year-round in Bozeman, MT

Hi all!

As a new fella to this idear of livin' in a travel trailer year round
I have a lot of questions, but will only start with a few here to get goin'.

- how could I estimate how much it would cost to take a travel trailer and winterize it for livin' near Bozeman, MT year-round? I am looking at the trailers sold in this area (at BigSky RV (they only have a little one winter-ready for ~$22k) and in the Bozeman Chronicle ( Trailers) and ones like the Jayco Eagle listed there-no slides and not winter ready right now).

Mainly I am lookin' to save a few bucks on this bloomin' rent. I'd rather pay myself for something than pay someone else's mortgage. And it'd be nice to have my own casa of a sort anyhow.

Oh yeah, that reminds me, would I get a personal loan or an auto loan or what to get a travel trailer? how's that work?

A few notes here: This trailer will sit in one place and not move possibly for years, so pulling it is NOT a concern. And I know to take real good care of the tires/wheels in case ever would want to pull'er somewhere again. and blockin' the whole deal up 'stead of bankin' on the little jacks for livin' in it. eh?

Plenty more questions and stuff coming soon I am sure. :)

I thank ya for readin' and look forward to learnin' here. ;)


C Nash

Senior Member
year-round in Bozeman, MT

Hi chuck,
You need to look at units that are 4 season rigs. Get one with dual pane windows, heated tanks and cold weather package. You can also underpin with so inexpensive materials if staying in one place. I have heard of putting bales of hay around the rv but, would kind of worry about fire with this myself. Anything to keep the winds from beneath the rv will help. As far as cost hard to say but the propane will be the biggy in winter. I would get a large tank because you will go through the small ones pretty quick. The A/Cs are pretty good in summer and power bill is not to bad. Cover the windows with some type foil. Condensation will be a big problem. Bank of the west or e-trade or a couple of banks that will go rv loans. Should be able to get around 6.0 rate now. Might check out a personel loan rate. Guess it has a lot to do with how much you will finiance. If you are going to be living in it i would recomend a slide but that is just a personel opinion. Welcome to the forum :)


Senior Member
year-round in Bozeman, MT

The loan you want is an RV loan. I got one from the dealer for 6.25 percent, but didn't shop around so maybe there is better out there. For one thing, I'd check out Good Sam Club to see what sort of loan they can provide.

A travel trailer is designed to travel. Of course, you can leave it sit for a long period, but it may not travel well any more after it gets used to sitting :) Also, there are may be things which are less conveniant since they are optimised for travel. For instance, I suspect you will have to allow your black tank to fill up and then dump every so often rather than just leave it open all the time (solids may build up, and could back up into the gray tank). Have you looked into 'pre-manufactured' homes which are designed to be set up and left there?

DL Rupper

Senior Member
year-round in Bozeman, MT

Hey MThand,
Check out the RV parks to see if they will accept a Park Model. If you are not going to move it for years, a Park Model may work out better as a home. You can always sell it when your ready to move on. They are usually a little less expensive than a 4 season trailer. Good luck.
year-round in Bozeman, MT

many thanks here fellas. sure appreciate your gettin' back to me on this deal. and thanks DL for the Park Model idea. I'll sure look into 'em. a quick search just showed me some deals that look a heckuva lot like a normal housetrailer. what is the real difference 'tween the two? size? poratbility? I am assuming the latter is one main point.

they don't look like something ya ever just hook up to a normal truck and take 'er somewhere else though. but I guess they are classified as an RV, eh? interestn

thanks again a bunch,

Oh yeah, I also looked at two different K-Z's today since they were down from Butte, MT in a parking lot peddlin' 'em. the fella was tellin' me that they are every bit as good as Jayco's, and easily winterizable. he was also tellin' me about coatin' the bottom plumbing and any pipes at all with some sort of undercoating type insulation stuff to keep it from ever freezing - better or equal to skirting or a bunch of bales of straw.

I don't much care for the straw idea for the fire threat, plus the weather would just hammer any sort of bale down to nothing after a spell I'd think. he was tellin' me that the sides are minimally insulated between the fiberglass ext. and the real wood int. but that the top and bottom are very heavily insulated as heat rises and cool seeps in from the floor. (these come with double pane windows). that's something I liked about the Durango and the Sportsmen is the all real wood int. the Durango was better setup inside for comfort and better bthrm too I thought. it was the 280FL model Durango.

he also made a good point to me to be careful not to get more than I'd need for space for heating costs reasons. makes sense to me.
the Sportsmen model was the 3205Px2, which was more than a guy'd need but plenty of storage inside, not that my STUFF would need to be kept warm, so I'd pass on that size and config of a trlr. he also quoted me on that durango at around $20-21k ($19,xxx at the "show" until this Tuesday 7/26).

but all in all, I'll keep readin' and writin' here til something comes of it. either real soon or not for a long time. who knows. hate the idea of payin someone else's expenses though with this rent. but places to put one year round near Bozeman is askin' a lot for a decent livable place. -thanks again.


Senior Member
year-round in Bozeman, MT

Have you considered where you will park this RV? Bozeman isn't exactly in the tropics and are there any RV parks that stay open all winter? It is very likely that you will have to park in a mobile home park, and I suggest that you make sure that there are places to put the trailer before you buy it. We have friends who sometimes spend the winter in Wichita, KS and they find that it is vital to have a large propne bottle to survive. They go through most of a 100# bottle each week in cold weather. Very few RVs are designed to be lived in when weather gets that cold. You also need to read the warranty of the RV before you buy it as many consider fulltime living to be a violation of the warranty. I am sure that Jayco is one of those.

Before you buy, ask if they will guarantee that your pipes will not freeze as long as you keep heat in the RV. If they say yes, make sure that they put that into writing. Most RVs are stored in very cold weather and as far north as you are, winter is not a short event. Frozen pipes can ruin an entire day!

Another major problem is humidity. RVs have a very low air volume so normal living in one will cause the humidity to be very high and with cold windows they will sweat. Many RVs also have problems with the walls sweating when it gets much below freezing. I am sure that in Bozeman you will see many days when the temperature does not get above 0 degrees. Skirting of some kind will be vital. You can believe some slick sales person if you wish, but no cover that is put under the RV by the manufacturer will keep things from freezing. You will also have cold floors and your drains will be exposed to the weather. To get a feel for how to keep things from freezing, visit a mobile home park and talk with the residnets there as I am sure that someone will be happy to give you some hints. Living in an RV will be no different.

I would also suggest that you look at a Teton RV first as they are still the only manufacturer that I know of who will guanantee aginst freezing. They are very expensive, but looking at one will give you some ideas of what you will need in winter. I suggest that you do a lot of very serious study before you undertake living in an RV all winter in that area. It can be done, but will you regret the decision before spring? I have owned RVs for more than 30 years and 2/3 of that was in Wyoming and there is no way that I would try to live through winter in one where you are.

You can do it if you plan well and purchase the right RV and do the all of the other things that are required. But it will not be easy.
year-round in Bozeman, MT

you might want to look into Skyline's selection of Park Trailers/Models which have been putting ujp with the wintering here in the Northwest. There are several slideout/tipouts that can provide the wonderful spacing you are looking for. Good luck and welcome!