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> More on Winter Camping, Hello to everyone: I have read with interest the v...
Speed Gray
Posted: Dec 18 2000, 02:38 AM
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Hello to everyone:

I have read with interest the various comments about cold weather camping. Based upon my experience, I have some additional questions.

The only limiting factor I have determined so far, when winter camping, is providing a heat source. When in a campground with shore power, this is no problem. We use a small, 110 VAC catalic heater. Even on low power, this keeps our Casita warm and cozy even on the most frigid nights.

But what to do when shore power is not available. Many of the campgounds up north here are "open" during the winter, but the power is turned off and only pit style toilets are available. Again, having a heat source is the only shortfall that is difficult to work around.

So what is the best solution? A small portable HOnda-type generator? Perhaps, but it would have to run continuously. A solor panel and inverter to run the heater?

What have some of you all done to provide heat? I do not have a furnace in my Casita, and don't want to add one.

Looking forward to what everyone has to say. Thanks.

Speed Gray Grand Rapids, MI Land Vessel GatoSub



Speed Gray's Casita Homepage

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Jerry Minor
Posted: Dec 18 2000, 03:55 AM
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In one word: Catalytic.

We have an Olympian cat heater, and it works GREAT! It uses 1/8 lb. of LP an hour, is 99.9% efficient, uses no electricity, and keeps our Casita comfy warm with a hypnotic red glow that mesmerizes you to sleep. It produces no carbon monoxide, but does utilize oxygen. As a result, we keep the bathroom window open and keep the roof vent cracked a bit. However, this has not proven to be a problem, and helps to keep condensation from forming in the trailer.

We also use a small electric "brick" heater when we have shore power, and hardly ever use the Casita's furnace. However, we find that the best camping is boondocking in National and state Parks and Forests.

You don't even want to consider running a generator all the time, and the battery bank that you would need to use an electric heater with an inverter would be huge, and would need many hundreds of watts of solar PV's to keep up with the drain. We have a 75 watt PV, and it does just fine in keeping the lights, water pump, TV and satellite receiver working with one series 24 battery.

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Eric A. Mayer
Posted: Dec 18 2000, 05:23 AM
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When I'm on full hookup I use a small electric heater (with fan and thermostat). When I'm dry-camping I will use a small catalytic heater in the same manner Jerry does and it works great.

I am looking to get some heat tape. Strips of rubber/plastic that have small heating elements in it. I will use it to keep the fresh water pipe and hose ice free when I am on full hookups. I didn't really have a problem with the pipes on my Casita, but the fresh water coming into the trailer froze on a nightly basis. We ended up having to manually fill the trailer with extra water we hauled up (like we were dry-camping).

Other than that, it looks like I will be going full antifreeze (following the advice here) on my next trip in January. Brrr...

I love a toasty trailer when it's freezing outside.

Eric

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Cliff
Posted: Dec 21 2000, 07:06 AM
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We'll second Jerry's solution. Just installed an Olympian cat heater in our 17' Freedom Deluxe. Keeps us toasty with no noise and no elec consumption. Make sure you keep a window open.

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Ed
Posted: Dec 23 2000, 01:57 PM
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Speed, You might want to check out my neat heat post Ed

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Speed Gray
Posted: Dec 31 2000, 05:59 AM
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Thanks for all the replies.

First, Ed, I already read your note, and plan on checking out the unit you recommend next time I'm at Lowe's. Sounds like just the ticket.

Regarding the Olympian heater . . . this one sounds very fuel efficient. Anyone have a source for this unit? I'd like to check it out too.

Thanks to all.

Speed Gray, K8SG

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Carol Christensen
Posted: Dec 31 2000, 06:30 AM
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Hi Speed,

We have the same heater as Jerry Minor, the Olympian 3100A. I highly recommend them, but they're not cheap. We paid about $250.

I've posted our set-up in the Liberty Deluxe on another thread.

Carol



Olympian Catalytic Heaters

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Speed Gray
Posted: Dec 31 2000, 10:00 AM
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Hi Carol:

Thanks for the tip on Olympian. I checked their web site. I am looking for something really small that can run off of propane canisters; the throw away kind. We'll see what they say; I left them an e-mail note.

It's really cold here in Michigan right now, and we have lots of snow. However, our Casita is sitting in the storage shed begging to be used. Hopefully, after the holidays and when things settle down a bit, Ellen and I can get out for a weekend, soon.

Thanks again for the information.

Speed Gray, K8SG Grand Rapids, MI Land Vessel GatoSub www.gatosubtravels.homestead.com

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Nathan
Posted: Dec 31 2000, 01:32 PM
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Folks, I've been reading all this catalytic heater stuff with interest. Do they have low-oxygen sensors, so that they shut off if the O2 level goes down?

