First time out lessons learned

mtnbkndude

Member
Aug 25, 2015
51
Last weekend we took our brand new to us, 2002 PUP, to Paulina Lake Campground in Oregon. The place is amazingly beautiful with lots of hiking and biking. A must see if you are in Oregon. No hook ups, though. Now to the lessons learned... [:O]
Traveling with a camper will take longer than just a vehicle loaded with tent and sleeping bags, especially if you go through a mountain range and end up at 6,334 feet. Do not get a late start. It's also a good idea to really know the weather where you are staying, not the closest town you know about. Adding a little distance plus elevation can drop the low by 15 degrees or more. [sf] We pulled in at 11pm and there was snow on the ground. I was expecting low 40's. [?:~{] The furnace that fired up at home didn't work the first night. Be ready for that if it's cold out. Turns out my thermostat is a little 'sticky'. I got it to work the next day. Next lesson, If it's cold, you burn through gas fast! Even without the fridge or water heater, just furnace. The gas ran out the 3rd night (1 & 1/2 nights of use) at about 2am. Other than that, the camper was great. It's so nice to have your bed off the ground and not trampled on by little dirty feet coming and going. I look forward to plugging in next time and using a small ceramic heater instead of the furnace. I also doubt it will be in the 20's every night.

[PU] 2002 Coleman Utah
[TV] 2012 Toyota Sienna
:) 4 happy campers and one dog
 

mtnbkndude

Member
Aug 25, 2015
51
The Sienna had no problem pulling up hill. I limited my speed to 50mph for safety, as it was my first time out. I dialed in the anti-sway bar and did closer to 55mph returning home. I worried more about the downhill than the uphill. I am close to max weight limit with the larger Utah PUP once everything is loaded up. I did pack light and tried to keep weight off the tongue and rear axle. My gas mileage going up was 16.5mpg and returning was 21.5mpg. My Sienna w/o trailer rarely hits 23mpg on a highway trip.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
What did you have your heat set on? We typically set about at low as possible, just enough to take the chill out. Otherwise it will run nearly constantly and take up a lot of gas when it's cold, as you found out.
 

Grn Mtn

Super Active Member
Jul 3, 2012
764
Our Apache does not have a furnace so our fall camping here in Vermont is limited to sites with hook-ups. I always carry a few of those handwarmers along to be on the safe side. [:)C]
 

mtnbkndude

Member
Aug 25, 2015
51
Our heat was set on lowest setting and it cycled off and on at first. I don't know if it was the faulty/ sticky thermostat (reason for heat not coming on first night) or the fact that it was 25-26 degrees outside. The canvas only holds in so much heat. Next time we are camping with electricity! [:D] Thank goodness for down comforters! [SNZ]
 

travisma

Active Member
Jan 10, 2014
217
mtnbkndude said:
Our heat was set on lowest setting and it cycled off and on at first. I don't know if it was the faulty/ sticky thermostat (reason for heat not coming on first night) or the fact that it was 25-26 degrees outside. The canvas only holds in so much heat. Next time we are camping with electricity! [:D] Thank goodness for down comforters! [SNZ]
Those temps are crazy for September! It's still in the mid to high 70's at night down here in FL.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,754
Albuquerque, NM
Welcome-I hope you enjoyed the weekend in spite of the cold and challenges.
This is a good section to read for ideas on heat retention - pay attention to condensation reduction too, depends on the fabric a bit (we had more issues with our first pup with vinyl tenting, than with the breathable Sunbrella on the second pup):
http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?board=104.0

Our heat retention measures included PUGS on the outside of bunk end roofs (meant to reduce heat build up, they help in all weather), PUGS bunk end liners or fleece clipped up on the inside of the tenting, throw rugs on the floor and fleece over the door (that metal frame conducts cold inside quickly)

We camped into the teens in both pups. If we knew it was going to be below freezing, we tried to get a site with power. The first pup had no furnace, so a space heater was our only chance of general heat. Second pup had a furnace, we used the space heater to supplement a couple of times, but eventually left it at home. With both, we used an electric blanket or mattress pad for localized warmth to sleep.

We changed out the thermostat in our Cobalt to a digital one, and relocated it (with the help of a long wire) to the counter, from a niche a few inches off of the floor. That helped reduce the temperature swings considerably, not to mention is was far easier to turn on/off than the original.. We left the temperature set in the the mid-50s or so for the night. Occasionally we'd turn it up for evenings and early mornings.

IIRC, the quickest we've run through close to 20# of LP is about a week. That was this year, in the TT, with just over a week of furnace, stove, 'fridge and water heater, at high altitude (6-8K') and cold temps.
With the Cobalt and the TT, we have had two tanks and an auto-changeover. That way there are no worries about running out in the middle of the trip - or at night.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,161
Ontario
I seem to recall a few people (U-T may have been one of them) who have said that the furnace typically burns an average 1lb propane per hour (depending on how hot you have the t-stat set for)..
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Snow said:
I seem to recall a few people (U-T may have been one of them) who have said that the furnace typically burns an average 1lb propane per hour (depending on how hot you have the t-stat set for)..

Actually I think that's "per hour of run time". So if you have the 'stat set so that it runs 20 minutes in an hour, you'd burn 1 pound in 3 hours.
 

mtnbkndude

Member
Aug 25, 2015
51
Thanks for the suggestions. I thought about switching to digital, but wasn't sure what was out there/compatible. I will look into that. I also like the idea of fleece blanket over the door, that was a cold zone. And it's right by the thermostat, which keeps the furnace going. I bought a ceramic heater for our next trip. We'll have electricity! If we do more dry camping, I think I may add a second tank and I will be looking into the PUGS. They get referenced a lot.

[PU] 2002 Coleman Utah
[TV] 2012 Toyota Sienna
 




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