What are ya'll using for heat?

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What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Squigie » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:50 pm

Though my teardrop plans are fairly simple and spartan, I'm seriously considering a furnace.

I doubt that I need to justify my reasoning here. But...
I tend to do a lot of late-year camping (a.k.a., hunting trips) at high altitude and in nasty weather. Having a furnace to take the 'bite' out of the night can do a lot for morale. It can also be the difference between misery and satisfaction, by drying boots and wet clothing.
And, of course, it helps mitigate any condensation.

I cannot, however, find much information on what people are actually using for heat, except for a few mentions of Mr. Heater type ceramic element heaters and a few electric space heaters.
I can't go electric. I'm not willing to haul enough batteries for that to be viable, I never take a generator with me, and I don't plan to go solar yet (I'm planning for the option and making space for the gear, but the trailer will be in use long before I commit to solar).
The Mr. Heater products are not an option, as those that I've been around tend to quickly auto-shutoff (if they light in the first place) at 9,000+ feet, due to their carbon monoxide safety system (an O2 sensor).

I've seen a few people also using convection heaters. I very much like the simplicity and heat from convection units (I've used them before), but they sure do GULP the propane. Both of my convection heaters in pop-up tent trailers drank about 15 lbs per night, when set at minimum (~45 F) with the outside temp between 0 F and 20 F. Since my average trip is about seven days - and I almost never return to civilization until I'm done - that's completely non-viable (even in the smaller, better-insulated teardrop). I'd have to carry TEN 20-lb propane tanks. (I prefer 20s. They're easier to handle.)

I've been looking for small 'forced air' units and basic non-ducted furnaces; but I'm not seeing much that interests me or seems to be the right fit.

So, what are people using?
Tent trailer furnaces?
Portable propane heaters?
A dozen cats trapped in a sleeping bag?
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby tony.latham » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:00 pm

I'm installing this Propex heater in my new build.

Image

Image

That second pic is from my test run. It put's out 180º degree heat. They're miserly. And expensive.

Westy Ventures is the U.S. retailer.

Tony

P.S. there is some interest in the teardrop world with cheap Chinese diesel heaters: https://www.ebay.com/itm/5KW-5000W-12V-Air-diesel-Fuel-Heater-For-Car-Truck-Motor-home-Boat-Bus-Van/332873335346?epid=8025838979&hash=item4d80cc0232:g:HPgAAOSwDcJcf1aG
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:53 pm

We have the same Propex heater as Tony. So far we only had one morning to give it a try to take the chill off. The low was 40 degrees so not cold and it ran for about 4 minutes. My wife loved it. We have camped in out teardrop to 25 degrees and didn't need a heater but it would have been nice for morning. We just use normal bedding, sheet, blanket and comforter. We'll be camping year round so it will be handy, next month we plan to camp up in the 10,000' range and I'm sure it will get used then.

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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Pinstriper » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:35 pm

The Mr. Heater is a catalytic heater and does not produce CO. There is however a risk of it consuming all the O2 in a confined space, hence the sensor and shutoff. I solve this by cracking the roof vent but you lose a lot of heat of course.

But as you say, 9,000’ is its own challenge and I have only tackled 4500’ with my setup.

I would say your cheapest solution, and easiest to implement, would be to reconsider your plan regarding a generator. 2kw should do it. I know my 900w did not handle the startup of a 600w ceramic, and the 200w heater was insufficient at -2F

The other advantage of this scheme is that there is no build required, so you can implement something else later and nothing to undo.



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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Squigie » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:32 am

Thank you all for the feedback. I'll keep checking back to see what else comes up.

Pinstriper wrote:The Mr. Heater is a catalytic heater and does not produce CO. There is however a risk of it consuming all the O2 in a confined space, hence the sensor and shutoff. I solve this by cracking the roof vent but you lose a lot of heat of course.

But as you say, 9,000’ is its own challenge and I have only tackled 4500’ with my setup.

I would say your cheapest solution, and easiest to implement, would be to reconsider your plan regarding a generator. 2kw should do it. I know my 900w did not handle the startup of a 600w ceramic, and the 200w heater was insufficient at -2F

The other advantage of this scheme is that there is no build required, so you can implement something else later and nothing to undo.

Catalytic heaters, in theory, do no produce CO. But in the real world, no reaction is ever perfect and chemical reactions are more complex than basic equations (or something is contaminated).
That very premise was tested in 2003, for example, by the CPSC. CO EMISSIONS FROM A PORTABLE PROPANE CATALYTIC HEATER
They found elevated CO levels to be a byproduct of incomplete catalyzation.
Either way, yes, I mentioned CO/O2 incorrectly. Thanks for the correction.

