Super shelter with propane heater on outside

Discussion in 'Winter Camping' started by Neil Anthony Stuckey, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Neil Anthony Stuckey

    Neil Anthony Stuckey Tinder Gatherer

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    Hello all,

    Just signed up on the forum. My name is Neil I am an avid bushcrafter i like getting out to the woods for an overnight once or twice a month. I really enjoy winter camping especially after November when the bugs start going away. I have been really into the Mors Kochanski super shelter and i am not sure there is a more convenient shelter for the cost and performance. One thing that i find laborious is gathering enough quality wood for the duration of the night. Not only that getting up every couple of hours freezing re-stoking the fire gets kind of old. I had an idea when i stumbled onto a portable propane heater at a store. What if i ran the propane heater onto the outside of the super shelter ? I would think a 4,000 BTU heater would keep the shelter especially the small A frame version i use warm. It may take some finagling getting the distance of the heater to the shelter right to avoid melting the plastic. I know this is technically a luxury item many bushcrafters would find not needed. But this thing claims to run for 5.5 hours on a single 1 lbs propane bottle. So two bottles of propane would hopefully keep me warm enough for 8 hours to avoid stoking the fire every two hours or so. I know a lot of heat would simply bounce off the external plastic of the shelter but a lot would still pass through hitting the mylar on the other side causing some heat to stay in the shelter. A problem i thought of is that propane does poorly in cold weather. I thought i would tape some activated hand\glove warmers to keep the propane from getting too cold. What do you guys think ?
     

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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  2. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    Good Idea!
    Maybe make a little plow point tent out of another space blanket for the heater itself open on the side of the super shelter. That might keep the propane warm enough to be efficient as well as directing most of the heat into the shelter.
     
  3. Neil Anthony Stuckey

    Neil Anthony Stuckey Tinder Gatherer

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    Great idea. Thanks ! That would keep the wind from just blowing the heat away too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  4. VELJKO MILISAVLJEVIC

    VELJKO MILISAVLJEVIC Tinder Gatherer

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    Have you managed to test this setup? Does it work?
     
  5. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    I’m curious as well.
     
  6. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    Test it while it's warm. Better than a freezing night when it's too late to figure out it won't work. I am doubtful that 4000 BTUs open to the air will have much of an effect. This shelter heats with radiant heat, meaning you have to have a large heat source that is glowing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  7. Pinelogcreek

    Pinelogcreek Supporter Supporter

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    I’m not sure it would work either based on running a big buddy heater in a house without a ceiling. It has 18000 btu and keeping more than a shower stall warm was too much.
     
  8. CountryRoots

    CountryRoots As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

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    I’ll second that. I run a buddy heather (bigger version of the heater pictured) in a hunting blind and most of the heat just goes up, not so much radiant heat required for your proposed setup! A fire and reflector puts out a lot more energy than one of those, which is why fires work.

    I Don’t Know Anything About This Shelter Design! If the following is stupid because of the shelter design, DONT DO IT!

    If you’re really wanting the best of both worlds, get one of those heaters and put it inside your shelter. Just get the one with a carbon monoxide shutoff and don’t do stupid, like setting it underneath a pile of kindling.

    I also am assuming some ventilation!
     
  9. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Scout

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    I don’t know if hand warmers will work to heat fuel canister, but I am going to try some copper strip this winter.

    The idea is to wrap down side and around bottom of canister with one or two ends near flame so it conducts heat.

    I think this has potential in freezing temps.

    5ECA2BF7-F4C8-4E0A-BA70-46F515689B46.jpeg
     
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  10. KQL

    KQL Supporter Supporter

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    In case anyone doesn’t know, those heaters come in 2 types. One that has an actual flame (sometimes referred to as “blue flame”) that heats the air around it and the other that has a radiant heater that heats the objects in front of it. The radiant ones do better in open air scenarios, as long as you’re in it’s line of sight. The blue flame ones can heat the air in a small room, but not too well if it has a good breeze going. Both types typically have the fresh air sensor that turns off the flame/heating element if oxygen level drops too low around it (signifying suffocation risk).
     
  11. wingnuts

    wingnuts Hunter/Gatherer Provider/Protector Supporter

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    I have my doubts this would work, I believe the “wave length” of a fire is different than that of a radiant heater. I’m not sure the heat would penetrate the plastic in the desired manor. BUT I am merely speculating. I think the copper strips would solve the propane issue!
     
