Camping in Cooler Weather
Ok, it is camping when it is cold out that has taken my love for our new T@B over the top.
We always liked to camp when the evenings were cooler and the leaves were starting to turn, but we didn’t do it often. It was hard to want to get out of the camper in the morning to run to the bathhouse when it meant not just finding shoes and a jacket, but also socks and gloves and long pants and a hat. And once you were up, getting out of the camper meant committing to being outside and chilled for most of the day and only going back into the bed in the camper when you really felt like you had to curl up and warm up. It was also hard to want to go to the bathhouse and shower, unsure of whether there would be warm water and knowing there wasn’t likely to be any kind of heat. And we’ll never forget that cold night we spent where we closed up the windows of the Silver Shadow and the fan to stay warm and at some point woke up groggy and disoriented, realizing that we’d run out of fresh oxygen in the small space. It was never easy to find a compromise that included a steady cold breeze through the door screens and felt like you weren’t going to freeze the moment you had to consider leaving the warmth of the covers.
Our 2021 T@B 320S has changed all of that for us. The Alde heating system is lovely. It will run off of electric or propane and heats the camper up in about 30 minutes. We like the cool sleeping of cold weather camping where you are snuggled under the covers and any limb that gets out is chilled a bit, so we keep the Alde set at 60 degrees and it has made 40 degree nights outside perfect for camping. The windows all have a setting that keeps them just a crack open, but not in a way that cold air pours in so there is always enough air but not so much that you are fighting it with the heat. You can turn the Alde off during the day while you sit by a fire outside and know it will warm up quickly when you are ready to move inside for a bit. The drain on the propane tank when you are heating this way isn’t bad (less than 5% a night) and it takes just a little of the battery power to keep it running when you are off the grid.
The other thing that makes the T@B amazing for cold-ish weather is the bathroom. I wasn’t really sure that was going to be the case. I remember camping as a kid and the bathroom was always terribly cold. But the bathroom stays just a tiny bit warmer than the rest of the camper, likely because there is no window and it is so small. Which means a midnight pitstop doesn’t have an ice cold toilet seat. And the hot water system from the Alde ensures a hot shower along with the warm space, so no bathhouse chill or messiness to deal with. And you can decide when and how you want to get up from bed in the morning and outside since you don’t have to leave the camper to pee or brush your teeth or to make the morning coffee.
This will extend our camping season from early in the spring until later in the fall. It essentially means we can camp as long as there aren’t freezing nights. Once the nights start to freeze, we will really have to move on to the winterizing bit and close up the camper for any kind of water or bathroom use. But this will easily give us a couple more months of the year when we can get out and camp, which is pretty exciting because we’ll get to see more of the outdoors during the spring and fall months where we’ve been reluctant to get out and go before.
Of course, it means that the dog needs a jacket. And a blanky to wrap up in. And someone to snuggle him by the fire. And someone to move his pad around so that he can catch every sun spot as the sun moves around the campsite during the day because dogs are solar powered too. He also wants to head in to bed early in the evening to get on with the snuggle up and be warm portion of our camp experience. We won’t balk at that!