Testing the winter capabilities of our RT6844
Greetings all fellow Dethleffs owners, having spent a large chunk of money on our van and having had it upgraded with the “winter pack” we decided to test it out over the very cold Christmas period . So we decided on a trip to the Loire in France and then on to the West coast below Nantes to visit some favourite haunts.
Leaving the UK on Christmas day we headed to the Somme area and stayed at Le Crotoy on arriving the ground was frozen solid and temperature was -5 outside but a toasty 20oC inside with the heater set at 5, overnight we set it to 3 and left it running to be awoken to a heavy frost with a icicle from the heater outlet to the ground and the external temperature at -8. The heating was turned up to 5 and we were again toasty all over the van with no cold spots even in the cab. We left after breakfast to drive down to the Loire finally stopping at the lovely new Aire at Amboise which cost 9 Euro`s including 16amp electric, we had the company of a French Hymer overnight when we had -10 on the thermometer. The following day we had a short walk around with a wind chill taking the temperature down to -10 at 12am lunch time, so we were glad we left the heating ticking over at number 4 [17oC] after lunch we drove down to another Aire at Turquant near to Samuar were we had the company of more French campers.
Over night the Temperature was again down to -10 and on waking we noticed the water froze as we had a shower, so we turned the “winter pack “ heated waste pipe and tank heaters on to find that in 5 mins all was well again even if the battery took a beating but still we had the solar panel and a long drive to the coast to recharge the battery. Over the next 7 days we slowly followed the Loire valley to Nantes before heading to the Island of Noirmouiter for the New year. The Aire was once again open with only French campers about , with temperatures staying around 0oC in the day and down to -12 at night with the cold east wind. Most of the campers about were A class German models which have excellent winter camping abilities most having double floors not that we did or needed them.
Basically to sum up our Renault based RT 6844 has the Winter pack fitted at the factory which is a higher density insulation in the walls ,floor and roof and heated external waste tank and all water traps which are in turn insulated. Also throughout the internal van we have small heating conduit about 1inch in diameter running around the cupboards and even the cassette toilet area so the waste does not freeze. When you sit at the side facing bench you can feel the heat rising behind you across the window , in the wardrobe is the switch for the tank heaters which we turned on before emptying waste water to save power as we are mainly away from mains electric. Our 250amp “agm” battery was excellent never dropping below half over the whole trip and was quickly recharged when driving. We had the heating on 24/7 changing the Temperature dial only at night and had to refill our 11kg propane “Gaslow” bottle 4 times over 10 days, so yes it was warm and we used the fridge freezer and full oven a lot but then that’s what we bought our motorhome for to be used in all climates. Overall we are very pleased with this vans insulation and heating and find the Renault cab to be better than the new fiat in terms of insulation.