A Hawk in the Arctic

DYNOBOB

Adventurer
Two weeks ago we returned from a 12k mile, 30 day trip from OH to Prudhoe Bay, Homer, McCarthy, Dawson City, etc in our FWC Hawk. Knowing that condensation can be an issue, we kept all the windows opened slightly in one corner and the fan vent opened a bit. Most nights were around freezing, lowest was 27F. Furnace thermostat was kept near its minimum so inside temps were ~50F in the morning. We never had an objectionable amount of condensation, a quick wipe was the most that was needed. Bottom of mattress never got damp. IMO, you have to practice moisture management whenever humans are breathing in a confined space, no matter the brand of box. Even in a composite, insulated unit you may have condensation forming somewhere in the thermal break that you cant see and then hidden mold.

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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
IMO, hanging around freezing for just a few hours (overnight lows) isnt enough to warranty any condensation with a well insulated unit.

Without even bothering to worry about humidity levels, the fact that you had ANY condensation inside of your camper at...

** Near freezing overnight temps
** With windows open
** Furnace keeping it just to 50 degrees


Tells me that you would have BIG condensation issues at...

** Legitimate cold temps
** Windows closed
** Furnace maintaining 65 degrees


We routinely spend weeks at a time in temps that go below zero at night, and still dont get above freezing in the day.
And until we track in a bunch of snow (often), windows stay shut.
We keep the furnace set to 65 degrees.

Even in these conditions, we have little to no condensation.
"worst" we have is on the marine escape hatch. And understandable, as it is in the ceiling (hottest part of the cabin) and is only a single pane poly lens.
All the rest of the windows are dual pane insulated units.
 

DYNOBOB

Adventurer
My post didn't say that vinyl wall pop-ups are well insulated or that they're well suited for extended arctic expeditions. My point is, if you manage it, condensation shouldn't be a huge issue in the conditions most owners are using them in.

In your camper where does the large quantity of water vapor outgassed overnight by two adults go in your windows shut, 65deg box when it's 20degs outside?

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Roger M.

Adventurer
Sort of wandering off-topic I believe.

Comparing condensation issues in an uninsulated camper (which is the thread topic, FWC, ATC) to condensation issues (or lack of them) in an insulated camper seems ... well, counterproductive.
 

Stan@FourWheel

Explorer
Four Wheel Campers has been selling campers for approx. 45 years now (since 1972). And yes, we are still using the same basic design as we always have, with the exception of design improvements, new floor plans, new features, and better materials over the years. For our average customers, what we build works well. Our customers seem to like what we are doing, but we also realize our campers can't fill the need for ever customer out there. Different customers have different needs.

For the most part I will post to the forums when I have time, when I can help with a reply, or when customers need additional information. I haven't jumped in on this thread mostly because the original poster (sg1) has some valid points for that extreme of a wet environment.

With an aluminum frame camper, aluminum skin exterior, and soft sides (pop-up material) customers can have condensation inside in wet & humid areas like that, as well as just from people inside the camper breathing all night and not cracking a port hole or roof vent.

I was out in Huntingdon, PA (East Coast) in Aug. and it was about 90 degrees with 80% humidity. During the middle of the day there was moisture on the dashboard of my rental car even though the AC was running on high? I wasn't used to seeing that as a Californian.

During a weekend evening on that same trip, the weather was the same, hot and humid, and a rain/thunderstorm rolled through the event around 10pm. It was extremely hot & humid inside the camper even at night and I couldn't open the vent or windows to get air flow because of the down pour of rain. Everything inside felt damp because of the humidity in the air. Kinda sucked to be honest, lol. But everyone at the event, in whatever vehicle, tent, trailer, or camper, was experiencing the same feeling. Living here on the West Coast and have been camping in Four Wheel Campers in the Western States for the past 13 years, I have not had any condensation problems to worry about, in all types of weather (because it is so dry out here).

The bigger the camper or trailer, the less condensation you will probably notice.

The smaller the space (like an FWC) you will tend to see more in extreme humidity.

But with any type of truck camper, condensation can accumulate without the proper ventilation. The TruckCamperMagazine article covers that quite well.

