Wood stove safe alternative - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-04-2018, 11:15 AM   #1
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Name: Benjamin
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Wood stove safe alternative

Hi all,
been working on our 1971 Campster renovation and getting to the point where I am thinking about heat.
We bought the camper to be able to do more winter camping with our 2 small kids (ive adpated the camper to include bunk beds).

I know the buddy heater is often discussed as an option, the biggest issue for me being the short burning time of the canisters.

Here what I was thinking: what about having a wood stove set up outside the trailer but running the stove pipe through the cabin.

We heat our house with a wood stove and our vaulted ceilings mean the stove pipe is inside the house for a while, it gives off so much heat that would otherwise literally go up in smoke.

It seems that this would be cheap (wood is abundent) but also safer that other options since there is no combustion in the trailer.

Thoughts?



There are also heat reclaimers that pull heat from the stove pipe
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:58 AM   #2
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Check out the Truma combination furnace/water heaters. Separately, it is possible to connect propane to virtually any size tank. There are also ways to refill 1lb tanks. I don't know if safe.

Would you not need to tend an outdoor wood stove several times a night? How about wet snowy wood? No expert, but I believe many steel chimneys are 2 or 3 concentric steel pipes, thus insulating outer rings.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pvb1 View Post
Hi all,
been working on our 1971 Campster renovation and getting to the point where I am thinking about heat.
We bought the camper to be able to do more winter camping with our 2 small kids (ive adpated the camper to include bunk beds).

I know the buddy heater is often discussed as an option, the biggest issue for me being the short burning time of the canisters.

Here what I was thinking: what about having a wood stove set up outside the trailer but running the stove pipe through the cabin.

We heat our house with a wood stove and our vaulted ceilings mean the stove pipe is inside the house for a while, it gives off so much heat that would otherwise literally go up in smoke.

It seems that this would be cheap (wood is abundent) but also safer that other options since there is no combustion in the trailer.

Thoughts?



There are also heat reclaimers that pull heat from the stove pipe
A wood stove small enough to be carried to your campsite and set up with the chimney going into and back out of your trailer, would also not burn for long, unattended. Then you'd have to go outside a number of times during the night to stoke it. The majority of the heat would be lost outside as only a section of the pipe would be heating the trailer and the rest would be lost. Then you'll need an insulated in and out fitting and a fan to circulate the air past the hot pipe. And a large box of wood. It's not a practical idea.

Compare all lof that to your biggest concern of the short duration of the canisters. How many canisters does it take to fill a wood box? How many canisters equal the size and weight of a wood stove?
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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I see all kinds of issues with the plan, most of which have already been mentioned, the biggest being efficiency, or the lack thereof. You may wake up to find all the campground dogs lying around your stove...

A few have successfully installed a tiny Cubic Mini wood stove inside a 13' trailer. I don't know where you might put it in a Campster. Prepping the very small chunks of wood it burns is lots of work, and as Tom says, you'll be feeding it often (but at least you don't have to go outside).

With any wood-burning option, you also have to consider where you'll get the wood. Most states don't want you transporting untreated wood any distance due to invasive insects. Cut and burn locally. Local burn bans may limit where and when you can use it.

And this: we burn wood at home, so when we're on vacation, I want a vacation from the stove!

A Wave 3 catalytic heater is an alternative to a Buddy that can be permanently mounted and plumbed to an exterior LP tank or set up as a freestanding unit with a flex hose to a quick-connect fitting. It involves flameless combustion inside the cabin, so there are important safety protocols to follow. It releases quantities of water vapor, so condensation can be a problem.

In the end I always come back to a traditional RV furnace- Suburban, Dometic, or Propex. Noisy and inefficient to be sure, but they vent all combustion gases to the outside so they're safe in a small space and don't contribute to condensation. No hot surfaces to endanger kids or pets. They require a fair bit of 12V electric power for the blower, so you need decent battery capacity and a means to recharge (solar or generator).

There are other options from the marine world. I've read some posts, but I'll leave the details to others more knowledgable.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:55 PM   #5
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I see all kinds of issues with the plan, most of which have already been mentioned, the biggest being efficiency, or the lack thereof. You may wake up to find all the campground dogs lying around your stove...

A few have successfully installed a tiny Cubic Mini wood stove inside a 13' trailer. I don't know where you might put it in a Campster. Prepping the very small chunks of wood it burns is lots of work, and as Tom says, you'll be feeding it often (but at least you don't have to go outside).

With any wood-burning option, you also have to consider where you'll get the wood. Most states don't want you transporting untreated wood any distance due to invasive insects. Cut and burn locally. Local burn bans may limit where and when you can use it.

And this: we burn wood at home, so when we're on vacation, I want a vacation from the stove!

