cheap heater

Anything to do with camping, fundamentals, secrets, etc...

Thanks!

Postby Alfred » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:44 pm

Hey Mike, MJ, everyone else,

This has been a very good thread and I appreciate the good feedback. Chances are with 5 folks in a small space, we will not need that much heat. Doubt we will be out in the Winter, anyway. I will probably stick with the electric blankets and mattress warmer!

Thanks, AL. :thumbsup:
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

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Postby eveningprimrose » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:06 pm

I think we've decided to go with a heated mattress pad, or an electric blanket. BUT, for anyone interested in "heated rocks", there are stones made especially for heating and are safe and clean. They are used for hot stone massages. Here is an example. I know nothing about this company and am not endorsing it. It's just an example: http://www.riverrockmassage.com

I actually bought a box of these at my local book store. They were on clearance and I bought them, but have never opened the box. I may have to see how well they work.
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Postby dakotamouse » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:08 pm

An electric blanket is all you need. Really, honest for sure!




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0HH2KumAGI


;)
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Postby Arne » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:18 pm

This is kind of a fun video to watch, and they used a 'tube' heater...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om3Fazu9bsw&feature=related
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Postby hugh » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:53 am

I was looking at the northern store and they sell a radiant propane heater, the pro com and like the coleman catalytics they are 99.98% efficient. A lot of larger RV er,s use them. According to the info I read the platinum head relies on an oxygen level of I think it was 15 % or greater which makes it efficient enough to produce no carbon monoxide, when levels of oxygen are lower then they start producing it and there is a danger. Another maker of a propane heater called the Olympian Wave says you must never touch or contaminate the burning surface because that can also lead to carbon monoxide production. Having read all this makes me feel I will use my Coleman black kat only for a quick warmup in the morning. They also have 2 drawbacks for tiny trailer use, the very real fire danger if any bedding touches them and the water vapor they emit. I really like cold weather camping and boondocking so I think a candle lantern from Cabelas and if it gets real cold I bought one of those small 2 stroke 1000w chinese generators running a small electric heater would be more than sufficient during the night.
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Postby Jason and Amanda » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:11 am

I haven't found a 12v blanket or pad that I've wanted to purchase yet but that is my ideal solution after I find it.

For the time being we have a Mr. Buddy heater that basically if I set that sucker in the tear for about 5 minutes while we are getting ready for bed (brushing teeth, changing, etc...) Then just turn it off before we crawl in. That's more than enough heat to last us all night with the windows open and the roof vent open in about 40* weather. My intended design for this was to set it on a table in our big cabela's SUV tent with the tent zipper windows open, would work if it got colder but definately not needed, that would have sweated us out.

*edit* With the SUV tent connected we leave the window open on the oposite door and leave the entire door open that faces the tent (usually). At the Last Gasp gathering we closed the door to the SUV tent to conserve heat because we had no heat source after I shut off the Mr. Buddy heater, just closing the door was plenty to hold in the warmth.
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Postby bobhenry » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:32 pm

It's been a couple of weeks since "Cheap heat" was a topic of discussion.

However, I was talking about our last gathering witha fella and the topic came around to heat. He was reminded of when in scouts they heated cleanup water for the dishes by a rather neat method. It seems the scout master designed a water heater out of a new galvanized garbage can. This can had a fitting in the top and bottom that allowed you to attach a 3/4" copper line. This line ran from the bottom to the campfire made 1 loop thru the fire and returned to the top of the can. You just tossed in 10 - 12 gallons of water and start your fire. The cold water warmed in the copper loop and perculated into the can. Put the lid on to retain the heat and slow down evaporation and you had hot water in no time.

NOW! How to get the hot water to a radiator fan system in the teardrop. :thinking:
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Postby Buckeye » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:07 am

Here is real cheap and easy way. Used this method in Girl Scouts.

Use a mess kit and line the inside with heavy duty aluminum foil. Take some hot coals from the camp fire and put inside the mess kit. Then, run the mess kit inside your blankets or sleeping bag to take the chill out. Put the mess kit outside and get into your bed in your sleeping clothes and it will be nice and warm.

We never put it in our sleeping bags for the night but it definitely made a difference getting into a warm bag on a cold night.
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Postby Laredo » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:02 pm

cheapest heat? a friend. :)

if you really are worried about getting too cold here is a simple (not necessarily *cheap* but inexpensive and low-risk) solution: layers.

