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#1 BC9696

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:57 PM

Found that the canvas tent on my truck is fine but still gets cold (and damp) if you close all the windows at night. Condensation accummulates quickly. I am wondering if hanging a Coleman ProCat Portable Catalytic Heater in it is a good solution to keeping the tent warmer and drier. Is there a safe way to do this? In my mind I am thinking it makes more sense to place the darn thing outside the tent and fashion a hose to go into the tent. Is there such a device? Can this unit be modified safely as I envision?

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#2 Braz

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:00 PM

Heck, just run a hose from the exhaust into the tent. You won't have any worries about condensation at all. :lol:I would not put a heater into the tent. One of the by products of burning propane is moisture. The more you run, the more moisture you are going to be getting. Have the fire outside and use a battery operated light inside the tent. To stay warm, bundle up and get a good sleeping bag.

#3 ShooterJohn

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:03 PM

:lol: :roflmao3[1]: Yeah and catalytic heaters produce carbon monoxide besides the condensation. So you will be dead and damp.

#4 CA Desert Dog

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:09 PM

Solution = Motel 6 :lol:

#5 Pogo

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:54 PM

I don't think that you are going to be able to put any kind of heater in that thing. Like was mentioned above, your going to have to burn a fuel of some sort, which means carbon monoxide.Then, there is the threat of fire. With that setup, when you tent catches on fire it is in the bed of your pickup! Double trouble.Get a good sleeping bag. I've got a North Face mummy bag for when it gets really cold, and I've spiked out in it at temps around zero and not suffered too much. Anything above freezing and I just use my regular Cabela's bag and am cozy warm. Something else to think about, in most areas, unless the ground is frozen or your camping in snow, the ground will be warmer than the ambient air temps. Sleeping on the ground in a tent will keep you warmer than in the bed of your pickup. Best Western is usually warmer yet... :roflmao3[1]:

#6 Braz

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:21 PM

If you sleep directly on the bed of the truck, you will freeze your buns off. You have to have really good insulaton under you. The air can go under the truck, thereby making the bed ice cold. This is experience talking here. :roflmao3[1]:

#7 mtn dog

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:01 PM

Most people think they understand about carbon monoxide poisoning but enough people accidentally kill themselves every year that the warnings bear repeating. My cousin's husband and a buddy drove a VW Van camper to Kirkwood to ski, intending to sleep in the camper. Too cold to sleep, they ignited a handful of charcoal briquets in a little hibachi BBQ; waited till the flames burned out then brought the warm hibachi into the van. Fatal mistake. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide has the same density as air and will not fully escape even from a vented space. Your condensation problem is because you sleep with the vents zipped closed...and you probably close them because you are cold...and you are probably cold because you are basically sleeping in a tin can with cold air moving above and below you. So... here's my advice from my years residing full-time and playing year-round at Lake Tahoe...Find a good thick sleeping bag that looks right, then pick an even warmer one (that costs about as much more as a couple nights in Motel 6 room would cost). Buy that warmer bag. Avoid cotton liners because cotton holds body moisture and you'll feel clammy. A high quality bag can last for decades and that makes them dirt cheap compared to the misery of an inadequate bag and a ruined trip. You will also want a good foam sleeping pad under you. Air mattresses do not insulate, especially when cold air is swirling under the steel bed of your pick up. Moving air sucks heat away and air mattress air moves when you move. Finally, stick a wool watch cap on your head (because we lose 80% of our heat through the top of our head), and you might sleep so sound you could miss making your dawn stands. As a bonus, with all that sleeping warmth, you won't need to zip the vents shut! Leave a gap in one or two and that condensation problem will be minimal.

#8 yote9999

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:11 PM

to add to MTN dog, I wouldn't sleep with your face inside the sleeping bag. Spending enough nights in Germany with my mummy bag, I learned that just sleeping with your face inside the bag leaves you damp in the morning. This can make it hard to stay warm once you are outside your bag.

#9 Braz

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:13 PM

And it's also really bad after having that big ol pot of chili for dinner. :roflmao3[1]: :roflmao3[1]:

#10 yote9999

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:17 PM

LOL...atleast the pot of chili would help with heating up the bag when you first get in it!!!

