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Thread: good heater for truck cap?

  1. #1

    Default good heater for truck cap?

    Hi,

    Looking for a simple easy heater to take the chill off the back of a pickup shell before we crawl into our sleeping bags for the night in the winter.

    I have a dual battery system so it could be 12v based or propane based or a combination of the two. I am steering clear of hydronic heaters that are tied into the cooling system of the truck.

    thanks for any advice

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Heating from a battery is not a good solution. Electric heat just takes way too many watts. 100 amp*hour battery x 12 volts = 1200 watt*hours. Keep the battery above 50% for long life and that leaves you 600 watt*hours available to use. You could run a 1500w heater for maybe 15 or twenty minutes before you'll need to recharge the battery.

    A small propane catalytic heater is probably best. You can get a Mr. Buddy heater with an adapter hose to run it from a standard 5g propane tank, which you can then get filled at a propane distribution house.

    Where I live, the 5g trade-in deal they have all over town costs $30 for a 5g bottle of gas, whereas the local propane house (NOT the local U-Haul shop - this is the place that runs the trucks that deliver to the local U-Haul shop) charges about $2 per gallon to refill a tank (5g minimum purchase and the "yard price" varies from day to day, lately it's been running between 1.80 and 2.20).

    A catalytic propane heater will consume the oxygen in the living space, so you need to provide fresh air when using it. This is a non-issue however, since two humans breathing will consume the oxygen as well - so you MUST provide fresh air anyway.
    Last edited by dwh; 01-22-2011 at 08:10 PM.
    ...
    ...
    Current: 76 E-250, bubble-top, self-contained|couple of old Yamaha enduros
    Previous wheelers: 41 Willys|78 FJ40|78 Bronco|84 Bronco|74 Ramcharger|78 Ramcharger|79 D150 PowerWagon|77 D100|79 D400 dually, converted to 4WD, utility bed, 10' Lance|75 Westy|69 Scout, RHD|bunch of others|bunch of bikes|couple of boats|couple of motorhomes|blah blah|so what|not my idea|just doin' what I'm told|wank wank|this space for rent|candy is dandy|but liquor is quicker

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Prescott, AZ, USA
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    Have a look at the Heatsource Propane heaters we offer.

    The HS2000 DIY kit will toast the shell no problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,977

    Default my thoughts...

    After camping last weekend with lows in the singles or high teens, I had carried a propane heater for use in the camper shell. But I decided not to use it. I feel the humidity they leave behind makes a colder night. I would look for some type of forced air unit and only use to warm up before crawling into bed and use bed bedding. My daughter and I slept well in Alps brand (read cheap-ish) 0 degree bags inside a zip together pair of cheap Coleman bags.

    Since you have a dual battery, have you thought of 12v electric blankets?

    hth
    Jay

    www.jaycapers.com
    02 DC Tacoma with a Flippac and other stuff
    93 FZJ80 - stock but dual lockers and less than 200k miles

    74 FJ40, 91 Hilux, 98 4Runner, 98 Rav4, 02 Conqueror Compact Trailer - All Sold

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    1,987
    I use my 'Big Buddy' heater in my RTT, and have used it in my truck w/topper.

    The Big Buddy is actually to big, designed to heat 400 sq ft.

    I never had a problem with condensation with it. I get more condesation from breathing than from the heater.

    Of course, I only used the heater to warm up the area, never left it running all night.

    I do use it when 'nature calls' and I have to leave the tent/truck. Then I fire it up on 'LOW' and let it run while I'm answering Mother Nature.

    The tent or truck is nice and toasty when you climb back in!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill, Bill E. View Post
    I never had a problem with condensation with it. I get more condesation from breathing than from the heater.
    x2 on that.

    I generally use a little electric 400w/800w heater running from my portable generator to warm up my camper van before bed, but turn both off before I go to sleep. Generally I don't use *any* heat while sleeping since I've got a nice heavy Coleman sleeping bag and I like cold air when sleeping.

    Even on the coldest nights I'll leave the front door windows rolled down about half an inch and leave one side window in the fiberglass bubble top open a half inch as well.

    When I wake up in the morning, I have to use a dish towel to wipe off the condensation from the windshield - the defroster would just take too long to get the job done.

    That's just from one big ape sleeping alone in a 13' x 6' x 6' box.

    I've had the same effect with tents, where the condensation rolls down the side walls and I wake up with whatever was touching the sides being damp.

    I've been thinking of adding a small cat heater and I can't imagine that it's going to make all that much difference in condensation levels.
    ...
    ...
    Current: 76 E-250, bubble-top, self-contained|couple of old Yamaha enduros
    Previous wheelers: 41 Willys|78 FJ40|78 Bronco|84 Bronco|74 Ramcharger|78 Ramcharger|79 D150 PowerWagon|77 D100|79 D400 dually, converted to 4WD, utility bed, 10' Lance|75 Westy|69 Scout, RHD|bunch of others|bunch of bikes|couple of boats|couple of motorhomes|blah blah|so what|not my idea|just doin' what I'm told|wank wank|this space for rent|candy is dandy|but liquor is quicker

  7. #7
    Heater recommendations... after looking into it for my Callen shell (approx. 250 cubic feet to heat), the small Mr. Heater Buddy and the Olympian Wave 3 were about the only options I found. Unless you want to spend $900 and go with the Heatsource or something else.

    Look at the Olympian Wave 3 if you haven't, that's what I'll be using for propane. And look into the electric blankets if you have the electric to use them.

    And for everyone going out in the middle of the night to take a pee, get a "chamber pot". Medievally contrived bedroom convenience. AKA - 2 litter soda bottle or the like, pee in it. Unless you like getting out of bed so you can stumble around in the dark, cold critter infested night.

  8. #8
    You could go even smaller than the Mr. Heater or the Olympian given your shell size. I don't remember seeing any small ones (Coleman) that could be switched to a bigger bottle though. Even the small Mr. Heater Buddy or the Olympian Wave 3 would heat you out, but they can be run off a 20lb/5gallon bottle.

    Relevant thread -- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=54455

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrainist View Post
    You could go even smaller than the Mr. Heater or the Olympian given your shell size. I don't remember seeing any small ones (Coleman) that could be switched to a bigger bottle though. Even the small Mr. Heater Buddy or the Olympian Wave 3 would heat you out, but they can be run off a 20lb/5gallon bottle.

    Relevant thread -- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=54455
    Buddy sells an adapter hose that can run their small heater from a 5g tank instead of a little propane bottle. That could probably be used to feed just about any of the small bottle-fed heaters (like Coleman BlackCat) from a larger tank.
    Last edited by dwh; 01-24-2011 at 05:10 AM.
    ...
    ...
    Current: 76 E-250, bubble-top, self-contained|couple of old Yamaha enduros
    Previous wheelers: 41 Willys|78 FJ40|78 Bronco|84 Bronco|74 Ramcharger|78 Ramcharger|79 D150 PowerWagon|77 D100|79 D400 dually, converted to 4WD, utility bed, 10' Lance|75 Westy|69 Scout, RHD|bunch of others|bunch of bikes|couple of boats|couple of motorhomes|blah blah|so what|not my idea|just doin' what I'm told|wank wank|this space for rent|candy is dandy|but liquor is quicker

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrainist View Post
    You could go even smaller than the Mr. Heater or the Olympian given your shell size. I don't remember seeing any small ones (Coleman) that could be switched to a bigger bottle though. Even the small Mr. Heater Buddy or the Olympian Wave 3 would heat you out, but they can be run off a 20lb/5gallon bottle.

    Relevant thread -- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=54455
    Buddy sells an adapter hose that can run their small heater from a 5g tank instead of a little propane bottle. That could probably be used to feed just about any of the small bottle-fed heaters (like Coleman BlackCat) from a larger tank.
    ...
    ...
    Current: 76 E-250, bubble-top, self-contained|couple of old Yamaha enduros
    Previous wheelers: 41 Willys|78 FJ40|78 Bronco|84 Bronco|74 Ramcharger|78 Ramcharger|79 D150 PowerWagon|77 D100|79 D400 dually, converted to 4WD, utility bed, 10' Lance|75 Westy|69 Scout, RHD|bunch of others|bunch of bikes|couple of boats|couple of motorhomes|blah blah|so what|not my idea|just doin' what I'm told|wank wank|this space for rent|candy is dandy|but liquor is quicker

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