On your mattress, below all other bedding: a mylar blanket.
Atop this a cotton thermal blanket.
Atop this a sheet or fleece layer.

Then, on top of the person sleeping, the 2nd sheet or fleece layer, and a cotton thermal folded double with a 2nd mylar inside it.

Toasty. In fact, you'll want a good steady ventilation fan running.

Variation on the theme: Reflectix underneath all other bedding and a wool (military surplus) blanket atop all other bedding. That's a little more breathable but it costs more too.
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Postby UP&ATOM » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:31 am

For what it's worth, we just purchased a 12-volt electric blanket called The RoadPro from an on-line trucker's store website. They featured small heaters for big rig truckers as well as a large selection of 12-volt blankets in both cotton and fleece.

We opted for a nice, dark blue fleece unit for $34 that featured a three-position switch. About two hours into our sleep, I was awakened by the smell of burning plastic and I reached down to grab the controller, only to burn my palm on the melting plastic. Following a quick scramble, we pulled the blanket out of the camper and spent the next hour trying to vent the stench.

Of course, the on-line company who sold us the blanket is no longer in business, but we continue to see the product on-line at other stores. I'm currently researching the manufacturer to see if we can't at least warn someone about the product.

I remember something my old man once told me - if you don't see a UL-Listed icon on the product, don't plug it in...
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Postby Lawnjockey » Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:07 pm

Many years ago I lived on a 22' sailboat for a few years. A Perko oil lamp kept it warm even with vents open for fresh air. On another small boat I had a Tiny Tot wood stove and that was great. I'm trying to recover that stove right now.

Lately I have been toying with the idea of making a heater than uses sterno. My idea is to get an old single cylinder motorcycle cylinder to use for the combustion chamber/heat exchanger. Instead of the head, fabricate a plate with a pipe for venting the combustion products outside. The sterno can would be mounted at the base. A simple baffel system like those used in waterheaters would make it more efficient.

Of course an open window is always needed.

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Postby jackdaw » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:21 pm

We haven't found any need for additional heat as of yet, as most of our teardroping is done from late spring up to early Autumn. Never in the freezing cold.
We have a three way fridge fitted in the galley. The fridge gives of a fair bit of heat , so much so, that we have insulated the area behind the fridge to stop too much heat getting into the cabin. Even with the insulation some heat does get through, and its great to warm your feet on the wall behind the fridge.
I had thought if we needed more heat, we could put a vent through to the area with a hit and miss vent to help control how much heat comes in.
The fridges have a flue for combustion gases, or can be used of the campground mains electric hookups. They also have 12v supply that is used to keep it cool whilst towing. It connects to the alternator on the tow vehicle so as not to drain your battery.

The fridges aren't cheep to buy new, but we have plenty of second hand units availlable from older caravans.
3 way caravan fridge
Just a thought for thouse with slightly larger tears or standies :thumbsup:
We've also fitted a stainless steel dish above the heat exchanger on the fridge that we use as either a food warmer, or towel drier, depending on what we need at the time.

Cheers Dave

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Postby Cliffmeister2000 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:17 pm

jackdaw wrote:We haven't found any need for additional heat as of yet, as most of our teardroping is done from late spring up to early Autumn. Never in the freezing cold.
We have a three way fridge fitted in the galley. The fridge gives of a fair bit of heat , so much so, that we have insulated the area behind the fridge to stop too much heat getting into the cabin. Even with the insulation some heat does get through, and its great to warm your feet on the wall behind the fridge.
I had thought if we needed more heat, we could put a vent through to the area with a hit and miss vent to help control how much heat comes in.
The fridges have a flue for combustion gases, or can be used of the campground mains electric hookups. They also have 12v supply that is used to keep it cool whilst towing. It connects to the alternator on the tow vehicle so as not to drain your battery.

The fridges aren't cheep to buy new, but we have plenty of second hand units availlable from older caravans.
3 way caravan fridge
Just a thought for thouse with slightly larger tears or standies :thumbsup:
We've also fitted a stainless steel dish above the heat exchanger on the fridge that we use as either a food warmer, or towel drier, depending on what we need at the time.

Cheers Dave

Dave


Specifications

Gross Capacity: 55L Fridge, 5L Freezer
Power options:
230V AC / 50Hz
12V DC
Liquefied petroleum gas 30 mbar
Input:
230V: 125W
12V DC: 120W
Gas: 18.3g/h
Consumption:
230V: 2.3kWh/24 h
12V DC: 2.3kWh/24 h
Gas: 310g/24h
Cooling Capacity: Fridge +7°C, Freezer -12°C
Insulation: Pentane-blown foam, CFC/HFC-free
Dimensions: W:48.6cm x H:61.8cm x D:47.4cm
Weight: 20.7kg

I don't carry enough propane to power one of these for an hour.

