Bear Necessities: Teardrop Camping 101; A Full-timer's Perspective

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Bear, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    If you're system works---use it. My reluctance for using anything elastic was the possible strain in might put on the screws. I was concerned that the constant pull on the screws may actually loosen up the wood around them or give way altogether. Since you're using a bungee cord it doesn't appear to be a problem, and is probably quicker to install and take down.

    Isn't fun to see how the same mission can be accomplished in different ways? It has been said that: Necessity is the mother of invention. Whoever coined that phrase must have lived in a teardrop camper.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  2. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    BEAR NECESSITIES: TEARDROP CAMPING 101; a full-timer's perspective
    WINTER (Continued)

    A heat source was made mention of while discussing the use of the coat hooks; the hooks will be discussed some more later. The photos in this segment depict three of the external heat sources I rely on during winter.

    The primary heat source is the Camp-Inn installed furnace that is equipped with an electric starter and fueled by propane. Camp-Inn choice in furnaces is more than efficient for a weekend of cool climate camping. Because it is so effective---like sauna at time---it can only be endured for short periods of time. It doesn’t take much to warm up the cabin and with this furnace it only takes a few minutes.

    The first photo below shows where the heated air enters the camper. The second photo shows the vent and exhaust port indicating the exact location of the furnace. It is installed in the exterior storage compartment that is mounted to the bow of the cabin. Look closely and you will notice a mud guard mounted directly in front of the port. This came about through a discussion I had with Craig Edevold, a Camp-Inn engineer. During one of the earlier visits to the Camp-Inn factory, it was shared with Craig how much I enjoy winter camping. However, after spending hours on snow covered roads, once in camp, I’d have to dig slush out of the portals before igniting the furnace. It would be nothing for 2” to 3” of slush to accumulate in the openings. So I asked him if he had any ideas for a mud guard to prevent this experience. He came up with the fixture you now see in the photo. It is very effective as there hasn’t been an issue with clogged portals since it was installed. Thank you, Craig.
    FURNACE 1.jpg FURNACE 2.jpg
    The first alternative heat source can be located in nearly every box store on the market. This is little electrical unit is ideal when shore power is available, as it reduces the usage on propane (that the furnace requires) to just what stove uses in the kitchen. The beauty of this little unit is that I can leave it plugged in and running throughout the day to evaporate the condensation that accumulates in the cabin that our bodies produce at night. To leave a propane furnace running all day isn’t cost effective in comparison.

    Look closely at the second photo and you will notice that it stores easily in the forward cabinets.

    Once again, I'm not promoting one product over another. I'm simply sharing what I have onboard the Stagecoach.
    HEAT ALT 1.jpg HEAT ALT 2.jpg
    WARNING: The second alternative heat source should be used with extreme caution and the warning label on the side of the component be strictly adhered to. It should never be left unattended or used when drowsy or while sleeping. Given the specifics in the warning label for a propane catalytic heater, it is clear that teardrop campers are too small to use this product safely.

    With regards to this traveler, this product came into my possession during an emergency. The regulating valve on the propane tank froze up and shore power was unavailable in the boondocks. To unfreeze a regulating valve requires heating up water, but how is that accomplished if the propane source for the furnace is the same source for the stove? This is why I carry a backpacking stove as a back to not only cooking but for emergency situations. Unfortunately, such a stove wasn’t available where I went shopping at the time of the purchase. So this heater was acquired in absence of a better option. It works well and only took a few minutes to heat the compartment while I was trying to warm the inside of my sleeping bag.
    HEAT ALT 3.jpg HEAT ALT 4.jpg
    Please note that the alternative heat sources are resting on a (cafeteria) tray for added protection.

    That’s it for heat sources. This discussion will continue…

    More to come on winter survival and comfort.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Randy and Tour 931 like this.
  3. Tour 931

    Tour 931 Junior Ranger

    I can see myself needing that slush guard.
  4. Jenn

    Jenn Junior Ranger

    Bear: can you recommend a water filter system? Its on the list of things that I think I should have. I know you have a backpacking one, but not sure Ive ever seen it or know how it worked for you.
  5. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Jenn, this is the one we use for backpacking, but there are plenty out there to choose from...
    Katadyn Hiker Pro Clear Microfilter
  6. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

  7. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    I'll do my best, Jenn.

    I have four systems in place for purifying water. If the submarine service taught me nothing else, it taught the importance of having a back-up system for all major components when traveling.

    For large jobs I rely on: LifeStraw Mission Gravity Water Purifier.
    Its the easiest to operate and does an excellent job in camp.

