Cold Weather Camping & Mattress Mod Experiment at Camp Driveway (w/Pics)

Discussion in 'Camp Driveway' started by BikeNFish, May 9, 2020.

  1. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    What do you do when you have a camper in the yard, nowhere to go and cold weather approaching? You take all of the things you learned on the portal and perform an experiment on cold weather camping!

    There were freeze warnings popping up on my cell phone most of the day and my pup is sitting in the yard unopened since I brought it home out of storage, I figured it was time to open her up and put her to use.

    I already did the greasing and oiling to the lift system last weekend, but had not yet popped the roof up, so I needed to give it a test. The temp was to get to as low as 30*F in our area with light winds. So I popped her up and set her up for the cold.

    I plugged in to shore power for this experiment for max cold weather comfort. Maybe I'll try without shore power next time.

    Here are the things I did to prepare for the oncoming cold:

    1 - Used the Popup Gizmos on the bunk ends and Reflectix in the windows.
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    2 - Used a 1500 watt electric heater. I've used the pup's furnace before and I knew it worked well, but I wanted to try the quieter electric heater.
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    3 - Blocked off the unused bunk end with a sheet to create an smaller heating area.
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    4 - Use the heated mattresses.

    In addition to wanting to test the cold, I wanted to see if I could make the harder than desirable mattress a bit more comfy. So under the mattress I tried two things.

    On one side I slid the Harbor Freight floor pads. On the other, I placed a Thermarest self-inflating mattress that I've had in my camping supplies for years.
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    When camping, the DW and I have always use sleeping bags, so I zipped two sleeping bags together, threw another one on top and brought out an old comforter for insurance.
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    I headed out to the camper at 9:30 PM. The DW was a trooper and joined in. The outside temp already at 45*F. I turned on the electric heater and set the temperature to maintain 55*F and turned on the heated mattress. I set the heated mattress regulator to a setting of 2 out of 6. I've used the heated mattress before and knew that would be plenty warm.

    We had the laptop with us and we watched a movie (The Island of Dr. Moreau-1977) while waiting for the temperature inside the pup to stabilize. After the movie, we hunkered down.

    Conlcusion:

    The outside temperature didn't quite get down to the promised 30*F, but it did get down to 32*F. The heater had no problem keeping up as it turned on and off all night. It did keep the temperature inside the pup in the mid 50's.

    We woke up to a temperature of 57*F inside the pup. I was toasty warm under the sleeping bags. Overall sleep was good. I'm a light sleeper but got a restful nights sleep. We ended up using the comforter we brought out for insurance, but I took it off in the middle of the night because it was too warm.

    I got out of bed and moved the sheet that blocked off the unused bunk end and could feel it was much colder back there. So blocking it off was well worth the effort. Using a blanket to block it off would have probably worked better.

    On thing I noticed was that the humidity indicator on the thermometer was at 45%. It was at 28% when I went to bed. I guess our breathing kept the humidity up, but there was no sign of moisture on interior of the tenting fabric.
    IMG_8387.JPG

    The mattress pad and floor mats I put under the mattress definitely helped. The Thermarest pad did a better job than the floor mats. I will order a new one (or a similar knock off) for the other side and use floor mats for something else.

    I now have confidence that by prepping like we did, cold weather camping is not and issue for our pup.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Those little crematic heaters pump out a lot of heat in a small package. Well worth it to have on hand. And cheaper to run if you allready have power!
     
  3. Kyle R Thorson

    Kyle R Thorson Member

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    Nice write up! Just ordered pugs as living in AZ the heat is a big issue and I can’t wait to see how they work. While you guys have been dealing with colder than normal temps we have had a week or so of 100 plus temps. Too early in May to have that many but it’s raining today and temps should be in the low 90’s the rest of the week. We have our first trip scheduled for June and we usually boondock on NF land where temps are in the 80’s max during the day and 50’s at night. However last year we went late in May and overnight temps were in the low 30’s. You just never know, lol.
     
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  4. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    PUGS work much better on heat than it works for insulation against the cold. You will easily notice a 10-15 degree difference inside the pup when you use them on sunny days.

    With that being said, I don't mean that it will be 85* inside the pup if it is 100* outside. I mean it will help to prevent the bunk ends from getting to 120*. They will also help make your A/C more efficient.
     
