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Living in camper in winter during construction

quicksilvervt | Posted in General Questions on

I know this isn’t exactly a building science question but I think it’s relevant for the DIY crowd šŸ˜‰

I’m planning a DIY build in Vermont. What’s been people’s experience living in a camper during the winter? I know moisture can be an issue. Does that quickly lead to mold? I see people all over the place living in campers, but I wonder what’s hidden in the walls.

I figured if anyone knew about mold it would be the folks here!

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  1. gusfhb | | #1

    HOw do you plan on getting water?

    1. quicksilvervt | | #2

      Iā€™m having a well drilled early in the project but I can always just haul it by hand.

  2. Expert Member


    Living in a camper is much the same as living in any small insulated space. You need some way of keeping the indoor humidity in check. If you do that though ventilation or de-humidification, it's fine.

  3. Longstory | | #4

    We did not live in our small teardrop camper all winter but slept in it from July-Dec here in TN and we monitored the indoor temp and humidity as mentioned. When it got colder we got sufficient ventilation by cracking the roof vent and one window. Building a structure where you can cook outside makes a big difference with water vapor in a trailer, and can be enjoyable. Our camper was placed inside a 50' by 30' pole barn and as the build progressed we were able to add power and water as we were close to the house. The addition of a small bathroom with tub/shower in the barn was a huge benefit as dealing with black and grey tanks is not fun over time. Again, we figured a way to put in the septic system early and share that between the buildings. When we saw that a cold snap was on the way we hurried to put a wood stove in the barn and that really saves you so you are not confined to a small trailer just to keep warm. It worked for us but not sure I would recommend it.

    Good luck

  4. Eric_U | | #5

    Almost finished with my experience now! Been living in a 5th wheel since May of last year. Was supposed to be out by Sept but crap happens. We are in Central NY btw. We only had two really bad moisture incidents. Both were while I was cooking I didn't realize how much steam I was making. Mixed with whatever the outdoor weather was led to our walls dripping with condensation. Had I opened the roof vent it probably wouldn't have been a problem. Keep in mind my only heat source is a propane furnace (I think some RVs have electric heat) and propane is wet so that doesn't help. Once we finally got got off generator power and got real power hooked up everything has been fine because we have two space heaters which are good enough to keep the RV at 70Ā°F as long as it doesn't drop below 25Ā° outside and they make it so dry my wife has been using a diffuser to help her nose. We do have the "arctic package" but I'm not sure how much it matters since a large percent of the exterior is windows and a bump out which you can easily feel draft next to. One tip would be to invest in a skirt or some way to block wind from going under the camper. We bought hay bales and put them in plastic bags (so we can feed them to our horses later) to put under the camper and it was noticeable. Over all temperature and moisture have been way better than we expected. I just hate the tiny kitchen

  5. fourforhome | | #6

    On our first build, we lived in our big 5th wheel camper for 14 months and relied on the propane furnace. That was poor. It cycled on/off every several minutes when it was cold outside and I had to get more propane every few days.
    For our second build, we had a smaller trailer that we slept and cooked in for two winter months. I used an oil/electric heater that was silent, steady, safe, and supplied by electricity (no stupid propane tanks). There was no comparison between the two.

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