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Old 10-30-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

I did a search and found some useful info to help reduce this.
The window tech guards are now on my list.

I have just purchased a Propex 2800 and am hoping to get it up and running for this years ski season when we hope to stay in the ski lots on the weekends. We've spent quite a few nights in the van with the penthouse top up and haven't had much of an issue. But when the temps drop and 2 adults, a 7 year old and 2 dogs settle in after a fun day I'm wondering if we will have any issues.
The van is in the process now of being insulated along with insulation sections for the top, front door windows and windshield.

My question is this, if we have too much condensation,
Is it possible to use the moisture absorbers that are used in basements, sailboats and who knows where else to help in the van? Are they at all harmful to sleep next to? Will they make it too dry inside?

Any thoughts on if it would be a good or bad idea to try assuming we do get some heavy condensation?
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

We have skied in vans a lot in the PNW over the years. Our vans have all had hard tops. The only issue we have had is in the morning there is heavy condensation inside all the windows, which isn't reallly a problem until we try to drive. The best/only way to get rid of it is to fire up the motor and run the defroster.

The most bodies we have camped with are 2 adults and 2 small children.

From a thermodynamic standpoint, I doubt if any kind of dessicant could remove enough moisture from the air to stop the condensation. The glass is just too cold, and there is a LOT of moisture coming from wet gear, bodies, and the stove. Some people put insulation on the windows but I don't know if even that stops the condensation.

The dogs could go under the van...
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Thanks for starting a ski and camp thread. I'm taking delivery of my van next week and my first season with it will now be a winter one, hopefully filled with lots of ski camping. I'll try to contribute experience as I gain it here in Colorado.

By 'window tech guard' do you mean the WeatherTech Side Window Deflectors? I could see how they might help condensation issues. Whatever you mean, I'll be interested in your plans and experiences.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

I don't think you will have much problem besides wet interior windows if you leave a couple of them cracked open a bit even while you run the heater. You need them open a bit anyways to get fresh oxygenated air. After one night you'll dial it in.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Thanks guys!

Yeah i guess we will just have to try it out a few times and see how it goes. I was kind of thinking the same thing that the absorber wouldn't work as fast as we are creating it.

Dhally, we have pm'd in the past and I appreciate the further info.
I wish the dogs could stay out sometimes, but they are old and spoiled. Besides, one would run off and find a new family to let him stay inside, and the other one, well she would try and chase off anyone she saw and do that as loudly as possible! She did spend a winter living in a snowcave in a tent though and she would be thrilled to spend everynight in the snow! I just don't want to have to listen to her or chase her down!

danmcdonald99, I do mean weathertech, my bad. I have read people have had good experiences with them. And I'm thinking you will get snow before us, so i'm looking forward to your experiences and input!
The van looks awesome! I bet you can't wait!
I have a brother in the Denver area we hope to visit. I'll let you know if we make it out there!

Jeffrey, Thanks for the positive thoughts! That's what I'm hoping for!
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Looking around the internet I can see what you mean about those WeatherTech deflectors. People seem to like them. Let us know what you think if you install them. Using some of those Year/Make/Model selectors on various websites didn't give very consistent results on whether they have any that are specific to the E-Series vans. If you get some that work, I'll be interested to hear exactly how you ordered them.

Colorado should give a pretty good winter test to everything in the van. You are right. I'll be able to start pretty soon. My thing is nordic ski racing and I know that the Steamboat folks have been skiing on an excellent 5K trail on top of Rabbit Ears Pass for weeks already. I'm hoping that the van will be perfect for that sort of thing. Rabbit Ears is a little out of Denver range for a weekend trip without a van but having the van and being able to camp at the trail head would bring it into range.

One aspect of our winters here that will really test the van will be the cold. Places like Leadville, Grand Lake and Rabbit Ears are super cold at night. I'm hoping that I can figure out coping techniques for dealing with nights in places like that. If I do, I should be good just about anywhere.

If you're coming to Denver, send me a message. Even if we don't do the same kind of skiing, maybe we'll have the same taste in watering holes.

Dan
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:01 AM   #7
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Denver skier / hiker / winter sports guy here too.

I bought my window deflectors from real truck.com. They did not have the weather tech ones I wanted in stock, so I bought a different brand (Stampede I think). They work just fine and saved me a few bucks.

My first trip camping with them after install was a rainy few nights, and they certainly made a difference venting the van.

I worry about fresh air and venting too… As I learn more I can post too.

I am up for any get-togethers to camp/ski/hike in colorado over the winter --- or any season. I don't cross country ski, but could learn.

track me down.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:07 PM   #8
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

I searched for any images to share what Cari & I've done inside our van for year round camping but haven't uploaded any (i'll do so soon).

Anywhoo....
We installed the WeatherTech rain guards on cab windows. Then Cari installed no-see-um mesh on the passenger side with velcro. This way we can crack the window rain or shine about ~2" for air flow from that window.

Then we crack the MaxxFan roof vent (again rain or shine) to allow nice air flow.

Also she made window inserts of two layers of Reflectix bubble foil for all windows (leaving ~2" space at top of passenger window for venting.) Then just pressure fit into the windows at night. Great for privacy and temp control.

Even in freezing temps with snow on the roof we do not run any heat but body-heat inside at night after we decide to go to sleep and have never been cold under comforter/covers. We also sleep on a Froli Sleep system that keeps any moisture from building up under the bed/mattress. I believe this also helps in comfort (it is the best sleep system we've ever found).

It is just the two of us in the van and we've never had a big issue with condensation build up.
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:45 AM   #9
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Camping right now in 31 degrees. I find that there's a lot of air leaks around the barn doors and back doors. I'm using stuff sacks at the base of the doors just like some folks do at home to stop the drafts. The bags from my sleeping pads work great. One fits nicely in the step of the barn door. Get a lot of condensation on the front windows, but just firing up the van ahead of time like someone suggested above works well. Putting the top down at night to use less of the furnace and keep the heat in works well. I've got the reflectix to wrap the top penthouse in, but haven't cut it yet. My furnace installed by smb only draws around 0.8 amps (fan) and uses very little gas.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #10
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Re: Winter camping and moisture/condensation control

Just my thoughts. My wife and I and dog* have skied and slept in the Sportsmobile with hard top almost every weekend from 2005 to 2012 with really no condensation problems. At Kirkwood, CA it has gotten down to -17F, yes I know that is hard to believe. And we spent 26 days in February 2010 traveling from resort to hot springs to resort to cat skiing in Southern B.C. without condensation issues.

(FYI, since installing the Webasto Dualtop diesel furnace, the van is nice and toasty.) In my opinion, the carpet which Sportsmobile uses inside the fixed top reduces condensation build up.

So, you might want to just try your vehicle first to see if you have a problem.

(Actually the dog only skijors, not downhill.)
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