Winter camping strategies

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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby lfhoward » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm

Wow, I just researched what a Propex is! Seriously impressed! Serious pile of dimes and quarters!

Here is a great how-to for installing a Propex heater. Fun to read, with good pictures.
https://faroutride.com/propex-install/
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby tony.latham » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:58 pm

Here is a great how-to for installing a Propex heater


I managed to get mine for a seriously reduced price. I just got lucky.

Here's a write up I did on my installation. It's a simple thing if you've got a little room.

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=72075&p=1254238&hilit=propex#p1254238

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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby skyl4rk » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:39 am

If you are going to buy a heater, look at the "diesel parking heaters" on ebay. You would need a battery and a way to charge it.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby Tomterrific » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:42 am

I feel it is foolish to have any sort of interior combustion without a chimney. You can have a chimney or have exterior heat source but the threat of suffocation is too great to chance with unventilated combustion. (And cracking a window isn't gonna cut it in my opinion.)

People for years have slept outside in below freezing temperature by using thick down sleeping bags. While I always carry a sleeping bag (just in case) it isn't always my down bag. The bag is unzipped and thrown over like a comforter. I've even slept with my cheap summer bag under me. You can't have enough blankets when it is really cold.

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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby Aguyfromohio » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:25 pm

rjgimp wrote:

...The 12 year old me was shocked to learn that I could use TWO or even THREE sleeping bags, one lighter one inside a heavier one, and would stay toasty warm all night. Who knew? :lol:





When I was in the Boy Scouts I used that trick, and it worked great fro me too.
Put the down mummy bag inside the big square summer sleeping bag.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:49 pm

I'm a fan of the pre-heat/hot water bottle system. BUT, remember that heat goes up and you can catch the roof on fire if you don't may attention.
I like to wrap a towel around the hot water bottle I put in my sleeping bag. That way I don't burn my feet if when its near boiling at the start of the night.
It should also help if you can reduce the air flowing underneath the trailer. Some sort of skirt made with a tarp and some stakes could really help keep the floor warmer.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby lfhoward » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:37 pm

Wow, I never expected this to turn into a heater thread! But I am learning a lot more than I realized I would when I started. So glad you all chimed in! :thumbsup:

I’m thinking that regardless of whether or not a portable heater like the Little Buddy joins me on my trip in March, I’ll be making some foam inserts to cover the three fixed single pane windows in the trailer (2 front, 1 rear). These windows get very wet or icy in cold weather from condensation. The side windows, also single pane, can be opened and I can make some partial covers for those too. I still want them to be able to provide some airflow, but not too much. Looks like I will not be covering the fan vent in the ceiling, so moisture can escape.

I like the water bottle idea. I do have a propane Coleman camp stove so I could make hot water in the evening for containers that go in the bed to keep it warm. I plan to use lots of blankets and quilts— the equivalent of 2 sleeping bags at least.

My thoughts on the portable buddy heater: I like being warm, but I’m also a little paranoid about the hazards of combustion inside the trailer. I would definitely get a CO monitor to go with it, and keep windows and the roof vent cracked open. I think a Propex or a similar unit would be a great addition down the road, especially if my wife and I make winter camping more of a habit. They are safe and efficient and use only outside air. We have one place we love to go in the winter that has electric service for our baseboard, but a Propex would certainly free us up to explore other places. I’m already thinking about whether the inside or outside unit is the way to go. I’ll probably have it all engineered before too long. The next big dollar project will be regearing the Jeep though, so it tows better. A Propex heater if it were going to happen would be after that.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby Sparksalot » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:49 pm

Socal Tom wrote: BUT, remember that heat goes up and you can catch the roof on fire if you don't may attention.


Yes it does. I tried one of the little heaters that mounts to a 1lb propane bottle. In an amazingly quick time I had a scorch mark appear on Rose's wooden ceiling. I had set it on a shelf at about the halfway point in interior height. If I use it again, it'll be mounted much lower in the cabin to give the height above, and then i'll only use it a short time.
Done? Surely you jest. A teardrop is never "done".

The Compass Rose build thread: viewtopic.php?t=23213

Inspiration: http://tnttt.com/Design_Library/Trailer%20for%20Two.htm

It's got a cop motor, a 5.3 LS plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. ~ Elwood Blues
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby bobhenry » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:54 am

You can always put in a wood stove !


