Cold weather PUP tricks

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by mantis32, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    For those that camp in single digits and below 30 degrees; what are some of your secrets to keeping the inside warm?

    Do you winterize it and avoid water use to not freeze or break anything?

    It goes back to cold soon as the furnace turns off. Electric heat can get costly (I assume). Then again, not fond of frequent trips to change out propane tank, not sure how efficient the furnace is.

    Do you vouch for the gizmo?

    I have little air gaps around the vinyl and I'm worried about cold weather vinyl damage.



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  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Heat retention measures: PUGs, rugs on the floor, fleece or such clipped up around the bunk ends, close off unused bunks, etc. are all good. Fill in gaps with pieces of fabric or cover a part of other methods. Some use Reflectix in windows, but we preferred justt o cover section of canvas that didn't have insulated curtains with fleece.
    In ours, once we changed to a digital thermostat and moved it to counter height from the niche a few inches off the floor, the temperature swings from the furnace leveled out. We wore warm clothes inside, and did not expect to be sitting in shorts and t-short.
    In coldest weather, if possible, we got a site with power and used a space heater and electric mattress pad or blanket.
    I asked about the possibility of damage when we bought new canvas for the first pup, and the limit was something like zero or below. That said, vinyl in bad shape may be more susceptible to damage. Folding a camper down in cold weather requires more patience.
    Here's a section with other discussions:
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?board=104.0
     
  3. davido

    davido Active Member

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    I winterize the water system and toilet's freshwater tank if I'm expecting temperatures below 28 degrees overnight.

    I use Popup Gizmos in cooler weather.

    When temps drop into the 30's or upper 20's, I put Reflectix cut-outs between the tent screens and the inside flaps. Also inside the door.

    I have a vent cover over my FanTastic Fan that lets me open and operate the fan regardless of wet conditions outside. Just opening it reduces condensation.

    I have a propane RV furnace that kicks on as needed.

    If I have shore power, I use the electric space heater instead.

    If the RV furnace ever goes out (which has happened to me a couple of times) I use a Mr Heater Buddy, a long propane hose, and a filter to allow the Mr Heater to run off of the main propane supply. This has saved our trip on two occasions.

    We wear warm knit caps to bed when it's cold. This is an important part of heat retention and affects sleeping comfort in cold conditions considerably.

    I have dual propane. On a 2 or 3 night trip it's almost impossible to run down a single tank. But on a 4 or 5-night trip, it's possible to do so with a lot of furnace use, plus fridge and water heater. In practice, we keep one tank topped off, and when the tank-in-use runs out, the switchover tank is full. Then we refill the empty one and keep it as the topped-off tank until our next switch over. I never really think of starting a trip with two completely full tanks except for the first trip in the spring.

    I have dual batteries, so that when we're running the furnace we can run it as much as we need to without worrying about running the batteries down. ...or at least we don't have to worry if the trip is five nights or fewer. This spring I'll finally be installing solar to extend our electrical budget almost indefinitely.

    Two potential heat sources is always a good practice. So space heater with fallback to built-in furnace. Or built-in furnace with fallback to Mr Heater Buddy.

    Toss a few 1lb propane tanks into the trailer for the Mr Heater to use in the off chance your main propane supply becomes unusable for some reason.
     
  4. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    gizmo's yes work very well. Also get bunk ends.

    If I have shore power I use 2 - 1500 watt elec heaters. One plugged in the AC plug and one in the 120v outlet. One heater I have a plug thermostat to keep the temp right. I also set the furnace stat to 65 just incase the 2 elec heater don't keep up.

    No elec shore power, run furnace and solar panel or wave 8 heater to extend battery life. I plan every 3 days I need a fresh tank of propane. Have been known to swap out propane tanks that still have propane left in them. Until bed time we don't run the furnace, but do use a propane lantern which put out nice heat and takes the nip off the cold and don't use the scarce battery power.

