The length of the RV season runs from mid-March through the end of October. People tend to use Easter Weekend and Halloween to mark the beginning and the end of the RV season. Campgrounds look forward to these periods by offering special events to attract RVers during these periods.
A significant portion of the RV community that wants to extend their RV lifestyle to include every season of the year. These all-season campers want travel trailer products that can handle the winter weather and cold temperatures. Others want their coaches to be an oasis in the American Desert.
RV manufacturers are offering four season packages in their products that extend the RV season. We’ll explore what all of the RV makers are doing to make regular towables and drivables all-weather ready. You’ll also learn about the specific brand packages companies offer on their products.
Benefits of All Weather Packages
All-weather RVs have the ability to perform well in cold and hot temperatures better than their regular season counterparts. In freezing temperatures, holding tanks and water lines can freeze and burst if they’re not properly protected. If not equipped correctly, interior temperatures can’t be maintained to be comfortable.
Most people think of 4 season campers as cold weather RVs. in reality, a true four-season coach can stay comfortable in the hottest of temperatures too. They are insulated enough to prevent exterior temperatures from affecting interior temperatures. Holding tanks are insulated well enough to prevent freshwater temperatures from becoming dangerously too hot to use.
Winter Camping Activities
Ski resorts, public parks, and some campgrounds in the snow belt states are open year-round for winter sports enthusiasts. Ski resorts have designated parking for RVs with electric hookups and outbuildings for their guests. Snowmobilers are using their toy haulers as their home base after a day of riding the trails.
Full-time RVers that need to stay close to their employers or clients need an all-season RV to get through seasons of extreme weather. There are many other examples of how all condition RVs can be beneficial. To learn more about winter camping and the best winter destinations, check out our article on the top 5 winter hotspots.
Standard All-Weather Features Throughout the Industry
Not every RV manufacturer makes four season ready coaches. As this feature has become more popular, companies have redesigned components based on all-weather techniques. The following are features you’ll now see in almost all RV brands.
- PEX Piping: PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene pipe. It’s flexible and can hold up to temperature ranges between -40 through 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your water lines are not exposed to sunlight a lot since UV rays break down the material.
- Heat Plumbed to Holding Tanks: Most RV manufactures are not running heating ducts to or around the water tanks to prevent freezing. Placing these ducts next to the tanks provides ambient heat transfer. This technique doesn’t affect the amount of heat needed for the interior space of the coach.
- Insulating Building Materials: New lightweight materials, like Azdel, have insulating properties. Wood and other non-conducting substances protect from outside temperatures coming through. Block foam insulation is a staple among many manufacturers because of is quality performance.
- Sealed Underbelly: The underside of the chassis allows heat and cold air to transfer. RV makers are now sealing the underbelly of their products to prevent this from happening. It also gives further protection to the components underneath as well.
- PVC roof membrane reflects heat: PVC material is used on the roof for its strength. It also reflects the heat from the sun, preventing heat transfer into the coach. This lets your air conditioners the ability to cool the interior without having to fight hot roof temperatures.
All Weather Brand Packages
Lance 4 Season
The Lance 4 Season package can be added to any of their truck campers or travel trailers. The package takes advantage of both standard and optional features. Used together, you can take your coach into temperatures around 0°F.
The ducted heat is routed to the insulated holding tanks to prevent freezing. Bypass valves are added to the water heater lines to drain them for easy winterization. These two features come standard whether you choose the 4 season feature or not.
Other standard features that help with 4 season camping is the Azdel building material they use. It’s used for its strength and lightweight properties. Azdel has additional benefits of insulating sound, temperature, and is resistant to mold build-up.
The specialized components are additional insulation on key features. The bed has a pad that insulates heat, sound, and protects from moisture build-up. This pad will prevent the temperature from under the mattress platform from getting to you while you sleep.
Another feature is an insulated vent cover that snaps over the hatch. Vents are one of the worst culprits of interior temperature loss. This cover is oversized to minimize gaps.
