staticwarp
it looks like the preferred vanabode heating strategy is to be somewhere warm so you don't have to heat. have you ever stayed somewhere cold? what did you do for heat?

Thanks,

static
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tangledtree
Mr. Heater Brand makes a propane powered camping heater called Buddy.  It is supposed to be indoor safe and works off of the same propane you get for your camp stove.  I haven't tried it, but I plan to buy one.  I saw one at Walmart for about 40 bucks hEATER.jpg 
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staticwarp
thanks! i had heard about mr buddy but was concerned about carbon monoxide. i'll read up on their precautions and what makes it indoor safe. has anyone found an electric heater or just run the van overnight while asleep?
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CuriousTraveler
I've read on several full-time RVing sites that a propane heater shouldn't be left on at night, and that you need to leave a window or vent cracked open for fresh air.  I will probably buy one when I get a larger motorhome, but I recommend researching the safety requirements.

I plan to order this small personal heater soon and will let you know how it works out.  It uses only 200 watts of electricity, so I'm hoping to run it off a single auxiliary battery when needed.  I think it would be safer to use while sleeping.  However, it is a "personal heater" meant for use near your body.  In a small van, I think it would be adequate for my needs as I don't plan to go anywhere cold.  I just need to keep the chill off at night in warm coastal states in winter.  Has anyone else on the forum used this one?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XDTWN2?colid=3D2DUJAVO2FAT&coliid=IC2QRFHRWU2BW&psc=1&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_img
Sherry
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jasonodom
See the "Protection from the Elements" chapter, and the "weather" chapter in the Vanabode book. Also some discussions took place here in the Q&A section of the website that may be of help....
Camping Questions
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jasonodom
Double sleeping bags will bring nearly ANYONE to a comfortable sleeping temperature within 15 minutes. Just lay them over you like a blanket and you will be VERY surprised. Do NOT take any chances using propane or any combustible system inside your vehicle, it is VERY dangerous!
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staticwarp
Since I'll be sticking to the Northeast for my first year of Vanaboding, finding a heat solution is important. Only later will I be able to travel away from the cold weather. After doing some research, it looks like I just need to make sure my inverter is rated for the total wattage of what I expect to be using, heater included. There are quite a few promising electric heaters in the 600-700w range. 

Has anyone had any experience running their inverter overnight with an appliance like a heater turned on? How long did it go before the inverter shut itself off due to low battery?
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staticwarp
well it looks like the van needs to stay on like a generator. from this site: http://www.batterysales.com/inverterfaq.cfm

Quote:

When using a power inverter, it is always a good idea to turn on the car’s engine every 30 minutes to help maintain your battery's charge. Assuming your battery is fully charged and in good condition, it is possible to use a 400W power inverter for about an hour (not starting you car) without fully discharging your battery.

To find how long your battery’s charge will last with any given inverter, use this formula:

Take the wattage being used (400W) divided by the battery voltage (12 Volts) to see how many amps are being drawn from the inverter : 400 Watts/12 Volts = 33.33 Amps.  Inverters only convert power at around 90% efficiency, so that means the inverter is really drawing around 37 amps (33.33 Amps / .90 = 37 Amps).  A typical car battery has a reserve capacity of about 80 minutes (80 minutes @ 25 Amps). So if you are drawing 37 Amps with the 400W inverter it will completely discharge the battery in 54 minutes ((80 minutes * 25 Amps) / 37 amps = 54 minutes).



so no more than an hour or so before the engine would need to start and recharge. looks like I'll have to keep researching for a way to keep the cab warm without leaving the engine on.

I'm really starting to understand why happily vanaboding requires one to travel where the weather suits them. I like the cold, but only because of climate control! XD Since I'll be in the city for the first year, a fire is out of the question. this will be an interesting challenge.
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jasonodom
Don't forget sometimes a compromise may be the best solution to a problem. There are many folks on sites like AirBnb that may rent you a parking spot (where you can simply run an extension cord and heat your van safely). Check out the Airbnb camping page here.
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staticwarp
good point, I was considering asking around to see if someone would rent me their driveway. Looks like parking space is no longer an option in the airbnb filters.
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vanabode
Probably the least efficient way to heat your van is using an inverter and any 110vac device. Obviously, you lose efficiency through the inverter, and the only benefit would be the heat generated by the inverter <grin>

The solution I have used required minimizing the area that I was heating. In my Chevy g20 extended van, my bed runs across the back of the van. So I just dropped a blanket from the roof of the van down to the floor, making a temporary wall. Because my bed is raised, the total space I needed to heat dropped down to 46"W x 72"L x 22" H, or a little over 42 cubic feet. I also have pretty heavy drapes over all of the rear windows, and that helps cut down on heat loss.

I use a RoadPro 300 watt heater which is mounted permanently above the left rear window. The wiring is permanent also; I really don't like cords that fray and short out, or that I can trip over, or connectors that get corroded or fall out.

I run the heater on a low setting. I'm not interested in increasing the temperature of my sleeping area to some toasty number. I just want to raise it enough so that I can sleep comfortably under a good quality quilt or sleeping bag. I don't want to sleep IN the bag because I toss and turn a lot, and if I can't move around easily, I wake up.

I run this off a large deep-cycle auxiliary battery which is recharged by a Renogy 200 watt solar kit. If there's little or no sun, I can charge it from the van alternator.

Hope this helps someone.....
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staticwarp
Thanks, that's extremely helpful! I didn't realize that there are heaters that can run off of a heavy duty battery like that. Great suggestion. [smile]
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