In 2008, I had to chose again between purchasing a house or building one. I didn't have evidence that the 70th Week had begun, and so rather than purchasing and trying to find a job, I decided to build…because it’s half the price of purchasing so that the saved half can be considered income. If the 70th Week starts in 2009, I thought, I'd still have an extra $125,000 (saved) that I wouldn't otherwise, which could go toward trib needs.
I am building on a 100 acre property...that can moreover be divided in half and the severed tract sold to another post-tribber. Think about it, and ask if you'd like to do the same. What value might another post-tribber be when living smack beside you?
I bought an old trailer for a temporary home until I could swing a semi-finished room in the new house. As circumstances turned out, I ended up living in the trailer into January (2009). Near the middle of the month, the roof wasn't sheeted let alone shingled. It was in a cold climate to begin with, but as it happened, a very snowy November and December as well. It seemed the worst conditions for building.
I decided this morning (January 10) to write on my experiences because many trib survivors are going to be doing it in a trailer in cold climates. So here's a heads-up on what you can expect, and how you can prepare to deal with the problems.
I bought the trailer for a measly $550 because it was old (1975 model), dirty, had no working refrigerator or furnace, and all four tires looked shot. I'm telling this because there are a lot of Christians who write in lamenting that they can't afford a house in the tribulation. So, for many, it will be in a trailer, and for the very poor, in an old trailer.
After a day's clean up with some bleach spray and a couple of sponges, the place was very nice. It had a new floor and new paneling. All the cupboard doors were working well and looked new. The place was indeed a gem for the price. A day more spent fixing/replacing window screens, and getting on a new tire, and that was about it, home sweet home. It was June then.
The place had no shower stall, and the toilet was useless as I didn't have running water. So I used the bathroom as a pantry. I took showers outdoors by heating water on a fire. The smoke kept mosquitos away, and the heat of the fire kept my body tolerably warm on cool/breezy evenings. Sometimes it was all too perfect: no mosquitos, no cold, and taking a shower in the raw surrounded by woods. Ah, the life...
My toilet was a shovel and a hole in the dirt. It doesn't hurt the environment because there's a different location for the hole each time, and the dirt looks after decomposition just fine in no-time at all. For "number one," I used the same hole for a week, then covered it up with dirt. For "number two," I covered the hole immediately, of course. No smell anywhere, ever, no problem...except for the mosquitos as they didn't seem to care where they bit me. They made the job go quick, let me tell you.
Okay, on to other topics. The fridge. I thought to myself that I was being trib-conditioned on this circumstance because we won't likely have working fridges in the trib, at least not ones running on electricity. I was lucky this time because it was a rather cool summer. I could keep even lettuce for quite a few days. The fridge door would be left open all night, and closed only when the morning air in the trailer warmed up. After a sweltering day outside, the fridge temperature was not too bad.
This is one good reason to include a fridge (or an insulated room/cooler of some sort) in your trib plans, even if it won't run, but there is another reason: to keep foods from freezing overnight in the winter. Yes, now I do the reverse: leave the fridge door open for a while as I heat the trailer air, and afterward the fridge door is closed all night long so foods can retain some heat until morning.
I did not eat certain foods that were in the fridge too long unless cooked hot enough to kill bacteria. I am happy to report that it was do-able all summer long without any speakable problems whatsoever. But, of course, I wasn't in the trib yet. I was buying foods fresh each week or two. My buying habits changed, however; more canned and dried foods. Obviously, we are going to purchase great quantities of canned/dried foods for trib purposes, so as to minimize as much as possible the need for refrigeration.
I learned that drinking water at room temperature did not feel too bad at all, and it was actually healthier because I drank more as compared to frigid water straight from a (working) fridge. I filled containers of tap water from town, and went through roughly 10 gallons a week, used only for drinking, washing dishes, and shaving. To minimize water use for dishes, I used paper plates.
I wouldn't wash my pots and pans after each use because any minimal bacteria built up over night would be killed in the next cooking process. In fact, if I fried up beef or chicken, I would let the spicy fat (mmm, so very tasty) sit until the next day, using it as a base for soup...cooked in the same pan more than long enough to kill any bacteria that may have formed. Keep in mind that dangerous bacteria is not to be found on a pan that has been used for cooking, but on meat that has not yet been cooked.