Finally, Lance insulates battery and propane compartments. This avoids them being affected by cold weather. Batteries and LP connections are affected by freezing temperatures.
This package may seem gimmicky at first. Yet Lance uses quality materials that are lightweight and very effective. They add these components during the manufacturing process to ensure the proper fit.
Jayco Climate Shield
Jayco’s Climate Shield allows you to enjoy the RV lifestyle all year round. They are rated to withstand temperatures from 0- 100° Fahrenheit. This feature is available in the following product lines:
- Eagle Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels
- Eagle HT Fifth Wheels
- Northpoint Fifth Wheels
- Pinnacle Fifth Wheels
- Talon Toy Haulers
- Seismic Toy Haulers
Jayco seals the underbelly of the coach. They use double-sided flex foil insulation around the entire structure of the RV. The privacy shades use a dark tent material that blocks out the heat from the sun.
The fiberglass in the front cap is double layered for added insulation. They duct their heat next to their holding tanks to prevent freezing. The water lines are made from PEX material that is rated to protect to -40 degree temperatures.
Jayco took five of their RVs to the nation’s best climate control facility at Domestic. They tested them for eight hours in freezing and boiling temperatures. The coaches passed with flying colors.
The freezing test resulted in the interior temperatures staying at 68°F. They drained the holding tanks immediately after the test to see if there was any ice. After the tank was emptied out, there wasn’t a speck of ice.
The heat test had similar results. The interior temperature stayed at 71°F consistently. All five RVs were tested in both chambers and showed the same results.
The Climate Shield feature is added to Jayco’s more expensive product lines. The Jay Flights, Jay Feathers, and other travel trailers don’t have the feature yet. This package is built within the structure of the RV itself, so it can’t be added aftermarket.
In the smaller product lines, you will see the ducted heat and the other standard items we mentioned above. Jayco does a great job with their heating, cooling, and insulation on their natural products. Using your coach for late-season camping can be done without too many issues.
Alaskan Camper started in 1953 to help people survive the elements of the Alcan Highway. This road is the only passage through Canada that connects Alaska to the lower 48 states. The weather conditions are cold and wet for most of the year.
Their truck campers range from 6 ½- 10 feet in length. Compared to towables, they have less space, but their features compare to over 30-foot travel trailers. These upgraded features allow for all-weather camping.
Standard features include spray foam insulation, a 20,000 btu force air furnace, and two vent fans for superior airflow. Most travel trailers have a heating system of 15,000 btu. Spray foam allows the manufacturer to create a seamless insulation layer throughout the walls.
There are a number of optional features that can upgrade your truck camper’s all-weather ability. You can upgrade the vent fans, install a 9,200 BTU air conditioner, and add floor insulation. The floor insulation is especially useful to prevent the cold from the truck bed from leaching into your camper.
Overall, Alaskan Campers are designed for all-weather camping. The optional features, like the air conditioner, can make the coach more adaptable to hot weather. If you’re not sure if you want the A/C, Alaskan does have an optional feature where they can add A/C prewiring in the factory.
Forest River Elemental Protection Package
The Arctic Wolf series comes with Forest River’s Elemental Protection Package. There are 17 floorplans in this fifth wheel product line. Some layouts don’t have all of the items in the protection package.
Some of the best features of the package include:
- 35,000 BTU furnace
- 5,200 BTU fireplace
- Sealed underbelly with forced air to the holding tanks
- Large ceiling fan
- Insulator materials in the superstructure like wood roofing and flooring
- Roof membrane that reflects heat
- 15,000 BTU air conditioning with pre-wiring for a second A/C
- Two inch laminated exterior walls with block foam insulation
A little known fact that many RVers don’t know has to do with the airflow design of RVs. Manufacturer engineers design coaches to have a wind tunnel effect inside the coach. If you open your windows and park your coach correctly, you can use natural air to keep your unit cool during warm days.
The same thing is true with your air conditioner, heater, and fans. Using the vent fans and the ceiling fan that Forest River provides moves the air inside your RV to evenly distribute the hot or cold air. This is especially helpful if you’re in extreme weather conditions.
