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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

I've owned my Outback 298RE for 2 months now and very pleased so far. The dealer pointed out that my Outback 298RE had the Artic Barrier and explained that the underbelly was heated. All the dump valves are enclosed, just the handles are exposed. I called back to the dealer a few days ago and asked for more explanation about how this works. He said the furnace air ducts radiate heat which keeps the underbelly warm enough to prevent freezing. OK, I understand. When I asked him what I could expect "in the field", he really could not give me anything concrete I could hook into. So maybe someone here can help.

Basically, he said the underbelly would probably stay at 40 degrees and all the water lines and sewer lines are contained in the enclosed heated area. However, in the real world how cold could I camp before there would be a threat of freeze damage.

To help find an answer, assume the fresh water tank is full, not hooked up to city water so no hoses, and Black and Gray tanks would not be dumped for some time. Assume the furnace is running, set on approximately 70 degrees inside cycling on and off maintaining a steady temperature. How cold could it get before something would have to be done (winterize the water system and dump those tanks).

Has anyone had experience with cold weather camping like this, who could give me some real world advise?

(FYI, I very much want to do some cold weather camping this winter, so just want a good idea what I can expect).

Thanks.
 

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Arctic barrier is more about marketing than it is about a good heated underbelly for cold weather camping.I was recently staying in mine in temps of - 6 C at night and plus 10 or so during the day.Anything below freezing for long periods of time i'll be leaving mine in the driveway.A 3 season camper at best with the barrier.there is a few posts on this subject try the search button.
 

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Regardless of claims, my experience is the 295RE/298RE and probably other outbacks are really a very nice 3 season trailer. We camp in ours down to the low 20's maybe high teens at night and above freezing during the day. Works ok, but furnace is going to run a long time. And if RH is not very low, you will end up with window fogging/condensation without a good portable dehumidifier. Being somewhat anal, and having looked into the underbelly, there is NO direct heat to the underbelly, just radiant heat from the ducting. However, what I did was to pull up the bedroom and kitchen floor vent pan. Then drilled 3/4" dia holes in each side of the pan. this ducts air into the underbelly, and guess where??? the bedroom duct is between the fresh tank and the black tank. the kitchen between the two grey tanks. measured temps in the underbelly and they are close to the temp in the living area with this mod.

robertize hit the nail on the head. the corregated underbelly makes assembly much easier, slap it on and claim it helps insulation. Well, it does, by providing a barrier, but that's about it.
 

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If you want to make it a true arctic shield type trailer, pull the corrugated plastic down. Get some rolled fiberglass insulation and get it up in there. Also as was said above put a 1/2-3/4inch hole in the vents themselves and allow a little hot air to escape. This will also help eliminate some furnace running in the long run. If you heat that basement and those tanks its one less side of cold air on your trailer.

Your going to want to replace the cheap standard windows if you want to stay cold longer though.
 

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This is the reason we went to a 4 season trailer with dual pane windows as I have to be able to live in it full time here in Wyoming. Even so....I am also doing the following:

1. Buy and install heated water hose.
2. Insulate and tape heated water hose.
3. Piece together hard line sewer pipe with a straight shot to the dump.
4. Insulate sewer pipe. Shouldn't have to heat it...hopefully. Most of it will be hidden by #6 below.
5. Install several small ceramic space heaters in trailer (ymmv - the park I am at includes electric in the rent...).
6. Skirt entire trailer (including slides) with 1" foam board and tape with aluminum tape at the top and seams.
7. Hope all goes well when it gets real cold. -10 with -40 windchill. If not, install several heat lamps under trailer. Turn them on when it hits 10f or less.

1-5 are done. #6 gets started this weekend...hopefully completed.

-CC
 

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The Arctic Barrier Means Nothing.

The ducting runs through the basement, but blows no hot air in to the basement.

We bought a 2014 Outback250RS with the Arctic Barrier after the Outback Product Manager, Tim Domiano, personally showed us Outback's at the plant in Goshen this past June, regaling us with tales of someone living in Montana all winter long in their Outback. This was a selling point for us.