After making soup, the pan would be rather clean, so I'd let it stay yet another night, and fry up some beef for tacos, so why not use the fat from that for more soup the next day. And that's what I did. Eventually (never longer than about a week), the pan would be washed when it had built up a crust of old food that looked nasty. It's a man's dream, I tell you, and so very do-able!
I cursed the mosquitos and black flies all summer long, and as it was a very rainy summer, they both lingered into September. It was the worst season for this in a very long time. Let me tell you to prepare for these, as they can threaten your survival in the trib by making it very difficult to work outdoors.
In the trib, it will be necessary for many of us to tend gardens. If you can't, due to the biting flies, you will starve. Without mosquito tent shirts/suits (I bought shirts with hoods for $12 at Walmart), it'll be a freak show to go out and do any sort of work in the woods. A few black flies always found a way in, but the shirts made it do-able. I resisted buying the expensive ones ($30-40) because they have too much material, and so get way too unbearably hot to work in. They'd be fine for cooler times in the year, but not for summer. Make sure you get plenty because they rip easily when working with them. Have lots of tape (duct tape worked great) to fix the rips.
I was surprised that on most nights, there would not be any mosquitos in the trailer. I can't get to sleep if I hear a mosquito; I've got to get up to look after it. The problem was, mosquitos would always be on my door's screen, and no sooner would I open the door (done many times each day) that they would fly in and attack me at once. So it became a good habit to keep a fly swatter or two hanging at the same location so I'd know where one was, and as soon as I heard a zzzzz sound, be in 9 am, noon, 3 pm, or whatever, I'd look after it. This worked excellently because by bed time, on most nights, there was not one mosquito in the trailer. Ah..life can be good.
As September came, the biting bugs diminished to the point of great relief, but at the end of the month I started to worry about dealing with coming cold. I had three working elements on the gas stove. I knew my physics enough to know that I could use them for heating the trailer, to some extent, anyway. I knew that propane makes no toxic exhaust, just water and carbon dioxide CO2). The latter, unlike carbon monoxide (CO), can't kill unless it is breathed in large doses. I bought a CO detector anyway, and it has never gone off even though it's just three feet from the stove.
"Carbon dioxide is volatile enough to our systems that even a 30% concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can quickly cause unconsciousness and death, with little warning other than fatigue and lightheadedness, according to Sorey et al.'s USGS 2000 article."
The article goes on to say that permanent brain damage can result. Wikipedia says: "CO2 in concentrations of 7% to 10% cause dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour." I have no idea what the concentration is in my trailer at any time, but I never go to bed unless I open the trailer door for a minute or two to clear the air. I've never been dizzy or unconscious, and am always attentive to how I feel as the stove burners are on.
For trib survivors, what I'm about to say is important. I wondered how long I could keep the stove elements going each day, in an enclosed trailer, before its air became over-filled with carbon dioxide. I reasoned not to leave stove burners on during sleep, or I might never wake (don't know if it's true or not, but I don't want to take the chance). To solve the concentration problem, I open the trailer door for a minute every hour or so.
And that's what I did all of October: use the stove burners for heat...even though there was a note on the stove saying not to use the burners for heating purposes. I didn't have a problem whatsoever with feeling tired. I didn't sense any toxicity in the air or in my system. I felt fine. But I'm not a doctor; I don't know what the effects could be of small daily doses. All I know is that some CO2 is harmless.
This is important because gas furnaces (or gas stoves with exhaust vents) are only 70-80 percent efficient, meaning that 20-30 percent of the fuel's heat (and of your money) goes up the chimney pipe. I was very delighted because every bit of heat from the stove burner was used for heating: can't get better efficiency than that! It was a method of heating that had never dawned on me before, and the bonus is that in-trailer survivors might be able to get away without paying the cost of a pipe-vented heating system.