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  12. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Rattlesnake Charmer. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Personally I would make a long fire or big fire and use the weight savings from not taking that heater/tank to pack more insulation. I have never had a bad night going into a properly rated bag warm and hydrated. Also insulation from the ground is just as important as the bag. I can't imagine that heater could produce enough BTUs outside the shelter to matter. A larger fire can generate/transfer massive energy. So much so even during a heavy rain or snow it will keep burning.
     
  13. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    I run a Buddy Heater in a pyramid tent. The top of the tent gets blazing hot, the bottom gets sort of warmish.
     
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  14. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It's cool that even though the original poster hasn't been on-site since May, this thread keeps going with useful information.

    So, a question about the super shelter thing from someone who has never camped with any kind of heat at all.

    When you consider all factors, and I mean all....what is the best way to winter camp?

    Super shelter, you have to build it. Build some kind of bed. Make it fairly air tight. Get a lot of wood to keep the fire warm.

    Tent with stove. Set up tent, which would probably be quicker and easier than building a SS. Have to set up stove and gather a fair amount of wood. Still make some kind of sleeping platform? Or some kind of pad? Still have to get up several times to fire up the stove?

    What about bringing a propane heater? Would the effort of bringing in something like a twenty pounder propane tank (pulk of course) be less than the effort required to cut wood for a fire and such? Using some kind of Buddy heater setup? Keep in mind that I have never winter camped. :)

    But I have heated with wood, and I have heated with propane. I know there is a lot of speculation and such about a propane heater in a tent. Is there a point where using propane would make for a more comfortable experience? Not have to spend so much time gathering wood and having steady heat all night long?
     
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  15. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    I have camped with a propane heater and wood stove in a tent. I like a tent with a wood stove. Propane heater emits too much moisture and in my opinion, is too risky in an enclosed space where you and others may be sleeping. Different story if you are in a portable ice shelter where people are awake, and coming and going, in the process, regularly letting in fresh air. Even then, the ice shelter will accumulate significant moisture. I now use an Onaway stove with a pipe that goes out through a vent in my ice shelter to cut down on the moisture.

    You need to identify how you are going to camp? On foot, carrying or pulling things on a sled or a pulk? If so, weight becomes a factor at some point. There are good, lightweight stoves and tents on the market, but sometimes you pay a premium for the gear to save weight. I bought a guy's entire Winter camping setup this past year over in Marquette for $700. That included a very nice taboggan, Snowtrekker canvas tent, and a 4 Dog Ti stove. I watched for that deal, and pounced immediately when it was listed. By the time the guy got back to me, he had least 10 other calls, but he honored me as the first caller. He could have easily gotten twice that amount for what he was selling. Those deals don't last, but they can be had if you look hard and act quickly.

    Car camping or going by snowmobile significantly eliminates weight considerations. You can use a heavy tent and a steel stove. I will indicate that there are reasonably priced sheet metal stoves that don't weigh much and will hold up for at least a few years of moderately hard use. I have found some good stove deals on Craigslist. You can buy a used canvas tent from a Scout camp and have a stove jack sewn in, or bolt in a piece of sheet metal with a hole in it for your stove jack, relatively cheaply.
    Suggestion: Go to the Wintertrekking website, and you will find a lot of information, and different, creative approaches to Winter camping from a lot of different people. There is a guy there who goes by the name of chimpac who uses some novel shelters made from cheap tarps, and who makes some homemade wood stoves from 5 gallon cans that work good for his purposes. His setup is not for everyone, but it is cheap and effective for him.

    I've camped in the snow, and on the ice of a frozen lake. Both have their pluses and minuses. Snow depth can also be a factor, but there are Winter campers, especially in Canada, who will camp on snow shoes when there is 6-8 ft. of snow underfoot. You have to learn how to adapt to the conditions. Winter camping can be a lot of work, but also very rewarding. Not many folks out there to share the campsites with and the solitude can be great. Another good resource: The Snow Walker's Companion, by Garrett and Alexandra Conover, which you can find on Amazon. The authors are hardcore, walking across Canada during the Winter, unsupported.
     