The ceiling fan in the Arctic Wolf series is designed to move the air around your fifth wheel in an efficient way. Forest River’s placement of the fan is placed strategically to maximize the most air movement. This helps with lowering electric and propane use by using less energy to maintain temperature.
Highland Ridge RV
The Open Range travel trailer and fifth wheel series is a great example of how Highland Ridge RV makes their coaches all season capable. This Jayco daughter brand uses many materials and structural techniques to make their coaches ready for cold and hot temperatures. They have proven it by publishing their testing results.
Like most other brands, they use PVC membrane on the roof to reflex heat. In addition, the roof also contains double batten insulation layered with reflective foil. Plywood decking is used to anchor everything together.
The walls and floor are constructed with rigid block foam insulation. Like the roof, the floor has a reflective foil to block heat from coming through. The manufacturer seals the underbelly with a woven material which also resists punctures.
Zero Degree Testing
Highland Ridge tested their RVs in temperature-controlled facilities. At 0° Fahrenheit for five hours, their sensors recorded interior temperatures in key sections throughout the coach. The results are as follows:
- Bedroom: 72°F
- Kitchen: 70°F
- Slide-Out: 66°F
- Bathroom: 72°F
- Living Room: 70°F
- Holding Tank: 62°F
- Storage Bay: 58°F
As you can see, at this temperature, you’ll be quite comfortable. Note, however, that this test did not account for windchill factor or other issues. If you are camping where temperatures get into the negatives, you should be okay with additional preventative measures.
Northwood RV Absolute Northwood
All Northwood RVs are built to be warm. The “Absolute Northwood” method refers to the structural, material, and insulation they use to build their coaches. Every unit they build is meant to be used as all conditions camping capabilities.
The roof uses cathedral arched trusses that are bonded together using PVC membrane. This gives it more headroom and superior strength. In winter conditions, the roof can hold more snow weight than other competitors.
The laminated fiberglass walls are bonded to non-conducting wood framing. Both materials aid in insulating the coach. The insulation itself is a combination of rolled fiberglass, block foam, and reflective foil.
Northwood ducts their heat to insulated holding tanks. The tanks are protected with reflective foil and rigid foam to avoid freezing. The knife valves are also enclosed inside thick-walled bays to avoid them becoming frozen.
Optional features include holding tank heating pads, a faux fireplace that puts out heat, and 15,000 BTU air conditioners. Northwood understands that all conditions doesn’t mean cold conditions only. Extreme heat has its own challenges.
Their all-conditions idea includes off-road conditions as well. Northwood thought of every camping situation when they designed their RVs. You can use them in the northern Yukon Territory and the Arizona Desert.
If you plan on using it primarily at a campground with full hookups during the regular camping season, you won’t have any problems. Doing this is can be similar to using a top of the line computer to play solitaire. These RVs have the capability to handle negative degree temperatures in the middle of winter.
Outdoor RV Climate Designed Four Season
Outdoor RV lives up to its “No Boundaries Camping” philosophy with the construction of their products. All of their RVs are made to withstand the harshest conditions from Arizona to Alaska. This is why they are one of the most successful independent RV companies in the industry.
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The floors, walls, and roof are triple insulated with two layers of rolled fiberglass insulation. They then use reflective padded foil as the third layer to reinforce the coach from the exterior temperatures. The underbelly is sealed with a thick layer, and the holding tanks receive forced air from the heating ducts.
All of the windows, including the skylights, are double-paned. Windows are a major source of interior temperature leakage. Outdoor RV also provides vent covers to seal these up.
To protect the subfloor, all exterior bay doors are 50% thicker than industry standards. The exterior shower door isn’t overlooked. This manufacturer made sure that every potential space was taken care of; even the slideouts.
The heater is larger than other RVs by 15%. Air conditioners are either 13,500 or 15,000 BTU. With the vault-like insulation, you have the potential to freeze or boil yourself out with these climate-control units.
Product data was last updated on 2020-06-21 at 01:17.