Cook stoves put out only so much heat, and I wondered if three stove elements could get me through the dead of winter. I doubted it very much, judging by the situation in October. For example, when it dipped below freezing temperature outdoors, I'd wake up with 45 F in the trailer. Ouch, it felt cold, but using two stove burners would get the temperature up to 60 in about a half an hour. Fantastic! But I tried to imagine days and nights in a row at 0 degrees F, as those conditions would arrive many times over a winter. I simply didn't think that three burners would do the job.
I am happy to report that, last night for example, it dipped to -10 F outdoors, while the trailer thermometer on my table registered 2 F when I awoke. Three burners on full at that time raised the temperature to comfortable levels in an hour, but better still, I was comfortable after just five minutes. Here's why: I have slowly become so accustomed to the cold, since October, that I am now comfortable at 30 F.
When I get out of bed with just a tee-shirt and a sweat shirt, and cotton track pants, I feel some significant discomfort at temperatures below 20 F, as for example when I awake to take a leak for just one minute. I can't wait to finish to jump back into the warmth of the sleeping bags. But, when I awake each morning for good, no sooner do I put on a second sweat shirt and a baggy lined cotton shirt on top of that, that I am fine almost immediately. I turn on the burners, stand there, and warm my boots. By the time I get my jeans on, I feel like I'm in the tropics.
Yes, I am happy to report that this is do-able, very do-able, without much discomfort let alone pain. I have done it at these same temperatures a few times already as December was very unusually cold. One great consolation is that, when I step outside, I don't feel very cold because my body is already in the cold. The body feels cold only when the skin is losing significant heat.
CO2 is heavier than air and therefore becomes concentrated on the floor. My bed is close to the floor so that clearing the air each night before bed is very preferable, even though the trailer air becones colder as I slip into the sleeping bag. A possible solution to high CO2 concentrations is a small hole in the floor to act as a CO2 drain.
Another article says: "Lower [CO2] concentrations may cause headache, sweating, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, mental depression, visual disturbances or shaking. The seriousness of the latter symptoms is dependent on the concentration of carbon dioxide and the length of time the individual is exposed." I have never experienced any of these symptoms, even when three burners are on full for a couple of hours. When I sense that the air is impure, I open the trailer door.
I would caution against a family situation where parents are not always able to monitor what kids are doing. If there is a basement, beware that CO2 should concentrate there.
Bed is the warmest place of all. I have one sleeping bag rated for 25 F, and a second one rated for freezing temperature. So long as there is no opening for cold to get to my body, I am perfectly comfortable. I pull both sides of the "blankets" close to my neck, and keep the cold air out no problem. I wear a touk (knitted hat), and have it come over my eyes to keep forehead warm; if the tip of the nose feels cold, I have the hat come down over the nose. I am very comfortable all night long...except for the first few minutes getting in.
I have cold feet, very cold, and for days now the tips of the big toes have been numb. I'm worried about it. The point here is that my feet were "freezing-cold" when getting into bed because the sleeping bags are on a cold bed until I warm them up with my body heat. It so happens that heat in the trailer stays near the ceiling, but the bed is just one foot off the very cold floor. This is a good reason to locate your bed higher up, or at least insulate below the bed (which I haven't done).
I wear socks to bed, but still the feet felt like blocks of ice. Two pairs of socks would help, but then I couldn't stand hot feet later in the night. So back to one pair it had to be. What I did to solve the problem at first was to rub my feet vigorously on the sleeping bag to make friction-heat, and it worked not bad but not good enough. My feet felt cold for as long as an hour. So I started hanging the foot end of the sleeping bag to a hook in the ceiling, for man hour or more before bed, and that did the trick. My feet were very happy after that. A hot water bottle would be better, but I couldn't find one in town.
My feet are not always happy during the day. I have skidoo boots, but still my feet get cold, especially if I sit at the computer. They would be fine when working outdoors, but in the trailer, when my body is at rest, the soles of my feet become painfully cold, sometimes in less than a half-hour. The skidoo boots are rubber exterior with a foam-boot insert, where the foam is a quarter of an inch thick. These are not good enough on a floor at sub-freezing temperatures.
