December 3, 2014 (by Angela)
After three weeks in the camper, I’m compiling a list of challenging issues we need to address and a list of things I’d like to eventually change or modify, if possible, practical, and affordable.
We shopped for a 4-seasons camper, which means it is usable all year long. Ours is proudly identified as having an “Arctic Barrier.”
However, the RV is still drafty, especially when the temps get down into the 20s, so I’m trying to figure out ways to make it more warm and cozy. We have two slides in the living area, and one is very long, encompassing the dining area. I noticed that on those very cold nights I could feel a draft where the slide over laps with the center floor. In an experiment, I ordered an inexpensive 12′ long runner to place over the slide overlap on the floor. Honestly, I needed about 13′ or so to cover the entire slide, but this was close enough. Can I tell a difference? YES! Score one for me. (You can see about 2 – 3 feet of the runner in the picture below – also the portion of the slide overlap that did not get covered.)
Now, I want to address the drafts from our 11 windows, which also have a great deal of condensation when the temps outside are quite a bit cooler than the temps inside. After a decent amount of research, I believe that my plan may work and should not cause any harm. Tomorrow, it is to get up to about 60 degrees here, so I’m going to open windows and make sure that the windows are completely free of condensation, then I’ll close the windows. Starting with those in our bedroom, I’m going to create “storm” windows using the weatherizing kits for windows that I have used in our homes from time to time. Using double sided tape, I’ll attach clear plastic cut just a bit larger than the window opening. To stretch the plastic, I’ll use my hair dryer set on its lowest setting. Then we’ll see if it works as hoped. Research indicates that not only will this reduce drafts but also condensation. *fingers crossed* (The picture below shows the awful condensation on the windows this morning.)
I’ve not really cooked on gas often, but I know that our daughter Amanda loves it. News flash: I don’t. Also, cooking with propane creates quite a bit more moisture in the trailer, and I don’t need that. For now, I’m looking for ways to cook without using gas as much as possible. I’m using the crock pot, the griddle, and the microwave, and I’m considering ordering a induction plate to use – perhaps a solar oven for outdoor cooking after that. (Of course, we do have an outside cooking station, but it has been too cool for that since we started using the camper.) One day, way down the road, when we get set up with solar, I may have the gas cut off to the stove/oven completely, remove the stove/oven and convert the area to counter top space on top and storage below. Then I can get additional electric cooking options. Also, I’d like to replace the current microwave, which is above the stove, with a microwave/convection oven. I don’t know if I’m heading down the right track or not, but those are my thoughts for now.
Next, I’d like to replace our dining table with a drop-leaf dining table. Since there are just two of us, this would allow for extra space when parked with slides out, and when we are traveling and need to overnight somewhere without putting out our slides, the drop-leaf would allow us to access the “living area.” As it is, with slides in, the screwed-into-the-floor table comes within a couple of inches of the extended portion of the kitchen counter, making it almost impossible to access the living area.
I’m sure the more we are in the 5th-wheel, the more things we will learn, the more ways we will adapt, and the more things we will want to change, but for now, we are doing fine when all things are considered.