From Olympian's website it looked like only the 'ODS' ones designed to be mounted inside a house had them, but I could easily be wrong ;-)

Nathan

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Carol Christensen
Posted: Jan 1 2001, 06:36 AM
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Hi Nathan,

I believe the 3100 ODS would be the one you're looking for. It heats 130 sq ft, just like the 3100A, but the ODS heaters can't be used above 5000'. In looking at the Olympian site, it looks like the Wave 3 has replaced the 3100A. It is the same size and heats about the same area.

We have the 3100A and just open a window and/or the roof vent 1/2" or so for safety. We would always have at least that much ventilation at night even if we weren't using the heater. If it is raining, we open the bathroom window a little and leave the door ajar.

Carol



Olympian Catalytic Heaters

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Gerald J. Kovach
Posted: Jan 9 2001, 05:21 AM
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Hi:

Has anyone installed a marine type catalytic heater inside a Casita? There are several excellent brands, including Force 10. They are vented to the outside, and therefore you don't need to leave a window open for safety. In addition, with an outside vent, you eliminate any interior condensation problem. The units are small and very efficient.

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Nathan
Posted: Jan 9 2001, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for the tip about the heater. Now I just have to decide if I need to be about 5K feet and use an oxygen sensor! I guess it's because above 5000 feet there insn't much oxygen in the air anyway.

I would think that I might be better off waiting for my Casita to arrive before I jump to too many conclusions on deciding what to put in it ;-)

BTW I found 'Mr Buddy' which we've already discussed in a hardware store. It looks neat, but not being catalytic it had a CO warning on it - I think I'll stick with getting a (more expensive but perhaps safer) catalytic heater.

Nathan

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Casita Man
Posted: Jan 9 2001, 06:21 AM
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By reading your webpage it is obvious that you are very intimidated with anything to do with water or propane. Your trailer at this point is much the same as a tent that is being pulled around with your van. You must get over these hangups and get your Casita equipped properly! Now take that thing back to the factory and get an a/c, stove, furnace, and bath installed so that you quit this "tent camping"!

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Nathan
Posted: Jan 9 2001, 07:46 AM
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Casita Man, simply because Speed Grey has no need or desire for propane stuff doesn't mean he's intimidated by anything to do with water or propane!

Different strokes for different folks and all...

Nathan

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Casita Man
Posted: Jan 9 2001, 03:43 PM
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Nathan,

Have you checked out Speed's website?

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Nathan
Posted: Jan 10 2001, 02:39 AM
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Yes, I have. And while I personally do want the bathroom, water heater, and stove, I don't see that there's a fault with someone who does not.

I feel that for me a Casita without these things wouldn't be too useful.

But the implication in your note was that there was something wrong with the choice that Speed Grey has made - and it is that which I was calling you on, not the fact that you find his choice of what to equip his trailer with to be a little odd.

No offense is intended - you probably weren't intending any to him when you made your comment, but the tone came across as a combination of derogatory and challenging.

Nathan

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Jerry Minor
Posted: Jan 10 2001, 04:01 AM
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...like tents. Having a hard sided version that you can tow along behind you might just be the ticket.

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Casita Man
Posted: Jan 10 2001, 04:15 AM
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I did not mean to be derogatory or challenging. Just wanted to spur Speed a little bit, maybe spurring is not needed - I will be more careful next time!

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Nathan
Posted: Jan 10 2001, 07:42 AM
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....I figured it was something along those lines.

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Speed Gray
Posted: Jan 10 2001, 10:26 AM
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Hello to all:

The great thing about camping and the RV hobby is that you can do it any way you want. We didn't purchase any propane appliances, a bathroom, or A/C; that was the way my wife and I wanted our trailer. For those of who do some boondocking, then these options may be important to you. The nice thing about the Casita folks, is they can build YOUR trailer the way you want, and can build MY trailer the way I want. So far, we have not needed any of the items we did not get, so I guess our design criteria were spot on.

Actually, it was more an issue of weight reduction than safety considerations which resulted in us getting our trailer "stripped down." After all, I have personally spent millions of dollars installing bathrooms in every MacDonald's in America, why should I carry one around with me!

We didn't want our Casita equipped just like our home. If we had wanted it to be like our home, we would probably just stay home. We did splurge and get the large refrig, the microwave option, and get this . . . two powered vent fans. Lying in bed at night, those fans will suck off your shorts if you're not careful.

Actually, the only thing that I am intimated by are people who expect me to be just like them. I usually just walk away; sometimes I fart.

Long live Casitas in whatever form they may appear!

Regards to all . . . great discussion!

Speed Gray, K8SG Grand Rapids, MI Land Vessel GatoSub www.gatosubtravels.homestead.com

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