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Gadget728

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Now that my eyes have been opened to this vandwelling lifestyle, I am a changed person. Since focusing, almost exclusively on getting on the road full time, I've been experimenting with sleeping in different weather in my van. 

There won't be perfect weather when Full Timing, so I need to be prepared for any weather. I dislike cold weather more than hot weather. While tent camping last year, 40° was about the coldest I wanted to be camping in, and the Buddy heater wasn't really enough to keep it comfy outside of a sleeping bag. My van is now insulated somewhat, maybe it will be better. 

The Winter weather is setting in here in middle Kansas. Today it was below freezing early this morning and probably won't be over 42° all day. If the wind is blowing, it will just be COLD. I know these aren't extreme temps, but no matter the temperature, I'm concerned with what it will take to SLEEP fairly comfortable in my Van. I made it OK a few weeks ago when it got into the 40's, I wonder if the buddy heater will keep up with tonight's 20's? 

The walls aren't finished, but my new bed and frame can be thrown in the van in a few minutes, and I've got plenty of bedding. Looks like an adventure in the making. I'll putting on my long johns and heading out.
 

Almost There

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The best advice is that the Buddy heater shouldn't be run while you're sleeping. Seriously, don't do it!

I slept last night in 30 degree temps with a windchill factor outside down in to the teens and was quite comfortable in bed.

2 layers of duvet with a fleece throw over top did me until about 4 am when I added a fleece hoody and my fluffy bed socks.

NOW, getting out of bed wasn't too pleasant but that's when you turn the Buddy heater on and crawl back in to bed for 10 minutes until the van warms up.

BTW, I have no 'insulation' in the van, just reflectix.

Below last nights temps I put on either light weight thermals or if it's going to get really, really cold then micro fleece thermal tops and bottoms.

If your sleeping bag isn't keeping you comfortable down past the 40's it's either a summer weight bag or it's lost all of it's warmth retention either through age or if it's down, through compression. Time for either wash or replacement depending on what's wrong with it.

Keep in mind that sleeping in a tent is radically different than sleeping in a van. You're on the ground in the tent with the cold coming at you from all directions.
 

SoulRaven

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We are dealing with the same, except in the pop-up until next week. Artic weather is being predicted coming in Wednesday and we are on the edge, just hoping it dodges us. We do have an electric heater and a propane furnace, but with tent sides and a wind........... It is cold when I get out of bed, also walking the dogs at 5:30 AM. I dress really warm in bed and that really is your best bet as to not being cold when you get out of bed. If you have a thrift shop in town, take a look at what they may have at bargain prices to help with warmth, if you're OK with used. We do sleep on memory foam toppers, both us and the dog beds on the floor, and while hot in the summer, definitely keeps us warmer as you sink into it. Keeping your head warm with a sock hat can make a difference. Saying good-bye to Kansas winters is sounding pretty good!
 

MrNoodly

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If you're going to be on the road full time, go places where the winter weather is warmer.

Besides, you might be surprised how quickly and easily you acclimate to a wider range of weather conditions once you're not living in climate controlled spaces.
 

highdesertranger

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x2 on acclimating. I sleep in the cold much better then in the heat. I have 2 down bags and can stay comfy below zero Ferinheight. but on the other end of the temp scale when it gets hot all I can do is sleep out of the covers with a fan, miserable. so I try to stay away from that. out west with any kind of elevation it cools down nice at night. highdesertranger
 

gargoyle

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I sleep better in the cold than the heat...and bugs.

I have a nice down sleeping bag. 
Plus it seems more peaceful, since folks aren't out in the cold as much as summertime.
 

bacawho

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highdesertranger said:
x2 on acclimating.  I sleep in the cold much better then in the heat.  I have 2 down bags and can stay comfy below zero Ferinheight.   but on the other end of the temp scale when it gets hot all I can do is sleep out of the covers with a fan,  miserable.  so I try to stay away from that.  out west with any kind of elevation it cools down nice at night.  highdesertranger

x2 on down sleeping bags.Best investment I ever made.
 

Magicwolf

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Hate the cold and being cold, myself. My furnace gobbles battery and propane, so I only run it minimally; maybe a little more if I have an electric hookup. When boondocking with little to no heat, pile on the blankets. I sleep on foam, plus a sleeping bag over that. I have about 6 blankets on me (did I mention I hate cold?).  Keep the Buddy heater in arm's reach to turn on when you wake up and take the worst of the chill out of the air. For fast heat or to pull the chill more quickly, one of those single-propane stove-style burners that screws into a 1lb propane canister works pretty well, fire it up just long enough to get it tolerable, then let the Buddy take over. Use appropriate care & ventilation, etc.

I'll second the down bedding (as well as wool), and also recommend Korean mink blankets. I got one for my son for Christmas one year; heavy and thick, he said it is extremely warm.
 

TrainChaser

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Does anyone with solar have any opinions on the Lasko #100 My Heat heater? Twenty bucks, 200 watts -- less drain than a small slow cooker.

Try a length of Reflectix on the mattress, with wool blankets over you. I bought all of mine from thrift shops. Put the looser weave nearest you, tightest weave on top. Cheap-junk acrylic blankets can't hold a candle to them.

