Winter Camping in Colorado

13 11 2018

Mid-November snow, Circle the Wagons

Yes – we’re still in Southern Colorado!  Following our return from Cabo in late October, we decided to see what happened to the weather before heading to a southern (and hopefully warmer) location to spend part of the winter.  Other than a relatively heavy snow storm that dumped around 15” on us the 1st of November, temperatures have been fairly mild.  In fact, just before the big snow, we had a 72 degree day!  Lows have been running in the mid to low-20’s – nothing unmanageable with the right preparations and gear.  The average temperature for the last week of October was 46.

However, after that November 1st snow storm, winter seems to be slightly more entrenched.  The first week of November our maximum high was 53, our lowest low as 21 and our average was 10 degrees off the previous week at 36 degrees.  Headed into the second week of November our max is hanging in around 50 degrees, but with several chilly nights, one at 9 degrees and last night at 5 degrees, our weekly average is down nearly 10 degrees to 28.  The upcoming week looks much more “average” with highs in the 50’s and lows in the 20’s.

Circle the Wagons

 

So, what have we done to prepare for this crazy winter camping?  #1 was to purchase a heated hose and some heat tape.  We bought the 25’ Camco heated hose on Amazon for $100.  We also purchased a short heat tape and some insulation wrap for our water spigot.    So far, with lows of single digits and a few days that never managed to struggle above freezing, we’ve enjoyed freely flowing water.

Other items to consider, and some that need a bit more investigation:

  • Check propane every day – before this cold snap we ran a minimum of 14 days on a bottle of propane.  During the big chill, we ran a minimum of 3 days.  Still not terrible – but important to keep an eye on.
  • There’s a lot of condensation with these relatively thin walls and windows when there’s a temperature difference of 60 degrees or more.  Many of our windows are fogged up, especially in the mornings, and have water running down them. Window weep holes are working – outside there are small icicles from the condensation.  We just picked up a 3M window insulator kit.  Over the next few days we’re going to insulate some windows and see what difference it makes.  More on that project in later posts…
  • With an electric fireplace and another small space heater, we can easily keep our work area warm during the day.  However, if daytime temps are below freezing, make sure you’re getting some furnace heat in the mix – only the furnace will warm the basement and underbelly and protect your water lines and other equipment from freezing.
  • Speaking of freezing, our freezer isn’t freezing.  After explore some blog posts, it seems that the large vents to keep the refrigerator cool in summer may be working against us in this cold weather.  The vents allow so much cold air in, the refrigerator never has to cool.  Thus, the freezer just hangs around 30 degrees, not enough to freeze ice overnight and barely enough to keep things frozen. This problem needs more exploration…
  • The clothes in the closet are damp.  With a slide closet in the bedroom, we have absolutely the poorest insulated walls packed with our clothes.  Overnight (and possibly even during the day) humid air condenses on these cold walls and causes dampness.  We’re trying to keep the doors open during the day to see if things will dry out – and, on our next warm sunny day may move all of our cloths outside for some quick drying.

 

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