Heating a minivan

Gonna be cold in my Honda Odyssey. Need help fast!


After giving a great deal off thought to your request, and not knowing your layout or the space you have, I will just give you my guidelines and reasons…

My basic criteria for heat is no modifications to the vehicle, and must not require power, only fuel. Additionally, I prefer choices that allow them to be used as both heaters & cookers.

I’m not a fan of propane or butane, and prefer non pressurized, wick type liquid fuel appliances. Everything I have can run on kerosene, diesel, cooking oil, and possibly alcohol.

While some people prefer store bought, when I run into people that need heat or cookers fast, I go to the dollar store for the parts, and can DIY one in about 20 minutes for $5-$6. This is what I cook on every day, and can use as a heater as well. I’m using cooking oil, and even in the dead of winter, running the heat almost constantly, one $8.00 gallon of cooking oil will last me a month or more. It’s super handy because I can just grab a gallon at any grocery store when I’m already shopping.

Ebay, and probably Amazon has a huge selection of camping heaters/cookers that meet ~my~ criteria. In my experience, almost any liquid fuel wick type appliance can be run on multiple fuels.

Good Luck, & hope ths helps…


"It has been said that the secret to success is
learning how to do more with less and in the
simplest way possible." ~ Wise Words Wiki

You are awesome and appreciated. I’m not in the van yet but will be forced to full time before Thanksgiving. It’s a small hockey mom type van with the middle and back seats taken out. I would just need a way to make the cooker safe from being knocked over by my German shepherd when sleeping and put it where I wouldn’t melt something :face_with_peeking_eye:. Unfortunately, I’m extremely sensitive to fuel smells. Cooking oil with a wick can make sooty smoke (I have oil lanterns I use cooking oil in for light at home when the electric goes out). Wish there was a better electric option. Don’t know what but I haven’t searched. I assume if there was you would see everyone showing off their heater :grin:. If I had a much bigger van it would be different. Another great person told me they just use their electric blanket, but I think they are in Florida, not Oregon like me. I will not be able to go south for quite a while because I have lots of stuff in storage to try to sell, and don’t know where I’d go. CERTAINLY NOT CALIFORNIA. Kind of a shock to suddenly becoming homeless and disabled and retirement age. Always wanted to travel anyway, but not suddenly to lose my home and sleep in a van coming on winter in the Pacific NW. I had quite a different picture of what I might be traveling in. Could be happy in a small truck and camper but can’t afford that at this juncture.

Many blessings wished upon you.


You know motorhomes can still be had pretty darn cheap… A friend just bought a really nice one in Portland for $900. He said everything worked, all the maintenance was up to date, and had brand new tires, with only 57k miles on it. And those old Dodge 318 engines were really good too.

When running cooking oil, if you’re getting smoke or soot, you need to turn the wicks down a little bit.

With your pooch, I’m thinking maybe a paint bucket heater, or any type that has a bail handle, that can be hooked up so it can’t be knocked over.

The 12v electric blankets & mattress pads are wonderful. I also have 12v seat cushions that include heating, cooling, & even massage. I really like to rough it… hehe

We’re actually headed for the PNW, hoping to make the Central Washington State Fair in 2 weeks, then over to Seattle area for a little while before heading South. Gotta help a friend create a new income because his social security isn’t going to pay enough to live decent on. I’m 77 and retirement was too boring, so I went back to work. I work from my rig, so it’s a short commute from my bed to my office by way of my bathroom.

If money’s short, maybe you should start a business. With a properly designed absentee owner business, you don’t do any of the work, but as business owner you get paid. I know 2 different biz types making their owners $1k+ a day, and they can be started on a shoestring budget. There’s a lot more too, and I think I may have a list somewhere… Most probably won’t make near that much, but even a couple grand a month can make a huge difference. Then there’s money making websites too, I have about a dozen, each making me about a grand a month. I’m mainly reselling advertising from them, and they’re mostly long term repeat customers. Each website costs me $40/mo, and makes me much more than that. I pay $20/mo for each website, then another $20/mo to people off Fiverr to advertise them for me.