A Wave 3 catalytic heater is an alternative to a Buddy that can be permanently mounted and plumbed to an exterior LP tank or set up as a freestanding unit with a flex hose to a quick-connect fitting. It involves flameless combustion inside the cabin, so there are important safety protocols to follow. It releases quantities of water vapor, so condensation can be a problem.

In the end I always come back to a traditional RV furnace- Suburban, Dometic, or Propex. Noisy and inefficient to be sure, but they vent all combustion gases to the outside so they're safe in a small space and don't contribute to condensation. No hot surfaces to endanger kids or pets. They require a fair bit of 12V electric power for the blower, so you need decent battery capacity and a means to recharge (solar or generator).

There are other options from the marine world. I've read some posts, but I'll leave the details to others more knowledgable.



I agree with most of what you said. However I like to point out the power usage for an RV furnace, mine for instance. Mine draws about 3 amps when running. If it was to run for 3 hours that would be 3 amp hours of battery use. Typical Marine batteries (most common used) are around 74 amp hours.

First 3 hours of running is a lot, even in 5 weather I don't think it ran for over 2 hours in a 24 hour period and we kept warm.
Second 3 amp hours of battery usage still leaves 33 amp hours of usable battery.

If you're going to be out in cold weather for a week or more you'll probably need to recharge the battery. For a typical week-end trip you should be ok without recharging.


My example does not include things like water pump, incandescent lights, television or other entertainment systems. The only thing on power system is a few LED lights and the furnace.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:07 PM   #6
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Mine draws about 3 amps when running. If it was to run for 3 hours that would be 3 amp hours of battery use.
Wouldn't that be 9 amp hours?
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:12 PM   #7
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If it was me I would buy a good cold weather sleeping bag
Probably simpler , safer , easier and cheaper
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thought, ultimately this was more of theoretical discussion as the ease and cost of propane heaters outweighs the difficulty of wood stove ideas.

The warmer sleeping bag idea fine for us adults but with little kids doesnt work quite as well.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:26 PM   #9
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this is a cool propane stove by dickinson marine.

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Old 12-04-2018, 04:04 PM   #10
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Thanks for your thought, ultimately this was more of theoretical discussion as the ease and cost of propane heaters outweighs the difficulty of wood stove ideas.

The warmer sleeping bag idea fine for us adults but with little kids doesnt work quite as well.



Warmer sleeping bags work for small children as well as for adults. There are also other ways to keep warm. I don't know how old your children are but camped in the shoulder seasons with 4 and 7 year olds in puptents. Nobody complained about getting cold. Warm sleeping bags and three little girls stuffed into the same little tent provided plenty of warmth. The girls wore fleece footed sleepers.

One more thing we were always more than 1 mile from the nearest road.

So yes it can be done and done in a good manner.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:50 PM   #11
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Wood stove safe alternative

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Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
Wouldn't that be 9 amp hours?
I wondered that too, and with a conventional battery only about half your total amp-hours are effectively available, so if Byron's figures are correct (3 amps and 74 amp-hours) you really only have about 10 hours or less of run time. I think a week is optimistic. 2-3 days, maybe. It depends on the temperature, thermostat setting, what else you run off the battery...
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:05 AM   #12
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I think I remember seeing an externally mounted wood stove heating system on the Toyota Motorhome forum. But that was quite a few years ago and my memory bank is like an old computer- hard drive, it has some faulty sections in it


I have a diesel heater for my Campster. Cost a lot to buy but economical to run. No exhaust fumes release into the interior so that makes it suitable for family use. Also no moisture released into the interior, in fact it removes moisture, again suitable for family use where there are more occupants breathing in a small space.



For those of you who are suggesting wood stoves or wall mounted propane heaters for use in a Campster.....they are not suitable as it has very low ceilings in it. You need a lot more clearance above those types of heaters than is available in a Campster.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:13 AM   #13
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You are to be commended for wanting to winter camp, where most owners lose the use of their investment completely by 'winterizing" for upwards of three months per year.

Actually, a small camper needs very little heat to be comfortable if it is not lost through leakage. If your camper was a thermos bottle, the heat of a candle would keep it warm. The place to start is by doing an energy audit to see how much heat is being lost and where. Key areas of lost heat are floor and windows. Uninsulated floors and single pane windows leak heat like a sieve.

Reducing heat loss is the most effective first step to take for practical winter camping comfort. Otherwise, the outside cold will be seeping in on you no matter how much heat you generate internally. Very unpleasant.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:25 AM   #14
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Here is a nifty miniature but functional wood stove:

https://theconstantgaragesale.wordpr...aravans-boats/

The Fatsco company used to be in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Now according to their website they are in northern Michigan.

The Fatsco company made two things when in Benton Harbor, wood stoves for horse-drawn milk wagons and ant poison.
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