You have set out to experience the sublime joys of camping in Winter. Or, perhaps, you are camping in an area that is usually mild, but there is a sudden change of temperature. Suddenly, you find yourself in very cold weather. Here are some tips for Winter camping staying warm at night.
Whenever you camp, no matter what time of the year, or where you go, you need to be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. It is a good idea to keep an eye on local the weather forecast. Check also the extended forecasts to get an idea of what might be on the way weather wise.
To read about some nifty cell phone apps that will put weather forecasts right in your hand, click here.
Anticipate changes in the weather when you pack for camping always bring warm sleeping bags or blankets. Bring some warmer clothing that you can put on in layers. It is not a bad idea to bring a propane or electric heater. Bring a heater even if you have a built in furnace.
Stay Dry and Retain Body Heat
Your body is like a little furnace. It consistently puts out heat. What you want to do is keep that heat close to you. That is what clothing and blankets do. A few, simple tips will help you keep your heat close to your body. You’ll be Winter camping staying warm.
You have got to be dry. If you are wet, it will be much easier for your body to lose heat. I learned this tip when I was in the Boy Scouts. Change your clothes before you go to bed. That is the opposite of what we usually do, but it makes sense.
You sweat in your clothes all day. You spent some time in front of a campfire. That felt good, but it caused you to perspire. Now, your clothes are moist. It will be harder for your body to keep the moist clothes warm. Change to dry clothes and staying warm will be easier.
Dress in Layers
Cover your body with layers of clothing. Layered clothing helps retain body heat. Even though you have blanket(s) or a sleeping bag, you should still cover your body.
Sweatpants and a heavy shirt are a good start, Wear a dry pair of wool or crew socks. Cold feet are misery, cover them. Depending on how cold it is, you may even want to wear a hat. Body heat is lost the fastest through the head. Knit hats work well.
If you are using a sleeping bag, make sure it is rated for cold weather use. Many of the inexpensive sleeping bags sold in department stores do not provide enough insulation to keep you warm
Another effective winter camping staying warm strategy: use a portable heater. There are several types of heaters on the market. Which type is best for you and how much heat it should supply depends on your needs.
How Much Heat Do You Need?
What is the area of your RV’s interior in square feet? It’s easy to figure this out if you don’t know. Measure the inside length of the RV and multiply it the inside width. If your unit is 25 feet from end-to-end and eight feet wide, that’s 200 sq ft.
You will need roughly 10 watts for every square foot. So, about 2,000 WATS. The electric heaters max out at about 1,500 Watts, That shouldn’t be a problem. You are trying to heat you, not the entire RV.
The heat output of the propane heaters is measured in BTU s (British Thermal Units). A watt is equal to 3.41 BTU s. A 12,000 BTU heater will heat about 350 sq ft. However, Mr, Heater, the portable propane manufacturer mentioned in this article states their 12,000 BTU heater will heat up to 250 sq. ft. Keep in mind campers and tents are not well insulated. Your heater will expend more energy to heat a given area.
A Portable Heater Can be a Cost-Effective Way to Stay Warm.
Even if you have a built-in furnace, there are advantages to having a portable heater. Propane furnaces can be very noisy. If you are away from shore power, they can drain the battery quickly. Plus, you will be refilling your propane cylinders more frequently.
You will still want to run your furnace when you need to heat your entire rig. If it is below freezing outside, you will want to make sure to keep your water lines and storage tanks from freezing.
You can use your portable heater to augment the heat from your furnace. If you do a lot of boondocking, a propane heater might be your best bet. Electric heaters would quickly deplete your coach batteries. Running your generator all night may not be practical.
If you are on shore power, an electric heater might work best. Remember, even on shore power, the number of electric appliances you can operate simultaneously is limited. Heaters draw a lot of current. Keep that in mind when you select a heater. Plus, you may still need to operate your furnace for the reasons outlined above.
With a Portable Propane Heater, You’ll be Winter Camping Staying Warm
The Mr. Heater brand of portable propane heaters are very popular with campers. Mr. Heater heaters are very efficient. They are rated safe to use indoors. The Mr. Heaters listed here have an automatic low oxygen shut off system. They also have a tip over switch which shuts off the unit immediately should it be tipped over.
For campers the most popular Mr. Heaters are:
Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater. This 9-pound unit delivers up to 12,000 BTUs and can heat up to 300 square feet.
- Swivel regulator and single control
- Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
- Accidental tip-over safety shut-off
- It can run off a 1lb. cylinder. You can connect to a 20lb.cylinder with an optional hose and filter. Propane not included.
- Heater may shut off when operates at levels above 7,000 ft above sea level.
Mr Heater MH18B Portable Propane Heater. Weighs in at 11 pounds and delivers up to 18,000 BTUs and can heat an area up to 400 sq. ft.
- Heater will shut off automatically if it is tipped over.
- Will shut off automatically if the pilot light goes out.
- Heater will shut off automatically if it detects low oxygen.
- Three heat levels, low, medium and high.
- Connects to propane tank (not included)
- Heater may shut off when operates at levels above 7,000 ft above sea level.
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
This is a small, personal size, heater.
- Indoor-safe.e portable Heats an area up to 95 square feet.
- Uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included)
- Low-oxygen sensor and automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
- Accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety.
Electric, Ceramic Heaters
Take a look at these portable electric heaters:
Comfort Glow BDISC6 Ceramic Disc Heater 5,200 BTUs
- 4 ceramic disc heating elements
- Durable steel housing
- Electronic thermostat
- Shuts off when tipped over.
The control knobs for this unit are on the back side of the heater. Some people who purchased the Comfort Glow found that this made it difficult to operate.
Broan-NuTone 6201 Big Heat Heater
- Overheat protection shuts off the heater and activates the caution “light if excess heat is detected”
- Rugged steel construction, durable finish with integrated carrying handle.
- Ceramic heating elements for fast warm-up.
- 1200 watt setting maintains warmth using less electricity
- High, low or fan only settings.
- Operates quietly.
- 6-foot cord with safety flanged plug
How about an Oil Filled Heater?
An electric, oil-filled heater may be just what you want. It looks like the classic radiator. The radiator fins are filled with oil. The electric element heats the oil. When the oil is fully heated, the element is automatically shut off the element. The warm oil continues to heat your space. When the oil cools the element is switched back on and the process resumes.
Tangkula Electric Oil Filled Radiator Heater Portable Home Room Radiant Heat 5.7 Fin Thermostat 1500w
- Efficient Heating & Adjustable thermostat. With 7 oil-filled thermal slots, which is 5.7” width and filled with 4.2 lbs oil,
Tangkula radiator heater provides energy-efficient heating for medium to large rooms that need constant heat in the winter.
- This heater is equipped with 3 heat settings: 600w, 900w, and 1500w
- Has an adjustable thermostat.
- This heater operates quietly. The oil is sealed inside the heater. That means it never has to be refilled.
- Caster wheels make it easy to move it around.
- The Heater will shut off automatically when it overheats.
- If the heater is tipped over, the heater will shut off immediately.
- The heater has a low surface temperature, this helps prevent accidental burning.
Use caution with portable heaters. There is a risk of starting a fire or being burned. Always read, understand, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Staying Warm Makes Winter Camping Enjoyable
There are lots of ways to keep yourself toasty warm. If you haven’t already, give winter camping a try. It might be just the ticket to brighten those wintertime blues. Use the tips and appliances in this article and you will be Winter camping staying warm.
Do you winter camp? How do you stay warm? What type of heater do you have? How do you like it? Please leave a comment in the box below and I will join you in this conversation.