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Westy Mods For Camping In The Cold? Heaters, Etc?
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jyl
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:05 am    Post subject: Westy Mods For Camping In The Cold? Heaters, Etc? Reply with quote

I recently had the pleasure of sleeping in the Westy during a chilly night. Not super cold, maybe 30-35F. Everything inside my sleeping bag was warm, but everything not . . . was cold and drafty. This made me wonder what additions or modifications you guys recommend to make a Westy more comfy in cold weather?

Priority 1 would be heat insulation, I suppose. I noticed much cold air through the tent fabric. Anyone tried to block some of that chill? I was thinking of putting velcro points along the perimeter of the pop-top and hanging thicker material to "line" the inside of the tent.

Priority 2 would be a heater. (Maybe this is priority 1!) What heaters do people use in their Westys? If you have 120v, I suppose it is easy to plug in a little electric fan heater. But when camping without hookups, I guess propane is the only choice. Has anyone tried installing a propane heater in a cabinet or under the Z-bed so it can vent to the outside and not get kicked over? Or do you guys use portable heaters - can you recommend one?

Any other tips would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Propane is nice, but makes a lot of humidity. I prefer to use women for heating. I find that one female per 10 below freezing makes for enough mutual heat.

Some folks sell a thermal insulating blanket that velcros to the outside of the tent for wind, water and heat proofing. The down side to this, is I suspect it gets covered with ice and snow and becomes stiff when cold. This would make taking it down and storing it a pleasure. Then again winter camping is not necessarily a pleasure thing, it is more basic Paleolithic in nature.

Coleman makes a couple of different heaters that run off propane. The small radiant catalytic ones are nice and inexpensive, next step is the Heater Buddy model (two sizes), which have an O2 sensor that works below, I believe to 5,000'. Above that, it may make it so you never wake up. This is sad, as most folk do winter camping to offset the high cost of lodging for skiing or boarding. Skiing is normally done on mountains covered in snow, over 5,000'. Ergo my Neanderthal solution, females.

There are several models that permanently install and run your wallet down. They, Propex for example run about $745.
http://www.van-cafe.com/vanagon_parts.jsp?pa=p&p=1206396154
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CF
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here is what is nice for a propane heater

http://www.westyventures.com/propex.html


if fact i'll be ordering one real soon (x-mas present for the van)
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beatrich
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mostly I sleep downstairs when it gets really cold- It is way easier to insulate yourself in. A bit that I did to keep the warm air in was to use the snaps for the front curtain, and using a snap kit from a fabric store, rig up a thicker blanket that completely seals off the rear cabin from the front, and it works well. I suppose it would also help to keep the heat from going out the windows in any case. I am currently working on a few projects, including insulation like msinabottle did. I use the Mister Buddy Heater downstairs and vent out the roof vent. Heater/insulation combo gets the temp to a reasonable point- and I add in the ladies at a much higher temp than dogpilot- he must be a little hardier than I.
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matthewgvt
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Winter Camping Reply with quote

I recently installed the propex heater from van-cafe in my 85' westy. So far that, combined with a set of insulated window blankets from bus depot keeps the van toasty when I'm camped out. I picked up some reflective insulation material from Home Depot and was planning on making something to cover the pop-top also....of course last week I replaced the front heater core, fan and some coolant hoses so I'm a little burned out on projects right now Shocked

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914 mike
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:02 pm    Post subject: Heater Reply with quote

From a heater post a few days back I wrote:

I used a Hydroflame unit and kept everything portable. That way I didn't have to cut holes in my van and its not taking up valuable space when I dont need it. It works great....

Hydroflame unit (google it)w/thermostat from a wrecking yard = $20 (9"x10"x23")
Mounted in a wood box found in garbage pile = free
12ft dryer ducting = $10
Register for ducting = $13
gas regulator pirated off old BBQ = free
Diox/monox detector = $15

I mounted the heater in the box (10"x11"x30"). Made a hole for the exhaust at one end and a hole for ducting at the other. Flip open lid on opposite end from exhaust gives access to extra storage space in box where I keep the register, thermostat, ducting, diox/monox detector, wires, etc while traveling...also serves as fresh air intake for the unit.