Wearing double socks didn't help much, partly because foam, like any other insulating material, works less efficiently when compressed. This is why feet get colder when wearing tight shoes/boots. I recommend boots a size or two too large to act as indoor slippers, so that you can wear double or triple socks while not making the feet too tight in the boots. They say wool is a better insulating material than cotton, but as yet I haven't bought wool socks.
This foot problem needs to be addressed and solved. Without healthy feet, you won't be good to anyone in the trib. The first thing that came to mind was a mat under my boots at the computer table. The more air in the mat the better, so I bought one of those hairy/bristly welcome mats. It helped but didn't eradicate cold feet.
The trick is to find the material that conducts heat the least, and in a cold trailer one can easily do a test. Just touch anything with the hand; if it feels cold, it's a good conductor. Metal is a good heat conductor. If whatever you touch feels warmer, it's a poorer conductor. The lining in my cotton shirt feels the warmest. It's a felt-like material. Before you purchase trib clothes, do a test in a cold room. Find what the best materials are. There should be lists online of the "warmest" materials and best insulators.
The welcome-mat material felt much warmer than the vinyl-floor material, but still my feet got cold. I eliminated the problem by having a second pair of boots. I put one pair on the fan hood directly above the stove elements, and by the time my feet get cold in one pair, the pair above the burners are so nice and toasty that it doesn't feel like trouble to change the boots, but something I look forward to. Today, almost as cold as it will ever get this winter, I'm changing boots every half hour. Other times, maybe once each hour. By the end of March, probably not at all. It's do-able!
I think I will get some boots rated for the Arctic, anyway. I don't care if they cost $500, because without good feet, I am practically useless in the trib.
I want you to know that the temperature difference between the ceiling area and the floor area is 30 or more degrees. One can feel the difference by lowering a hand through the air. A few inches below the ceiling, the air is rather hot, perhaps as high as 80 F. A foot down and it's still warm. Three feet down and the hand feels neither warm nor hot. Near the floor, it is more than cool, and the floor itself near freezing.
It is surprisingly expensive (in the thousands) to devote solar panels and battery pack merely to an air fan to circulate this air, for the sun is low in the sky in winter and therefore gives very little electrical power. I have solar panels that combined give not much more than 500 watts at this time of year on a perfectly sunny day. That would run a 50-watt fan for 10 hours daily, though the sun doesn't shine every day. In any case, my panels with batteries and charger cost $5,000. That's just too much to devote to a fan. Pay $500 for artic-rated boots, and you'll have $4,500 more for food.
I'm fine in the upper body when the thermometer on the table, about three feet off the floor, is 30 F or higher. It's the lower half of the body that feels chilly at times, though not frigid nor shivering. I have not shivered yet. The cold is easy to beat on all parts of the body by simply wearing more clothes. That's the difference between death and life in a cold climate, having enough clothes.
My problem is when it comes to just sitting in the trailer. Figure on doing so in most of the hours over a long winter, because it's too cold to work outside, and besides you may not have much to do. You won't likely be able to use a computer, online anyway, nor go for a drive. I dread a four-hour stretch with nothing to do. I can grudgingly do an hour or two, but sitting all day in a confined place is a sheer prison for me.
When I come in from work, the trailer is fully cold because I don't waste heat when out working. The trailer feels very warm anyway, not only because I've been working, but working in a colder climate. But after a half hour of doing little in the trailer, I start to feel chills and need the heat turned on. Yet when I'm sitting for long, I can feel chilly even when the thermometer on the table reads 55 F. Putting on more clothes makes me warmer, but also less comfortable. If I turn up the heat, I use more fuel, which in the trib will be precious. What's the solution?
The main reason for chills is the table. It's against three walls so that heat in the upper half of the trailer does not get in under the table very well. It's always frigid under that table. If only I had a heat source under the table, the temperature in the rest of the trailer wouldn't matter; I could get away with far less heating cost if all I had to do was keep the space under the table at 60 F.
I can't use electric heat because I'm on solar panels that don't provide enough power for such an appliance. I tried a kerosene heater, but had to return it because it makes too much smoke/fumes on start-up and shut-down, burns about $1 per hour of kerosene, and moreover has little heat-level adjustment so that it was way too hot under the table. If I'm not mistaken, kerosene doesn't have a long shelf life, so I don't recommend it for trib use.
