Keeping Warm while Winter Camping in the Element - Honda Element Owners Club Forum
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Old 09-20-2004, 04:12 PM   #1
Snarf77
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I'm looking for ideas on how to keep warm while camping on the Element Air Bed Frame (www.CubeJ.com) during the winter time when it drops below freezing. The collapseable airbed frame raises the floor about 15 inches and possibly something could be put below the bed to warm the E's interior?

Old VW busses had Eibersparcher (forgive the spelling) gas heaters that could keep the bus at about 70 degrees through the night in the coldest places. They burned actual gas from the fuel tank, but not sure that would be an option with the E. I had these ideas:

1. Do a dual battery system, and have the rear battery power a converter that powers an electric blanket through the night. I have no idea how long an electric blanket could run on a charged optima battery, or how warm it would really keep you. I stayed in a heatless house last winter, and used an electric blanket set on "3" (out of 10) and it kept us very warm, though the housee was 50 degrees, sometimes lower. How would you begin to measure the feasability of the Electric blanket idea?

2. Have some kind of propane warmth system where a propane heater heats the iterior. Kind of like a mobile home...but where would the tank go?

As you can see..i haven't gotten very far. I'm terribly curious though as the Air bed Frames we build have totally gotten us into camping in our E. So much so that we want to camp through the winter. Any ideas would be dandy.

Jessee
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Old 09-20-2004, 04:56 PM   #2
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Anything that burned fuel is probably not a safe idea, unless you could guarantee it was being vented 10-15 feet away.

Myself, I'd stick with:

1. Technical long-johns made for the temperature extremes you'll face.
2. Two nice low-temp-rated sleeping bags that can be mated together for a couple.
3. A nice hot meal before bed.

:)

-brendan
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Old 09-20-2004, 06:54 PM   #3
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Brendan, those are all grrrrreat ideas as Tony the tiger would say, but nevertheless, I dont' like getting OUT of the nice sleeping bag, and changing into clothes when its 30 degrees in the car. I mean, it could be done, and it has before, but boy it stinks.

There seriously has to be a way. Even keeping the E at 50 degrees inside would feel like summer. Perhaps i'll look at an RV heating system that mounts to the trailer hitch...a very small one. There must be some ready made solution to this problem as there must be other crazy people who camp in January.
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Old 09-20-2004, 06:57 PM   #4
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The Dual battery setup might work if you plugged the electric blanket into a power inverter. You'll want to setup the battery so it's switch able between Battery A, Battery B or Batteries A & B. I know that there is a product out there for just that purpose although you see it more on fishing boat. The gas heaters are a bad idea. The inside of the E is too small a place to be using something like that without some serious ventlation.
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:02 PM   #5
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[quote:16c743a5c9=" "]Brendan, those are all grrrrreat ideas as Tony the tiger would say, but nevertheless, I dont' like getting OUT of the nice sleeping bag, and changing into clothes when its 30 degrees in the car. I mean, it could be done, and it has before, but boy it stinks.[/quote:16c743a5c9]

Heh. Wait, you're changing clothes when winter camping? That's crazy!

:) :) :)

Anyway, I'll keep an eye open on the thread, should be interesting.

-brendan
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:25 PM   #6
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Check this out. Looks like these folks have been building gas heaters for quite some time now, often as an OEM feature on many passenger vehicles including VW vans (Westfalia) for camping.

http://www.webasto.us/press/en/am_auto_heaters_734.html

Heats the engine coolant using the fuel supply, then the heat from that is transferred to the vehicle. I can't imagine VW offering something entirely deadly as an OEM option on its vans.

I sent them an email to see if they could offer any reccomendations... very curious to see the response.
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:46 PM   #7
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Hmm. Interesting. Still requires battery power to run the fan, and you're heating both the compartment and the engine block. Wonder how cleanly it burns the gasoline and how it vents the exhaust it creates?

Also, ouch: "M.S.R.P. for a Webasto BlueHeat vehicle heater, including installation and a remote, is $2,249. "

-brendan
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Old 09-20-2004, 10:17 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, I am tapped out of suggestions. You see I own a home so I don’t have any real experience with living outdoors. It seems I am among a minority here on the EOC boards. Most of you have bought the E as some sort of back-up plan should you temporarily forget where you live. Well, good luck with that.

The J

Ps. On a more serious note, now that I am a father I am beginning to see the appeal of an inexpensive camping trip as a family vacation option.
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Old 09-20-2004, 10:36 PM   #9
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How aboot a space heater plugged into the front/back outlets?

But one that is safe and will not start a fire or warp the inside of your E.

I can't think of the brand name but I picked one up for my apt. last
winter and it provided very good heat and was safe.

It had a "saftey switch" on the bottom, so in case it ws knocked over it
would turn itself off.
It also had a fan to blow the heat from the coils.
I believe it was a Black&Decker model.
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Old 09-20-2004, 11:34 PM   #10
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How about warm clothes, good sleeping bags, and just before you want to get out, start your Element? It would warm up quickly so you can change your clothes, or whatever. Seems easier than a heater. Maybe I missed the point but seems like a simple solution.
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