Put my mind at ease with a pop up. Insulating the canvas and bunk ends...

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by dbhost, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    For those that know, I don't have a PU yet, working a trade for some work for a mid 90s Coleman PU. Now aside from the simplifying camp setup vs. tent camping, and a more comfortable bed, my primary reason for going with a PU is air conditioning. Yes I can, and DO use AC in my tent via a custom AC port I had my neighborhood tailor install years ago. Unlike a tent though, a Pop up can close off entirely, including the bug screening, to keep sand from blowing through. However camping on the beach, in Texas, in July and campers get HOT, in a hurry, and the AC becomes overwhelmed...

    With my tent, I set up the tent without the rainfly, toss a sized to fit the tent (via me with scissors and gorilla tape) silver tarp backed with reflectix, over the tent body, including blocking off the bug screen. Not worried about moisture as the AC pulls it out of the air...

    Anyway, I was wondering, is this something that would work on the canvas parts of a pop up, and how could I go about attaching them? Has anyone else done this and has it worked well enough to keep the pop up comfortable?
     
  2. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Well, be it a tent or a PopUp Camper, using AC or Heating for that matter, is a bit like pouring water through a sieve. The tenting is meant to breathe. So a lot of your AC or Heat is going escape no matter what you do. But every little bit helps. Best to also have bunk end fans to help circulate the air.

    pouring water through a sieve.jpg
     
  3. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Also, to help keep the heat out and as much of the cool in a possible, get a set of PUGs (PopUpGizmos) for your bunk ends.
     
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  4. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    A good analogy, and the pic makes perfect sense. So to take the analogy a bit further. I am looking to put a big enough piece of plastic wrap over the holes in the sieve to stop the leaks...

    For what it's worth, take a Window unit AC for example, a 5,000 BTU unit is rated to cool a 150sq/ft space with an 8ft ceiling. This also assumes something like R13 fiberglass insulated walls etc...

    I use a 6,500 BTU window unit AC in my 10x12 Coleman Sundome tent with a 6' 6" center height. With the reflectix / tarp rig admittedly I have stopped the pouring heat in / out as badly, but it's still not great. I mean I MIGHT if I am VERY lucky have an R value of about R4. The Reflectix is R 1.1 per layer, but shoots up to something like R6 with a 1" air gap which the tent rig provides. The biggest trick, at least early in the say, is keeping the sun off of the tent, Certain parks make it easier than others. Galveston Island SP has these concrete dining covers that are big enough I can move the picnic table out and set the tent up there, and put a tarp over the east, north, and south openings, leaving some gap to allow airflow to keep from killing the breeze (I should use shade cloth instead). I have camped there in August with the AC and have run into the tent to cool off in the late afternoon as the AC keeps the tent in the lower 70s no problem.

    I am wanting to figure out how to do this with the pop up. I am pretty sure the unit we are working toward has a 13.5K BTU roof top AC. It MIGHT be a 15K, but I don't think so...

    I know I can't elminiate heat gain / loss. I am wanting to reduce environmental heat gain / loss so that the AC won't have a problem keeping it comfortable during the heat of the day say we decide to spend the weekend at the beach and want to run into the camper to escape the heat and enjoy a nice cold Jamaica....
     
  5. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Does this camper you are getting have a roof top AC unit or are you talking about adding a standard home AC unit to the camper in some way?
     
  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Use the pugs and look for a shady spot. Qith mine set up, no pugs, no shade in 90 degree heat and high humidity( nj summers), the ac in the pup works good. Not supper freeze you out. But good enough to be cool and refreshing.
     
  7. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    It's got a roof top AC. I am not positive the size, but it does have AC that works.

    The camper isn't the biggest model. Not sure exactly the model name, but I have posted pics of similar units here. No slide outs other than the bunk ends, pretty simple layout, Flip up galley kitchen, 2 bunk ends, U shaped dinette / sleeper right by the bunk end, and a fold up space for a port o potty. If I recall it has an outdoor shower right behind the kitchen. Everything is solid on it, everything works, it needs tires. And the mattresses have gotten funky. Actually it's really just my preference. The family that has this used it a LOT before buying their motorhome, and I don't like sleeping on used mattresses...

    Looked at the PUGs, and might make my own. I am familiar with the type of material they are using, I have some surplus it's called Attic Foil and it is an alumized mylar sheet. It does work GREAT on the attic...