We went camping last weekend, and I have a little 12V heater I bought at Harbor Freight. It worked fine the first night. The second night, it must have tripped some internal safety device, as it quit putting out heat. I turned it off and back on, and the heat came back on. I am looking for a similar, but better constructed heater for future camping trips. This one kept the cabin at a comfortable 58º even though it was 31º outside. When the heater quit, the temperature eventually dropped to 51º, which was a bit on the cool side for my tastes. In the trailer were my wife, me and 3 dogs weighing 30lbs combined.
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Postby jackdaw » Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:42 pm

Cliffmeister2000 wrote:
jackdaw wrote:We haven't found any need for additional heat as of yet, as most of our teardroping is done from late spring up to early Autumn. Never in the freezing cold.
We have a three way fridge fitted in the galley. The fridge gives of a fair bit of heat , so much so, that we have insulated the area behind the fridge to stop too much heat getting into the cabin. Even with the insulation some heat does get through, and its great to warm your feet on the wall behind the fridge.
I had thought if we needed more heat, we could put a vent through to the area with a hit and miss vent to help control how much heat comes in.
The fridges have a flue for combustion gases, or can be used of the campground mains electric hookups. They also have 12v supply that is used to keep it cool whilst towing. It connects to the alternator on the tow vehicle so as not to drain your battery.

The fridges aren't cheep to buy new, but we have plenty of second hand units availlable from older caravans.
3 way caravan fridge
Just a thought for thouse with slightly larger tears or standies :thumbsup:
We've also fitted a stainless steel dish above the heat exchanger on the fridge that we use as either a food warmer, or towel drier, depending on what we need at the time.

Cheers Dave

Dave


Specifications

Gross Capacity: 55L Fridge, 5L Freezer
Power options:
230V AC / 50Hz
12V DC
Liquefied petroleum gas 30 mbar
Input:
230V: 125W
12V DC: 120W
Gas: 18.3g/h
Consumption:
230V: 2.3kWh/24 h
12V DC: 2.3kWh/24 h
Gas: 310g/24h
Cooling Capacity: Fridge +7°C, Freezer -12°C
Insulation: Pentane-blown foam, CFC/HFC-free
Dimensions: W:48.6cm x H:61.8cm x D:47.4cm
Weight: 20.7kg

I don't carry enough propane to power one of these for an hour.

We went camping last weekend, and I have a little 12V heater I bought at Harbor Freight. It worked fine the first night. The second night, it must have tripped some internal safety device, as it quit putting out heat. I turned it off and back on, and the heat came back on. I am looking for a similar, but better constructed heater for future camping trips. This one kept the cabin at a comfortable 58º even though it was 31º outside. When the heater quit, the temperature eventually dropped to 51º, which was a bit on the cool side for my tastes. In the trailer were my wife, me and 3 dogs weighing 30lbs combined.


Cliff they don't use that much really in the scheme of things when you think of what we get from it.
As well as the cold beers and cold food in the fridge, ice in the ice box. We have a stainless steel dish set into the worktop above the fridge, that sits just above the heat exchanger.We use the dish for keeping food warm at times, heating pies, and it's great for drying tea towels when we've dried the dishes.
Given that we could also use it for additional heat in the cabin, I think its well worth the 310g of gas a day. That's less than 1lb of propane per day.

We have two 4.5kg bottles on the tongue, Each one would last 14 1/2 days if it were to be just supplying the fridge. The refills cost around £14, so that's £1 per day...these are the refills

A lot of our trips are at campsites where we use the electric hookups. We are usually charged around £1.50 per day for the electric, so that powers the fridge, kettle, oven and battery charger.
I shall be fitting the same type of fridge in our current build, its a great luxury item to have if you can fit it in. :thumbsup:

Cheers Dave
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Postby KBS » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:47 pm

I use a trick I learned from a scout master. While you're chatting around the campfire, put your dutch oven on it with some potatoes wrapped in foil inside. They'll cook inside the oven. At bed time, take them out, wrap them in a towel or something to keep them from burning you skin, and stick them in your bed. They won't pose any hazard, don't make a mess, and guess what? your hash browns for breakfast the next morning are ready to be grated and heated up.
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