    Since all my plumbing is in my camper we use the water. With my camper I can drain and empty all the water and I bring a gallon of antifreeze to winterize my pump at the campsite before hitting the road.

    Have warm socks, I like wool. Wear a cap and light jacket in camper. If you have an oven, bake something after dark or coffey cakes for breakfast. We eat a lot of cakes, brownies and diners that are baked and coffey cake for breakfast during fall and spring camping.
     
  5. mcbrew

    mcbrew Member

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    I 2nd the digital thermostat upgrade. We bought one for about $25 at Home Depot. It keeps the temps within about 1 degree instead of about 10 degrees with the original thermostat. I also stuck some insulation to the inside of the cabinet where the thermostat mounts, so that the temp inside the cabinet doesn't influence the t-stat.

    As others have said -- if you have electric, use a plug-in heater. Your furnace can be used as backup in case the electric can't keep up. The electric heater will be a lot quieter than the furnace, and you won't be using up your propane.

    Our pup also has electric heated mattresses. They work just like an electric blanket. The hunks can get cold, since there is air below them. If you don't have heated mattresses, you should insulate below them.


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  6. Sifika

    Sifika Buy the ticket, take the ride!

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    I just finished upgrading my PUP to handle some extreme winter conditions.
    Here are just some of the mods that I did to make it bearable [RTM]

    - 1.5 inch Foam board under both mattress (High R value, bottom side is reflective)
    - 1.5 inch Foam board cut outs for all windows, over door, and all pull out sections. (took 8 sheets)
    - Yoga Mats tacked onto the floor than cut to shape
    - Installed an aerodynamic Vent Cover on my roof so I can keep the vent open in rain/snow
    - Tore apart, repaired, cleaned and tested Furnace function. Installed Honeywell Digital stat
    - Deep Cycle Battery + x2 Propane Tanks for Furnace use off grid (I have a Honda 2000 gen for backup)


    Some things you might want to purchase to keep you warmer overnight;

    - Sub Zero Sleeping bag (Consider what temps you will be at, do not purchase a 0F Sleeping bag if your camper will be 40F constantly, you will sweat and be extremely uncomfortable)
    - Wool socks
    - loose fitting hat to wear while sleeping
    - last but definitely not least is a good generator. do not rely solely on you're battery, unless you have extensive experience with your specific PUP and its amperage draw its not worth getting stuck out somewhere in the freezing cold


    I have a lot of experience with camping in the cold, but this will be my first season doing it with a PUP. My plan is to drive across Canada\Eastern US to ski and stay at the resorts or near by parking. Looks like things are starting to cool down so my venture will be starting shortly! [CP]
     
  7. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    What kind of foam board did you use? Do you find the yoga flooring better than a carpet?

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  8. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I use carpet squares placed on both tent bed ends floors. This really helped me. We also have foam pad on top of oem mattress. When off grid we have a coupe of those 12V heated lap pads under the the top cover.

    We also put carpet squares on the main floor which helps as well but has a hugh downside of colection all kinds of walk in trash...

    We use those 2X2X30 inch foam strips like you use for the air gap in the home installed window units. These fill in the air gaps we have all around both tent bed end flaps. (WALMART)
    [​IMG]

    IN our trailer where the pull out bed ends meet the hard wall area has plenty of air gaps there. You can bend over and look through this area and see day light. We replaced the very small flimsy rubber seal with a bigger one that is attached to the trailer wall and not under the tent bed floor.

    It looks like this type of seal... This really helped big time. Also keeps out night insects being drawn in from the interior trailer lights... This is glued into place and I had to cut a couple of places to go around some metal rail flanges. All sealed up nice now... Found what I needed at LOWES.

    [​IMG]

    We also use a 9X12 tarp over both bed ends which helps as well... Not as pretty as the POPUP GIZMOs but doesn't cost an arm and a leg either... I can get a good three seasons out of the tarps before needing replaced. This also cuts down on how bright it gets inside the POPUP during the daytime.
    [​IMG]

    We do a lot of camping off-grid in the late camping seasons. Nothing better for us waking up in the mornings at a creekside spot with a bon-fire going and watching the fish jump. Drinking our fresh grind and brew bean coffee...

