Are we going to freeze?

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by super_dork, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. super_dork

    super_dork New Member

    Aug 7, 2017
    We bought our first camper this summer - a 2002 Coleman Fairlake. I did some renovations to it (replaced wood, flooring, paint, curtains) and have been getting it prepped for our second trip. Our first trip was in September and it was just 2 nights and it was hot. This trip is Thanksgiving week for 6 days in the Gatlinburg, TN area. We are expecting it to be cold and possibly snowy. The unit has a Coleman Mach 3+ with a heater module that seems to warm ok, but certainly doesn't make it toasty inside even when it's warm outside. I also have a small ceramic space heater, electric blanket and the standard PopupGizmos (haven't tried them out yet) and 3 children under 5. We live in Texas and aren't used to colder weather preparations, especially with a camper. I just wanted to see if there's anything we are missing or should consider before we leave.
  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I would buy some reflectix to help insulate the bunk ends. Perhaps a blanket or something to put between the wood and bed to help keep the chill from working it's way up through the bed. The canvas isn't a very good insulator so you may need to put reflectix in the main windows or pin up a blanket to help hold the heat in some. Make sure everyone has layers to wear. Also make sure everyone has good blankets or sleeping bags to sleep in.
  3. RetAF

    RetAF Member

    Apr 22, 2010
    You may struggle to keep warm. Assuming you have shore power, the ceramic heater will help, but the best source of heat is your PUP's furnace if you have one. You may need both of them running at the same time. Some folks use two ceramic heaters, one plugged into the PUP and the other plugged directly into the power pole. You best bet to sleeping warm are good sleeping bags and/or lots of blankets. The PopupGizmos help. If the temps happen to fall very far below freezing your water lines may freeze, so keep an eye on that. Pick a sunny camping spot if you have the option and let the sun help you out. You may be blessed with a week of warmer temps and won't have a problem, but it's always good to be prepared.
    shuang2 likes this.
  4. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    I camped up on Mt Cheaha in Alabama where it got down to mid 20's and I was warm. The hose outside froze and the exterior water filter cracked. I use Gizmo refectix inside and outside which kept the popup warm. I wore only shorts and had the ceramic heater heating overnight.
  5. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    super_dork likes this.
  6. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    King George, Virginia
    I keep our two sleeping bags zipped together and use them as a bed cover on top of the blankets. Then if it really gets cold we get inside them real easy...

    We too use a couple of portable heaters... These are OIL FILLED 1500WATT types... Mine are the low profile size and I like to hook them up to the camp ground 20AMP service. This doesn't take away from the 30A Service for us...

    Mine looks like this

    I notice WALMART is selling the standard desk top high oil filled 1500W heaters for $35 this month... These look like this

    I like the oil filled type heaters as they have no open red hot cores and are very quiet to operate. No danger to kids or animals etc...

    Getting a heated blanket as cover works too...

    Been to Gatlinburg many times in this time of the year and nothing bad happened to us yet... Later on they sure put out a nice XMAS DISPLAY ...

    Being avid Tent Campers from back in the 60s we like it cold anyway haha... That makes the morning coffee taste so ever good...

    Roy Ken
    super_dork and XKPin like this.
  7. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Active Member

    Nov 25, 2016
    Chicago suburbs
    We use a heater similar to the second one @roybraddy posted above. Works great! I also highly recommend putting a couple layers of foam/rubber floor tiles (the anti-fatigue ones) under the mattresses on the bunk ends. Makes beds much more comfortable and provides great insulation.
  8. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Member

    Sep 25, 2016
    Where we camp the temperature can get to below freezing at night anytime after July. We have a big, fluffy sleeping bag and we are never cold. I think the most important thing you can do at night is wear a hat.
  9. super_dork

    super_dork New Member

    Aug 7, 2017
    This is the heater that we have now I have a couple extra sleeping bags to bring along as well. We also just got a nice deal on 3" mattress toppers so we should have about 6" of foam between us and the bunk deck. Seems like that should help with the underside getting cold. I need to look into the reflectix some have mentioned.
  10. super_dork

    super_dork New Member

    Aug 7, 2017
    Thanks for the link. I knew I had seen it before but I swear I couldn't find it today no matter where I looked!
    kitphantom likes this.
  11. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