We got stuck in an early blizzard in Rawlins, WY, about 10 days ago. I ran the tap when we got in and was really concerned to see slush come out as we had left the heat and water heater on when we left the Tetons some four hours earlier. I ran the water until it was clear. We left the slides in, the hot water heater on and the furnace set to 65 degrees all night. The furnace ran almost constantly all night. When we woke up in the morning, the lines were frozen enough that we had no running water. The temperature had bottomed out at 21 degrees that night in Rawlins. So, in our instance, the lines were starting to freeze with the temperature still in the 20's.

I called Keystone RV the following Monday to express my concern about this. The Customer Service Representative told me and I am not making this up: "We can't guarantee the unit below 30 or 35 degrees or whatever freezing is."

I called a local Keystone dealer to see if there was anything I could do after the fact to increase the robustness of our 250RS. He left me a message calling the Arctic Barrier, "Almost totally useless."

Based on Tim Domiano's previous great customer service, I crafted a letter to him expressing my concerns.

Tim called me today and wasted almost an hour tap dancing around the issue. He tried to tell me the aforementioned all winter long in Montana story 3 times, but then said that wasn't meant to imply that an Outback could be used in below freezing temperatures. He further advised that Keystone does not test their units in cold weather so there was no guarantee that they were usable anywhere below freezing. He did tell me that maybe I should leave the cabinet doors open and come up with a way of propping up the couch the water sits under in between telling me how he use to camp in a trailer when skiing in California.

Anyone want to buy a trailer?
 

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Anyone want to buy a trailer?
Sorry for your introduction to the truth in advertizing that is trailer sales. It is also too bad you did not join this forum before you bought as you would have found out that it is a 3 season trailer as it comes off the lot. Even a cursory look under the trailer should have exposed this fact to you if based on nothing more then the exposed low point drains.

I won't bore you with tales of winter camping as it has been done by many on here but it does require some prep beyond your stock trailer.

Good luck and welcome to Outbackers.
 

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7. Hope all goes well when it gets real cold. -10 with -40 windchill. If not, install several heat lamps under trailer. Turn them on when it hits 10f or less.

-CC
Wind Chill has no impact on inanimate objects. That said, the heat lamps should help you when the temps drop into the teens but sustained temps in single digits will be tough to manage. Good luck.
 
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This is the reason we went to a 4 season trailer with dual pane windows as I have to be able to live in it full time here in Wyoming.
-CC
The DW has a cousin that lives in Laramie. I understand that there is at least two weeks of summer in Wyoming. I would guess that it is snowing by now.
Good luck.
 

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The Arctic Barrier Means Nothing.

The ducting runs through the basement, but blows no hot air in to the basement.

We bought a 2014 Outback250RS with the Arctic Barrier after the Outback Product Manager, Tim Domiano, personally showed us Outback's at the plant in Goshen this past June, regaling us with tales of someone living in Montana all winter long in their Outback. This was a selling point for us.

We got stuck in an early blizzard in Rawlins, WY, about 10 days ago. I ran the tap when we got in and was really concerned to see slush come out as we had left the heat and water heater on when we left the Tetons some four hours earlier. I ran the water until it was clear. We left the slides in, the hot water heater on and the furnace set to 65 degrees all night. The furnace ran almost constantly all night. When we woke up in the morning, the lines were frozen enough that we had no running water. The temperature had bottomed out at 21 degrees that night in Rawlins. So, in our instance, the lines were starting to freeze with the temperature still in the 20's.

I called Keystone RV the following Monday to express my concern about this. The Customer Service Representative told me and I am not making this up: "We can't guarantee the unit below 30 or 35 degrees or whatever freezing is."

I called a local Keystone dealer to see if there was anything I could do after the fact to increase the robustness of our 250RS. He left me a message calling the Arctic Barrier, "Almost totally useless."

Based on Tim Domiano's previous great customer service, I crafted a letter to him expressing my concerns.

Tim called me today and wasted almost an hour tap dancing around the issue. He tried to tell me the aforementioned all winter long in Montana story 3 times, but then said that wasn't meant to imply that an Outback could be used in below freezing temperatures. He further advised that Keystone does not test their units in cold weather so there was no guarantee that they were usable anywhere below freezing. He did tell me that maybe I should leave the cabinet doors open and come up with a way of propping up the couch the water sits under in between telling me how he use to camp in a trailer when skiing in California.