OHhhhhh… NEWS FLASH: I just had an urgent request to find a 12v heater for somebody. Now I don’t know anything about these, but maybe you’ll be interested:


"It has been said that the secret to success is
learning how to do more with less and in the
simplest way possible." ~ Wise Words Wiki

Yes sir. I was in the process of working on starting an online business when I lost electricity 2 months ago and hence lost my Internet connection. (No fault of my own, neither losing my home…). I am very interested in how you are doing these businesses, the one I hope to start is going to be a long term and not easy one to start, but rather a passion, so I Would love to message you privately about how you do these businesses, or at least get that list from you… One thing I DO know is computers and I am a go getter. When I want to do something I DO it. Just right now things are so difficult! I plan to do that living on the road, but I have been having to focus on what is happening right now losing my roof and where am I going to live, and I have to be comfortable first, being in chronic pain every day and needing comforts other people don’t, like running an electric heating pad. Business… YES! What ELSE would I do to keep my mind busy?

And WOW, a 12 V heater? Thank you :grin:. You put that smile on my face Van Dweller!

Don’t know if I could afford the gasoline to drive an RV, but yes, much cheaper than the truck / camper rig I wish I could afford. Don’t have an extra $500 even right now for a different rig. I traded two non running classic 80s Toyotas, a 4x4 truck and a Supra for this pretty nice, running, Honda minivan. I prayed that some kid obsessed with old Toyotas would want to trade me and 2 days later my prayer was answered, so I feel blessed in that regard. He got 10K worth of vehicles, I got a 2.5K van with 175K miles on it and the trannies fail on these vans. However, I would have lost the Toyotas soon having to leave here and the receipts for the new engine and tranny for the Supra were stolen from my house, so I would have had a hard time selling it for more than $600 even though it has 7K in new motor and transmission and parts in it. And, I thought at the time I only had 2 weeks to be out of my house, now I have 2 months to get my van livable. Hope I’m not violating rules talking about this! :shushing_face:

Please let me know if you would be willing to share about those business in private messages or however it’s done on this platform.


I think I’ll choose to post this here, in public, so it can help as many people as possible, and it shouldn’t hurt my business.

I started here, searching for reseller websites on ebay:

Please note that these are “reseller” websites, not “affiliate” websites.

I bought a few, for generally under $10 that included a year of free hosting, and free setup. Then I went to Fiverr to hired different people to advertise each website for me, for $20/mo each. Some of these people were duds, so I’d drop the duds and hire someone else, until I had all winners.

The websites are automatic, and the money goes into my PayPal account.

As I made money, I bought more websites. Some sold the same things except through different providers, some used the same provider, but the websites was different. Then there were a number of different services, hosting, advertising, back links, SEO, website traffic, etc.

They were all making money, but some of the companies turned out to be flakey, so I dropped them, and some of my websites did much better than others, so in the end, I kept the ones making me at least $1k/mo profit, and sold off the others for a profit. That’s left me with a little over a dozen websites out of 50 or so that I tried.

Some of the free hosting turned flakey, or flat out disappeared, but I had backup copies of the websites on my computer. Some of the free hosting was expiring, and there was no way to renew it… So I found a hostng company that I could put all my sites on for $20/mo each, and they would also maintain the sites to make sure they were always up and running properly. Cheaper hosting was available, but the maintenance aspect made the extra cost worth it to me.

So I use my PayPal card to pay for everything, and always keep about a months worth expenses in there, then once a month or so, I’ll transfer the excess to my regular bank account.

I use PayPal to auto-pay everything, and boy does that ever simplify my life. My bills are also all paperless, so even though I have a mailing address, it gets very little mail.

So this was my hands free retirement plan, and it works beautifully. The same can’t be said for my actual retirement. I was bored to death, even with my 2 new passengers, so I went back to my hands on online business, just with fewer hours. Now it’s a spare time business instead of a full time one, so I always have something to do when I want to and I’m a pretty happy camper.


"Not having an emergency fund, is an emergency!" ~ Rubber Tramp

Thank you! I appreciate your reply, knowing before I asked that you might not be able to reply here, I’m so grateful that you did!. Sounds like the flakey people and duds made it take quite a while and a lot of work to dial in what (who) “works”, which is discouraging, yet your end result is quite ENcouraging. I will absolutely look into this. (It would be nice to know who is the hosting place is you found that does the maintenance to give someone like me just starting out a solid head start with a good hosting company, but maybe you don’t care to say here. Interesting to me that you choose to advertise, as I bet that makes all the difference for you, compared to many resellers who probably just let the reseller site show their product for them, as I see is hit and miss which product comes up on TEMU for instance. Curious if you do this on any other reseller site, like TEMU or AMAZON or WALMART, or if you have learned which site is the best, or just stick with EBAY. I don’t shop usually on EBAY because I’m one of those who rely heavily on reviews for product quality. Also, I deleted my Pay Pal account when Pay Pal was hacked and I’m so fearful of my bank and payment accounts being hacked that I don’t use online banking and never save my card info in a shopping website. Guess if I’m going on the road I’m going to have to get over that… but knock on wood I’ve never been hacked.