Propane has a long shelf life, but my propane supplier said that two-burner stoves for indoors are not available. Such a thing would be ideal under the table. They do make two burner propane stoves as camping units, and I picked one up for the outdoor shower stall, but with these units one needs to use propane canisters, which are not only expensive as compared to delivered propane, but have a rather high chance of leaking unburned propane so as to blow the trailer up. It is against the law to use those camping units indoors.
I haven't by any means tried to find an indoor two-burner unit, so if you know where to get one, please let me know so that I can share it in this chapter. It should be cheaper to buy two of those rather than one typical four-burner propane stove. They are rather portable, and take up less space.
There are wall-hung propane heating units that use no chimney pipes, but they are no longer legal everywhere. The problem is, a trailer doesn't have a lot of wall space. I imagine that these units are better and safer to heat your trailer than a propane stove. Let's imagine that one burner on a stove goes out while another does not. Unburned propane could come through the burner that went out, and the flame in the other burner could then blow the place up. The wall-hung heating unit shouldn't have this possible problem. However, none of my burners have ever gone out, and the stove is as old as 1975. Still, I don't let gas burn all night as I sleep, or when I'm out working.
I'm using three burners in the morning, and two for the rest of the day. The two are left on pretty much all day, though at times only at half power. I am happy to report that I am still alive, and cannot say for certain whether I'm having ill effects in the body for breathing too much CO2. I don't know if the very mild light-headedness I sometimes feel is from the exhaust, or too much time on the computer. I think it's from the exhaust. I hold a rule that I cannot go to sleep while the burners are on, day or night.
I am happy to report that about 100 pounds of propane heated my trailer for all of December. Plus, a small 5-gallon propane tank was estimated to last 11 months for stove-top use exclusively. This means that a typical 250-gallon tank of propane should be enough for the entire tribulation. That's one great benefit for living in a trailer. By the way, my trailer is 18 feet long and seven feet wide, interior dimensions.
Now for the better news. Trailers have very little insulation. I notice that I get better heat results when there is a good layer of snow on the roof. What one could do, in the trib, is to line the entire trailer, from the ground up, with bales of hay/straw. The roof should be able to handle the weight of one layer, if the bales are kept dry with a tarp overtop. Can you imagine how little fuel you'd need? This is the way to go. It would also keep drafts from under the floor. In fact, the area under the floor would also become warm, and that could eliminate the cold feet.
I would suggest that every trib survivor have a trailer lined with bales of hay, as a security measure, even if they own a large house and plan to use it for the trib. If heating-fuel availability becomes a problem, there will be your salvation in that small hay house. You can plaster the outer side of the bales to waterproof it, or build a 2 x 4 wall all around. I don't know the R-value (= heat-resitivity leve) of a bale, but it's likely much more than an R-20 (= six-inch wide) batt of typical glass-fibre insulation.
Thanks to an emailer, I was tipped off about the possibilities of spontaneous combustion of straw if it gets wet and begins to rot too quickly. This may not be a problem in winter, but the heat of summer alone brings straw temperatures too close to the critical 130 F, the point at which wet internal straw becomes dangerous. A mere tarp over the bales needs to be checked for holes that may allow rain in. Strong winds can cause tarps to flap repeatedly and thereby form entry points for rain...if the tarp is a "cheap" material. Two layers of good tarp material seems safe...tightly stretched to do better in winds.
Straw bale houses are nothing new, but typically the walls are plastered on both sides to assure that spontaneous combustion cannot develop. Moreover, a standard roof has an over-hang beyond the walls so that roof water does not pour down along the walls. If you use a plywood front on the bales instead of plaster or tarps, I don't need to remind you to seal the joints perfectly; exterior plywood sheething comes with tongue and groove joints for the purpose of keeping rain out.
Instead of hay, you can use multiple layers of the R-20 batts. Just build a 2 x 4 wall around the trailer, one to two feet from the trailer walls, and fill that gap with glass-fibre insulation...which is almost useless if it gets wet or is compressed. The 2 x 4 wall can then be covered with plywood sheeting...or the cheaper particle board, which should easily last 3.5 years, especially if painted/sealed.
