Camping in Temps in the Teens

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by Snowman, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    Hey Folks,
    Kids (5 & 7) have a 4 day weekend so we're going to escape to Great Sand Dunes NP this weekend. However, I noticed the overnight temps are about 15 degrees. I'm only coming into the end of my first year with the Santa Fe, so I've never been in temps like this with the camper. Does the onboard heater do an OK job keeping the camper comfortable in those temps? Anyone have experience with this? Thanks!
     
  2. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    Sep 5, 2015
    Syracuse, NY
    You should be okay if you have enough propane and battery. If you have electrical hookup, then bring an extra space heater. If you don't, you need to find a way to re-charge your battery or bring extra battery. Also use pop up gizmos, reflectix, or other methods to help insulate the pup.
     
  3. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I have found that you need a fan to move the heat into the bunks and you need to stop the air flow that comes in from under the canvas on the bunkends. People have used pool noodles or blankets. Good Luck.
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    The biggest question is if you are going to have electricity or at least some way of charging your battery. The more your furnace turns on the more battery juice you will use. I just went camping where the day time temps were 50 and evening temps freezing. I had no electricity so had to rely on my group 24 battery. I kept the furnace set to 50 to prevent waking up to a dead battery as I had no way of charging a battery. In my three night trip I only had about couple inches of propane left in my one and only tank and my battery was lower than 50% not something you want to do often. Warm sleeping bags is very important as the bunk ends and the door can get mighty drafty. Reflectix in the windows, popup gizmos above the bunk end, and some closed cell foam under the bunkend mattresses to keep the cold from seeping through the wood on the bunks. You can also try and devise a way to make a bunkend skirt to prevent wind from blowing under the bunk. If it's windy, I will tell you your furnace will have a much harder time keeping up. There is surprisingly a lot of holes wind can sneak in by in a popup. If you have electricity having a space heater to help supplement will be the best bet. It's doable but do not expect it to be like your furnace in your home.
     
  5. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    We're at a NPS campground so no hookups. My battery is a group 27, which is a little better I suppose. Should be super sunny and in the 50s/60s on saturday, so it's really just the cooler temps on friday (40s) and then two nights that are the issue.
    We only keep our thermostat set at 63 for the high at home, and it goes to 50 at night, so my kids aren't exactly used to high temps in the living quarters. I was going to bring along an extra tank to be safe. All of my lighting is LED, so that should help with the consumption as well, I hope.
    We'll have sleeping bags, comforters and blankets.
     
  6. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Jul 30, 2008
    That is gonna be a stretch for one battery.
     
  7. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Minnesota
    You may find that condensation is your biggest problem in colder weather. It may actually drip down on you and get your bedding wet. The trick is to figure out how much to open a vent or window while still retaining as much heat as possible. The propane heaters work well, but are noisy. It is important to dry out everything the next day or the following night will be cold and damp...
     
  8. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    I suppose that I can pick up another battery, but it's not high on my spend list. Will a group 24 battery suffice? Or, should I get another 27 or a pair of 6v? If it was just me I wouldn't care but Mom is out of town so it's just me and the kids and I won't have the tag team support that we may need is something arises.
     
  9. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Minnesota
    You can probably get two nights out of a fully charged battery, especially if you have LED lights used sparingly and only run the heat when actually needed. A full propane tank should go for weeks of sporadic use.
     
  10. Firehawk068

    Firehawk068 Active Member

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    Mar 22, 2016
    In a pinch, you can hook your camper battery to your running tow vehicle with a set of jumper cables to add some charge back into the battery.

    One thing I ran into while camping in below-freezing temps, was the water lines under the camper.
    The lengths that are right up next to the floor were not a problem, but both of my low-point drains had froze and cracked the PEX lines there.
    They hang down about 4 inches from the underside of the floor.
    You might want to bring along some insulating foam to cover them up, if yours has a similar setup.
     
  11. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    I thought of that. So, I wasn't going to fill the fresh water tank, but just bring some jugs into the camper for washing hands, drinking etc.
     
    dirkdabass likes this.
  12. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    A friend of mine has and old, deep cycle 12v that I just picked up from him. Just hooked it to my charger/maintainer and it registers as "low battery" so we'll leave it on there for another day or two and see what kind of charge we can get out of it. It might help in a pinch.
     
  13. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    Well, got back successfully this weekend.
    The battery was down to about 12v by the end of the weekend but the propane was the issue. I ran out of the gas about 1am on saturday night so I had to scramble outside to switch tanks to get everything up and running again. This week I'm in the process of adding a second G27 battery and a rack for a second 20# cylinder.
    Thanks for the tips!
     
    MaeKay likes this.
  14. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Oct 18, 2017
    Utah
    Do you know how cold it got? Also, did you have any issue with condensation? Not sure when Coleman started using the sunbrella fabric but our current Bayside didn’t get condensation at all while using the furnace but our other Viking popup did get quite humid.

    Have you considered an automatic changeover for your propane? They don’t appear very expensive and a 1 am propane chore doesn’t sound fun to me. It’s something I want to look into this season.
     
  15. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    The visitor center said that it got into the high teens overnight. Several campers water froze overnight.
    We had no issue with condensation (we do have sunbrella fabric). I only have one tank so the changeover is a moot point right now. A second tank (and battery) is on my mod list but haven't done it yet. I assume that a '98 Santa Fe has the tongue weight for that but I need to verify.
     
    MaeKay likes this.
  16. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Oct 18, 2017
    Utah
    Good to have data like that! We’ve done just fine in slightly below freezing but never that low.
     
  17. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    Happy to contribute! That’s the best part of this forum!
     
  18. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    Sep 10, 2017
    Ferndale MI
    the furnace should work quite well. I regularly camp in winter, 0 seems to be fairly normal for a low, 10 below is not uncommon. 25 below is the lowest I've camped in and the furnace did well but ran more than I would've liked. glad I had the solar panel and a 225 ah battery.
     
    MaeKay likes this.
  19. Snowman

    Snowman Member

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    Jul 12, 2017
    Boulder, CO
    I can’t imagine that my setup would be comfortable at 25 below. Are we talking Fahrenheit? In the teens, we had reflectix in the windows on the kids end and in the main area (I skipped my bunkend) and the furnace ran quite a bit and kept the temps in in the low 50s inside. I had tstat set for 50 and I was pretty comfortable.
     
  20. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    Sep 10, 2017
    Ferndale MI
    yes Fahrenheit. I use reflectix in the windows, but I do have a aliner which is all hardside, I tarp off the underside to cut down on heat robbing airflow under it. just a week ago it got down to 1. the river I was at still is iced over. hoping it clears up in a couple of weeks for the opening of trout season.
     

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