jason wynn freezing

Camping with Truckers and Defrosting

For those of you who might think that all of Arizona is a safe haven from the winter (like I did), think again!

jason wynn freezing

In fact, there’s more than one ski resort and had I known about this before we got to Flagstaff, I would’ve planned on snowboarding!

We didn’t plan on staying in Flagstaff and didn’t want to book a campground for only one night, so a truck stop sounded like a good idea.  We really should have checked the weather before making that decision.

RV camping at a truck stop

frosty RV

We woke up to a very frosty -9 degrees!?!  And YES that is in Fahrenheit for all our Canadian Friends. I am starting to think we can hack a few days of camping in Siberia.

nikki wynn freezing while RVing

frost on the windshield

Luckily we knew it was going to be cold and had the little heater running in the bay so the pipes wouldn’t freeze and ran the generator to keep the engine heater on as well as the heat inside.  Normally we wouldn’t run the generator, but dry camping in below freezing temps…it’s necessary.

temps inside

With all of our normal RV winter adventure prep it still took Jason a good 20 min to defrost the windshield.  We had every heater possible running on full blast!

defrosting the windshield

All of this just so we could save $35 on a campground.  These are the days when I wonder if I have become cheap ass or finally reached the penny pinching pinnacle.

Would you do any wild camping in temps this cold, just to save a few bucks?

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (24)

  • Oh my gosh does that look cold!! Glad you had the generator to keep you all warm. Would you have to be careful that the heater does not crack the window?
    We haven’t done cold camping yet!! But it would be an experience for sure 🙂

  • Matthew Wells

    Hey Guys,
    Lost track when I read that you two were headed abroad, but glad to see you made it back to the US – you really do appreciate America more once you have been abroad! I once spent a night at that truckstop in Flagstaff, and I was wondering how you were treated as an RV overnight. Did you register as an overnight “parker” and did they treat you any differently than a trucker spending the night, or due to weather was everyone welcomed due to the roads. I like saving money in truckstops, but I’ve found that some have changed their policies concerning RVs.

    Be safe, saw pic of tow-car!
    M. Wells

  • Winter camping! Gotta love it.
    We once drove from Texas to California one Christmas season specifically to stop at the Grand Canyon for a few days. Even hoped for a little snow. The park service closed the road behind us as more than two feet fell in one evening. Meanwhile, in Flagstaff, the interstate had about half an inch of ice on it. Folks crawled along at 20 mph and even that seemed a bit fast.

    • The first time we went to the Grand Canyon we thought “it’s the desert”….well, it was the first of November and we were greeted with 2 feet of fresh powder when we woke up….so we stopped by the general store to purchase some gloves and hats, then hiked the Bright Angel trail anyway. What an amazing place.

  • Elevation, my dear Watson! Come down from 7,000 feet and it will be much warmer.

    • ha ha, yes Allison, so very true! We are soaking up the sun in Casa Grande and officially defrosted!

      • ….And maybe a little dried out! Where’s the darn humidity, I swear I look 10 years older out here 🙂

  • John

    Cold weather camping is always a challenge but I love to do it. I was stuck in a truck stop for three days while I waited for the weather to clear. You and your rig survived and that is the important part. Run a little bit of water to keep it flowing every so often. That helps as well as a small space heater down below.

    I just found your site a bit ago and have been going backwards. I saw you are wanting to get a sailboat and hit the ocean in a year. I sold my sailboat in 2001. I had it for well over 12 years and have sailed to great places. I was based out of Annapolis MD and would sail in the bay and to Newport and up to Maine and over to Bermuda and down to the islands. It was wonderful but I will say it was as expensive if not more than the motorhome. You have not lived till you see 20 plus foot seas and a thunderstorm at night. Open water is your friend but you wonder sometimes.

    • Thanks for sharing John, and welcome to our site! We aim to entertain, educate (a tiny bit), and most importantly inspire others to go outside and play.
      We do plan to purchase a sailboat in early/mid 2014 and attempt to hit the open water. Should be an interesting attempt considering we’ve not really sailed a day in our lives. 🙂

  • Tim

    Which compartment did you put the heater in to prevent pipes from freezing? Did you have the tank heaters on too?

  • Karsty

    When you mentioned about taking 20 minutes to defrost the windshield … do you not have windshield washer antifreeze in the windshield washer?? If not that could be a problem that you might want to check in the colder temperatures. If there is only water in there it might be too late. The tank … which I assume is plastic might already be cracked.

    Here in the Canadian north we use washer fluid that is good for -50º F and spraying that on the windshield helps to clear it off in the morning. 🙂

    • Karsty, we do use the cold weather fluid, the windshield was frozen on the inside, not the outside.

  • were you using the propane furnace or the AC heat pump? Our heat pump is unable to grab any heat from the air when it gets below 35•F or so.

    • Finn, you are correct the AC heat pump won’t work in anything colder than 45 F. We were using the propance furnace.

  • mil1lil

    I love the pictures! Since we bought one of the electric heaters that looks like a radiator, two heat settings, we are never cold. We leave it on all night in the living room area and wake up to a toasty warm space. Safe too! BTW, it was 80 degrees plus in Hill Country of Tx yesterday and 70 today.

  • Rebecca Ingle

    I guess I’m the only one who gets up 2-3 times a night. Did you set the thermostat at 30???? Get those solar panels going girl! Hope you warm up soon:-d

  • hey you two! we’re back in colorado.. if you come back this way let us know (;

  • dean

    did you guys use the propane heater or the roof top heat pumps? i heard the heat pumps are only good down to 40F.

    looks like fun
    we always enjoy your updates

    • Propane is the only option in temps below 45F. Thanks for following!

  • Joanne

    That will teach you to make fun of our Canadian weather. Karma! You better get that baby winterized!

    • Are you kidding, we don’t winterize, we just do more jumping jacks! 🙂

  • Wintering in the RV has been easier then I thought. RV’s are a lot tougher in the cold then most will give them credit for. The problem is getting out of bed!!! It’s horrible when you have to get out from the nice and warm sheets into the cold like that in the morning!

    My only question is why only 36F indoors? Turn that heater up!

    -btw thanks for all the winter tips, your advice saved us tons of money and helped us just enjoy the cold!

    • Thanks Brent! The reason it was only 36F indoors is because we didn’t turn the heater up enough. We didn’t realize how cold it was going to get. Glad the winter tips helped! Is it warming up at all in Wisconsin?


Post a Comment