I appreciate the suggestion for electric, but I'm not going to haul a generator around.
It's more space taken up. More weight. More fuel. More maintenance.
And I absolutely despise the noise of a generator - no matter how 'quiet' - when I'm away from civilization. ...And that's during the day. My opinion of running a generator at night is not appropriate for a family forum. :thumbdown:
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Pinstriper » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:30 am

Cracking ng the vent also solves the CO problem if there is one.

If propane won’t fire, and a generator is out - for valid reasons IMO - you are down to carrying a lot more batteries so you can drive a dc heater, or finding some sort of wood stove that you can duct heat into your trailer.


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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby KTM_Guy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:35 am

There are the gasoline and diesel truck cab heaters. But they have problems at elevation and have problem with soot build up. But they work great great till they don’t. And that is usually when you need it most. I looked at them but didn’t want to carry smelly diesel fuel or kerosene. If the TV was diesel I might have gone that way.

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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Squigie » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:17 pm

Also not a fan. No diesel for this guy.

I'm not too worried about additional batteries, either. My last two 12v furnaces (including the one currently in the tent trailer) have been able to run a minimum of 4 days on a charge (usually 5) with my only deep-cycle battery, with my wife setting the thermostat at 60-65 F (!! :frightened: !!).
If set more appropriately and paired with my solar "battery tender", I can go 10+ days without issue. If I absolutely had to, I could use a charging adapter to top off the deep-cycle with my truck, to go until the propane runs out.
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby NotJammer » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:40 pm

1990's I had Propex in a Westy, it fits in a very small space. Works fine.

1969 an old man died in the next van from a Coleman Catalytic. His dog and kid got out.

Installing the smallest propane Atwood forced air now.

If I had a Diesel truck I would use a Diesel cab heater.

But I don't and don't want modern Diesel anything.

Those super tiny wood burning boxes are interesting, if you have wood.
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Pinstriper » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:46 pm

It is an interesting discussion of the options and obstacles.

You described your rig as a teardrop, but perhaps you would describe some more ?

One thing we did last year was run a hot tent as a heated living space, but retreated to teardrops or truck bed shells for sleeping.

The hot tents were either canvas lodge tents with a wood stove, or a simple easy-up with sidewalls and a propane cannon heater.

In some cases these were also sleeping quarters.

Overnight temperatures depending on season and location ranged from 0’s to 20’sF, elevation ranging from 4-5k’.

We also bring a half barrel as a campfire ring/rocket stove, running more or less continuously if guys are in camp and the weather isn’t storming and driving us inside.


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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby Pinstriper » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:50 pm

NotJammer wrote:1990's I had Propex in a Westy, it fits in a very small space. Works fine.

1969 an old man died in the next van from a Coleman Catalytic. His dog and kid got out.

Installing the smallest propane Atwood forced air now.

If I had a Diesel truck I would use a Diesel cab heater.

But I don't and don't want modern Diesel anything.

Those super tiny wood burning boxes are interesting, if you have wood.


The super tiny woodstoves would be out of place in a teardrop, but maybe in a larger converted cargo trailer. I wonder if you can give it enough wood for an overnight burn.


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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby NotJammer » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:15 pm

No it wood need wood every hour at least.

My large Ashley Stove in the 70's could go 24 hours just barely with all correct conditions.

Sail boats use tiny wood stoves, very tiny boats and stoves.

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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby OP827 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:53 pm

In my build I installed a vintage Hydroflame BRC-10 gravity type furnace taken out of a tent trailer. Paid about 50$. It does not need electricity and fully vented outside so it can run with all windows closed. I did not camp with that yet as I am still working on my build, but from the test run I did it works pretty good and does not take a lot of propane. It produces radiant heating, but a fan can be added if really needed. It looks like this installed from inside:
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My foldable foam trailer build: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=61344
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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby KTM_Guy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:54 pm

Squigie wrote:Also not a fan. No diesel for this guy.

I'm not too worried about additional batteries, either. My last two 12v furnaces (including the one currently in the tent trailer) have been able to run a minimum of 4 days on a charge (usually 5) with my only deep-cycle battery, with my wife setting the thermostat at 60-65 F (!! :frightened: !!).
If set more appropriately and paired with my solar "battery tender", I can go 10+ days without issue. If I absolutely had to, I could use a charging adapter to top off the deep-cycle with my truck, to go until the propane runs out.


If you can go 4-5 days at a toasty 60-65 degrees on one battery charge why look for another option? Add another battery or a solar panel for more days out.

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Re: What are ya'll using for heat?

Postby MtnDon » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:51 pm

The Propex is a great heater.

We used the hot water from the RV water heater we installed. We are well insulated and do not camp in very low temperatures.

Link to a thread here on this idea.... viewtopic.php?f=54&t=62327&hilit=heating
Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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