The factory heater that can be ordered with a FWC shell is a unit that includes a furnace, 5 gal propane tank, and a cabinet. The added cost for the furnace is $875.
The factory unit will not work for me for four reasons.
-Cost. Too much money for my budget
-Weight. I can not find where in my notes I have the exact weight, but it was fairly heavy.
-Space. The cabinet will take up space and will make storage in my "open" floor plan harder.
-Battery. I will have only minimal battery in the camper and do not want to depend on batter power for heat.
-Added reason, the factory unit is built in. If I am making a summer trip where the temps will stay for the most part above freezing I want to be able to leave the heater at home. Thus saving weight and space.
Here is my heating solution. The FWC is such a small space and I am used to camping in cold conditions, so I think it should fit my needs. And again this is something that can evolve over time.
Edit: Due to comments on this heater I will be finding another solution.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-BlackCat-PerfecTemp-Catalytic-Heater/dp/B0009PUR9U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1279554379&sr=8-2"]Coleman BlackCat Catalytic Heater[/ame]
I do have a hard time with using the Coleman 1lb propane bottles, but they do have some advantages over a 10/20lb tank. My hot water heater and stove use them, so I will have three things that run off the same style canisters. Their small size allows me to store them outside of the camper, in a vented location. And they are available at most small town stores, (although the price they charge is crazy compared to the cost at a big box store) so the amount of propane carried can easily be changed. And now that they can be recycled, and drop boxes for them are starting to be common, I feel less bad for using them.
When using a heater in a closed space a CO alarm is a must.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Kidde-KN-COB-B-Battery-Operated-Monoxide-Electrochemical/dp/B000063SCW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1280283367&sr=1-4"]Battery CO Alarm[/ame]
Last edited by Overland Hadley; 05-28-2011 at 02:14 PM.
My 2 cents on the Black Cat is that you will probably 86 it in short order.
I say this from experience as my Hawk did not have a heater when I bought it and I thought the Black Cat would be a cheap alternative too, which I guess it is. But a canister will only last about 6 hours and the smell is not very pleasant.
You seem to be putting alot of thought into this build and considering where you live I would HIGHLY recommend considering an Olympian Wave 3 or even a Buddy Heater if you have the extra coin to spare.
Anyway, if you still wanna go with the Black Cat in the interim I've got one I'll sell you on the cheap, only used a handful of times it's just collecting dust in the garage! Good luck whichever way you decide.
2006 Tundra Double Cab Limited 4WD TRD
2003 Four Wheel Camper (Hawk)
I also almost bought a Black Cat and all the bad review made me thing they named it wisely according to the old superstition on black cats. my dad has a buddy heater and it is awesome. he even used to heat the living room once when the power went out and it was colder than heck. good luck with the FWC. We have been looking harder and harder at them ourselves but fear the change of ability.
I think if you order the furnace package it comes with a CO and smoke detector. It is also a forced air unit with electric fan and thermo, already vented. With the shell model the cabinet is only about 14inches or so high, or my info could be wrong. But with that addition it should not weigh that much, maybe 50 lbs. I've been planning my Finch build for about 4 months and this is very helpful. Any thoughts on removable dinning area? Sink, stove and such that can be placed outside of camper. I've been looking at a VW/ Westfalia setup that is very light.
I'll chime in, I have a Finch shell with factory heater, in fact, the silver taco pics in the original post is mine from the day I brought it home. After nearly 3 years use, I have never used the heater, but I do run an extension hose from propane tank to my stove outside the camper. If I ordered again, I wouldn't order the heater. I would use a little buddy if needed and carry a small 4lb or 11lb propane tank for my cooking and shower duties. In addition, if you run the heater, you will need to design/install enough battery power to run the fan however long you have it on. YMMV.
By the way, a Finch shell with full propane tank is 525lbs.
One thing about the Mr. Buddy heaters (and any other that have a low oxygen sensor) they will not operate at above 7500 ft. altitude. Took one to Colorado to ELK hunt, camped at 9,000 ft and froze my @$^ off.
The factory furnace is worth it if you plan on using it at high altitude.
Good luck, Lorn
Just because your'e paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you!
I was going to second the idea of a Mr. Buddy heater.
I have the 'Big Buddy' and love it, it's actually overkill for my RTT, but does great in a pick up w/topper.
I believe the Big Buddy is suited for 400 SqFt.
I haven't used mine at high elevations yet, so this is good to know.