I set the box outside my drivers door on milk crates, plug in my 5lb BBQ propane bottle, attach + wire to my deep cycle fuse box under drivers seat, - to a spade at same location, set the thermostat on the drivers seat, shut the door, run the ducting from the unit to the register at the top of the window and set the bad air detector on the dash.
Turn the thermostat to 70* and the heater comes to life, quietly, outside the westy. Warm forced air gets pumped in and quickly fills every nook and cranny of the interior.....and then shuts off and cycles thanks to thermostat control.

Eagle lake 2 weeks ago above Reno lows were upper 20's. My van was nice and toasty inside.

A little bulky but it all fits in the luggage nook up top....and at under $60 total cost, I can deal with the bulky.
Its not taking up space in the van when I dont need it, and I can use it around my garage when I get cold there as well
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camrenj
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Reply with quote

914 mike wrote:
From a heater post a few days back I wrote:

I used a Hydroflame unit and kept everything portable. That way I didn't have to cut holes in my van and its not taking up valuable space when I dont need it. It works great....

Hydroflame unit (google it)w/thermostat from a wrecking yard = $20 (9"x10"x23")
Mounted in a wood box found in garbage pile = free
12ft dryer ducting = $10
Register for ducting = $13
gas regulator pirated off old BBQ = free
Diox/monox detector = $15

I mounted the heater in the box (10"x11"x30"). Made a hole for the exhaust at one end and a hole for ducting at the other. Flip open lid on opposite end from exhaust gives access to extra storage space in box where I keep the register, thermostat, ducting, diox/monox detector, wires, etc while traveling...also serves as fresh air intake for the unit.

I set the box outside my drivers door on milk crates, plug in my 5lb BBQ propane bottle, attach + wire to my deep cycle fuse box under drivers seat, - to a spade at same location, set the thermostat on the drivers seat, shut the door, run the ducting from the unit to the register at the top of the window and set the bad air detector on the dash.
Turn the thermostat to 70* and the heater comes to life, quietly, outside the westy. Warm forced air gets pumped in and quickly fills every nook and cranny of the interior.....and then shuts off and cycles thanks to thermostat control.

Eagle lake 2 weeks ago above Reno lows were upper 20's. My van was nice and toasty inside.

A little bulky but it all fits in the luggage nook up top....and at under $60 total cost, I can deal with the bulky.
Its not taking up space in the van when I dont need it, and I can use it around my garage when I get cold there as well
Don't tease us with talking about it we need pics Shame on you
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jyl
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Propex looks like the perfect solution - compact, safe, built-in.

One question - rather than connect it to the Westy's existing propane tank, I might prefer to connect it to a separate 1 lb propane bottle, placed inside the same cabinet where the Propex is located. I'm thinking this would make for a simpler install plus allow more propane to be carried. Would this be a bad idea?

Thanks for the links, everyone.
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matthewgvt
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Propex Reply with quote

I'll admit it's a little scary making that hole through the van but it's worth it in the end and not terribly difficult or time consuming. For what it's worth I'd say install it 'the right way' the first time and make sure and put in an extra connector at the propane tank for an external cylinder (1 lb or BBQ sized). That way you'll always have a way to keep warm, even if it means buying a BBQ sized tank at a gas station when you run out of propane unexpectedly Razz

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terryg
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jyl wrote:
The Propex looks like the perfect solution - compact, safe, built-in.

One question - rather than connect it to the Westy's existing propane tank, I might prefer to connect it to a separate 1 lb propane bottle, placed inside the same cabinet where the Propex is located. I'm thinking this would make for a simpler install plus allow more propane to be carried. Would this be a bad idea?

Thanks for the links, everyone.


Go to some of the motorhome supply places like campingworld.com or pplmotorhomes.com. They have lots of connectors for adding external tanks and using propane heaters/grills externally. You should be able to find the parts to do what you want.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Window insulation kit.
Interior Pop top insulation kit.
Interior Canvas insulation kit.
( the outside insulation set up won't reflect heat back in )

I use the Mr. Buddy Heater, and keep a window cracked.

A 12 volt heated blanket under the comforter.
( or it can be used under the sheet )

I'm ready for the cold weather, and I do like to stay warm---
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