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  5. Kyle R Thorson

    Kyle R Thorson Member

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    I definitely understand. The higher temps are more of a concern than colder temps. No A/C on our pup but we primarily boondock anyway so no camping in areas where the temps are going to get that high. I was working on the pup in the driveway and it was over 90 and with a fan it wasn’t unbearable. But I’ll tell you what those bunk ends were like ovens. It’s crazy how hot they will get! I can’t wait to try them out. Hopefully this week or coming weekend. It is only because of this forum that I even considered pugs. I anxiously await their arrival.
     
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  6. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Same here.

    I highly recommend using Reflectix in the windows in tandem with with the PUGs on top. That can also make a big difference with the heat. For heat control, I use it only on the sides that the sun will shine on, then keep the remaining windows open for a nice draft. IMHO, it does just as much to keep the heat out as the PUGs.

    I did not realize how well Reflectix worked until the day I was cutting out my window inserts for my pup. Every once in a while, the sun was reflecting the heat from the sunlight off of the Reflectix and onto my face. THAT was HOT! And the ambient temperature at the time was only 75*.
     
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  7. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I've been using two sleeping bags tied together as my top cover for years... It covers the two of use just fine and in worse case situation we can zip up for any very low temps we might encounter.

    My Tent bed ends also have those two foot carpet squares down on the floor under the mattress... I actually put those down on the trailer floor which was almost a mistake as it tracks in leaves and all kinds trash from the woods...

    My other scheme is I use 9x12 tarps on both tent bed ends over the POPUP canvas...
    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    It is always snug as a rug inside the trailer...

    Been doing this since getting my 2008 OFF-ROAD camper in 2009... Very seldom use the built-in Propane Furnace Heater. It runs us out real quick...

    At 30A camp sites we use a couple of low profile electric heaters and also carry a good ole MR BUDDY HEATER that does very well inside my popup when off-grid...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  8. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    I guess everyones on the same page ...... I did a little heat test myself last night.
     
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  9. Kyle R Thorson

    Kyle R Thorson Member

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    Reflectix in the windows is definatly next on the list!
     
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  10. Lainey

    Lainey Member

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    Smart! Blocking off the
    That is smart!! Blocking off extra bunk area! *Salute*
     
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  11. Nanapoppypops

    Nanapoppypops Member

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    I have a reflectix question. Living in the Adirondacks and not able to place my aframe inside, I am contemplating keeping everything as safe as I can for winter. I have a winter cover with good ventilation, I will use rv antifreeze for everything to winterized. My question is, could I put some reflectix on the bubble windows to protect them, insidecand outside and would it be crazy to put some around the water pump, any wires inside, just to protect a bit. I plan on doing a lot of snow removal on that roof this winter during storage. Thank you
     
  12. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that using Refectix would do much of anything and I would not waste the money on it. Reflectix does not have much insolation properties.

    Using the cover and RV antifreeze plus protecting against mice is the most important.

    If I stored my pup outside in the winter, I would definitely sweep the snow off of it, but be very careful around the bubble windows because the cold could make them more brittle and easier to crack or break. I used to own a boat that I would store in my back yard. I would cover it with a tarp and try to make a tent out of the tarp so that most of the snow would slide right off on its own.

    I do like your idea of covering the bubble window for extra protection, but I am not sure what I would want to use to do that. I use a plastic garbage can lid that I place over my vent cover during the summer, but that is to protect it from any small branches that may get blown onto it from a nearby tree.

    FYI - RV "antifreeze" is a bit of a misnomer because the fluid actually does freeze, but it's properties don't allow it to expand until the temperature reaches something like -50F degrees. Frozen antifreeze tends to freak out the folks that like to go into their campers to check on them during the winter, but it is supposed to freeze.
     
  13. Nanapoppypops

    Nanapoppypops Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions. I will be using something soft to push that snow off and putting a few layers of bubble wrap on those windows maybe. I was thinking of laying a tarp on the roof only and then putting ventilated winter cover on?
     
  14. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Placing a tarp down first would make the breathable cover nearly useless. But if you insist on a tarp, I would suggest that you put some pool noodles under the tarp first to allow for air circulation.
     
  15. Nanapoppypops

    Nanapoppypops Member

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    Thats
    Thats a great idea! Thanks
     

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