    Jun 14, 2014
    If you have shore power, a small ceramic electric heater will keep you arm no problem at night even without the extra insulation. We have used one several times in cooler weather, one time down to about 25 at night and the other mid 30s. You may want an additional fan for air circulation to help keep the temps even.
    shuang2 likes this.
  12. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    Anchorage, AK
    I've camped down to about the teens with a ceramic heater, and I was warm enough to only need a regular Wal-Mart sleeping bag. Unless you are only warm if it is 80 degrees, you should be ok.
  13. Jorja

    Jorja Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Based on others recommendations, we also found a small cheap dehumidifier to take the damp out of the air while running the furnace and ceramic heater in cold weather.

    Helps with condensation on the inside of the canvas.
  14. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    King George, Virginia
    One thing I did with my POPUP trailer was to put down the 2X2 foot carpet squares with sticky backs (LOWES) on both tent bed floors. I cut around the metal pieces and both sides really helped out big time being under the mattress...

    I also did the same with the trailer floor of the popup but the big drawback there was the small grass junk from the outside tracks in big time now... Have to sweep and vacuum alot more now- I guess it was always there before but now it shows up big time hehe... I added a big stomp step just outside the trailer door that helps big time... Everybody knows to stomp big now before entering.

    Also around the edge of the tent beds we get alot of draft coming in from the outside with the way the tent flaps are secured around the tent bed ends.. Lots of cold air coming in there. I found those 2" by 32" foam pieces the Window Air conditioner use in the house to seal the area of the raised window really works great being used around the edge of the tent beds. I inserted two of those on each side of the tent beds when setting up between the tent bed and the fabric flaps. The also helps out big time from letting cold air get inside and also helps from keeping small things like your handy flashlight from falling out of the tent bed areas onto the ground. Got mine from WALMART...


    I did this back in 2009 and it really helped keeping my off-road POPUP trailer alot warmer in the tent bed areas.

    Roy Ken
  15. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

    Feb 6, 2007
    Centerville, OH
    Make sure you use your Gizmos in winter configuration (silver side to the inside). This will help reflect heat back in. Also if you don't have a furnace you can run a second space heater by running a heavy duty extension cord into your camper from the pillar. Since it will be on a different circuit then the camper so you should be able to run the A/C heat, one heater plugged in to the camper and a second on the extension cord.
  16. aumannt

    aumannt New Member

    Oct 29, 2017
    Canton, GA
    I used to hate winter camping but as a Scoutmaster, had to learn. After a while, I was running a winter campout for an entire scouting district in north Georgia. A couple of things I learned that are fairly simple to do:
    1. Before going to bed, change all your clothes. It may be cold, and you may not realize that you have been perspiring all day. Your underclothes and socks are damp - change in to fresh before getting to bed, and you will be warmer.
    2. As someone else mentioned, a stocking cap can also help keep you warmer.
    3. Get an inexpensive pair of "long johns" to wear just in bed. I have a very thin pair I wear even in the summer. In the summer, keeps the bare sweaty legs from sticking together.
    4. Remember those signs you see on the road that "Bridge ices before road"? In a PUP, you are sleeping on a bridge - there is nothing below you except the plywood and mattress. The air will pull heat from above and below you. Consider adding an extra layer under you (maybe an old comforter if you are not using sleeping bags) to help with heat loss.
    5. If you are using a heater, turn it to a lower setting while sleeping than when you are up and about. You will be well insulated with the blankets, etc., and you will be surprised how much your own body heat can warm up a small space like a PUP. You don't want to overheat and start sweating in bed - that will make you colder in the long run.
    Good luck!
  17. Yak

    Yak Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2009
    13 degrees at night, 55 in the pup


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