The walls are R9 and the roof is R14 also.
We would like to camp late fall and early spring when the overnight temps may drop down below freezing.
Should I open the underbelly covering and add heat tapes and more insulation? They say that the pipes are insulated.
Also I would imagine running a de-humidifier would also be a good idea too.
Thanks! Bruce
Bruce,
Our unit is a 2000. We've been full timing in it for eight years, some of which was in weather down to 5 F. Our unit does not have the arctic package. We had one pipe freeze running between the kitchen and bathroom. This was my fault as we didn't run the furnace at night. You must run your furnace at night set at about 50-55 F in order to get just a little heat in the underbelly. This will help keep any pipes from freezing.

The pipes are not insulated.

We have not run a dehumidifier in the eight years of living in our rig, but every person (family) makes their own choice. I know some who swear by the dehumidifier and others, like us, who don't. We find that if we keep a vent cracked, we don't have any humidity build up. Well then you might say, "What happens to the humidity created by the shower?" We run one of our Fantastic Fans on Low and it takes care of the humidity.

Hope this helps you a little in any decision you may make.

Orv
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:22 AM   #7
sreigle
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It almost sounds to me like you probably won't need to worry about your water lines freezing so long as the furnace runs occasionally.

My understanding is a hard freeze is defined as 27 degrees or below for 4 hours or more. If less than that, you should be fine.

As for running down the road, I wouldn't worry about it unless you are driving in subfreezing weather. When we do that we turn the furnace on with thermostat on its lowest setting. We've never had anything freeze while on the road. And we've not used a noticeable amount of propane doing this, either.

Good luck. The weather you are talking about can provide some very enjoyable camping and often means you'll have lots of privacy and quite campsites.

We've never used a dehumidifier, either. Just open a vent a little as others said.

Does the '08 Mountaineer have the pipes in an insulated channel of their own, between floor and subfloor, like the newer Montanas do? If so, you won't need to add any insulation for them. They'll be fine. If they are lying free in the belly, I still wouldn't worry about it unless you'll be getting hard freezes. Just make sure the furnace runs occasionally. We'll set our furnace on 55 overnight and it's been fine. Coldest overnight we've been in is five below zero. And a week or so where the high for that period was 14.

by the way, the arctic package is simply a thin (but effective) insulation blanket that lays in the bottom of the belly / on top of the bellypan.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:23 AM   #8
mopar1
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Thanks for the replies! Lots of good information! It looks as though the pipes are in some kind of insulation under the sub floor. In the storage unit under the bathroom the pipes are exposed but if the heater duct is open to that area I would not think it would freeze unless it got really cold.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:06 AM   #9
sreigle
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There is heat to the basement storage area as you suggested. Even the older Montanas have a little heat to that area even though there's no visible duct to be seen. We wintered in Kansas City through December a few times with temperatures to 5 below. For awhile I had a remote thermometer in the basement area and the coldest it ever got in there was 34. That was a Montana and I'm just assuming the Mountaineers also have some heat in there.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:28 PM   #10
mobrownies
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I don't see the Artic package listed as an option on Keystone's website. Ours is an older model that is supposed to have it, but our costruction/insulation looks the same as yours is.

I think the R value claims are exagerated, especially if you consider all the places that don't have insulation or where the insulation is compressed, thereby loosing some of the R value. The floors of the slideouts have very little R value and the aluminum studs conduct heat very well. The windows and slides can be very drafty. The bottom line is you will go thru a lot of propane in cold weather as these trailers are not made for it. We went thru a 30# bottle of propane in 4 days in Donna Tx Jan. of 07 and it was not real cold. Temperatures ranged from 30s to 40s outside and we kept the thermostat on about 60 during the day and 50 at night.

The thin foil covered bubble wrap that some trailer manufacturer's claim has an R value of 14, only has an R value of about 1 by it's self. Let the Buyer Beware.

We have used a de-humidifier, but the compact one we bought is too small to do much good. As mentioned in several of the posts, good ventilation is the key. It also depends on where you camp, some areas are more humid than others.

As for adding insulation, I have not messed with the underbelly. I did add insulation to the bedroom floor, part of the slide floors and around the water inlet box. If you are only going to be out a few weekends in cold weather it may not be worth the worry.

Fall and Spring are our favorite times as there aren't as many people in the campgrounds. Good luck and enjoy the camping.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:32 AM   #11
sreigle
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I am not sure about Mountaineer but for Montana the arctic package is a "required option" which means they all come with it whether you want it or not. Again, not sure about Mountaineer.
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:08 PM   #12
TLightning
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The Arctic Package and the insulation in general on these rigs is pretty much a joke. We just spend a six week period evenly split being in the stick house and in the Montana. The weather was fairly consistent...high 40s/low 50s at night and 70s during the day, sometimes low 80s. In the Montana it got uncomfortably cool...had to turn the heat on in the mornings and once or twice the A/C by mid afternoon. In the stick house we needed neither heat or A/C to be comfortable. Clearly the stick house has much better insulation than the Montana...I'd like to see how they figure those R values at Keystone.
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:29 AM   #13
BB_TX
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by mobrownies

I don't see the Artic package listed as an option on Keystone's website.
The artic insulation package is listed as part of the "customer convenience group" on the options page. No definition of what exactly that is though.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:41 AM   #14
sreigle
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If you ask Keystone they will tell you the Arctic Package is the thin but effective (for the belly) insulation blanket that lays on the floor of the belly. That's all it is but it does help keep the belly from getting as cold as it would otherwise.

