Small heaters for small RVs - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-28-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
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Small heaters for small RVs

I have a teeny tiny Captain RV, and I would like to have a fairly minimal setup in terms of gadgets.

Currently my RV has no heating and we would probably like a bit of heat as one of our minimalist gadgets. I intend fully fitting the Rv with spaceblanket bubblewrap insulation.

I am wondering if a small ambient tube heater of only 60w would be up to the job when the night-time temperatures drop to 0 Centigrade/32 Fahrenheit?



As I mainly wild camp and have no real chance of a hook up. I would power this by either my 400w petrol generator or a 12v leisure battery with an AC inverter.

Am I bonkers?

Cheers, BigAl.
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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If your using a generator why not just have a small ele heater? I would always have a back up, just in case!
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #3
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When you say teeny, how teeny are we talking? We have a propane heater for ours and I LOVE it. It is very small but kicks out a ton of heat. So much so that we have to be careful not to leave it on too high or I wake up in the middle of the night miserable.

Are you crazy? Probably not, and you should try the tube thing first. Once you get a more substantial heater, you'll never want to go back.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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I think a propane heater would be the best bet. If you ever stay in a campground your generator can't be used between 10pm and 6am in most places and sometimes even less. Propane heaters can be used anytime.
I have a small propane furnace in my Scamp and it kept us warm in 5°F weather.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve and Rosemary View Post
When you say teeny, how teeny are we talking?
Internally its 10 foot long by 6.4 wide and 6 high
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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Well, the product you linked to appears to be an electric radiant heater. Your trailer is about the same size as a 13' Scamp or Casita. Nearly all the electric heaters sold on this side of the pond are 1500W. (The cube heater with fan is the most popular style, but I use a radiant heater myself because I like the silence.) At 32*F outside, to maintain an already warm trailer, I would take a guess and say that our electric heaters would be running at somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2, assuming they have a temp control. 1/4 of 1500W is 375W. So I would be inclined to think that a 60W heater may have trouble keeping up. That's just a guess based on a little bit of experience; others may have more info.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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I agree, you will be trying to heat your trailer with a toaster. Invest in a propane heater or hook up and use a 1500 watt heater.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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You can get a Mr. Buddy propane heater from Wal-Mart for $89.99 or the Big Buddy heater which uses two propane cylinders and has a built in fan for $119.00.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:55 PM   #9
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which propane heater do you use?
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
I would like to have a fairly minimal setup in terms of gadgets.

Currently my RV has no heating and we would probably like a bit of heat as one of our minimalist gadgets. I intend fully fitting the Rv with spaceblanket bubblewrap insulation.

I am wondering if a small ambient tube heater of only 60w would be up to the job when the night-time temperatures drop to 0 Centigrade/32 Fahrenheit?

As I mainly wild camp and have no real chance of a hook up. I would power this by either my 400w petrol generator or a 12v leisure battery with an AC inverter.

Am I bonkers?
1. Here in the United States your "Spaceblanket" is called "Reflectix". Many trailer manufacturers here use a double layer of it between the fiberglass body and the fabric wall "upholstery". The majority of our external walls are not as straight and flat as the Captain caravan's are; thus upholstery instead of panel. I do recommend a double layer.

2. Is that heater of the oil filled type? That could be more efficient than just an electric element in the air, but not knowing the particulars of your 240 volt electric service, I cannot make an intelligent recommendation. We use 110 volt alternating current when a source is available; Shawn and Mike mentioned the versions of electric heaters we have. 60 watts would be inadequate for the temperature exposure you mention.

3. "Wild" camping (we call it "boondocking" here) limits availability of power... Most people choose wild camping to get away from annoyances; a petrol generator is considered very annoying to others within earshot. Heating (and cooling) are power gluttons, and a leisure battery/inverter system would leave you in the situation of Oliver Twist very quickly.; like within mere hours. Others have recommended propane fueled catalytic heaters (with proper ventilation) for the most comfort with the longest stamina.

4. Bonkers? No. Innocent is more accurate. That's why you're here. To loose that innocence in a dignified manner.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #11
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Hey Al.....

In summary, a 60 watt heater wouldn't keep a pi$$=ants 13 inch RV warm in freezing weather. Also look at the Coleman LP tent heaters, but you will have to open a vent a little bit. They are less than 30USD over here.

BTW: 60W = 60W, regardless of voltage.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:36 PM   #12
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Ive seen heaters similar to that 60 watt one used in boats during the winter to keep a bilge from freezing or in cabinets to cut down on moisture. It wouldnt really help at all in keeping a caravan warm.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:01 PM   #13
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Big Al, many of us have built in propane heaters in our trailers but some use the small Mr. Buddy Heaters - one of them is pretty small and called a Little Buddy that takes small disposable gas canisters. None are great for using when sleeping as they need a good deal of ventilation to operate safely - good for warming up the camper before bed or in the morning.

Not sure you will find the Mr. Buddy heaters in the UK but I suspect an outdoor store would carry something similar. And if history repeats itself probable a lot nicer looking and more efficient..... some of us ogle over the European products you have but we cant/dont have. ;-)
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Well, the product you linked to appears to be an electric radiant heater. Your trailer is about the same size as a 13' Scamp or Casita. Nearly all the electric heaters sold on this side of the pond are 1500W. (The cube heater with fan is the most popular style, but I use a radiant heater myself because I like the silence.) At 32*F outside, to maintain an already warm trailer, I would take a guess and say that our electric heaters would be running at somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2, assuming they have a temp control. 1/4 of 1500W is 375W. So I would be inclined to think that a 60W heater may have trouble keeping up. That's just a guess based on a little bit of experience; others may have more info.
The little electric heaters have two elements, an 800 and a 700. The 800 runs for the low setting, and the 700 is added to bring it up to 1500w (high). 800w or 1500W are the only choices.

BTW in my 16' scamp, when it was down to 33 the other night, the 800w setting was staying on but keeping the place warm.

Just as an aside, I also have a tent permanently set up next to my Scamp. In that I keep my computer table with dual monitors, keyboard / mouse and other stuff. Today I bought a second ceramic block heater for the tent and it keeps it quite toasty. So much so that all the critters congregate for the warmth. Even a couple of lizards. (on the outside). One benefit of free electricity from the state park.

And yes, I turn it off when I am not in the tent and the cold does not damage any of the electronics.
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