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Old 08-31-2021, 09:37 AM   #1
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Heating negative space under camper

Greetings All,



Before I get the "previous threads" message so many of these seem to get when posting new, yes, I have looked for this answer to no avail.



I am hunting 2nd season at 8000+ feet this fall in Colorado. Lessons learned from the first time: SKIRT THE TRAILER. I had some very minor freezing the last time and I am trying to avoid it this time around.

I have a 286bhsw Jayflight SLX BAJA with the Rocky Mountain Edition. I love my camper, and I don't want to deal with a freeze. I found 11Mil 10x48 vynl tarp that I am fitting to my camper (Billboardvynls.com), and am cutting that in half (2 5x48 length + 5x96) to go all the way around. I have the thermal package and I read somewhere that one could utilize something to keep the area between the underbelly and the dirt warm enough to keep from freezing. I have a generator that I run overnight (for battery charge, breathing equipment, propane savings on the fridge and the water heater, etc). Honda 3000IS so it should handle everything I am asking of it. I know keeping the wind out from underneath is a major part of the equation but I am still worried about freeze.

All that being said, what have people used to heat that negative space under the camper? What is effective and how did you set it up?
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Old 08-31-2021, 09:50 AM   #2
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I haven't done it...but if I did....the first thing that came to my mind after reading your situation is to add a cheap electric heater in the enclosed space. One that you would find on the shelf at Goodwill or a yard sale for $5. The heat would be mainly infrared from the 'toaster' coils. Some have a fan but I can't see convective as an advantage since infra is faster to heat the parts.

I certainly wouldn't use a sunflower infrared (propane fired) in that space. Those are my thoughts on your predicament. Good luck on the hunt.
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Old 08-31-2021, 09:50 AM   #3
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We have hunted at those altitudes in November/December with a toyhauler with heated underbelly etc for 20 years and have never bothered with skirting or anything else on the ground. Just make sure that any low hanging drains are insulated and if you have an area that has water controls on the outside of the RV with a thin door on it pack it with insulation. Keep the inside temps at at least 50F

Generally if you have a freeze it will be at a low point drain. Ice wicks back up to the first T in the water system and stops the flow.

And there are other threads on cold weather camping. I have posted in several but the search feature here sucks. Google will bring up more and there is quite a list in the Heartland RV sites.
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Old 08-31-2021, 09:53 AM   #4
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Also in you are bent on putting something on the ground buy some straw bales. Break them up and spread it on the ground. Old cowboy trick to help insulate.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:19 AM   #5
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This is probably obvious; but, whatever you do, DON'T place your Honda generator in that space in order to "recycle" the heat generated by it.

CO poisoning and fire hazard are the first 2 risks coming to mind...
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:35 AM   #6
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If you can figure out how to install them, 150 watt incadesent spot lights pointing towards the ground will generate more heat than you think.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by muckinfuss View Post
I haven't done it...but if I did....the first thing that came to my mind after reading your situation is to add a cheap electric heater in the enclosed space. One that you would find on the shelf at Goodwill or a yard sale for $5. The heat would be mainly infrared from the 'toaster' coils. Some have a fan but I can't see convective as an advantage since infra is faster to heat the parts.

I certainly wouldn't use a sunflower infrared (propane fired) in that space. Those are my thoughts on your predicament. Good luck on the hunt.

muckinfuss, that is exactly what I am trying to avoid - a propane eye seems like a recipe for disaster. I have been looking into infrared eyes like for chicken coops, but I haven't found anything in terms of how usable they would be. In other words, I don't know what the definition of a "large cage" for chickens equates to be. I just don't want to do something that will melt the underbelly or start a fire. where I will be parking won't have any vegetation on it (RV Pad in dark woods) so that will be good i think. Thank you for your input!
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:41 AM   #8
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If you can figure out how to install them, 150 watt incandescent spot lights pointing towards the ground will generate more heat than you think.
^^^The way that people used to heat their well pump house, dog house or chicken coop.
Incandescent or halogen work lights throw off a lot of heat.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by CAG View Post
We have hunted at those altitudes in November/December with a toyhauler with heated underbelly etc for 20 years and have never bothered with skirting or anything else on the ground. Just make sure that any low hanging drains are insulated and if you have an area that has water controls on the outside of the RV with a thin door on it pack it with insulation. Keep the inside temps at at least 50F

Generally if you have a freeze it will be at a low point drain. Ice wicks back up to the first T in the water system and stops the flow.

And there are other threads on cold weather camping. I have posted in several but the search feature here sucks. Google will bring up more and there is quite a list in the Heartland RV sites.

CAG, thank you, I appreciate all the tips! I am hoping that skirting will help in several areas: less propane usage, minimized/no freezing. I especially appreciate the ice effect described in the low point drain. I think that is exactly what happened to me 2 years ago. I what I was looking for was I read someone used some kind of heat lamps to keep the negative space warm. I wonder if it was on the heartland site. I definitely pack the outdoor shower with insulation! Thank you!
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:46 AM   #10
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This is probably obvious; but, whatever you do, DON'T place your Honda generator in that space in order to "recycle" the heat generated by it.

CO poisoning and fire hazard are the first 2 risks coming to mind...

deepsea5 - absolutely not. I would like to not die in my sleep! LOL However, I can see someone not thinking about it doing exactly that. makes me cringe.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:51 AM   #11
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If you can figure out how to install them, 150 watt incadesent spot lights pointing towards the ground will generate more heat than you think.

I am interested in how many? In my mind I was somehow figuring 2 for that space with an extension cord off the generator. using something like this:



https://www.amazon.com/Woods-Clamp-L...%2C211&sr=8-55


Either with heated light bulbs or an infrared heat bulb like this but I don't know how well they work?


https://www.amazon.com/BOEESPAT-Cera...%2C211&sr=8-55

Thank you for your input, and I genuinely covet any additional information you might have on this stuff.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:53 AM   #12
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^^^The way that people used to heat their well pump house, dog house or chicken coop.
Incandescent or halogen work lights throw off a lot of heat.

deepsea5 - I replied to grumpy's post, but if you have any additional info on this setup I would love to hear more. I really want to make the right decision on something like this!
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:19 AM   #13
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deepsea5 - I replied to grumpy's post, but if you have any additional info on this setup I would love to hear more. I really want to make the right decision on something like this!
Back in the day, my grandparents kept the light on in their well pump house lit 24/7 during the winter. Pretty sure it had a 100 watt bulb. Well house is a term I use loosely: it was just big enough for the pump, probably the size of a dog house. Don't recall them ever having freeze problems using that method. If the bulb burned out, all bets are off.

A google or youtube search for this heating method might give you some ideas.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:21 AM   #14
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Skirting will make a huge difference. Placing a few incandescent light bulbs under the TT will provide a lot of heat.

One thing to consider is your outside shower. The thin plastic cover provides zero protection.
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