We've stayed in our Montana through December in Kansas City several times. The lowest temperature we were in is five below (twice) and once had about 10 days or so where the high for that period was 14. It can get cool inside the rig so we run the furnace and electric heaters (to keep propane usage down). There are some drafts but we've not been at all uncomfortable. Of course, we dress for winter, just like we did in our stick home. The biggest difference I see is far more window footage per square foot of floor space in our Montana than in our stick home. Much of the coolness is drafts off those windows. We do not have the dual panes. So we put that clear plastic film over the windows when we will winter in a cold area. That helps immensely.

I agree the fifthwheel is not as snug as our stick home but with just a little preparation it can be very comfortable. More insulation is always welcome, of course.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:49 AM   #15
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I have a 2004 Mountaineer that came with the thick piece of paper that sez it has the artic package. Over the years I have added all kinds of styrofoam insulation to void areas in the 5vr. I have taken off a lot of the paneling and found nothing in the walls that would suggest to me artic package. My wife is cold when the temperature drops below 70, so my trailer has to be warm. You can do a few easy things to keep in the heat. Get some throw rugs ,the kind that do not slide and put them on the vinyl part of the floor. Make or purchase the covers that go over your vents and shower skylite. Cover your ac vents. Check your door weather strip. Go outside the trailer in the night with a flashlite turn off the lights inside the trailer have the wife stand by the door inside. Shine the lite around the door to check for leaks,you will be surprised. Some trailers have the cheap foam srip around the door frame that will compress after a short amount of time and leak.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:32 PM   #16
Tim Pancioli
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Hi all! This is my first post as I just traded into a 2001 Montana 3280RL from a Flagstaff Lightweight travel trailer. One night in it in northern Michigan with temps below 30 degrees convinced me that it is fairly well insulated. The floor was warm and drafts were minimal. We would have had blue lips in the lightweight unit!

Since the windows will always radiate cold temps, we use the silver bubble sheet insulation and slide it between the shades and windows near bed areas at night. This keeps cold air from radiating on you while sleeping. Also, a trick I didn't see anyone mention regarding fresh water inlet freeze is to let one of your faucets in the unit trickle to keep water flowing through it.

Thanks for the nice forum. Look forward to learning much here!
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:41 PM   #17
TexasTraveler
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We're going to be full timing in Illinois for the next two years and wanted to share some information with you that I didn't know about. Our dealer's Maintanence Manager is from Illinois and he said he would get our Montana ready for us.

First, he went to Lowe's (I think) and purchased three 12 v heating pads and installed one under each of the gray tanks and the sewage tank. I didn't know such a thing existed. These are turned on and off manually in the basement as needed. Then he packed the entire underbelly with insulation material.

So far we've only had temps down to the high 20's (F) so we haven't had a chance to try the pads. I suspect they will make a significant difference and combined with running the gas heat, should pretty much eliminate freezing problems.

Of course we have done all the other things, skylight pads, heat tape on the water hose, 3M heat shrink plastic on the windows and much more. Most of the good recommendations came from the Winter Camping threads right here at MOC and from friends at other RV sites such as RVpics.com

If your going to be camping in areas where hard freezes can be expected, you might want to look into these 12 v heated pads.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:02 AM   #18
mopar1
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We are going to try dry camping this weekend. They are calling for near freezing temps and snow flurries so we'll see what it is like.
Thanks for all the good ideas. We had our stick built house's crawl space insulated with spray on expanding foam. That would be awesome for a camper until something went wrong in there and it needed to be dug out. What a mess that would be!
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:08 PM   #19
mopar1
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Saturday night DW and I went camping in our yard. It was 33* outside so I turned the heat on and went inside the house to get ready for bed.
Came out 1 1/2 hours later and it was still cold in there but the heater was working well so we just went to bed.
DW wakes me up @ 2:00am saying it was still cold. And it was. The propane tank was empty so I switched over to the full one. By the time we got up at 8:00 it was a nice and toasty 73* and the furnace haden't shut off once. Oops. Should have set it a little lower I think. But it goes to show if you can afford the propane at those temps you can be warm.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:39 PM   #20
swanny
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if you can check the duct work from the furnace to the vents. i checked mine on a brand new unit
and found some very poor connections. one duct even had a hole in it. also re-taped every connection and the furnace flanges. almost forgot, two duct runs were very long with many bends and turns. make then as straight as you can for better air flow.
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