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  16. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    I occasionally use a coleman sport cat heater,
    about 4 hrs on high but on low, it can last +10 hrs
    your heater should have a hi/lo and not just 1 setting,
    haven't used it on a super shelter but do use it on tarp shelter,
    should be able to keep the heater far enough away from walls so melting plastic is nota problem,
    also you really don't need to run it all night, after all warmed up with good sleep system, should easily get a few hours sleep , if you do get cold,, just run it again and will heat up the shelter quickly,
     
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  17. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I saw that tent you bought. It was a killer deal. :) There are, or were recently, a couple of other decent canvas tents for sale locally.

    I need to get off of my butt and get geared up for winter camp. I don't deal well with this heat and humidity and have yet to camp this year. I'd much rather camp in the cool/cold weather.
     
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  18. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    Yeah, propane causes a lot of condensation. Tolerable in a large, flourless tipi, but not ideal.
     
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  19. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I guess a big factor is how sealed the tent/shelter is. I spent a couple of weeks in a pop up camper using a big buddy, and never had condensation issues, but I did keep it on low at night. It did get cool outside, in the low 20's and high teens. I'd wake up and turn the buddy to high to warm it up good before getting out of bed.

    I know condensation is a big thing as it gets mentioned a lot. Last fall I was in a tipi tent and had terrible condensation with no heater at all. That was before the cold weather hit and I had open windows.

    Wonder if a small battery fan would help with it? We often keep fans blowing air around on our winter jobs to deal with condensation.

    Guess I'm just going to have to dig into it and come up with a system that works for me. :) It sure is fun reading about all of this. :)
     
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  20. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    I'll find out what heater my buddy and I bought last fall out of the States,,, he ordered the 2 burner 22.000 BTU as I got the 1 burner 12.000,,, they exhaust the spent fumes out side which I really like...

    The trick is to make 100% sure that the stove pipe stays at least 18" away from the tent walls,,, so we went with 36" to be on the safe side,,, we added a light weight 2 tin sheld in a cone shaped to reflect the heat at the back and sides towards the inside of the tents,,, safety factor again...

    The burner on these heaters are propane regulated along with a exhaust pipe butter fly so we can maximize the heat retention of the heater box...

    My heater is about 5 ish to 7 lbs the size of a army ammo box with a 2 1/2" or 3" exhaust pipe,,, I directed mine out the side of my pup tent on a up-ward angle...

    It is always on its lowest setting in my 96 square foot tent... Dam hot is an under statement... Ha....

    Hot like Arizona in the matter of seconds if I'm after a hot summer day,,, I leave the top flap open at all times to regulate the moisture escape...

    These heaters are $140 Usd or $180 Cnd funds... Two 1 lb green bottles for 12 hours and a bit at 12.000 BTU,,, that's 24 hours on low if not longer if I use the heater sparingly...

    I only use it for a few hours before bed time,,, then 2 hours in the morning to finish drying my out door gear,,, we place the heat rising circulating non battery fan onto of the heater to move the air... Every corner of the tent and gear is bone dry with 4 hours of operation in the 2 stints...

    You can heat up your hot water in the morning at the same time,,, a win win in my books...

    I'll post the name of the heater tommow for those that are looking for a way to stay warm in a tent less the propane fumes...

    The heat blanket material was frugal priced,,, we used welder blanket cloth that we sewed into the tent wall,,, $20 for a big Chunk,,, the edges need folding over to prevent it from falling apart,,, use fire resistant thread for this... you can pull some thread from the material and do it in sections...

    Cheers from the North
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  21. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    The trick to condensation is let it escape out the top,,, heat rises taking the moisture with it,,, adjust the top flap accordingly to let it go...

    The intake vent is nice if it's 2 1/2 feet from the ground,,, that way and heat that is down low remains there,,, the upper section is a good place for air flow to happen...

    Just a thought as this works for us...

    The post above this I talked about the non battery heat rising fan as it runs off the heat of the stove or heater,,, the more heat the faster the fan runs...

    They move alot of air fast... Fire stove shops sell them in a verity of sizes,,, ask them to show you how they work and check out the different size units... Small fan will move alot of air...

    Cheers from the North
     
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  22. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    My guess is you probably bought Onaway heaters. I have one that I use to heat my ice shack. I also have a Mr. Heater Buddy. You run the Buddy, the inside of the shack gets covered with moisture. You run the Onaway, and it stays dry as a bone. Plus, you are not breathing byproducts of combustion with the Onaway.
     