Anyone want to buy a trailer?
Outbacks are 3 season trailers, we also learned that first hand. We owned a '07 23RS back when Outbacks didn't have the "Arctic Barrier" and our experience was the exact same as yours one night in the New Mexico mountains when it got down to about 15f. I suspect that the insulation package on your Outback is no different than the one on our old 23RS except now it has been given a marketing name and the product manager way oversold it to you. That is obviously disappointing.

I would bet that the guy in Montana did live in his 250 through the winter but he did all of what I am doing and very likely, more (see list above). I was just down the road from you when you were in the Blizzard in Rawlins. It was a tough storm for it being this early in the season I am told. I had 5" of snow on the steps to my trailer that morning.

Our experience was that we could camp in our Outback and do so with no problem in temps down to say, the lower 30's or even the upper 20's. We owned it from '07 - '13 and camped regularly in the late fall. One day when we are no longer fulltiming, we will downsize to a trailer and Outback will still be very high on our list of trailers to look at. For what we do, camping wise, it is a great choice.

-CC
 

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With a little bit of humor:

here is the story. (made up of course)

Engineering goes to marketing and says, these Keystones are really a 3 season trailer, make sure customers know they should stay away from the Artic with them.

Marketing says, OK, we'll think of something. Ah,..... GOT IT Say it has a "Artic Barrier" customers will know they should stay away from the Artic. problem solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd like to thank everyone. I'm really not surprised at all at (all) of your responses. I figured the "Artic Barrier" feature was nothing but snake-oil, but I was hoping, that just maybe, it had a little value.

So it looks like I'll go ahead and winterize the trailer in the next few days and when we use it in the below 32 degrees months, we'll revert back to the old tent days ... you know ... port-a-potty and carrying water in 6 gallon containers, cat-bath, and tossing out the door dish water.

And looks like next spring, before camping starts, and it begins to warm up a bit, I'll be adding that insulation under the floor. The idea of those holes in the ducts also sound like a good idea.

We're not full timers at all, but do like to get out a few times in the winter months. This year, we're seriously considering a week trip to Florida the entire week of Christmas. So once out of the freeze state, I'll have to unwinterize and when returning, winterize. We've done this before in the past with our previous trailer. It works, it's just an extra thing to do, but would probably have to do it anyway, even if the camper was 100% true 4 season, as there's no heat when parked at home in the driveway, unless we do week-end driveway camps.

So, looks like I've got some work I need to plan ahead on.

Thanks again.
 

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I'd like to thank everyone. I'm really not surprised at all at (all) of your responses. I figured the "Artic Barrier" feature was nothing but snake-oil, but I was hoping, that just maybe, it had a little value.

So it looks like I'll go ahead and winterize the trailer in the next few days and when we use it in the below 32 degrees months, we'll revert back to the old tent days ... you know ... port-a-potty and carrying water in 6 gallon containers, cat-bath, and tossing out the door dish water.

And looks like next spring, before camping starts, and it begins to warm up a bit, I'll be adding that insulation under the floor. The idea of those holes in the ducts also sound like a good idea.

We're not full timers at all, but do like to get out a few times in the winter months. This year, we're seriously considering a week trip to Florida the entire week of Christmas. So once out of the freeze state, I'll have to unwinterize and when returning, winterize. We've done this before in the past with our previous trailer. It works, it's just an extra thing to do, but would probably have to do it anyway, even if the camper was 100% true 4 season, as there's no heat when parked at home in the driveway, unless we do week-end driveway camps.

So, looks like I've got some work I need to plan ahead on.

Thanks again.
the floor already does have some insulation. 2" foam IIRC as a sandwich above the frame. with the holes in the duct pans, we camp in temps to the mid/upper teens at night and above freezing during the day without any issues, other than the furnace running a lot.
In addition to more insulation in the underbelly there is another big heat loss area. if you look at the front pass through, you'll find no insulation. put 1" foam insulation between the 1" studs on the top and facing the living area. then cover with luan.
 

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Boy this is disappointing. This was a selling point when I got his last year. The salesman gave us a bunch of BS when asked about it. They are worst than car salesmen. But good to know now the sticker means nothing. The camp ground I am going to has water holdup but no sewer. So if it gets cold enough I when turn on the outside hot/cold shower water to let the system stay above freezing. I have a tankless hot water so the flow switch will keep the heater from kicking in.
 
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