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Mulcheese Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:29 pm

So yes I did the search thing and I do remember some posts about this little heater. I was not able to find them so can you help me out. How is the "little buddy" in the westy. I plan on camping in weather that gets down to maybe 32*. This would be for only a weekend in the fall. We did it before without and were fine but I would like something to take the chill off. What is your experience?

joseph928 Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:39 pm

:bay_blue: They work great. They have a low OXY. shut off. And a tip over shut off. Just open a window a little. But our vans leak a lot of air anyway. Love mine, sometimes I can leave the pilot light on only and still puts out some heat. Use high when I get up and low at night. But if I use it a lot the 1LB bottle goes fast, like 2-3 days. :D

syncromike Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:44 pm

I tried camping with a Coleman SportCat heater and it wasn't warm enough. I now have an Olympia Wave 6 and it will keep the camper warm all night in 32 degree weather on the low setting, which is supposed to be 3200 BTU. The Little Buddy is supposed to be around 3800 so it should be all right.

The one thing I will say is the SportCat heater got knocked more often than I'd like to admit, even without kids or dogs. Also, if a pillow falls off the bed in the middle of the night it can hit those. You really have to watch it with a portable heater like that. The Olympia is now mounted to the side wall of my kitchen module and haven't had any concerns.

Azul Tortuga Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:06 pm

We've used one in 30degree weather and it did fine. I agree with the earlier suggestion to crack a window or upstairs screen otherwise the condensation can be annoying.
I have found since that my favorite heat source while hanging out in the van is a coleman propane lantern. I hang it by the poptop latch where it provides plenty of light and the warmth is great.

subwayaz Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:13 pm

Mulcheese wrote: So yes I did the search thing and I do remember some posts about this little heater. I was not able to find them so can you help me out. How is the "little buddy" in the westy. I plan on camping in weather that gets down to maybe 32*. This would be for only a weekend in the fall. We did it before without and were fine but I would like something to take the chill off. What is your experience?

This is what I found in a search. Hope it helps

70coupyel Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:00 pm

Search "heater buddy"

I do know that on low a 1lb bottle will not last through the night.

0to60in6min Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:53 pm

I use a Mr Heater when I camp at 30F or below. I never use it when I sleep and I use a maccoupler to refill my propane bottle from a 20lb tank.

IdahoDoug Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:47 am

I have a Mr Buddy Big Buddy and it had two key advantage that none of the other brands I found had. One, it holds 2 one pound canisters and can run for 11 hours on low. So that means overnight even on a long winter night up north here where the sun sets at 5pm and rises more than 12 hours later. Two, it has a small fan run off a couple batteries which is just enough to nicely move the warm air around the van. With it off, the van gets remarkably stratified with the warm air around the ceiling and you can literally lower your hand off the bunk into a "pool" of cold air at the floor. The fan moves it around and is a nice sound to sleep to.

On the down side, it is larger. I found it mounted nicely on straps facing rearward off the front passenger seat. I was planning a much sturdier mount up high above the left rear cargo window but never did.

Anyhow, having the ability to muster overpowering and authoritative heat when you've just climbed shivering and wet into the vehicle from a snowshoe run or similar was worth the slight extra size and extra cost. One of those products that makes you rub your hands together and say "Aaaah, that thing is SO worth it...."


Royb Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:20 am

We only used the little buddy a few times, but it was nice to take the chill off between dinner and bedtime. And it fits under the back seat. Silent and no smell.

1621 Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:47 am

I keep one under the bench seat for cool evenings and mornings when I need some additional motivation to get out of my sleeping bag. It's handy for fall temps and even around freezing, but I wouldn't rely on it as a primary source of warmth. Get a good sleeping bag and layer up first. This is more a comfort/ convenience item for me.

maryloucb Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:30 am

We have a Coleman Blackcat which works great. We never leave it on all night, though. It may be the worried mother in me, but I have heard way too many true stories about people waking up dead (!) because of CO poisoning. Also, I would be worried about the risk of fire from a pillow or something falling on it.
When it's cold out I just fire it up for 10 minutes or so to heat up the van before we snuggle into our sleeping bags.

dhaavers Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:39 am

Agree with the above (crack window/never while sleeping).

