cheap heater

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Postby Noob » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:57 pm

KBS wrote: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.

finally. :thumbsup:
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Postby Prem » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:56 am

Speaking of Dutch ovens, how about this trick: Put a bunch of rocks and sand in your DO, stick it in the fire for a couple of hours before bedtime, then set it on a 12" x 12" tile in your trailer to heat the place all night long. :D
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Heated Blanket

Postby NWBeerKat » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:27 pm

I had put alot of thought into this some time ago. Here is a link for a 12v heated blanket, but it has 30 or 45 min timer. I found one at that website in camo. I did not find a UL listing on it and it is only 3/4 length. ... x?a=312195
You can search for this one: Car Cozy 2

Honestly, the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning by catlytic heaters are real. But only in Canada. :lol: I've been trying to think up a way to make a radiant floor system (or removable) for a larger trailer (11x8 standie)
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Works for the Boy Scouts

Postby Eric Krag » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:40 pm

Hello Gang

I have to share. With Basic Mountaineering Training Courses, we would have our students just use a French Candle lanterns for heat in a Tent, including during winter.
They automatically push up as they burn and the metal housing is real warm. Pennies a day....just vent a window to exchange fresh air.

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Use Space blankets!

Postby gyroguy » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:08 pm

Laredo wrote: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.

The topic IS cheap heat, right? Here is a cheaper, $4 answer.

We human beings make our own heat. The trick is to avoid losing it. Space blankets represent a real cheap way to keep warm!

Buy two space blankets, the thin aluminized-plastic emergency type that was invented for the 1963 Echo communications satellite.

Put one on top of the mattress, under the sheet. If available, put a blanket over the sheet. I like the fleecy kind, myself.

Wear clean undies, socks, and/or clothing to bed. Clean and dry can't be beat. Use your regular blankets, and more if needed.

Put your winter jacket over your feet. Put a watch cap or toboggan on your head. Snuggle into the blankets and tuck them tight around you.

If needed, tape the second space blanket to the ceiling so it can reflect radiated heat back at you.

The plastic space blanket under you makes krinkly sounds. Put earplugs in if the krinkly sounds bother you when you move around in bed. Space blankets still work when they have holes in them, and you can patch rips with mailing tape or duct tape.

Regulate heat by removing blankets when you get hot. Crack a window for fresh air, and the roof vent if you get too hot.

Works for me!
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Postby Tadlan » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:23 am

I posted an idea about a chiller in this thread: ... r&start=30

I was also thinking of using the same technique as a heater if needed. I would run the copper pipe through the bottom of an old artillery case. I found ceramic briquettes the other day. I could easily pop those in the dutch oven for a while, throw them toasty into my box, twist my timer fans on for an hour or two, and let the heat exchange pump warm air into the TD. It wouldn't use much energy. I'll let people know how my experiments go on both the heater and the chiller.
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Postby Larry C » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:32 pm

Heat........ An interesting topic. IMO "You don't need no stinkin heat" no matter how cold it gets!!! :thumbdown:

From when I was 35-50 years old, I used to seek out the coldest temperatures I could find to go winter (tent) camping/mountaineering in the Adirondacks of NYS.

There was a group including my wife that would wait for reports of -20 to -40 temps to go winter tent camping. A friend would fly in from Florida to join us.

We had more trouble starting or cars at -40 than staying alive in a tent 10 miles from the nearest road. Doing things correctly, one can be quite comfortable at extreme temperatures even in a tent at -20 with high winds blowing, setting on 10' deep snow.

All you really need is to be hydrated, fueled, and insulated. If you eat and drink (no alcohol) and have a proper sleeping bag or enough other insulating layers your body will produce all the heat you need.

Some tricks we used to take the chill off :

use a candle lantern. It is amazing how much heat a candle will produce in a tent. I'm sure it will do even better in an insulated teardrop. Just kill when you go to sleep.

Wear a wool hat to bed.......

Take the clothes you will put on in the morning to bed with you. They will be warm in the morning.

Take a well sealed (lexan)water bottle (with an insulating jacket) filled with Hot Hot water to bed with you. This is a great heat source to use during the night. have a small thermos close by with just hot water. take a sip during the night if you get chilled, it will put a smile on your face.......this really works.

Have a Pee bottle available (men) don't get out of bed unless you have to.