Bored with travel companions? Yes, some people can have pretty boring personalities, especially when it comes to stimulating conversation or humor… Gotta continue to work at keeping relationships FRESH like when we first meet someone, but some people are just, well shall I say, more “engaging” than others. Happy travels!

P.S. looked at the link u sent for a minute (have to go down the road to get a good Internet connection)

Are YOUR businesses RESELLING BUSINESSES? Or are you selling products? I would think the hot item is internet businesses. Looks like maybe from what you said you do a variety of things.


Temu, Amazon, etc. are affiliate sites, not reseller sites…

My websites are selling goods or services which are fulfilled by others. I don’t sell websites.

I don’t keep any of banking/money info on my computer or phone for safety reasons.


"If knowledge is a power, then learning is a superpower." ~ Jim Kwik

Thank you for clarification. And cheers back at ya.

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Perhaps I should clarify a bit more even…

The websites are mine, the names are mine, and I set the prices. So it’s my business, but the goods & services are provided by a third party. So I’m a middle man, paying to advertise the goods & services, and getting paid for my efforts.

Sometimes these reseller companies are also called white label providers, or ghost companies. Most don’t have websites of their own, they just provide the goods/services in the background for other people’s websites.


"If knowledge is a power, then learning is a superpower." ~ Jim Kwik

I appreciate the extra info. I finally figured out what you just said about what you do, middle man advertiser, and you actually hire someone else to do the advertising for YOUR website. So, are there links on your websites for people to click for fulfillment? Wish I knew a bit more so I know what to search for.b I consider myself smart, but when looking at the offers at the link you provided, I am lost about where to begin. There are so many different offers of ways to make money to purchase on Ebay. You have already done the hard work and vetted many of them, you know what types work the best and which don’t. I have wanted to come back here and ask which types of business are working for you, if you would share more, but I didn’t want to look stupid :face_with_peeking_eye:. I plan to follow in your footsteps, but I don’t have a lot of money to waste on trial and error. Yes, I realize it takes work and trial and error, I’m just trying to limit the trials… I don’t see many offers at the link that have products to choose from to advertise for others, except for E-books, which I do know are profitable, but the few I clicked on require me to send each order to the fulfillment place and make sure they get paid. I’m hoping to find something more automated like I THINK that you have done, but I could be wrong :grin::money_mouth_face:. Cheers.


Okay, let me give you an example…

A website is selling website traffic, you choose a $49 package. My wholesale cost for the package is $25.00.

You click on order, and my site will take you to Paypal, where you pay me the $49, then send you back to my site to fill out the details for your order to be completed.

Then my website pays the provider $25 through Paypal, and forwards the order details to them. Once the order is completed, the provider sends the results to my auto responder, which in turn adds the result to my letterhead, then sends it to my customer.

So the buyer has no idea that I’m outsourcing the jobs. In my case, the going rate for that particular package is $69, so if the buyer is price shopping, I’m the cheapest and more likely to get the sale. Most resellers only pay about 25%-30% of what they charge. I average closer to 50% to keep my prices lower than the competitors.

So here’s an example that costs $4.45 on ebay:

Some people may use that website as-is, some might change the name/logo, etc. I’m buying it to gain the outsourcing supplier. That’s more than worth the $5.00 to me. If I like the website, or it comes with free hosting for a while, that’s a bonus.

The traffic package that I sell for $49 costs $120 on that website. I don’t know if it’s the same supplier I use, or their wholesale prices… That website (I just ordered one) offers many services, mine only sells the traffic.

Most of my sites sell some form of advertising, but I also have a site selling website hosting, which is full up and I need to find a new provider for more, then I have a site that sells vacation packages, and another site that offers ala cart discounts on hotels/motels, rental cars/trucks/motorhomes/camper vans/camper trailers/ boats/& camping equipment rentals, cruise ships, airline flights, train & bus tickets, and entertainment packages & tours for your destination area. It’s a discount travel site. That site actually has many different providers, but the website offers one stop shopping. It is also my most expensive website that cost me over $1k to have it built, but it paid for itself within a couple of months.