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  23. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    Yes, my hunting partner did the radiant Heater in his enclosed trailer,,, ice shack,,, and tool shed,,, all of them steamed up from propane fumes,,, if I recall it 80% moisture,,, other folk on the forum might be able to find the exhaust numbers of propane fumes,,, the new heaters might be less... I'm not up to date on that stuff these days...

    Yes,,, the exhaust pipe venting is a plus,,, that way we reap the rewards of the air with in our shelters,,, and we know that the harmful fumes are getting sent to the out side...

    I'm getting into the final stages of my pop-top camper box for my pick-up truck,,, my heater will work in it or my tent depending on where I'm heading...
     
  24. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    It took me a bit of searching,,, but I found the link...

    My good friend is on year 5 coming up using one of these.

    The trick to get the most heat energy out of them is add a exhaust butter-fly 16" to 24" above the stove in the pipe,,, that way we can regulate the heat retention of the stove,,, don't get it to hot,,, and don't waist heat loss out of the exhaust pipe...

    A person will get pretty good at it with a few outting...

    Add a propane regular to adjust the burn rate as well,,, a person will find out that these little heaters can up out alot of heat fast when needed. And no fumes to breath less all that moisture too.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/NuWay-Nu-Wa...and-furnace-heater-m2000-12-000-/202163990338
     
  25. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    Then to maximize the heat transfer add something like this... Nothing like taking advantage of free energy. Ha

    All 4 corners of your shelter will be toasty dry once the fan starts spinning...
    https://alltoplistings.com/wood-stove-fans/
     
  26. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    That's the one I have. I called it an Onaway because they are made in Onaway, MI. Nice little stove that does a good job heating a small space without killing you in the process.
     
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  27. Don_Parsons

    Don_Parsons Tracker

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    I bet you are correct RH, there made in the same factory I'm sure...

    My hunting / fishing partner shack is 8'x12'x 10' ceiling 960 cubic feet with 4 ice fishing holes,,, the 28.000 BTU double burner heater on low setting heats it up easy,,, T shirt weather in his ice shack...

    The door and window need opening if it gets turned up...

    My 12.000 BTU single burner heater also runs on low in my 197 cubic foot camper box,,, both roof vents open 1/4" to 1/2" to let the moisture out if my hunting gear is wet...

    When I'm hoofing down the hwy I stuff my sharp flame brazzing torch head onto the propane line,,, vice grip it in place so the flame is shooting into the heater,,, close the exhaust butter-fly almost tight and the camper box is toasty warm when I get to my winter camping area along the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains...

    Hot and dry with no propane exhaust fumes...

    The other benefit of these heaters is the cost,,, a Mr buddy heater might be a bit cheaper,,, but in the long hual of 5 to 7 years of alot of use the Neway or Onaway will still be running...

    The overall costs probably equal out over the long hual...

    But again,,, no fumes to damage the lungs with water blisters and toxic fumes...

    Cheers from the North
     
  28. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Hmmmmm..... Now I'm thinking about a high efficiency propane heater that vents outside. The wheels are turning. :)
     
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  29. Geneh

    Geneh Supporter Supporter

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    For all the real and potential danger, hassle, weight I would just go with a small propane heater made for tents or campers. We used one for years in a 9 man army tent.

    I would love a heated shelter when the temps drop into the lower 20’s F, but properly dressed with a small fire in the evening and good padding + bag has kept me warm. Getting out in the morning is just awful though. LOL.

    Mostly though I just stay home in that weather though.
     
  30. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The morning thing. That's what gets me. I rarely get cold, mainly I guess because I have a decent metabolism and I dress properly. I am also a pretty warm sleeper.

    But I find that rolling out of a warm sleeping bag on a cold morning is not so pleasant for me. Part of that is I can't sleep with a lot of clothing on either. A t-shirt and shorts is usually it for me. Sometimes sweat pants. I can't sleep with socks on so its barefoot too. And I have no troubles staying warm when sleeping. It's climbing out into the cold that gives me the shivers, pun intended. :)
     
  31. Prairiewolf

    Prairiewolf Supporter Supporter

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    I have used a Coleman catalytic heater in a Primos ground blind in 15-20 degree windy conditions and about all it could do was to serve as a hand warmer. The Buddy heater works considerably better. But I would be surprised to see any small propane heater effectively direct the heat horizontally into the super shelter.
     

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