Even though winter hasn’t officially started here in the northern hemisphere, it’s definitely getting colder. Some of my friends up north in the Rocky Mountains have already had lots of snow and bitterly cold temperatures.
So that got me thinking…can you go cold weather camping in a pop-top trailer?
I’m thinking about this because I recently wrote an article about the OBi Dweller 13, which has a pop-top roof. So does the OBi Dweller 15, which also has a rear slide-out for the bed.
Camping in a pop-top trailer with a slide-out would be crazy in the winter, right?
Not so fast…
In the video above by ROA Offroad, you can see a detailed cold weather camping comparison between the OBi Dweller 15 and the Black Series HQ15 (which is a hard-sided camper all the way to the roof).
Now, you might not think it’s fair to compare a hard-sided trailer to one with a canvas pop-top roof, but the results of ROA Offroad’s test might surprise you!
Below, I’ve summarized the performance of the Dweller 15 pop-top trailer during this cold weather test. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a capable, well-built, feature-packed trailer for all seasons, this one is worthy of your consideration!
Table of Contents:
- Keeping Warm is No Problem in the Dweller 15 Pop-Top Trailer
- So, Which Trailer is Better for Cold Weather Camping?
- Get a Full Tour of the OBi Dweller 15 Pop-Top Trailer
- Recommended Overlanding Gear
Keeping Warm is No Problem in the Dweller 15 Pop-Top Trailer
One of the best interior features of the Dweller 15 is that it has a complete air conditioning and heating system. The furnace is a Truma Combi unit that also serves as the hot water heater. This unit runs on propane, and is extremely efficient for heating the interior of the trailer, even with the roof up and the bed area slide-out deployed.
What’s nice about the Truma unit is that it’s dual-stage. You can run it at 7,500 BTUs or 14,300 BTUs, depending on how quickly you want the trailer to warm up.
In ROA Offroad’s winter test of the Dweller 15 and Black Series HQ15, each trailer got one bottle of propane. Each trailer’s furnace was set to 72 degrees to see how long it took to get the trailers from their cold temperatures of around 40 degrees up to the 72-degree mark. The Dweller did it in about two hours, while the Black Series only managed about 58 degrees after two hours.
In other words, having hard sides on your trailer is only part of the equation for heating. If you have a powerful and efficient Truma furnace, you can get your rig toasty warm, and fast!
But it isn’t just about how quickly a furnace can heat a trailer in the winter. How long can you have a toasty warm cabin?
The video shows that after 16 hours, the Dweller 15 was actually 73 degrees, despite it being in the low 30s outside. The Black Series warmed up overnight to 68 degrees – which is plenty warm – but still not quite to the 72-degree mark for the test.
At the 42-hour mark, the Black Series had cooled off to about 60 degrees. The Dweller 15, meanwhile, was at around 69 degrees (after Shane with ROA turned the furnace down to 71). So, both furnaces were still running after more than a day and a half, but clearly the Truma furnace in the Dweller 15 was doing a better job.
The Dweller’s furnace ended up turning off after about 47 hours, so nearly two full days of heat on a 20-pound propane tank. The Black Series furnace (which is a Dometic) lasted longer – it went off sometime during the third night – but it never could get the trailer up to temperature.
So, Which Trailer is Better for Cold Weather Camping?
On the one hand, the Dweller 15’s Truma furnace did a better job of achieving the desired temperature and maintaining it than the Dometic furnace in the Black Series HQ15. On the other hand, the HQ15’s furnace ran longer on the same amount of propane. So, it’s a bit of a wash, I suppose.
But, the fact that the Truma furnace in the OBi Dweller 15 was able to achieve the desired temperature so quickly and maintain it for nearly two days is really impressive considering it isn’t a hard-sided trailer.
And while the Dweller 15’s furnace kicked off sooner than the HQ15’s, two days of operation isn’t bad! Besides, you likely wouldn’t set the furnace at 72 degrees when you’re camping anyway – I usually keep my furnace at about 63 or 64 degrees. If you do the same, you’d certainly get another 12 hours of heat, and perhaps much more!
Now, I’m not trying to rain on the HQ15’s parade. It’s an incredible trailer! But, as Shane points out in the video, the performance of the Truma furnace is just more impressive given that it’s in a pop-top trailer.
Get a Full Tour of the OBi Dweller 15 Pop-Top Trailer
The Dweller 15 is an impressive trailer, to say the least. And that’s not just because of its cold weather camping performance!
This trailer is beautifully made and has features that make your camping adventures more comfortable and functional. You get air conditioning, a comfy bed, a complete kitchen, and a full bath, to name a few features.
It’s hard to describe just how good this camper is, so if you want to dig deep into its features, check out the video above by ROA Offroad. It’s a complete tour of the Dweller 15 from top to bottom, inside and out!
Recommended Overlanding Gear