How to Heat a Camper Without Electricity

How To Heat A Camper Without Electricity

Camping in your RV during the winter can have its challenges, but you can heat your camper and protect it from the cold by following some easy and convenient methods. Staying warm in your RV is key to having a good time but be sure to protect your camper from freezing and keep your water lines from bursting. While the colder climate is where the fun lies, it is essential to protect your camper to stay comfortable and enjoy it. 

 

Protecting Your Camper From The Cold

Unless and until the outside of your camper is protected during the cold, you won’t be able to stay comfortable inside. The first line of defense for safeguarding your camper from the cold is your freshwater supply. You can fill up the water tank on the inside and use your pump to achieve this. However, if you want to use a supply line, you may not prefer using your freshwater tank. Another option is using a heat cable, which can be directly attached to your hose, right from the tank, until it enters your camper. You can then wrap this cable in an insulation pipe to keep the cable from freezing.

Another primary concern is protecting your camper’s bay, consisting of the freshwater tank and filters, from getting frozen. This can be achieved by insulating everything around the bay except for the door. To protect it from freezing, you can either duct some heat inside the bay or use a space heater. 

 

Heating Without Electricity

Ever since the camper (RV) was introduced, it has undergone multiple modifications throughout the years. The addition of combination heat pump air conditioners is a big plus. Since many come with a furnace, it was now possible to heat the entire camper using electricity or propane. However, depending on the weather and if the trailer is connected to shore power or not, people tend to make different heating choices. When connected to shore power, it is possible to heat the entire camper using electricity. The major challenge lies when you travel in the RV and heat a camper without electricity. 

Staying warm in a camper when boondocking and having no electricity is a significant challenge every RV user faces at some point. Here are some ways you can heat a camper without electricity:

  • Catalytic heater

Catalytic heater

Most RVs come with a furnace that burns propane and uses either electricity or batteries for air circulation. While it uses quite a bit of propane, it also consumes a fair amount of power. So, if you are boondocking quite frequently, you can upgrade from a furnace to a catalytic heater as it uses no power and requires a minimal amount of propane to heat the entire camper. You can set it on low and leave it on all day, keeping the camper at a comfortable 65-70 degrees when the temperature is 35-40 degrees outside. It also has low, medium, and high settings. 

  • Portable space heaters

Another great way to heat your camper is to use portable space heaters as they only need a minimal amount of propane to heat the camper. However, portable space heaters emit carbon monoxide, which needs caution. When used according to the prescribed safety guidelines, these portable space heaters are a great way to keep your camper warm during the cold season without electricity.

  • Built-in camper heater

Built-in camper heater

As mentioned above, modern-day RVs now come with a combination of heat pump air conditioners. Therefore, using the vehicle’s heater will instantly heat up the camper. To get warm, all you need to do is start the camper and slowly turn up the heat. However, this isn’t a favorable option for a long term-trip and only works best when used as a last resort for keeping warm.

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  • Insulation

This is another useful method of keeping the camper warm during the cold. Covering the camper with insulating material will help contain the body heat of those who are using the camper at that time. If your camper is well-insulated, you will spend comparatively less time heating the camper using an external source.

  • Wooden stoves

With newer updates and periodic modifications, it is now possible to install wooden stoves inside an RV. These wooden stoves create minimal smoke, which can be easily directed outside using a small pipe. Both floor and wall mounted wood stoves are now available. However, these wooden stoves need to be insulated to protect against fire and other hazards.

  • Heat pumps

Heat pumps work on the principle of a car AC that takes air from the outside, filters and purifies it, then supplies cool air. Similarly, heat pumps utilize the heat from outside the camper and circulate it inside the RV wherever it is needed. These heat pumps are the perfect heating solution to use during the spring or fall, giving off three-times more heat than portable space heaters.

  • Spot warming

When warming up the camper without electricity, it is necessary to ensure that the camper stays warm throughout the night. However, using space heaters, heat pumps, or wooden stoves throughout the night is generally considered unsafe, so it is crucial to find other methods of staying warm at night. To achieve spot warming, you can use resources such as flannel sheets, hot water bottles, thermal sleeping bags, thermal clothing, heating pads, and so on to help you stay warm during the night even after other heating elements are turned off.

 

Circulating Heat Longer Indoors 

Once you heat the camper using any of these devices, your next objective will be to keep the heat circulating indoors for as long as possible. While heat is often lost through the windows, vents, and gaps, using lubricants will keep them rigid. Another way to keep heat indoors is to insulate the walls by covering the windows with blankets, rugs, reflective films, or bubble insulation.

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