I live in the trailer alone, and yet I feel crammed. Two people in there all winter might drive each other nuts. Or, a person that can't live alone easily might be better with a second person in spite of the place being more cluttered. If you want to live with a second person, get a larger trailer than mine. About 30 feet long would be good. You can arrange to have a wall down the center so that you'd need to heat just half the place, if need be.
A friend informed me that the ground does not freeze so long as snow is left over it. I didn't believe him, but just learned that it's true. This means that, possibly, water pipes can be buried rather shallow and yet not freeze. The p-trap in the sink drain freezes overnight, and once frozen, it takes a lot of warmth (i.e. propane cost) to thaw it. The problem is, I don't want heat under the sink; I'd rather leave the cupboard door closed to conserve propane. So I tried to heat the frozen drain with a candle only to find that it melts the plastic. I then realized that candles cost more than propane.
Possible solutions that I haven't tried are: sugar, salt or plumber's anti-freeze in the drain each night; insulating the p-trap; pouring boiling water down the drain before bed. I wash dishes just once a week, and when the drain is frozen, I find another way, by washing in a pan and tossing the dirty water outside. It's do-able, nothing that we can't handle, but it would be far nicer to have a working sink drain all winter. So prepare a solution if you would like one.
In September, I had to start taking the outdoor showers at the warmest times of the days, and only on the warmest of days. I knew I'd need to build a shelter from the wind. I built a four-foot square stall, but made the mistake of building it eight feet high. Six feet would have been much better for saving fuel and making me feel warmer.
The stall is equipped with a kerosene heater at waist height, which is left on before showers until the air near the top of the stall is 70 F. Now, in the dead of winter, it takes about an hour to reach that temperature, using up about 1/12th of a gallon at a cost of about one dollar. After I read 70 F, one propane burner is lit to boil about a gallon of water. That marks the time to gather fresh clothes and a towel, and to hang them in the stall to warm up.
When the water comes to a boil, I slip into the stall with rubber (i.e. waterproof) sandals on. I located the propane stove on a shelf as close to the floor (about six inches) as possible, but the frozen-solid gravel floor makes my sandaled feet very cold...because the heat of the stove goes straight up and not down to my feet. I turn on the second stove burner. It's now over 80 F near the top of the stall, but the second burner will bring it up to 90 by the time I'm washed, three or four minutes later.
As I remove my shirts, the kerosene heater generously throws heat against my mid-section, a heavenly sensation when living constantly in the cold. As I continue, the propane heater flashes heat up the legs, and this too is fantastic. If it's windy out, I pull a shower curtain that I hung so as to drape across the stall's door, and by the way I made the door close as tightly as possible. You won't regret taking these measures.
I pour the boiling gallon of water into a pail having less than a gallon of cold water. I pour until the water temperature is how I like it, as hot as I can possibly bare it! I start washing my lower half because it allows hot water to flow on my freezing toes, and whatever water gets into the frozen gravel helps to alleviate the discomfort. Then the best part comes: hot water poured over my head; then a couple of glorious hot rinses of shampoo no larger than a half a quart of water, with hot water running down a cooling body, ahh, this is good, very good. And by that time the gravel has warmed up. I have enough water to rinse soap everywhere, and when I am finished, I feel good, very good.
There was one time, when the outdoor air was a few degrees below freezing, that I forgot to bring in a towel. I had already undressed, and so I stepped outside like that and was amazed at my ability to handle the cold. I didn't have to handle anything because there was no cringing, and in fact I didn't feel cold at all. Mind you, the stall was just three feet from the trailer door, which is not a bad idea.
Make sure your camping stove doesn't leak unburned propane. Always check for the smell of propane before lighting.
I'm not sharing these things for no good reason, or merely to tell how nice it feels to have a hot shower. I want you to get a glimpse of what you may need to do, so that you can plan better than what I've done on a spur of the moment for a temporary situation. My shower has no insulation, and it's skin is just quarter-inch aspenite (= particle board). Imagine how cost-effective you could make your stall with some heavy-duty insulation.