Wood frame, fiberglass, aluminum, composite, etc., they can all have varying degrees of condensation in that type of weather.

That said, some simple steps can be taken to greatly reduce the condensation in "most" wet & humid areas.

For the hundreds and hundreds of customers buying our campers each year, camping conditions are usually more mild, and the customer can just crack a vent and open a port hole to help eliminate the condensation. Doesn't seem to be that big of a problem.

We have customers that live "full time" in their FWC all over North America and some Internationally. And we have other customers that are "fair weather campers" and only use their truck camper a few times a year in the good weather. Both groups of customers don't seem to have many problems with condensation.

If you are using the camper in the extreme weather like sg1 describes, you will need to take additional measures to combat the humidity and moisture. And it sounds like it was so cold and wet, they weren't even able to air out / dry out the camper inside. :( But if you are using the camper in more normal conditions, there will usually be days when it warms up, or the rain stops so that that you can open things up and let things dry out / air out a bit.

Hope this helps.

See you all at the Overland Expo East if you are going. We are flying out today.

: )



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kerry

Expedition Leader
One reason I like the jalousie window in our Northstar TS1000 is that it allows ventilation in the rain without letting rain in.
 

fireball

Explorer
Our hawk has a side window with awning. Can open the window pretty far, and crack the roof vent just enough to turn the fan on and this setup works well in steady rain. If it was really windy or pouring the rain I imagine the roof vent could barely be cracked before allowing water in, but in a steady rain this has worked well for us to keep the air moving.
 

DYNOBOB

Adventurer
@sg1, Had rain 5 of 30 days, never hard. We were very blessed. No skeeters either :). We traveled from Aug 18 to Sept 18 in hopes of less rain, bugs, and tourists. I was on whichever bike was appropriate and Dad was chasing in truck.



Homer Spit


Valdez


McCarthy


Dalton Hwy, we camped on the North Slope 100mi from Prudhoe




Caught the big dipper and northern lights over the Yukon river at Dawson City


Mclaren Summit on Denali Hwy



Had three full-frame cameras between Dad/I so we got lots of pics. Will do a thread in Trips sometime.

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Clutch

<---Pass
Caught the big dipper and northern lights over the Yukon river at Dawson City




Had three full-frame cameras between Dad/I so we got lots of pics. Will do a thread in Trips sometime.

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Fantastic pictures! The Northern Lights shot....simply amazing!
 

jackattack

Observer
@sg1, Had rain 5 of 30 days, never hard. We were very blessed. No skeeters either :). We traveled from Aug 18 to Sept 18 in hopes of less rain, bugs, and tourists. I was on whichever bike was appropriate and Dad was chasing in truck.

McCarthy


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That's the life!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
If you want light and super insulated, you do need to get away from metal framing.

Composites honeycomb core panels are super cool, but lack legitimate R-values.


In order to stay lightweight and provide the needed R-value for full-time travel in ANY temp, Im sticking with wood framed, XPS foam insulated, all encapsulated and bonded with epoxy.

Once saturated with epoxy, wood rot is a thing of the past. And when built correctly, is just as light as similarly sized composite campers.
With composits build experience for aircraft and boats. We avoid wood and epoxy because its heavy and costly. The better approach is simply creating glass structure via foam stringers. But!!! Labor is your largest cost to engineered composit builds.

Example... A lear truck cap or glass shower pan is not engineered composite. Its whats called chopper gun resin/chopped glass mat sprayed together into a mold. This labor is just a guy shooting a chopper gun.

Engineered composites, involves labor laying cloth in specific directions and thicknesses, then today we wrap it and vacume / inject resin for max wetting and no over use of resin to make light and very strong structures. -<<<<< Very Labor intensive and costly. A engineered glass structure like a camper, or boat has the same weight to strength properties as an aluminum structure. But manufacturing costs and enviornmental requirements for Aluminum fab can be considerably less than engineered composite construction.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
My wood framed campers are not heavy. I can promise you that.

IDACAMPER2.0 is a 10' flatbed, 4-season model, and weighs just 2200 lbs dry.

Similar 4-season units using other methods of construction are considerably heavier.

An Artic fox 990 for example, has a dry weight of 3010 lbs.
 
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