We arrived at our new camp hosting position in time to ring in the New Year. We knew going into the mountains of Northern Georgia that we had the potential to face winter weather during our 3-month stay. However, we did not imagine that we would face fog, rain, freezing rain, 5 inches of snow, and below-freezing temperatures all within our first week at the State Park (and the weather has not improved much since then, either).
While we did have a few issues with frozen pipes, for the most part, our preparations made a potentially uncomfortable situation comfortable and manageable.
So, what got us through? Here are our winter camping must-haves:
Space heater: Since we have full hookups, we knew that having a space heater would help keep us warm while preserving our propane. With the prices of propane climbing higher and higher, this addition has been worth the investment. It is also peace of mind knowing that we are not blowing through a tank or more of propane each day (thus limiting our need to go out in potentially inclement weather), since the camper heater will run virtually nonstop in cold weather. The space heater also helps dry out our living space (more on condensation issues below).
Heated hose: We were excited to add this tool to our toolbox since we had hoped this would keep our water flowing even with falling temperatures. On the nights where the temperatures dipped just below freezing, we had no issues with our water. It was when temperatures dropped to the teens that we encountered issues with our internal pipes. Even though we did still have water problems, knowing we can remain hooked up even in colder temperatures is helpful.
Insulation around spigot: Since we are able to remain hooked up in colder weather, we also had to think about keeping the spigot thawed. Will added insulation around the spigot, and we had no issues with water freezing at the source.
Radiant foil insulation in the windows: Putting insulation in the windows has proven beneficial not only in the cold winter weather but also through the hottest summer days as well. In the winter, the insulation helps keep the warm air in. The windows in our camper are single-paned and can be drafty. The insulation mitigates some of that loss of temperature.
Damp-rid: With keeping the interior of the camper warm and battling the single-paned windows comes all the condensation. Condensation not only forms on the windows, but we have also seen it form on the walls and we have opened closets and found it there. It is a constant fight. We have every variation of Damp-rid product in every possible nook and cranny in an attempt to get some of the moisture out of the air. Fighting condensation ultimately means fighting mold, and that is key.
Water jugs: While we like to hope that our pipes and water tank will not freeze, we are finding that is an extra tough battle to fight. Therefore, it is important to have a way to have a source of water when things do freeze. At our current location, we have access to a bathhouse right next door where the water did not freeze, so our water woes were not as desperate as we have experienced before (plus we were able to continue to use our spigot). Having a jug to bring water in to flush the toilet or fill up our water filter for drinking and cooking is vital to getting through.
Berkey water filter: We will shout our praises of the Berkey water filter from the roof. No matter what water we put in, the water always comes out crystal clear and tastes like water should—like nothing.
Disney+ subscription: We have rarely watched our television while on the road and have even considered taking it out, but adding Disney+ to our repertoire was essential to our sanity with a cooped up toddler and the inability to expend our usual energy outside. And when you have the soundtrack from Encanto in the air, you cannot help but feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.
The real downside to winter camping is that we are inside so much more than we are used to, which definitely gets to be a little much from time to time. However, knowing that we are prepared physically for the cold-weather challenges helps us to focus on finding ways to battle cabin fever.
While we did not necessarily expect the extent of cold weather that we have faced thus far, we have thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us and the different ways we are able to experience it through all the different faces of winter.