#11 BC9696

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:25 PM

Most people think they understand about carbon monoxide poisoning but enough people accidentally kill themselves every year that the warnings bear repeating. My cousin's husband and a buddy drove a VW Van camper to Kirkwood to ski, intending to sleep in the camper. Too cold to sleep, they ignited a handful of charcoal briquets in a little hibachi BBQ; waited till the flames burned out then brought the warm hibachi into the van. Fatal mistake. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide has the same density as air and will not fully escape even from a vented space. Your condensation problem is because you sleep with the vents zipped closed...and you probably close them because you are cold...and you are probably cold because you are basically sleeping in a tin can with cold air moving above and below you. So... here's my advice from my years residing full-time and playing year-round at Lake Tahoe...Find a good thick sleeping bag that looks right, then pick an even warmer one (that costs about as much more as a couple nights in Motel 6 room would cost). Buy that warmer bag. Avoid cotton liners because cotton holds body moisture and you'll feel clammy. A high quality bag can last for decades and that makes them dirt cheap compared to the misery of an inadequate bag and a ruined trip. You will also want a good foam sleeping pad under you. Air mattresses do not insulate, especially when cold air is swirling under the steel bed of your pick up. Moving air sucks heat away and air mattress air moves when you move. Finally, stick a wool watch cap on your head (because we lose 80% of our heat through the top of our head), and you might sleep so sound you could miss making your dawn stands. As a bonus, with all that sleeping warmth, you won't need to zip the vents shut! Leave a gap in one or two and that condensation problem will be minimal.

I figured an inflatable matteress would be sufficient insultation bit I see now that it is not. I have some sectional flooring that I use at tradeshows to provide cushioning that I could easily lay in the bed and place the matteress on it. Whaddaya think of these units that sit outside the tent and blow warmed air into the tent? I finally Googled up something along the lines of what I envisioned. I have never seen one so I don't know if they are loud or not. This one seemed kinda cool though. http://www.zodi.com/...ihotventhp.html (I would add extra accordion hose so it can be positioned a little further away.) I am not concerned about myself as I am my kids and their comfort level. I would like to have the option to heat the tent if it can be done safely, affordably and w/o a lot of noise.

#12 Braz

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:39 PM

Bruce, I think you are way understimating you kids. Give them a good sleeping bag, do the proper insulation under them, and they are going to be fine. How many people are you planning on sleeping in that pickup based tent? You really aren't going to be able to do more than 2. Personally, I think you would be better served to do one of a couple things, if you are concerned for the kids. Get a small tent trailer or hard sided trailer. The tent trailers are easy to pull, will set up quickly and have two really good beds. Many of them have a heater built in. Or, go with a traditional tent. Being on the ground you aren't going to have the cold air all around as you will with the tent in a can. I personally think you should sell that tent in a can to some other unsuspecting individual.

#13 mtn dog

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:51 PM

I figured an inflatable matteress would be sufficient insultation bit I see now that it is not. I have some sectional flooring that I use at tradeshows to provide cushioning that I could easily lay in the bed and place the matteress on it. Whaddaya think of these units that sit outside the tent and blow warmed air into the tent? I finally Googled up something along the lines of what I envisioned. I have never seen one so I don't know if they are loud or not. This one seemed kinda cool though. http://www.zodi.com/...ihotventhp.html (I would add extra accordion hose so it can be positioned a little further away.) I am not concerned about myself as I am my kids and their comfort level. I would like to have the option to heat the tent if it can be done safely, affordably and w/o a lot of noise.

LOL... I just looked at your rigs photo again. You have freakin' palm trees growing in your neighborhood!!! NO WONDER cold is a challenge for you! My favorite hunting partner lives in OC and he can't handle the cold at all. Conversely, I'm miserable in the heat. Different strokes. Call me 'chicken' but I would take my chances sleeping on the ground in my jockeys wrapped in newspaper before I trusted that propane heater/blower thing. That thing can't possibly be less expensive than a good sleeping bag(s) judging from the prices of its replacement parts. Ad says it is not available anyway. Sorry but that's just me. I like keeping warm in old-fashioned ways that have worked for 1,000's of years. Bundle your kids up and they'll do fine if you stick to the basics. Zip bags together and your whole family can share body heat. Worked for the cavemen.As to the combination of air mattresses and the pads you described. Put the inflated air mattresses against the metal floor and then layer the foam pads above the air mattresses. That will give you the cushion comfort of the air mattresses plus the insulation directly below you from the dense foam. A tip... look at any story about Mt Everest climbing expeditions and you will find nothing about inflatable air mattresses. It is foam padding all the way even for sleeping right on the ice. An exception are the self-inflating "air" mattresses which are filled with an open cell foam pad. That's what I use. That trapped air cannot move and lose its heat.

#14 JimT.