When I started to worry about my winter water supply back in October, since the ground would soon be frozen while the clouds wouldn't produce rain, it didn't take long to realize that white water would always be just outside the trailer. But a five-gallon bucket of loose snow makes less than a half-gallon of water, and so it's a nuisance at this time to melt enough snow for a shower....since I scoop snow out of the bucket in bits for transfer to a stove-top pan. But you could rig up a much better snow-melting system. It will be great not to have to worry about a water supply all winter long, and one could easily make a catchment system in the ground to catch water from the spring thaw.
A problem with being couped in a small space over the winter is condensation build-up on all windows and some other cold surfaces. Condensation builds greatest on surfaces allowing heat escape most efficiently. You know how water drips from windows and makes anything below them damp. I should clarify that the dripping is not visible. Drops hanging from window frames drip so slowly that they drip when you're not looking. In other words, it's not a waterfall by any means, but it is a nuisance. My sleeping bag is often frozen to the wall after becoming wet from the drops.
In the trib, I should eliminate windows altogether by boarding them up, or by covering them with hay bales. I opened one window next to the bed all night long until December, because I like fresh air as I sleep, but eventually the windows froze solid so that none are of any value in January. Making soup or boiling water for any reason only adds to condensation problems, for which reason I keep a lid on all water boiling procedures. In other words, get lids for the trib.
If you use blinds over the windows, close them "backwards" so that the rising warm air against the inner side of the blinds is not forced through toward the window, but rather directed straight up along the blind's inner surface. This will keep much condensation levels down, and save heat.
Some of my walls are continuously wet, but fortunately, the wall material is water proof, and for that reason doesn't form much mold. Bare wood would form too much mold, even in winter. Curtains could be mold food too. I keep a spray bottle of half water, half bleach, to kill mold.
I taped transparent plastic sheeting (just 1 millimeter thick) to all windows. This thin film doesn't stop much heat from escaping through it, but its purpose is huge in keeping air from escaping through it. In every bit of air there is also heat. Heat cannot move about unless air moves about, and vice versa. You don't want to lose your hot air, so seal as many of the trailers holes and cracks as you can.
If you seal your trailer exceptionally well, or if it's sealed excellently to begin with, you may want to leave one or two holes for natural ventilation (your propane stove will consume oxygen that needs to be replenished). Minimal hot air will escape out a hole in the floor as compared to a hole near the ceiling, since hot air tends to rise. If you're thinking that mice will find a hole closer to the floor than one on the roof, I had mice and could not figure out how they got in until I discovered their entry point in the plumbing vent on the roof. They are getting in through another route, but I could not find it.
If it bothers you to have mice in your trailer, you wouldn't want to poison them because dead mice where you can't get at them, often in the walls, might smell bad. I murdered quite a few against my will by mousetrap and other methods, because they were getting into the utensils. We can't let mice urinate on utensils, that's crossing the line. And you can't ask them not to, so you'll have no choice but to bring mousetraps to your trib retreat.
A consolation for living in the snow is no mud on the trailer floor, unlike most every day from October to December. A mud-dirty floor is a significant liability to the psychology of a person in confined quarters. Bring bleach for various clean up jobs; it's by far the least expensive bacteria killer on the market. Just don't spray it on metal unless you wipe dry right away.
I use a five-gallon water thermos for drinking water, with two six-gallon containers as back up when it runs out. The three containers (filled with tap water) last about three to four weeks when dishes are done with snow water. Although the water in the thermos doesn't freeze over-night, the tap in the thermos does. Also, the other two jugs of water are usually frozen too. So, if I want coffee in the morning, I put water in a couple of small thermos bottles, and to make sure the bottles don't freeze I'll place them on a high shelf where they collect heat while the trailer's heat is on. For extra insurance, I can pour in some hot water before closing the bottles. I wouldn't want to use thermos bottles with glass inside, as they break too easily. My point is, bring thermos bottles to your trib trailer.
In fact, bring insulated coolers of various sizes, as they could come in very handy to keep things from freezing in winter, and certain foods from over-heating in summer. Foods that need to be kept frozen are hung in the shower stall; it keeps mice and animals from getting at them.
