Follow by Email

Monday, May 14, 2018

Staying Warm - 3 Vehicle Comparison

At face value, staying warm in a vehicle seems all the same, regardless of the vehicle.  I found out there is a difference for heating each of the three vehicles.

In my Class C Campervan I had a propane heater but it used electricity for the fan and controls, and the one house battery had limited power to run it long.  So, plug in at a campground was necessary to use the heater more than taking the chill off.  I didn’t have a generator built in.

If I was to plug in to electric I was more apt to use the electric heater in the A/C roof unit vs the on-board propane heater.  On cold nights I would sleep in the back dining area where my bed was generally set up and I would close the curtains to the front before the kitchen to keep the heat in the smaller space.

When cold and without electricity I would hang a blanket from the front bunk down behind the front seats to block off the cold from the vehicle cab.

I then may run the propane stove to get some warmth.

If you have a propane heater you need sufficient house battery amp hours to power the heater fan for the time you need to heat.

What can I say, the Prius as a heater is great.  In “Ready Mode” it runs the engine as needed to heat the engine as the engine cooling system is the heat source.  You can call for heat and when the engine cools down to a set point it will start and run the engine to heat the engine again.

My sleeping bag is a zero degree bag so I had no problem staying warm once in bed.

When getting ready for bed I would run the Prius heater a few minutes to warm up the cabin before bed.  I would also run heat in the morning and when I washed up.

There was no extra items to deal with.  This made the Prius a great forcstaying warm.  I stayed in 14 degrees overnight on I81 and the engine would start every 10 minutes.  

The camper required some getting used to.  I designed the camper to sleep with the top down, thus being a bit more stealthy and requiring less heat to stay warm.  The smaller space was quicker to heat.

With the top down this is my bed, and sleeping bag I used in my Prius.  If the bag was warm enough for the Prius it would be for the camper too.

With the roof raised I did design a thermal layer to keep heat in and out.  That’s right, the plastic sides transfer heat quickly.  Adding my thermal layer allowed less heat and heat lasts longer.  The thermal layer also kepbthe afternoon hot sun from overheating the inside.  Of course in the winter this isn’t much of an issue.

I used Reflectix on flat surfaces like the floor under the mat and under my bed.  This helped reflect heat back in.

I also made thermal curtains for the windows.

You also see my 360 deg. electric heater that I did use where shore power is available. 

I also had a Wave3 heater tonise off grid.  My CO alarm did not get set off running it as it is extremely clean heat, but it does use oxygen, so windows and or vent need to be cracked.

I did not run the Wave3 while sleeping, it was only for awake time.  The great part about the Wave3 is that it uses very little propane.  I have a 10 gal tank and I only filled it once during the 4 months.

The Prius was the most convenient and economical to heat.   Next was the Four Wherl Camper and last was the Class B.

Class B - 4
Prius - 9
Tacoma/FWC - 7

PS - the following is a cab heater used to keep vehicle cabin warm.

My friend Joanne has one like this in her Sprinter.  It gets its fuel from her vehicle’s fuel tank.  You can buy them tobtun on diesel or gasoline.

I want to evaluate one for possible inclusion in the FWC.  The separate 2.5 gal tank can be used as I need a stand-alone design as the camper comes off the truck.  It comes with the tank and they are exhausted outside the vehicle and it circulated the air inside warming it as it runs.

Joanne likes hers but she does say that it can be viewed by others as noisy.  I parked along side of her and I could hear it but it never bothered me or was loud enough to wake me.

If anyone has any experience with these heaters please let me know.


1 comment:

  1. Would be interesting to get feedback on the eBay heater as all i hear about about are Webasto and Proper. I wonder if the eBay offering is as high quality.