    What I don't like about the PUGs is that they only cover the top of the bunk ends. They have an internal model that covers the whole thing, but it seems that the PUG is really nothing more than a good, reflective tarp and bungee attachment method. I have bungees, I have tarps, I can get creative.

    FWIW, I am probably going to reach out to the PUG guys. I am a bass player and when I got my new then in I think it was 2015 Fender Rumble V3 500 combo amp and 210 extension cabinet, as a combination Christmas / Anniversary / Birthday present from my wife (all 3 events are in very close proximity), I ordered a set of covers from a company called MDB covers in Houston, but I had one custom requirement. They come up with a way to cover the bottoms. You see I slide the amp and cab in / out of the back of a truck to get to my dolly for load ins / outs and I didn't want to trash them. MDB did a great job doing custom order work. I am thinking MAYBE the PUG guys might want to work with me on a custom rig assuming the price isn't stupid high...
     
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    People put reflexex in the windows , cut to fit. Poke around on the site a bit, plenty on information. People also get the wallmart emergency blankets and use those. Look around as i said.
     
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I have a 13000 btu rooftop AC. I have PUGS over the roof and reflectix in the bunk end windows. I have real black out curtains I keep shut when the AC is on and it does a pretty good job keeping up at least in VA Summers. Now if it's very humid out, you may find the AC will struggle getting the humidity out of the air so the camper may still feel kind of damp. I don't see any way you can put the popup in a big bubble so your still going to have some leakage but every little bit counts. Now if your popup does not have a rooftop unit I just don't see how a window unit would be able to keep up in the heat you are talking about and you would need to find a way to get it off the floor as cool air drops it just wouldn't be able to get to the bunks enough to be much good. Just my 2 cents.
     
  10. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I think you're putting waaaaaaaaay too much thought into this.
    • AC
    • Bunk End Fans
    • PUGs
    If you need more than that to stay cool while camping, stay home and wait for cooler weather.
     
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  11. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Says the guy from the north... I am putting thought into this so that I CAN get out and camp more. Coastal Texas is stinking HOT and HUMID most of the year.
     
  12. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I think thats all there is. If its too hot after that, i dont know what else to do? I think you will make it! The ac is pretty good and oversized for a reason. Pups get hot. But the ac is good.
     
  13. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    No, says the guy who traveled through the South and South West in the heat of late August (including setting up in 108 degrees at Lake Mead) with no AC.

    The key is getting your body acclimated to the heat as best you can. What are you going to do once you setup and get the AC running, stay in the camper for the whole weekend? Yes, you want to feel comfortable but there's "stay at home 72 degrees" comfortable and there's "10 degrees cooler than outside and thank God these fans can move a little air while camping" comfortable. As a wise person once said "If you can't stand the heat, get out of Texas". I know Texas is hot. It's standing in front of an open oven with the broiler on hot. Up North we have the Heat and the Humidity. But Hot Is HOT no matter where you live or camp.

    Around here in February, if it get up to 50 degrees, people are walking around it T-shirts and shorts. Why? Because their bodies are use to 30 degrees and below. So if you lock yourself up in a camper at 72 degrees, then step out into 99 degree weather, yes you're going to feel like you're going to die from the heat.

    Your camper has wheels! Take it somewhere cooler. As Sam Kinison said "We have deserts in America, we just don't live in them". Well that's not true but we learn to deal with it.

    That's my rant. Haven't done one for a while. Having a bad week. Sorry.
     
  14. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    And guess what, those of us up North have the opposite problem in the Winter.
     
  15. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    OK, I may be your source of first hand experience. I live in DFW, but for the last couple years have spent a 10-14 days straight in Austin at McKinney Falls. I have a 13.5k btu A/C on my 99 Jayco. It will be overwhelmed if you make no mods to the camper. Once I added Pugs and reflectix to all the windows except the main one by the door as that is covered by the awning when deployed. This makes a huge difference. In full sun and no shade I am able to keep it at 75-78, which is a little warm for me but far better than the 105+ outside. I also added 10" bunk fans to help circulate the air, and I have a couple small table tower style fans in the main cabin. Once the sun goes down though, I can dip into the 60s inside.