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:00 PM

My experience with extreme cold camping tells me the thing that works best is lots of bodies in a tent giving off body heat and warm air. Condensation and carbon monoxide poisoning are always something I'd rather not deal with worrying about. One mistake and you're dead! Keep dry, I use Cabela's Alaskan model down sleeping bag good to -20 or -40 and it's always kept me warm inside the bag. The problem I've always had is when I have to get out of the back of the truck to answer Mother Nature's call it's still very cold. I try to take enough fire wood to maintain an awesome camp fire and keep that going as long as I can stay awake.

#15 CoyoteHuntress

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:38 PM

http://www.cabelas.c...rset=ISO-8859-1 Use this.. Designed for tent use.. I have the big one and it will keep a tent toasty.. You can also hook it too a full size propane tank, and if you have a power source you can get a plug that turns on the blower.. or use batteries to work the blower... Blower is not needed though but a nice option if your using it in your shop or something

#16 mtn dog

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:49 PM

Use this.. Designed for tent use.. I have the big one and it will keep a tent toasty.. You can also hook it too a full size propane tank, and if you have a power source you can get a plug that turns on the blower.. or use batteries to work the blower... Blower is not needed though but a nice option if your using it in your shop or something

Hmmmm. Ya think? I'm trying to imagine where in that little pick-up tent rig he could safely put that thing and not worry about his children bumping it. Kids wiggle all night long. What happens when the end of a sleeping bag or a tossed pillow or teddy bear lands on top of it?EDIT: I checked some of the users reviews. There's a warning about ventilation. Another guy claims it made the surface beneath it very hot. I'd pass on that for such a confined space.

#17 CoyoteHuntress

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 12:03 AM

We use it in a jumping jack.. basically not much bigger than the pick up tent.. Never had any problem with heat under it.. Set it near the door etc. Fact is ANY heater will have to be put in a safe place when kids are involved. This one also shuts off if knocked over or even tilted too much. obviously common sense must come in to play when kids are involved. I posted this one because it is designed for tent use. Ive used it never had any problems. and weve used it for years. Weve taken it to Colorado, Utah, And ya here in Calif and it keeps the jumping jack toasty even in negative degree weather. A good sleeping bag is a definetly much safer.. But if they want a reliable heat source designed for tents then this is one that we know works. As with any product there will be both good and bad reviews.. Me personally Ive not had any issues with it..

#18 Dutchman

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 08:50 AM

Everyone has given great advise. I have the goose down sleeping bag from hell, rated to -30 and a therma-rest. I open the vents of the tent and have not had issues in the cold/snow while sleeping in a tent (it's a pita to hike with though) Since your tent is on your truck, if you insist on wanting a heating device there are 3 things you can try. 1. foot warmers down at the foot of the bag, 2. use a marine battery and an inverter to power a small electric space heater, or 3. Bring your wife or gf unit to share the bag...hell...bring em both if they'll let you :two-cents:

#19 Braz

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:03 AM

My major problem with a heater in a tent is, even though it has worked for years without a problem, one problem and you're dead. I don't like those kinds of odds!

#20 BC9696

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:41 AM

Trust me...I get it. That's why I am thinking that if the unit is placed well away from the tent with longer hoses, there's no chance of CO poisoning or risk of burning alive. I would hate to wake up dead or on fire wishing i were dead. It would ruin the whole camping trip, ya know? I was once stranded in a rental truck en route to Quincy. The road became impassible (near whiteout conditions...could not see to drive) so I parked the truck and crawled inside the sleeping bag. It was so cold I would have to start the truck and warm up the cab every couple of hours. Then the truck refused to start...dead battery. My nutz were like frozen berries. Having an alternative heat source just doesn't seem like a "bad thing" to me. If the unit is placed well away and outside of the tent, is there really a risk? How?

#21 Dutchman

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:52 AM

Any unit where there is combustion is a bad idea. Even if you are "piping in" the heat, you have the potential of piping in the CO2 and CO right along with it.

#22 mtn dog

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 10:52 AM

Trust me...I get it. That's why I am thinking that if the unit is placed well away from the tent with longer hoses, there's no chance of CO poisoning or risk of burning alive. I would hate to wake up dead or on fire wishing i were dead. It would ruin the whole camping trip, ya know? I was once stranded in a rental truck en route to Quincy. The road became impassible (near whiteout conditions...could not see to drive) so I parked the truck and crawled inside the sleeping bag. It was so cold I would have to start the truck and warm up the cab every couple of hours. Then the truck refused to start...dead battery. My nutz were like frozen berries. Having an alternative heat source just doesn't seem like a "bad thing" to me. If the unit is placed well away and outside of the tent, is there really a risk? How?

