Cold Weather Boondocking Ain’t Fun

I honestly don’t know how some RVers do cold weather boondocking on purpose. 

cold weather boondocking
This kind of boondocking is not our thing.

Sure, “cold” is relative, but for today, let’s define “cold weather boondocking” as temperatures consistently below 50-degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) for a high, with wind, snow and rain throughout the day and freezing temps at night. Fair enough?

Yeah yeah, call me a wimp, but remember, I’m a west coast native. We just aren’t born with a cold weather gene!

boondocking Rawlins Wyoming
Day in, day out, Mother Nature beat us up last week.

Normally Jim and I do our best to avoid this kind of weather, but last week there was no escaping it for at least 400 miles in each direction. Believe me, I looked.

All week long, while tornadoes ripped up the Midwest and the South suffered from extreme heat, we got pummeled in Wyoming with a Rocky Mountain snow storm that’s more typical of February than May. Even the crusty locals complained.

Climate change? What climate change?

The Downside of Cold Weather Boondocking in our 275B Arctic Fox

Our Arctic Fox is built for this kind of weather. Sort of. I’ll tell you why later, but right now it’s important to know that even with our four-season fifth wheel, boondocking in it during weather like this is NOT our idea of a good time. We have our reasons.

Mexican wool blanket
My grandfather’s Mexican wool blanket, reserved for cold emergencies.
  1. When the solar panels are covered in snow and ice, we must rely on our Honda super quiet generator for daily needs, like running our furnace. Leaving it on all day and into the night is not an option.
  2. Jim has to go outside each time we turn the generator on or off, just to get the furnace going. Last week the wind chill caused our Honda to be very unhappy. It had trouble starting for the first time ever.
  3. Wyatt loves snow, but walking him in it three times daily, and then cleaning him off when he comes inside, is such a chore for us! Snow and the resulting mud makes a huge mess in our little dog house on wheels.
My Tripawd loves snow
“Dude, what’s your prob?”

Two Great Arctic Fox Mods for Cold Weather

Cold weather boondocking would be more tolerable if our 275B had an internal generator, and dual pane windows. But since our rig isn’t equipped with either, when Mother Nature beats us up, we’ll just keep chasing the sun.

cold weather boondocking wyoming
Don’t let the blue skies fool you. It was 35 degrees that morning.

Or at least go looking for full-hookups. Which is exactly what we did nine days into the storm.

Sometimes that electrical umbilical cord, water and sewer hookups aren’t so bourgeois after all.

5 thoughts on “Cold Weather Boondocking Ain’t Fun”

  1. How can a four-season rig not have dual-pane windows??

    I’m beginning to wonder if ANYWHERE is nice in the spring? Snow, high winds, tornadoes, floods, or sweltering heat — take your pick — every direction you turn is awful. Is there any escape from moody spring weather?

    I wish autumn could last forever. It’s the best, almost everywhere.

  2. Not being able to start your generator from inside must suck, sounds like you need to find a gear head to fix you up with a remote starter. I’m just split balling here but could a remote car starter be modified. My first guess is probably not because someone smarter than me would have done this already and made a bundle selling them. The one item you didn’t mention in your list of reasons why cold weather and your “not so Arctic Fox” 🙂 isn’t comfortable is the lack of something like a Wave 3 catalytic propane heater. We used to boondock in cold weather a lot and had a Wave 3. We had a quick disconnect and shutoff valve inside the rig and a 6 ft hose on the heater. It work great with the bedroom window open about a ice and the same with the roof vent. Of course, then we had to deal with the condensation. Everything is a trade off. I think you will find that most serious cold weather boondocks rely on something similar.

    Funny though, I see similar but opposite here in the heat. We have metered electric and I see folks with the windows an doors open when its over 80 degrees and 80% humidity, either they like the heat or are trying to save a few bucks on electricity. Not me baby!!!! The windows and door is closed and AC is on, its 71 degrees and 41% humidity inside,

    For me being from the northeast, I’d much rather boondock in the cold rather than the heat.
    Enjoy the full hook ups, I am. LOL

    • Haha Larry that contraption would be awesome. Never heard of it, pretty sure it doesn’t exist. But did I forget to mention that we have a Mister Buddy catalytic heater? It’s GREAT for warming up the joint in the AM before opening the door to start the genny, but it burns through the little propane canisters quickly. I would love to connect it to our propane system, but cutting into it seems risky. What do you think?

      And I agree, saving a few bucks to sit there sweltering in crazy humidity is NOT worth it. Kick back and enjoy, hope the heat breaks for you guys.

  3. I know the feels… In January I was heading back north from Arizona and we got caught in the polar vortex in Rawlins with the 80 closed to Rv’s… All the RV parks were closed, it was -9 (and heading to -20), the furnace fan failed, and so we rented a hotel room!

    Also the benefit of a built in generator – at least we can start ours from inside, but we all make our choices on vehicles 😀

    • YIKES! OMG I would totally be heading for that hotel room. That is crazy town! I remember the Polar Vortex, we were joking about it while sitting in the hot tub at Fountain of Youth. Sorry you had to go through that, but glad you made it safely through.


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