It's the perfect size & rating for the van, but we rarely leave it on
for very long at a time. Turn it on & off as necessary - just turn it
to pilot in between & act as your own thermostat. Leave it on pilot
over night & it adds a bit of heat & is ready to go at the flip of the
switch when you're almost ready to climb out of your 20* bag.

Nice unit - just be reasonable & careful!

theadventureneverends Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:02 am

I have had the lil buddy in the westfalia for about four years. It is small and has a small footprint. I stow it behind the passenger seat and it rides nicely there. I sleep in different marinas in the NW year round for work. I generally sleep up top and it keeps it a very comfortable temperature. One bottle seems to last me between 4-7 hours but I really like heat and keep it on.

The condensation is bothering me. I crack a couple of windows and partiality open a canvas window. Doing this helps with the condensation but not enough. Things are damp in the morning and the inside of the windows are fogged and dripping. Thinking about that moisture accumulating behind the panels gives me stress so I bought a propex about a year ago. It is still in the box, super excited to get the time to install it.

The other drawbacks for me are I slightly worry about a pillow falling off the top bunk and landing close enough to it to catch fire while I am sleeping. Also since I crack the windows if I do get 8 hours of sleep the propane runs out at some point during the night so the inside temperature is now the same as outside. It sure is nice though to put another botttle in and start it up, warms things up quickly.

On New Years this year my wife and I camped at the beach to dig razor clams. It was below 32 degrees out. The propane had run out during the night and the moisture had frozen, all the windows were iced up on the inside. The ice thawed on the drive home and I think so much moisture ran behind the panels or dash that a wire shorted. As there was a very strong burnt wire smell.

I hope to not need to use the lil buddy in the westfalia again. I definitely appreciate it though and it will be utilized in our boat

Royb Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:10 pm

maryloucb wrote: ..but I have heard way too many true stories about people waking up dead (!) because of CO poisoning.....

- word....that's why I don't leave ours on - I hate waking up dead and/ or on fire. And despite the supposed low CO2 switch, do you really want to put your life in the hands of a small appliance?

blake28 Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:25 pm

I have a lil buddy and have used it in temps down to about 30. The condensation is the worst part. My windshield condensed so much that it dripped down the corner of the dash onto the fuse panel and shorted out the rad fan.

The heater did keep me very warm. We would run it for a few hours before bed and then shut it off to sleep. I don't like putting my life in the hands of a small appliance, though with a window cracked it would have probably been fine.

jrunberg Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:24 pm

We've love the Lil Buddy. Pros are small size, catalytic heating and decent BTUs. Cons are condensation, no fan (which means no circulation) and a decent thirst for propane.

In our bus it's been used for the time between stopping (end of day) and sleeping. It's off at night as we tent the lower bed which allows us to preserve as much heat as possible.

A small battery powered fan makes a HUGE different in apparent comfort. Otherwise the heat pools primarily around the heater.

If you find one on sale it's worth it.

Corwyn Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:46 pm

I have a Little Buddy (LB) AND a Propex. I use the Propex inside the van at night, but light the LB outside the door like a fireplace when sitting out in the early evening. Plenty of safety features, but too much condensation for inside the van. Still great to have on board.

Mulcheese Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:50 pm

So it sounds like this is what I am looking for. I picked one up on CL for $20, with a tank. I plan on using it on camping trips in the fall and will use it before bed and probably in the morning while I make coffee. We have some nice bags to keep the chill off while we sleep so it wont be used during the night. It is mainly for in the morning for when the kids get up and need to change.

He also had the "big buddy" heater for $50.

I felt that was too much for the van. Good price though.

TommyBoyGomes Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:19 pm

I camped with the little buddy over the weekend and it worked phenomenal. I had it on the low setting and had to turn it off after 10 minutes because it was too warm!

Timwhy Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:34 am

I have the Mr Heater Buddy and it works great at heating up the Westy. The only thing I don't like
about it is the Fumes that it gives off. Even with the windows cracked or open you will still be able
to smell it. We have used it outside under the BD EZ Awning with the side walls attached. It heated
up that space with no problem or noticeable smell.

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