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Old 11-13-2008, 06:53 PM   #1
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How many BTU's do I need?

I just got my SMB and it has no propane so I'm looking at ways to heat and cook using propane cannister. The stove is easy, lots of choices. Coleman makes a couple little catalytic heaters, one is 1500 BTU/hr another is 3000 BTU/hr. Mr. Heater Buddy is 4000 and 8000 BTU switchable. I've read the posts about using 5# tanks etc but I want to start with just the one pound coleman cartridges. The Mr. Heater Buddy will only last about 5.5 hrs on a cartridge when set at 4000 BTU. The Coleman 3000 BTU will last a respectable 7 hrs (at least I get a whole nights sleep without changing cartridges). The little 1500 BTU lasts 14 hrs, which is great but may not be enough heat? I'm going to be doing horse camping in CA, warmer areas, no snow but could get down into the 30's at night. I plan on putting up the PH, which probably loses a lot of heat. Anyone have experience with these options?

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Bruce
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:57 PM   #2
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Another thing, one of the coleman 3000 BTU units has a battery operated fan that seems like a good idea. Can these heaters get the heat circulated without a fan? I wish there was a heater that had a thermostat and would turn on and off as needed, could go as low as 1500 BTU and up to 8000 BTU, and had a fan. It could plug into 12V to power the fan and thermostat.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:39 PM   #3
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I have a friend who has that Coleman with the fan. He finds it keeps him warm enough in a fairly large tent into the mid 20's. It works much better than the one w/o the fan. Actually I don't mind it on the cool side but if you're cold and want to sit in front of something that throws out heat, the Mr Heater Buddy is nice. I do find that if the wind is blowing it gets much colder inside the van with the top up. Something that could work all night rather that clicking off before morning (when it's usually the coldest outside) has some advantages. Too bad the buddy doesn't have a super low setting to conserve fuel. It will suck down those canisters fast. I still suggest the 1 gallon tank and My heater setup. Of course if your like me, able to find free blue bottles of propane, that does make a difference. I finally got tired of storing all those tanks and packing them out. Went to the small tank and it runs stoves, lights and BBQ also. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Get a nice down comforter and you won't need heat at night.

We've camped well into the teen's with a down comforter and only turned on the heater in the morning. Got to take that chill off to get dressed.

Mike
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:56 AM   #5
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Well I ordered the Coleman catalytic heater with battery fan and coleman stove, stocked up on propane bottles.

Down comforter sounds like a good idea too.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:56 PM   #6
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Just beta-tested the Coleman ProCat heater. Way too much heat to keep it on all night, and it's not adjustable. Maybe the little 1500 BTU version would be better. I'd still like to find a propane heater with thermostat. Maybe I'll go with Espar if I can't find that. There are a few modifications to my SMB I'd like so maybe I'll bite the bullet and somehow get it to Fresno for everything.
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
the Mr Heater Buddy is nice. Too bad the buddy doesn't have a super low setting to conserve fuel. It will suck down those canisters fast. I still suggest the 1 gallon tank and My heater setup. Of course if your like me, able to find free blue bottles of propane, that does make a difference. I finally got tired of storing all those tanks and packing them out. Went to the small tank and it runs stoves, lights and BBQ also. Just my opinion.
Dave
Hey DaveB: I thought you had an Espar furnace? do you also have the Mr Heater Buddy (up to 4k/9k/18k BTU) or Buddy Portable (smaller unit 4000/9000 BTU) ? If so, where do you store the Buddy, and where do you store the 20 pound Tank?

I just ordered the Buddy Portable setup with the 12' hose and plan to carry a 20 pound tank.

steve
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:04 PM   #8
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Yea I got the Espar. One of my friends asked where he would sleep when he saw all the equipment in the back of the van; I said outside in your tent. So as you would say "I pitty the po foo". Hence the courtesy heater which is the coleman black cat. Another friend who had used my little heater in his tent didn't like it when I yelled out my window "God it's hot in here". It was 18 degrees outside and all I heard was F...U. He ended up with the Mr Heater Buddy and it will drive him out of the tent ...almost too much heat. I still think about a backup heater in case the Espar fails though. I might look at one of those 12V electric blankets. The Mr Heater is too big to haul as a backup device that might not ever be used. I looked at this but sounds like it's as large as the Mr Heater unit.

http://www.sportys.com/acb/showdetl.cfm ... ct_ID=1922

BTW that Mr Heater Buddy usually lasts for over a week for him (on low?) with one of those little 1 gallon tanks. With company I usually pull the SMB trailer so I got the room. Now Steve if you really want to get your van warm you can get this
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templ ... estid=9017

Dave.
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