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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby lfhoward » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:47 am

Sparksalot wrote:
Socal Tom wrote: BUT, remember that heat goes up and you can catch the roof on fire if you don't may attention.


Yes it does. I tried one of the little heaters that mounts to a 1lb propane bottle. In an amazingly quick time I had a scorch mark appear on Rose's wooden ceiling. I had set it on a shelf at about the halfway point in interior height. If I use it again, it'll be mounted much lower in the cabin to give the height above, and then i'll only use it a short time.

Wow! That’s awful! How many inches do you estimate were between the top of the heater unit and the ceiling?
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby lfhoward » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:56 am

bobhenry wrote:You can always put in a wood stove !


Bob, this is a wild idea, but I like it. There is a boondocking couple on YouTube who put a mini wood stove in their Scamp trailer (ElsaRhae is the channel). It’s a Cubic Mini Cub made in Canada.

https://cubicminiwoodstoves.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIloj93ber5wIVRJyzCh1HDwt5EAAYASAAEgKv2vD_BwE

Here’s an image of one that I found on Google.
Image
Last edited by lfhoward on Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby Sparksalot » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:32 am

lfhoward wrote:
Sparksalot wrote:
Socal Tom wrote: BUT, remember that heat goes up and you can catch the roof on fire if you don't may attention.


Yes it does. I tried one of the little heaters that mounts to a 1lb propane bottle. In an amazingly quick time I had a scorch mark appear on Rose's wooden ceiling. I had set it on a shelf at about the halfway point in interior height. If I use it again, it'll be mounted much lower in the cabin to give the height above, and then i'll only use it a short time.

Wow! That’s awful! How many inches do you estimate were between the top of the heater unit and the ceiling?

Not a whole lot. Less than 12" if i recall.
Done? Surely you jest. A teardrop is never "done".

The Compass Rose build thread: viewtopic.php?t=23213

Inspiration: http://tnttt.com/Design_Library/Trailer%20for%20Two.htm

It's got a cop motor, a 5.3 LS plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. ~ Elwood Blues
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby saywhatthat » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:29 pm

Just pick up a few 12V Air Diesel Heaters . dry heat . Will make them removable .Under $90 US 5 kw they make a smaller 2 k
heater 7.jpg
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Last edited by saywhatthat on Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby rjgimp » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:25 pm

Bob Henry that is a fantastic installation. The clamps are brilliant! I'm not sure such a thing would be worth the trouble for a single overnight but if I was to be out for a week or so I would totally do something like that.

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Re: Winter camping strategies

Postby KTM_Guy » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:04 pm

What do you consider “chilly”?

We have normal bedding, sheet, fleece blanket, and a comforter, I sleep in my underwear, my wife in long underwear top and bottoms and we have camped at 18 degree with no problems. We have the Maxair fan in ceiling fan mode with it just opened about 1” to bring in fresh air. The fan pushes the warm air at the ceiling down and keeps it moving. It’s very comfortable.

We do have a Propex heater that is great. We only run it before bed (our memory foam mattress is like a rock when cold) and my wife likes to run it in the morning when getting dressed. Other than that it is off. One night we forgot to turn it off and it would get so hot when it turned on. They are spendy but I wouldn’t build another teardrop without one now.

The diesel heaters work great till they don’t. When I was looking for heaters I read as much as I could find, I found a guy that had a blog on his campervan that he used for skiing and snowboarding in the west. Most of his camping was above 8-9,000’. The heater would soot up and stop working and it was a big job to tear down to repair in the field. He got a Propex as a backup that always works. But didn’t put out enough heat for the big space with single digits or colder. So he would use the diesel most of the time and the Propex for backup or supplemental heat. He had better luck with kerosene and got thinking there might be additives in the low sulfur diesel that they sell in the US now that could be causing the excessive dirty burning.

Sleeping is the easy part to winter camping. Remember the short days make for longer nights, so when you start your campfire at 5:00 and you are out of firewood at 7:30. Makes for a long night. :lol: the water bottle in the sleeping bag is a good idea because you know you’ll have water in the morning to make tea or coffee and not ice. Plan food that holds heat well like stew, chili, soup, oatmeal. Skip foods like bacon and eggs or pancakes. They don’t have thermal mass to stay warm. We always bring a shovel camping but remember the snow shovel too. Had a friend a few weeks ago went out and got a foot of snow overnight and didn’t have a scoop shovel. Made for wet boots and cold feet.

Have fun.
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