    Roy Ken
     
  9. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    When the DW and I were camping in 20 degree weather with high winds I made a skirt around the bed end with a few pieces of 1/4' plywood. this helped keep the wind from blowing into the bunk. We also lined the bunk walls with blankets and hung moving pads across unused bunk. We were able to keep the temps up around 75-80 24-7 for 3 days one 1 20# tank.
     
  10. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    FYI,

    popup gizmo for the last 4-5 years has had a sale thanks given morning between 9A and noon. That's when we got ours. I think its to give them winter work.

    If you are interested, you may want to check with them if they are having the sale.
     
  11. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    I'm waiting for this wed-fri to buy it.

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  12. Ryanm

    Ryanm Member

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    I never thought about special things to do in the winter to keep the trailer warm for two main reasons:
    1. We camp for fun, and camping in the cold isn't (for us).
    2. The idea that a camper is "indoors" is pretty artificial.

    When camping, comfort is relative to not having any shelter at all, not relative to being cozy in your living room. Sure, we've got the heater, but I've always celebrated its ability to make things less cold instead of demanding that it make things warm. When you're out of your sleeping bag, put on some warm clothes.
     
  13. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Gizmo is a MUST! I lived in my 2nd popup (96' Coleman Key West) during late Fall (2011) in Georgia mountains... I did not have Gizmo at that time which the cold weather prompted me to buy Gizmo. It was a lifesaver! I am still using the same Gizmo one for my 2002 Niagara. Now it is showing its age. I wouldn't want to use tarp or anything else.

    I ordered full Gizmo coverage for inside and top of bunkends. I can sleep with just my shorts and sheets with just one ceramic heater running. I filled in the gap with 1" X 1" foam insulation which did great.

    I went up to Mt Cheaha in Talladega, AL when it cold and the Gizmo kept me and my son warm. I used pipe foam for pipes & hose and it worked but I did not cover the exterior water filter. It cracked open during the night. Be sure to cover the filter and the pipes under your camper.
     
  14. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Check their web site. They call it black thursday sale. I know when I bought mine it was thanks given day between 9a to noon CDT that they were on sale. Ahead of time do the measurements per there website. They do have many popup measurements, but may not have yours.
     
  15. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    We use the Gizmos and I also place sleeping bags pads under the mattress for some additional insulation. It really does help. I also winterized before I go on a trip when it might be below freezing. We were out November 10-13 in Ronks, PA (Lancaster County) and it got down to the low 20's at night. I was very glad I winterized.
     
  16. Natureangel

    Natureangel Everythings better outdoors...

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    Here is info on the PUGS
     

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  17. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    I decided to try an electric heater however I noticed it trips the outlet whenever I go to turn it off. I tried unplugging it while on and saw a nice flash of electric. Any of you experience this when using your electric heater? It's a small cubicle heater style heater.

    The camper is turning into my "man cave" during the cold months. I don't have a basement and it's the one place that requires someone to put on a jacket and shoes to come out to me. Either that or one has to open a door and call out loud to get my attention.
     
  18. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    I picked up the gizmo and reflector at home depot. Excited to extend the cold weather driveway camping.

    I'm curious how cold is too cold for the vinyl? I'd like to give it a rest and close up shop before damaging it.

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  19. ScoobyDoo

    ScoobyDoo New Member

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    If it is below 20o we leave the heaters on until ready to push in the bunks, then close as quick as can. Winter time we store a heater in the center, with the cord just inside the door. If it is cold when we set up we raise the roof just enough to open the door, and plug the heater in, then wait 15 minutes or so. If the tent feels stiff when we start up we will stop, pull the bunks out partway and let it warm some more.
     
  20. mantis32

    mantis32 Member

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    Great tip.

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