I’m one step closer to having my Dream Camper Rig, but I have a long way to go. I now own a Ford Econoline van from 1987, complete with a 4×4 conversion. As far as camping goes, the inside is bare metal and that doesn’t hold up well in the winter. One of my first tasks is to find a heating solution. While you can find 12 volt heaters, they’ll destroy your battery in no time. For efficient heating in remote locations, natural gas is the way to go. So far, my research has yielded two approaches for gas heat.
The first is radiant heat. The most highly recommended solution I’ve seen for radiant heat is the Mr Heater model for around $100. This is a quick and easy approach to get heat in your camper or tent on the quick. Additionally, it’s a portable solution so you can use it for different tasks. You can use store bought canisters or run a hose to a larger fuel supply. Additionally, you can pick up an adapter to refill those store bought tanks. Safety features include auto shutoff if the heater falls over or if too much CO2 is detected in the air – making this a relatively safe heater.
Mr Heater comes with some draw backs. Even with the safety features, you have an extremely hot exposed surface that creates a certain level of risk. It would probably be best if you don’t fall asleep while the heater is on. Additionally, you have to have a good place to put Mr Heater. Even though the design is very compact, it takes up a fair amount of space.
As an alternative to radiant heat, a safer solution is a forced air furnace. Adventure Trailer’s Heatsource is an excellent looking solution. So far, this is the smallest and most efficient solution I’ve found. I’ve read that the typical furnace only reaches 60% efficiency; however, AT claims a delightful 90+%! Even better, with thermostat controls, you can leave your heater running all night long while you catch your Zs.
This convenience comes at a price that’s uncomfortably close to a grand. While the smallest model is $750, you still have to factor in your fuel source. The other minor draw back is the lack of Mr Heater’s portability. You won’t be able to carry this heater into your tent or garage Depending on your needs, this might not matter.