When you wake in the morning, this is the coldest you will be. Re-light the candle lantern while still in bed. The lantern will burn off the frost on the ceiling and raise the temp inside a lot more than you may think.

All your bodies fuel and hydration stores are depleted. Have ready a packet of instant hot chocolate. If you have a good thermos, the water should still be hot. Before getting out of bed, drink the hot chocolate and have a poptart or some Fig Newtons.

You will be amazed how the combination of the candle lantern, the hot chocolate and a cookie or 2 will lift your spirits and warm you.

When you get up, get dressed while still in bed, with the clothes you brought to bed with you. Go for a walk with a lot of insulating layers on you, especially a warm hat. This will get your blood flowing and further warm you. When you start to heat up from the exercise, you are ready to make a fire,breakfast or just start your day.

Another tip: before introducing a new technique, we would pre-test the technique by camping in our back yard in the winter to see what worked or didn't. It may be a good idea to try any new system at home first, in the conditions you may expect while on the road.

In conclusion: Save your artificial heat sources for when your standing around and need to warm your hands. Don't use them while sleeping. Try some of my simple tips, you may find you can sleep comfortably at any temperature in your Teardrop without any artificial heat source. It's really all in your head.........

Larry C :)
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Postby Ratkity » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:29 pm

Ladies can use a "Travel John" - Disposible tinkle bag. Great invention!

You forgot to add two 85 lbs golden retrievers that love to cuddle to add to the heat :lol:

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Re: Soapstone works awesome

Postby Kaz » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:38 pm

Rock wrote:There's a couple of old soapstone bed warmers for sale at the antique mall by me. Maybe 8" X 10" X 1" with a wire bail handle.

For the $10 investment maybe I'll buy one and give it a try in my little tear. Find a place to hang it so it's not in contact with anything. I have to believe that after sitting by the fire for a couple of hours it would add plenty of heat.

Maybe I'll do the heat calculations some day - or just buy it and try it.

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Re: cheap heater

Postby Onebad06vtx » Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:19 pm

Just watched a youtube vid where he made a heater using candles.
Search candle convection heater-winter camping with my off grid stove.
Looks interesting!
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Re: cheap heater

Postby Pinstriper » Tue Nov 15, 2022 10:06 pm

I experimented with making a candle heater. Different size and even quantities of tea candles or survival candles, on a terra cotta dish with a terra cotta planter upside down over the top - both to protect the open flame from any contact with flammables, and to absorb and retransmit the heat.

It works, sort of, but it traps so much heat inside that the candles themselves melt, which can be a mess or even a fire hazard, and also leads to them burning faster than they otherwise would. So you don't get the runtime, and possibly not the safety.

I have also tried different sizes of propane heaters. The earlier mentions of O2 consumption are real - the safety switches, if working properly, will shut the heater off and prevent it relighting.

Heater Buddy, Flex, Little Buddy all the same result.

I ended up putting a bigger house battery and putting a 12v electric blanket inside my sleeping bag. Very toasty. Takes about 25 amp hours per night, which a few hours on a 100 amp solar briefcase will take care of, or a small generator (I have a 900w 4 stroke that works great and it light/small). My 125 ah house battery can run 3 nights before worrying about being lower than 40% capacity even without any recharging.
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Re: cheap heater

Postby bdosborn » Wed Nov 16, 2022 3:13 pm

I just installed a used Espar diesel heater in the van, best heater ever for a camper IMHO.
They were super expensive when I put one in the trailer 10 years ago but the patent ran out and now there are cheap Chinese diesel heaters.
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Re: cheap heater

Postby featherliteCT1 » Wed Nov 16, 2022 6:00 pm

I have been using my cheap diesel heater for three years, on and off during cold weather. I burn kerosene and have never taken it apart to clean it. I keep waiting for it to fail, but so far it has worked flawlessly. Knock on wood!

I carry a spare unit for a quick swap out when my first unit eventually fails, at which time i will clean and/or repair the one that fails.
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Re: cheap heater

Postby bdosborn » Wed Nov 16, 2022 6:33 pm

I'll replace the Espar with a cheap one when it dies. I have an Espar D1LC and parts are really hard to find and stupid expensive.

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Re: cheap heater

Postby Gulfcoast » Wed Nov 16, 2022 7:14 pm

I had three diesel heaters and gave them away when I bought a Dickinson outside vented propane heater. No way I would go back to a diesel heater.
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