The vacation & rental sites are one & done sites, while they do get repeat customers, the advertising & hosting sites promote monthly plans. That’s reliable monthly payments, that grow with each new customer. That’s where the money really is.

Most of my sites average about $1k/month. Not great, but not bad either. Multiply it by about a dozen sites, and you have a pretty decent income, all pretty much hands free. I just transfer the bulk of my profits from paypal to a separate bank account weekly, just keeping enough on my paypal card to cover all my expenses.


"Life can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.
Simple is cheaper and more reliable." ~ Off Grid

HELLO! Yes, I had figured you were probably selling services that help businesses, with monthly recurring buyers… Thank you for narrowing things down for me. If I may ask, did you have to set up each website to automatically send customer orders to the providers and the auto responder to send the billing/ receipt info to your customer, and then the provider provides the service for the customer… or in this SEO example for instance, is some or all of that already automated? I am actually interested in doing the E-books, but like I said it says you have to send the order and get back to your customer, like it seems you said your websites automatically do.

I had one of the first computers in 1988, and in 1994 when the “internet” was fairly new, I learned how to put in the keywords to get my websites ranked towards the top. At that time I was very close to having two online business websites, created by myself, one selling children’s clothing with a drop shipper, and another selling E-books which I was going to write myself. And I had to do a ton of personal networking to get people to let you put a link on THEIR website for an exchange of them being able to advertise and have a link on your website. I spent thousands of dollars to set it all up but I needed $1500 more to get it all off the ground, however I had lost my job and was waiting for a social security disability determination and ran out of money to complete my mission. Had I known then what I know now, that it would probably have made me rich, by having some of the very first Internet shopping websites, I would have gone to a bank to get that money. Live and learn. You have to step out there and TRY, like you did, and not give up, and strive to complete your idea rather than believe a negative thought like “it won’t work ANYWAY”, nor stop just short of launch because of a minor setback of a lack of $1500 like I did!

My passion business for the future is coaching people one on one to change their thought patterns through NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) processes… helping people have better and happier lives. As Off Grid said, “Life can be as simple or as complicated as you make it”, it’s what we THINK/ BELIEVE that makes the difference, no matter the circumstances. However, mindset coaching is not the kind of business that will pay a lot in monetary terms (but can be if one wants to host live online group events, which is where I WAS headed before suddenly finding myself in a soon homeless position). For me, the reward in mindset coaching is sharing and seeing it helps others in profound ways, like YOU have shared and have helped ME and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

I have known for awhile it’s possible to make a good living with Internet business (LOL, since 1994, however I held myself back with the belief t
weren’t enough financial resources to step out there and try). You have inspired me to start with one to three of these, because it seems too easily affordable to get started. I’ll see what happens. Seems I only need to find the best hosting company (yours maybe?) and, as you said, find a good partner to advertise the websites for me, and learn how to automate whatever I can. Can’t wait to be able to have full access to Internet so I can research more and get busy!

In NLP we use what we call “modeling”. It’s most always not smart to try to reinvent the wheel, rather it’s smart to question and learn from those who are already successful and, if they are willing to share we can “stand on their shoulders”.

So, I decided to ask you to share, and you have been generous with your thoughts and time. What a nice person you are. I feel it was meant to be (for me) to meet you here being that you mentioned making money on the Internet and that is what I have wanted to do, and I am BLESSED that you have shared!

BTW, I get 1.2K a month social security… I could live well on 1/4 what your businesses pay you… You have done exceptionally well for yourself and can confidently pat yourself on the back! (12K IS GREAT).

May your heart be richly blessed by the Father of Lights.


None of my sites were fully automated to start with, but people off Fiverr were able to accomplish it.

I actually started out with ebooks, and made BIG money with them, but I was doing everything manually, and by myself. Much more work than I wanted to do. Slowly, I was able to automate much of it, but I still had to create the ebooks, because I didn’t want to be selling the same garbage as everybody else.

I was unable to automate the ebook creation and I had a lot going on in my life at the time, so I shifted and abandoned the ebook biz. To allow time for other obligations, I started doing remote computer tune-ups & repairs in my spare time. Less money, but less time involved, and I’m still doing it. I tried retirement, but when the girls were out doing girly things, I was bored so started back up.

My retirement plan was to have fully automated websites, so I started buying “Fully Automated” websites, only to find that none of them were fully automated. I didn’t have the time or desire to fully automate them myself, so I turned to Fiverr. Some were surprisingly fast & good, some were slow but good, and some turned out to be flakes. I can send you the name of the worst thief in PM, but don’t want to post it in public. He came from a facebook ad.

