Gary, my wife seems to be a lizzard as opposed to a penguin! Mooney, I will post a picture....I'm working on some paperwork and will try to sneak outside and snag one.
I should recognize that most campers are not necessarily used the way I use mine....I got spoiled a bit with the "plug and play" little S&S we had but I am confident I'll be able to make the Lance work just fine in the cold weather. The walls really weren't much different in the S&S than the Lance....but the Lance is a whole lot bigger, slide etc. When people ask me what I'm doing this weekend and I say camping, they look at me like I'm from mars. They say "isn't it cold to camp" and I say "that's what a thermostat is for!" In spite of my current issues, I WILL make this camper work for us, in very cold weather...I am just working on figuring out the best way to do it. Mooney took an awesome route and planned it all out ahead of time and worked with Host to make it the way he wanted it from scratch. Looks to me like his whole family is snug as a bug in a rug and there isn't a reason anyones camper can't be be brought up to snuff in similar fashion. I am planning on working with the Lance guys around here and/or CA and taking the approach of "I have the camper, now I will make it work better for my application" and I have no regrets about going this way.
In this afternoons discussion with the guys at the local Lance dealer, I have learned a bit more about what they do for customizations, and will likely work with them on it....maybe not all at once, but step by step. I truly wish I had more time to do it all myself, but my time is also valuable and I'd rather be camping in my Lance, then working on it. Plus I have no heated garage and I live at 8400' in the mountains. Right now it is about 15-20 degrees out, and gusts of 30MPH or so. It was the same last night when I was out there setting up thermometers.
Mooney, after discussing options with the dealer, I learned about the biggest issue for converting after the fact to the dual stage furnace, and your question illustrates your knowledge of it.....If the wiring was run with the extra leads to the thermostat, it is an easy change. If not, pulling the wire is a pain for them. If I have the lesser wire, I will put off the furnace change until I do the much more serious electrical work I plan. Some of those plans mimic yours (as far as SAT internet, multiple cables for HD/DVR wires from my portable dish, batteries etc. If ruinning cable ends up being a big obstacle, I'd rather install conduit through the cabinets and that sort of thing and have ready access and ease of installation for this stuff. At that time, perhaps upgraded thermostat wires will go into the mix. Wouldn't you need to see the cable going to the thermostat, or is a picture of the thermostat enough for you?
Gary, I guess I'd agree that no camper is ideal for brutal cold, and that relative to what can be done via customization, none probably stand out THAT much over the others. I guess the original topic here was relating to non customized/standard "from the factory" campers, and there is relevance here and probably some that stand out above the others. But I am thinking more and more that to truly be prepared to live in a camper in the brutal cold (sub-zero or at least single digits) then SOME amount of customization is going to be required. Perhaps a good topic or question would be "what camper is the easiest to modify to work great in cold weather" though I'm not sure we'd be able to answer it that well anyway.....I think ANY of them can probably be made to work well.
I really do love my camper...I just have to get the kinks worked out and I hope to work with Lance to make that happen as in the end that is probably the best way to get what I want out of my camper.
Here is a picture of the Atwood digital thermostat that comes standard with variable speed furnace:
Take a look at the furnace on the 1181, from the exterior it looks exactly like yours: