Official Test Results: Five Ways to Heat a Tent

SameGuy

Observer
Now we need someone to do the same research for heating a teardrop!


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If you want to heat a teardrop use a Propex, generally the ducting runs are so short in that type of application there is little to no reason to worry about insulating the hot air or return. They put out WAY more heat than needed to warm up the small, sealed space in a teardrop camper. Mine can roast you out in -20F in just a couple of minutes.
 

jacobconroy

Adventurer
If you want to heat a teardrop use a Propex, generally the ducting runs are so short in that type of application there is little to no reason to worry about insulating the hot air or return. They put out WAY more heat than needed to warm up the small, sealed space in a teardrop camper. Mine can roast you out in -20F in just a couple of minutes.
Good info. I'm about to install my Propex in a van. Have you had any issues with Propane freezing in the lines (or regulator) at those temps...or any winter temps?
 

chet6.7

Explorer
Now we need someone to do the same research for heating a teardrop!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

If you want to heat a teardrop use a Propex, generally the ducting runs are so short in that type of application there is little to no reason to worry about insulating the hot air or return. They put out WAY more heat than needed to warm up the small, sealed space in a teardrop camper. Mine can roast you out in -20F in just a couple of minutes.
When I was looking into a Propex I saw this guy's channel.
 

SameGuy

Observer
Good info. I'm about to install my Propex in a van. Have you had any issues with Propane freezing in the lines (or regulator) at those temps...or any winter temps?
I generally don't camp when it's in the negative digits, however, a few years ago it was around -20F I got a wild hair and fired up the Propex in my teardrop in the driveway. It maybe took 20 minutes to reach a comfortable 75F. I hung out in there for an hour or so while the storm raged around me, the thermostat doing its job turning the heater on and off to maintain the temperature. No issues like the OP with freezing propane ever, even on that super cold night. I wonder if maybe he has some bad propane or ran some that made his Propex finicky. Mine has worked flawlessly since day one with one exception, where I crushed the combustion air intake hose, basically blocking it off.
 

SameGuy

Observer
When I was looking into a Propex I saw this guy's channel.
Interesting. My Propex is mounted to the back wall under the clamshell hatch of my teardrop. The hot air duct is maybe a foot long, going straight into the cabin. One evening I had a wet towel that I threw on top of the hot air duct, didn't want it to blow away in the night. That little bit of insulation on the hot air duct reduced the heater noise a bunch, I assume it just quieted the vibrations in the cardboard ducting. I didn't buy the fancy acoustic ducting, but I'm sure it works as advertised.
 

Lucky j

Explorer
Having finished my work on the Propex system and abandoning the project of burning anthracite coal in the wood stove, I'm trying to figure out my next winter camping project. My latest idea is to do a backpacking trek with my tree tent to see whether I can figure out how to stay warm while sleeping six feet above the ground. I wanted to ask for ideas from the experts here on the ExPo portal. Any suggestions? My early thoughts are to use reflective emergency blankets above and below a 0F sleeping bag, plus an extra fleece blanket inside the sleeping bag, along with a 24oz Nalgene bottle filled with very hot water. The benefit of the tree tent is that I won't need to carry any sleeping pads (foam, aircell, etc). But the drawback is that I won't benefit from the insulating property of sleeping right on top of the planet earth. Interested to hear any ideas or suggestions. Thanks!



The principle of insulation is the same for everything, from house to vehicule to sleeping bag. What keep you warm is the hability to trap the largest layer of air and make so that it does not move. So a hous built in the same manner, that as 1 inch of insulation, will not be as efficient as the same house with 6" of insulation. That os ame inner vapor barrier and outer wind braker and etc.

Same apply with sleeping bag. The better you can keep tha air trap in thicket layer sleeping bag you can find, the warmer you will remain. But the draw back of a sleeping back, is that we have to lay down to sleep, and that thick layer becomes really thin, trapping less air, giving you less insulation letting you feel the cold from under. This is where a good sleeping pad come in. The thicker insulation you can have (think here micro bubble, cause just an air matress will transfert cold air from the ground directly to the surface where you sleep) the warmer you will be. Winter camping, 3/4" to one inch will be best, and the proof of that, is that if you sleep directly in the snow with a non efficient matress, you will be cold and you will leave a melted space under your self.

An other thing is that ice will form in the last remaining layer of you sleeping bag, that is the body humidity freezing in the cold layer, the one that touch the freezing air. To prvent thia, you need to create a sleep system, that will be a warm sleeping bag and a nylon or gortex or similar outer layer so the humidity will freeze inside that last layer and not in you sleeping bag.

And btw, emergency blanket are what the are, emergency blanket. They reflect heat (++), they trap air and protect from the wind (an other ++) but they also trap humidity big time (--) that make it hard to stay warm. I am a big fan, and carry many in all my bags and backpacks and vehicule. But will never sleep in one on purpose.

Just try one for fun in your beg of living room. I did. ;)

As for sleeping in a hammock, it is not for me, but I have never tried it. I prefer my RTT latter. :)
 
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MattJ

Adventurer
Hey everyone - thank you for the suggestions! I am taking your advice! Today I rigged up a test system for the tree tent in my back yard. I had to drive a six-foot fence post into the ground and rig it with half inch eyebolts and use the swingset as another "tree". My neighbors think I am CRAZY. But it worked well (note that I didn't install the roof tarp on the tent in the photos below).

I also designed a four-layer sleeping system using several backcountry tech products and a Kelty sleeping bag rated 15F. Now I just need to wait for a cold night next week to sleep in the back yard.

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions before I do the night testing!

https://www.thermarest.com/camp-quilts-and-tech-blankets/tech-blankets/argo-blanket

https://www.thermarest.com/z-lite

https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/cold-weather-gear/products/thermolite-reactor-extreme-liner







 

jacobconroy

Adventurer
Cool! You are gonna have fun man. I find that backyard camping (and sometimes driveway camping) is the best way to test gear and fix that mid-winter hankerin' for campin'!

If you have more than one pad (any type) you might want to take it in there with you. Heat loss from underneath a hammock is brutal.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
the better way is attach an insulation blanket suspended but reasonably tight underneath the hammock.
Thanks - yes I noticed that configuration on hammockforums.net. Makes sense. But how would I do that with a larger tree tent? Plus, I have the challenge of having to fit everything into a backpack for my trek into the woods.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Test was a success! Low temperature of 12F overnight. What I learned:

1) The four-layer thermal sleeping system worked great. I had a tailor sew some velcro into the blanket to make sure it stayed wrapped around the sleeping bag. Next time I am going to put the reflective sleeping pad OUTSIDE the blanket wrap and just let it sit on the floor of the tree tent. It got a bit twisted and bunched up inside the four-layer system overnight.

2) I figured out how to fold my parka and snow pants into pillows using mesh zip-bags. Worked great.

3) I brought a huge contractor-grade trash bag for my boots, gaiters and microspikes. Easy and lightweight solution for keeping them from getting snow all over the tent.

Next challenge: pack the whole system up, including food and cooking gear, and backpack into the woods for two days this weekend . . .









 

MattJ

Adventurer
Did it! Survived three days in the backcountry in the tree tent, including a surprise snow storm. The only problem I still need to work out is how to keep the reflective sleeping pad to keep from sliding out from under my sleeping bag during the night. I need to anchor it inside the tent somehow.







 

jacobconroy

Adventurer
Did it! Survived three days in the backcountry in the tree tent, including a surprise snow storm. The only problem I still need to work out is how to keep the reflective sleeping pad to keep from sliding out from under my sleeping bag during the night. I need to anchor it inside the tent somehow.







Lol...good for you dude. You are more of a man than I...that's for sure.
 
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