I gave myself a $100 budget to start with, which was paid back within days, then I reinvested 1/2 the profits into more websites, getting them automated, and getting them advertised. Within a few months, I had quite a few fully automated websites up and running. My goal was to bank $100k a year after all my expenses & taxes from these websites. I thought I was doing really good, but then the trouble began. Some of my providers just plain flat disappeared, the WordPress websites kept breaking, and so did the ones using MySQL databases. The highest maintenance sites were also the lowest producing sites, so I decided to keep the best ones and shut the rest down. When I told my plans to a friend, he told me I was nuts, and those websites were worth good money. So my friend offered to sell them for me, so I offered to split the profits with him. In the end, we each made almost $35k from the sales. So it was time & money well spent.

I guess my best advice is to never give up before you succeed.


"Life can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.
Simple is cheaper and more reliable." ~ Off Grid

I mostly can’t help. So far I’ve only taken short camping trips. Not a true nomad. But:

There is lots of advice here and elsewhere, on insulating your van, to reduce the heat required, and to reduce the cooling required in the heat - I assume you’ve done that.

I once tried a propane heater in a VW bus. I very quickly felt like I was running out of oxygen, and quickly gave up. So be careful about burning too much fuel inside your van.

I don’t know how cold it gets in your part of the world. I have used electric blankets in vans and a pickup truck, in the winter, at ski resorts, down to maybe 0 degrees Fahrenheit or somewhat below. Works very well. So do good warm blankets and/or winter sleeping bags, and winter coats, and they can also be used to boost electric blankets. (My experience with electric blankets was in campgrounds, where I had a 120VAC hookup. I don’t know anything about electric blankets powered by batteries - while electric blankets are fairly efficient, they might draw significant power over the course of the night.

Winter camping in a vehicle is a lot more comfortable for me than winter camping in a tent or bivi sack. As I’ve gotten older, winter tent/bivi camping has lost its appeal. (So has kayaking in sleet and snow. I’m just a wimp.)

However, a bivi sack, used with a sleeping bag and/or electric blanket, might help keep you warm, inside your van. Folded down, they take virtually no space.

There are other things in your vehicle that need heat. E.g., batteries (including the batteries in your cell phone, flashlight, etc.) can go bad if they get too cold. Plumbing pipes can burst. (I know some people wrap their pipes in houses and boats with electric heat tape, followed by insulation.) I’m not sure about your water tanks - probably depends on the construction. But water probably isn’t much use in a tank if it is frozen. If you have contact lenses, they can freeze inside their fluid filled storage containers, as can the saline solution bottles, or anything else liquid. Food tends to go bad if repeatedly re-frozen, even if it is cans. An old camper’s trick is to keep such things inside your sleeping bag or inside your winter coat. But if you aren’t experienced at winter camping, it probably makes sense to keep the inside of the van warm enough that nothing freezes.

If desperate, you could always go to a campgrounds with an electric hookup, and use an electric heater. I wonder if anyone has tried to get away with parking their stealth van inside an enclosed heated parking garage… And a few days a year in a cheap motel might not be too expensive, if it gets very, very cold.

Does your area have somewhat isolated microclimates? Can you drive to someplace a little warmer?

Definitely spend most of the effort on insulation. Insulation will ensure that your van STAYS heated and warmer than the outside temps. Invest in some nice window covers, as that’s where you’re lose a lot of your heat.

I know people that use the Buddy heaters from Mr. Heater in tents and have great results. The procedure is to heat the area for about 20 minutes then shut it off. With a well-insulated van, this should stay heated for quite some time.


I don’t add any extra insulation, or window covers because the necessary ventilation will defeat the purpose of any insulation. My solution is to have enough heating/cooling power to to keep me comfortable even with the needed ventilation and lack of insulation.

I don’t care for propane, and the buddy type heaters put out too much moisture. I much prefer a drier heat source, and the wick type heaters seem to supply that. If you like propane, the blue flame heaters are the best choice, and they even have a thermostat.

I love my 12v blankets & seat cushions, but don’t want to rely on power for my essentials. For non electric fan forced heat, I use a heat powered woodstove fan on top of my heater/cooker, or my table top fireplace/firepit. I really enjoy my indoor campfires, especially in foul weather.


"The boy scouts were right, 'Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared!'." ~ Truth Matters

Cheap RV Living is also a great source of information about heating your van, and many other topics.