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Heart Warming Camper Heater Solutions

Mr HeaterI’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.

HeatSourceAs 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.

Hubba Hubba – The Best Tent Ever

Recently a friend recommended that I check out the MSR Mutha Hubba. “The wha-a-t?” I asked him. He told me it’s the absolute best tent he’s ever used. The cool design intrigued me, so I decided to find out more… and “hubba hubba,” he was right.

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This tent is really easy to set up – and quick, which is a huge advantage when storm clouds are moving in, threatening to drench you and all your gear. It’s great for areas where it rains all the time, because you can easily keep the tent dry. Unlike many other tents, with this one you can set up the fly first, and then put up the tent underneath it, so your tent never gets wet. Most other designs expose your tent to the elements for at least a few minutes, since you normally have to set up the tent first and then pull the protective fly over it. And as anyone who’s ever had to sleep in a mold- or mildew-ridden tent knows, a dry tent makes for a better outdoor experience.

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This tent weighs in at just under seven pounds, yet it has enough room for three people inside. It also has two entrances and two large areas just outside the door once the flap is down. You can use that space to store all the things you’ve brought along, keeping the sleeping area clean and neat.

And if you don’t believe me, note that Backpacker Magazine gave this tent one of its 15 Editor’s Choice Awards in 2006 – valuable testimony if you don’t plan to test all the tents in the marketplace. This one’s a winner.

A Tent, Jacket, and a Bag All in One

If you’ve ever marveled at how snails, turtles, and various marine species carry their homes on their back in a compact shell, then you’ll definitely appreciate this latest invention in self-sufficiency.

 

A young designer named Justin Gargasz recently unveiled the Vessel, which is a beautiful, creative, and innovative tent, jacket, and bag all in one.

 

First and foremost, the Vessel serves as a medium-weight jacket to protect you from the elements on a cool or wet day. The jacket is reversible, so you instantly have a jacket in two colors for those who are more fashion-conscious in their outdoor adventures. As the weather heats up, you can easily convert the jacket into a sling bag where the arms tie around your body so that you can keep your hands free.

 

But the coolest part of the Vessel is that when you’re ready to retire for the evening, the jacket magically transforms into a cocoon tent just large enough for one person. The body of the tent is mostly opaque, meaning that you can perceive light and hear and smell the great outdoors from within the confines of your cocoon. The door also has a one-inch mesh strip, letting you see what’s happening in the outside world.

 

Naturally, a tent that can be worn as a jacket will never really compete with a full-sized tent that you can carry on the bottom of your pack, but the designer has something else in mind. Although the tent could be used for camping, Justin recommends using it “whenever one feels the need to escape interactions in their present environment.”

 

He continues, “Individuals feel the need to escape interactions in their environment every day. Whether it be interactions with excessive technology or other people, this psychological and physical need to get away is where I began my investigation.”

 

In other words, if you’re traveling through downtown New York and begin to feel overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds, just take off your jacket, convert it into a tent, and you’ll have instant peace and solitude – just kidding, we don’t think that’s really the best use for the Vessel. But we do think you’ll enjoy owning one, considering all the benefits it has to offer for your next backpacking or urbanpacking adventure.