    Last year I scored an awesome deal on small portable A/C, I think it is 8k btu, and is short enough to travel upright in the camper. I rigged up an exhaust adapter to vent out the dinette window and run it off a dedicated power cord from the pedestal. With both units running I am usually at 72 during the afternoon when it is really hot.

    Shade is your friend - anything you can do to keep the sun from hitting the pup will help. I put pool noodles underneath the pugs to create an air gap, which also helps with the heat soak on the bunks. Eventually I will add shade awnings to all 4 sides of the roof, or get a massive tarp and poles and set it up over the whole thing.

    I thought about using reflectix as a pug, but I really don't have the room for it as it will take up a big chunk of space, even when folded. The reflectix that I do have for all the windows takes up most of the space underneath the dinette table when dropped down (I don't have room under the mattress since I added the toppers). Bonus with the reflectix is it makes the interior darker so I sleep better. I have thought about getting insulated curtains to add, but right now I have been pretty happy with my hot weather performance. I do have drop down privacy curtains for the bunks that have a mesh top panel though. I have tried using them up and down, and I am still divided on their use for temperature control. If I have them down, the bunks get hot, but the main cabin stays maybe a couple degrees cooler. With them up The whole camper gets a tad warmer, but the bunks are more usable during the day, especially with a fan blowing on you.

    I have thought about making a collapsible frame of some sort that could sit on the roof and be secured with ratchet straps or something. That would help shade the roof when there was no natural shade to rely on, and I could use it at home to help protect the roof from UV since I have to store mine outside.
     
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  16. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Okay I must admit, It rarely gets over 100 where I go, or am likely to go... However it gets close.

    The idea is to be able to have a relaxing weekend say at the beach, stay in the park, sleep in a little bit in the morning instead of getting up early because it is getting too hot. I like to sleep in a cool space. If the AC can keep it nice and cool at night, for the most part I am happy... By the same token, I can't take the heat too much more than about 2.5 hours at a time. I need a way to get out of the heat.

    We've been able to do well enough like I said with a tent rig so far. Tent, tarp, and reflectix with a small window unit AC... I can keep the inside of the tent between 71-74 deg F in the late afternoons if I set up right and leave the AC running...

    The idea isn't for us to live IN the camper but rather live OUT of the camper, use it as a place to crash and escape from the heat as needed...

    Totally agree, shade is your friend, however not every campground has shade.

    I guess I could start heading to the hill country where theres a mess of trees instead of beaches with staight shot to open sky... That is really a conversation I need to have with my wife...
     
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  17. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Our Aliner has a 5000 BTU vacuum cleaner that struggles in 80 degrees and sun. Not the wall unit, but the Cool Cube under the bed (a terrible idea) unit. It turns back into a somewhat adequate air conditioner at sundown.
     
  18. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    LOL.... FWIW, I have seen an Aliner at the beach a few years ago, that had a I believe it is a Frigidaire 8K window unit retrofitted to where the OE 5K BTU unit was. I talked to the owner as this was not in the park and he was boondocking with it, he ran the AC off of a little 1,000 watt Sportsman generator but that was about all that little gen could put out... He kept the trailer at about 73 deg with it. He had all sorts of gizmos jammed everywhere to stop or at least slow down air leaks...

    There is a guy on Youtube, goes by the name Slim Potatohead, he has a mess of hacks he did to his Aliner to help stop how drafty those are.

    I do remember renting a pop up in, oh I guess it was 2000, and taking it to Mustang Island. Actually the pop up we rented was close to what I am bartering for, except the bunk ends seemed to have had something like the PUG sewn directly to the canvas... But I digress. We were parked next to a HUGE Class A with the awning out, and we had our awning deployed, so even mid day temps over that particular labor day weekend were tolerable in the camper.

    I also remember not using the appliances other than the AC. We kept our food in a cooler, and cooked on a single burner Century propane bottle top stove. I was paranoid to break the rental pop up.
     
  19. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    I'll camp in the Florids panhandle and all over Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma in the summer and my 13.5k but AC does just fine. No gizmos, window treatment, etc. So, on really no help. But I'm curious as to why I'm so successful in keeping the pup cool when others aren't.
    2012 Flagstaff 625D
     
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  20. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the ac, some work better then others. Mostly you should be ok with just the ac, as i said. I was going to go pugs etc, but had it up most of the summer to work on it in the sun and the ac did fine by itself.
     
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