    For hiking and backpacking I carry two with me:
    Sawyer Products Mini Water Filter;

    SteriPEN Classic 3 Water Purifier with Prefilter

    I keep the following in my first aid kit: Potable Aqua Iodine and Taste-Neutralizer Tablets.
    These can easily be found in nearly every outlet that sells camping supplies.

    There was a time when I was Katadyn fan, I once owned three different models, but those days have gone. They still produce a quality product but I think the industry is passing them by in the way of convenience, ease, and cost to product ratio.

    I hope that answers your question.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Evan and Jenn like this.
  8. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    BEAR NECESSITIES: TEARDROP CAMPING 101; a full-timers perspective
    WINTER (Continued)

    Now to close out the subject on coat hooks… Coat hooks play an instrumental role with regards to winter camping in a teardrop camper. There is the obvious role of having somewhere to hang bulky clothing apparel, but had you given any thought to the role those bulky items play in the insulation of the camper? The way the door frames are manufactured, the aluminum frame has a lip to it. This lip is just big enough to catch and hold the hook of a coat hanger. In using both the coat hooks and the door frames, one is able to construct a somewhat insulated barrier between the glass window and the interior of the cabin thus reducing---not eliminating---the chill in the air.

    Because I live in mine, I have installed a coatrack by draping the ends over the coat hooks. I have seen this rack in the auto parts sections in most of the major box stores and just about every auto parts store I’ve walked into. While attending teardrop gatherings, I have been surprised that I have not seen another campers equipped with the rack. The rack is quite essential for this wanderer. It not only accommodates more apparel than the hooks do, but it is also makes for a great drying rack. This rack is also used to hang Luci lights from (solar powered lamps) using hair clips. Hanging beneath the moonroof these lamps are able to recharge during the day. In the winter, electricity is used for three things: cabin lamps, furnace and to power a portable DVD player. That is it! Given how much energy the furnace sucks from the battery, I try to conserve that energy source by relying heavily on the Luci lamps and the cabin lamps less. Compliments of the Luci lamps, I don’t have to mess with solar panels.

    The one drawback to the makeshift insulation system is that it doesn’t completely eclipse the door frames. That aluminum frame acts as a conduit for the outside cold, as noted below---ice has been known to accumulate in the interior. The door frames are not alone in that responsibility. The mounting hardware that holds the stainless steel fender wells in place are inserted through the interior of the cabin and pushed outward. In leaving the head of the bolts exposed, it, too, becomes a conduit for the outside cold, as demonstrated in the photo below. In this photo, ice had formed over the bolt head and spread outward. This was during a Minnesota winter, when temperatures had dipped below freezing, and mind you the heater was on. The Abraham Lincoln portrait is titled Perseverance. Most appropriate for teardrop living. (By the way, He was a great, great, great uncle.)

    ICE 1.jpg ICE 2.jpg
    The other nemesis, to combating the cold inside the interior, is the hatch hinge frame that runs the width of the camper through the upper cabinets. This is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Unlike the door frame and bolts, the hinge sweats profusely during autumn, winter and spring where the frames and bolts don’t. Any fabrics stored in those compartments absorb the moisture like a sponge because the water has no means of escape. This is something that should be monitored on a daily basis, which isn’t always at the forefront of thought. Because the water can’t escape, if the cabinets are not wiped down daily, the wood finish will do the job the owner of the camper should be doing. In time, the wood begins to darken as it takes on another color. For this reason anything I stow in those cabinets are first inserted into large plastic bags before being placed on the shelf.

    To aid in combating the constant accumulation of moisture---when parked---the cabinet doors are left in the open position for increased air circulation. This has helped reduced the water build-up.

    ICE 3.jpg
    That’s it for coat hooks and cold conduits within the cabin. More to come regarding…

    Winter comfort and survival.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    Tour 931, Randy and Jenn like this.
  9. Jenn

    Jenn Junior Ranger

    Ken, Randy and Bear:
    That was a quick and thorough range of responses. You all use what you have and that speaks to what works. Thank you so much!
  10. Jenn

    Jenn Junior Ranger

    Bear, Thank you for your pictures and talking about use of hooks and the coat rack. I have the coat rack, as you know, and use it in my car.

    I have one Luci light and charge it in the dashboard of my car. Pretty sure it would not charge through fan cover. I prefer the softer Luci light light to using the interior trailer lights. Ive had some other battery operated lights but the Luci has stayed the course of time and been the winner.

    Also, I use my coats to insulate the windows/door areas when it is colder. I hang the coat on the hook and bring part of it over and clip to the top of the curtain. It gives the coat a job inside and is there when I need it in the morning. Otherwise it would just be taking up space on the bed. My heavier coat is on one door and a lighter one on the other door.

    Fun connection to Mr. Lincoln. I made him a shirt once.

    Thanks for your post!

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