Best Pop Up Truck Camper for Winter Use

Shake-n-bake

New member
Not sure I can add anything that hasn't already been provided other than our experience. We picked up our Northstar TC 800 in Ohio in January and while driving back to NC we decided to camp in KY in the Daniel Boone National Forest at one of the campgrounds. This was brand new to us as we've never had a TC. We had already bought flannel sheets and a good comforter and brought along 0 degree sleeping bags just in case. The temps that night hovered in the single digits and when we woke it was 5 degrees. The propane heater kept the TC pretty toasty but we seemed to go from too hot to a little too cold. It seemed that the bi-metallic coil thermometer didn't regulate the heat well enough, probably a 5-8 degree swing. We replaced that with a Honeywell electronic thermometer and that made a huge difference as the heat was moderated to about a 1 degree swing and a more consistent and comfortable environment. We don'y have the winterized version but seemed to be ok with us. What we really liked about our winter camping was the lack of other folks around. Whether boondocking or staying at a state park/national park campground, we were generally the only ones there and free to let the dogs explore a little more freely than if the place was loaded with campers. The ranger at one campground while patrolling saw me with our two hounds off leash and just nodded, knowing that they were under control and respectful that there were no guests other than one 5th wheel on site. Wouldn't be the case in spring/summer season. Looking forward to our next trip as we are headed to UT for a few weeks for some hiking, mtn biking and general exploring.
 

joelbert

Adventurer
I'm so glad to read Trikebubble's post since this is basically what I've ordered and just waiting for it to arrive in Bozeman, MT. Did you add anything to your Tundra suspension or is it still stock?
 

Trikebubble

Adventurer
I'm so glad to read Trikebubble's post since this is basically what I've ordered and just waiting for it to arrive in Bozeman, MT. Did you add anything to your Tundra suspension or is it still stock?
Thanks. I've replaced all my suspension components. I went a little gonzo and installed ADS Racing goodies along with OME Dakar leaf packs and air bags. I've seen guys get by with airbags alone, but I wanted a better set of HD leaf packs and have the airbags to back them up.

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Littlehouse

Adventurer
Wouldn't it be pretty easy to make some Thinsulate "blankets" for the top portion of the pop-up? I've seen something called a snow curtain that outside van uses for their sleeping area, along with the divider for the cab area and living area. Crua Outdoors also has a tent liner that insulates their tents. I'd just attach it when needed, and leave it home when you don't.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
We use the aluminum foil insulation stuff from Home Depot to go on the inside of the canvas portion in cold weather. We store the stuff under the mattress when not using it.
 

Trikebubble

Adventurer
Trikebubble, I love the photos of your TC in the snow storm.
Thank you. We were so amped up to try our camper when we got it, we took the first available weekend and headed into the mountains for some snowshoeing and camping. Of course, with our luck it stormed all night and we woke to a solid 1' of fresh snow everywhere. The camper did it's job, and allowed us to enjoy another great day of snowshoeing.
 

scott7022

Nobody
Has anyone addressed the condensation issue in soft-sided pop-ups or is there really "MORE" of an issue than usual when you put two moisture making mammals in an insulated box? I get the material choices can stop ingress of rain and moisture. They have been building inflatables for years with soft-sided material that gets abused more than soft side walls. In reading here and other forums, I keep reading "wiping up condensation" in association with soft-sided pop-ups. While this is a pain in sport/recreation camping, it could be devastating to someone doing filming with a Red Weapon or like Digital camera. The cost of the camera is close to the cost of a loaded Grandby. Now I get traditional wisdom says if you need to protect an expensive piece of gear stick it in a pelican case or if you can afford that camera buy a...But the ability of a popup to get into places is beyond argument and while Alaskan "raises and lowers" it is bloody heavy compared to some of the composites being produced by Overland Explorer. The camera can't live in a Pelican case and needs to attach to a computer to pull the files and then there is the computer system itself. I get A/C units can be used a dehumidifier does anyone have any experience with electronic measures. Or like I mentioned in the start of this post is it REALLY MORE of an issue? Informed answers significantly appriciated. Thanks.
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
It varies a lot. I have very little issues with condensation with me and one dog, where others have huge problems. Not exactly sure why. Perhaps because I don't mind running the heater at night.
 

Runt

Adventurer
Has anyone addressed the condensation issue in soft-sided pop-ups or is there really "MORE" of an issue than usual when you put two moisture making mammals in an insulated box? I get the material choices can stop ingress of rain and moisture. They have been building inflatables for years with soft-sided material that gets abused more than soft side walls. In reading here and other forums, I keep reading "wiping up condensation" in association with soft-sided pop-ups. While this is a pain in sport/recreation camping, it could be devastating to someone doing filming with a Red Weapon or like Digital camera. The cost of the camera is close to the cost of a loaded Grandby. Now I get traditional wisdom says if you need to protect an expensive piece of gear stick it in a pelican case or if you can afford that camera buy a...But the ability of a popup to get into places is beyond argument and while Alaskan "raises and lowers" it is bloody heavy compared to some of the composites being produced by Overland Explorer. The camera can't live in a Pelican case and needs to attach to a computer to pull the files and then there is the computer system itself. I get A/C units can be used a dehumidifier does anyone have any experience with electronic measures. Or like I mentioned in the start of this post is it REALLY MORE of an issue? Informed answers significantly appriciated. Thanks.
I use my camper for work in all sorts of temperature extreme's. I have a lap top in it all the time & never have had issues with my electronics. When its 0 C to - 40 C out I have condensation issues but wiping walls down and ringing out the cloth in the sink seems to keep dry enough. Another thing that seems to make a big difference is running the fantastic fan while cooking....I open up the vent / escape hatch above the bed and crank the fantastic fan above the cassette toilet and it pulls air through that little camper.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
We've camped in our Northstar TS1000 for 10 years without any condensation problems. Not much winter camping but lots of colder weather and never had a problem with condensation. A couple of Australians borrowed it last September and they called me one morning when they were camped in Yosemite and it had rained and then turned to snow overnight. They were complaining about the camper canvas leaking since their bedding was wet all around the edges. After some thought I was able to hypothesize and they were able to confirm that the problem was not a leak but condensation. I have no idea what they were doing to cause the condensation problem but it is remarkable that we used the camper for 9 years with no problem at all yet the first night they spent in cold weather caused massive condensation problems for them. Obviously something in our uses the camper was very different. We never run the heater when we are sleeping, preferring to sleep in winter sleeping bags. Maybe they ran the heater all night. I don't know but it has made me realize that generalizations about condensation in canvas sided pop ups are difficult to make. Some people have a problem and others don't.
 

ProfessorChaos

New member
Thank you. We were so amped up to try our camper when we got it, we took the first available weekend and headed into the mountains for some snowshoeing and camping. Of course, with our luck it stormed all night and we woke to a solid 1' of fresh snow everywhere. The camper did it's job, and allowed us to enjoy another great day of snowshoeing.
Can you tell me if you did anything special to your FWC to prepare it for winter conditions?
 
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