I've done several 'wrongful death' investigations and that makes me a bit overbearing sometimes. I apologize... (sort of). I just wish you hadn't mentioned your kids.http://en.wikipedia....Carbon_monoxideThose investigations, dissecting tragic events, made me aware that we all begin an adventure in total control of every detail and our ultimate fate. Then, one by one, we allow compromises - risk vs benefit stuff. Life needs to have some adventure. (I've had enough to wonder how I got to be age 60.) You might not have been able to control the performance condition of that rental truck. Ditto for controlling the weather. But you made choices about proceeding in that truck, in that weather. Fortunately, your 'berries' survived well enough that now you are a father.Now you are again at that moment of retaining complete control of every detail of your upcoming cold weather camping trip. Make the wise, prudent choices. Your kids need to get home with nothing but the best memories of a terrific outing with their Dad.

#23 Hunter Dude

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 05:38 PM

Like stated, stay away from putting a propane heater or even using a latern to heat up your tent. The gasses could kill you and if not will at least give you a nice headache. It sounds like maybe you should lay some carpet under the air mattress to help insulate everything. The airmattress alone probably makes you colder since the large volume of air you sleep on is cold. I normally pack myself with hand warmers when I sleep and it keeps me pretty warm. I put them in my pockets and under my arm pits, and sometimes in my underwear band along my kidneys. You can get large 10packs which have 20 heaters for under $12.00 Im sure there are alternatives to the propane heater, maybe you can rig a setup to a motorcycle battery and run an electric heater off of it for a couple hours. Or even use a larger battery for a longer run time. I think for now your biggest issue is that air mattress. Get a thermal pad or two and see if getting off the cold air helps. Keep a little section of your tent unzipped to let the moisture from your breath out and make sure you do not touch your tents fabric and it should help with the condensation inside. Also make sure anything wet that gets taken off is put somewhere other than the tent. Ie socks, shirts ect..Lastly a good sleeping bad is always nice. My first year snow camping I used all my summer gear and was freezing! Theres a huge difference in a bag rated for 30-40 and a bag rated for -0. Also getting off that cold air in the mattress helps.

#24 knox35

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:27 PM

We use a propane heater in our tent with 5 kids and 2 dogs with no problems but than again our tent is 14x20. As far as carbon monoxide goes invest in a detector.

#25 jawbreaker

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 08:38 PM

Bruce, Start a nice campfire and make sure you get some big logs on it so it will last all night and just pull your truck over the fire. You won't need a heating pad or anything, you'll be toasty all night long. :)

#26 lif2fsh

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 05:45 PM

We had a guy up here in Nevada archery hunting this year fall asleep in his tent while reading(gas lantern) and never woke-up! only 28 years old father of two Young one. be careful what you put in a tent.

#27 Braz

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:10 PM

It is just beyond me why anyone would want to put anykind of a device that burns fuel inside a closed up space. Sure you may do it over and over without a problem, but the killer gases are there and it only takes once. Just bundle up, or buy something other than a tent. Don't take a chance.

#28 tawnoper

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:55 PM

Lots of good info already given. Beside having the best sleeping bag you can get used with a good ground pad another thing is to keep your sleeping area as small as possible. I used to a lot of backpacking...a small 2 or 3 man backpacking tent used with a good bag is really warm, much warmer then a large tent...less area to heat. Large tents are made for fair weather..or used with a heating source.For years I've used a small propane heater in my large "family" tent and never had an issue. I always make sure the tent is ventilated...but definitely use at your own risk...just saying "I" never had a problem with it and will continue using it.

#29 5150Marcelo

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:56 PM

Dude, just build yourself a camp fire IN the tent. Just leave a window cracked so the smoke will go out. You should be fine and warm. :two-cents:

#30 Hipshot Percussion

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 08:09 PM

There has been plenty of good advice here, as a fireman I can say it's not a smart idea to put a heater in a tent or closed in space with little venting. As someone stated here for the cost of a couple of nights in a motel ...invest in good sleeping bags and mats and your problem goes away. I have slept out in the snow with a good mummy bag and been warm and toasty. It pays to invest in good sleeping bags and mats. The hardest part is always getting up in the morning, you can always use your tent heater for that or stand by a good fire. Don't take chances with your family, it's not worth the cost as Braz and others stated. Cabelas and others have very good sleeping bags at reasonable prices.




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