As trailers are cramped, they have minimal storage area. I bought many of the inexpensive plastic containers available everywhere now, with lids. I keep them outside no problem all winter long, filled with tools, electronic equipment, you name it. They are rain- as well as snow-proof.
I also have a cheap ($150) summer tent about eight feet in diameter. It's only problem is that snow caves in the roof if I don't regularly remove the snow. It's a nuisance because snow needs to be shoveled away all around the tent as well, but for large and important things like my expensive mattress, one just does what one's got to do. It's do-able, and after the first six or seven times, I stopped complaining about it. See? I'm almost ready for a smooth transition into the trib.
I made sure to get plenty of large tarps too. What if the trailer's roof starts to leak...directly over your bed? Actually, in the fall, I got my bath water from the trailer's roof. The roof was not perfectly level so that rain water fell off over one corner. I just got one of those large plastic storage containers, and placed it under the waterfall. I had plenty of bath water, clean-up water, and whatever-water. You could somehow arrange for the roof of your trailer to collect rain water, but if that doesn't work well, tie a tarp to trees branches in such a way as to create a funnel to your container(s). Or, set the tarp on the trailer's roof so that it directs water to one side.
Update January 12
There wis a thing I forgot to mention: toilet duties in winter. Somebody has to discuss this.
I haven't got any expertise on compost toilets or any others engineered for the campers, but unless you have a pit or septic system to flush into, you might opt for an outhouse...but there is no way I would have one because I hate the odors and the thought if what's below me. Instead, I go in a nice clean fresh paper lunch bag...rather than trying to find a thawed piece of ground to dig a hole with shovel. The bags can be thrown into a pit that will be covered in the spring.
I'm sharing this nasty topic so that if you like the idea, you'll pack enough lunch bags per winter season per person at one bag per day (I get 50 bags for a dollar at a local dollar store). However, as the contents of the bags will freeze quickly on many days, the paper will maintain its integrity so that you can use them more than once.
I checked the temperature this morning in my shower stall (which doubles as my "toilet"): 8 F (-12 C). This is considered "warm" now; I felt very comfortable dropping by pants for a minute; I assure you that this mid-section of the body can take these temperatures no problem, when, like this morning, there is no wind. But the thought of a cold toilet seat in an outhouse, forget it. Paper bags are the way to go, especially as I don't have running water for a toilet.
A better method is a toilet in the trailer with contents into a sealed hole in the ground, but without running water, you'll need to go to old-fashioned basics. Just paper bag it and learn the real meaning of "crap shoot." You'll get better fast, at aiming, once you've missed once or twice. Bottom line: don't hit the rim of the bag. If you don't like this method, you can fix up an outhouse without a "warm" toilet seat.
This brings me to "number one" duties inside the trailer. Men, rather than using a jar, use a container with a handle so that you don't have a catastrophe when it's dropped while half asleep in the middle of the dark night. I used an empty bleach bottle at first, but not for long. I had to convert to a taco-sauce jug because it's opening was larger. You'll thank me for this small detail if ever you need to resort to a jug. I fill more than the 1.5 quart jug daily, so I have two. I throw it into one 10-inch diameter hole in the ground all winter long, and plan to fill in the spring. No problems.
Ladies, if you trailer I don't think you'll be able to use a jug, so plan on having whatever it takes. I imagine a wide pail, but you can't just leave it sit open in the trailer, so you'll need to have a lid for the pail. Maybe they sell pee-buckets for women campers, I wouldn't know. If your pee jugs/buckets are broken for any reason, it might be out in the cold for you. So prepare more than just one.
Men, figure out how much toilet paper you would need per year, and quadruple it (at the very least) for women. They don't sell toilet paper in packages of twelve for the sake of men. If we run out of toilet paper, remember that when Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves, they were covering themselves with the toilet paper of the day...the bigger leaf for Eve. For 3.5 years, you might need one freight train just to store this one item for the women. We know that God had a bias for men by the trouble He gave women in this department. Every woman envies the ease by which a man takes a leak on the side of the road.