Snow predicted tomorrow night here in W WA, 26F expected. Brrrrrr!
 

djkeev

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Train chaser....... ^^^^^^ a fact of life, you can't get something meaningful out of nothing.

Low draw = little heat

Dave
 

Almost There

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Also a layer of reflectix beneath your blankets but above your mattress is a good way to wake up in a puddle. Yes, it reflects heat but it also doesn't breathe and you will have condensation collecting between the reflectix and your body. You give off something like a pint of liquid through your sking through a night - it will all be at the lowest spot come morning.
 

Every Road Leads Home

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Down is your friend. Blankets, sleeping bags, vest, jacket. I don't know how anyone survives with out it. Or would want too, it's so comfortable.

I have a 0 degree bag from Eastern Mountains sports that's rated for 20 degrees. Have a down blanket from Big Agnes that i've yet to not get too hot with and a down throw and comforter. Down vest from LL Bean and down Jacket from Eastern Mtn Sports. Every piece I have I bought off season or on clearance, most were a steal. Except for the Big Agnes blanket, ashamed to admit what I paid for it but it's one of my favorite things I own so I guess it's ok.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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This is what I have used to sleep in a tent in temps down to -60ºF:

  • Get a good sleeping bag or comforter.  Down is best IF it isn't too humid (I don't know but would suspect that down will absorb humidity put out by a Mr. Buddy type heater and loose insulating value fast).  Get one with a closable hood or cover your head with a small blanket or wear a stocking cap.  Mummy bags are a little warmer (in theory).
  • Never cover your head with your bag or blanket.  You breathe out ~ 2 pints of water a night and most of that will be absorbed by your bag.  You can reduce a -40º bag to a +40º bag in a couple of nights doing that and if it is down you will need a commercial dryer to regain loft.
  • Have at least 1" insulation under you (that is 1" when you are laying on it).
  • Wear thick wool socks.
  • Wear whatever bedclothes you are comfortable in.  I sleep in my clothes in cold weather.
  • Put a hot water bottle down by your feet.  My h.w.b. is a 1L Nalgene inside a wool sock. I fill it with boiling coffee.
  • You can put another water bottle by your gut if you want.
  • Stoke your fire; eat something high in protein and/or fat just before going to bed.  Candy bars work but jerky or pemmican keeps your metabolism going longer.
One can get surplus Army 3 bag sleep system for a reasonable price (inner & outer bag, bivy cover).
In my camper (and in my old age) I have gone to a synthetic winter comforter as it is more comfortable to me than my mummy bag.  My pup sleeping with me is one reason; getting me and a 30# dog into the bag left a lot of drafts.
If you get up during the night, take a few seconds to replace the covers.  Your spot in the bed will stay warm for your return.

 -- Spiff
 

jimindenver

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I don't mind sleeping in the cold, a down comforter takes care of that almost too well. What I mind is getting up in the morning and putting those frozen clothes on.

I have a lasko myheat in my bathroom , it's pretty weak. It will warm you but not the room.
 

Wanderer

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I've been sleeping with my heater going all night long for the past 4 winters. 4K BTU with windows opened a bit.. Too many people have some vague horror stories where people have died from mainly their own stupidity in operating the heater.

Keeping it 18-24" away from any fabric/items is the key.
 

frater secessus

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djkeev said:
Low draw = little heat

I agree that space heating with electricity is impractical unless plugged into shore power.  I will mention, however, careful application of little direct heat can make a huge difference.

Anecdotes:
  1. I have a 12v motorcycle heated vest that makes an enormous difference.  My bike is unfaired so I am getting 60+ mph wind chill.  The vest rated at 90w max but I've never had it on max. I run it at 10-20% most of the time, and went to 50% one time in the 30s.  Got it for $50 used off eBay.  It is amazing how warm feet and hands stay when the core is gently warmed.
  2. I have a 110v mattress pad that I run at 20w measured by Kill-a-Watt.  Huge difference, much moreso than with an electric blanket. 
I plan on using both of these approaches in my future nomadic life. For writers or folks doing stationary work being plugged into the van's 12v with a motorcycle vest wouldn't be too annoying.  For other scenarios a vest with lithium rechargeables might be a better deal.
 

jimindenver

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On a good day I can run 5-600 watts straight off of the solar but that isn't going to be enough if it is cold. It's freezing here right now and a oil filled heater running 900w is just keeping the trailer near 50 F. All the Myheat and 135w mat do is provide personal heat so I don't have to run the furnace so much.
 

TrainChaser

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AlmostThere: "Also a layer of reflectix beneath your blankets but above your mattress is a good way to wake up in a puddle."

Is that fact or theory? I can see moisture pooling if you covered yourself with Reflectix, but if you lie on top of the Reflectix and are covered with decent wool blankets, why wouldn't the moisture disapate?
 

Almost There

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Reflectix is a barrier product, so is Silnylon.

Neither let air or moisture through. That's what they are designed to be.

Yes, I've woken up with wet bedding beneath me from condensation. Fortunately for me, it was the underquilt on my hammock that contained all the moisture. Also fortunately it was the last night of a camping trip so I didn't have to try to get the bedding dry until I got home. There was enough moisture in the underquilt protector that I had to use a towel to mop up.

No I didn't wet the bed... :D :p

Water runs downhill to the lowest point it can.

If you don't give condensation some where to go, it will collect in the lowest point.
 
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