I am looking for a way to heat. I have a generator, but that has to be off at 10 pm, I have a solar pack, but that won’t power it, I have a small electric heater that works very well for our small space, but some parks don’t have hookups. What do you use to heat up when there isn’t electricity available?
Fuel type heaters are your best bet for non electric. I prefer wick type kerosene/diesel/cooking oil type heaters & cookers. Most of them are classified as kerosene heaters/cookers/stoves even though they will run on multiple fuel types. Kerosene heaters & cookers have been around for well over 100 years, and many of them are still in use, and for sale cheaply used. There is very very little to go wrong with them. Of course you can still buy them new as well, and the newer models have safety features too. You can also cook on top of many of them. Doing a quick google shopping search near me, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and ACE hardware came up.
I prefer heating my whole van, but it is also possible to just heat yourself using 12v or USB power. They have heated seat cushions, blankets, and even cheap DIY kits available to make clothing or anything else you want heated. They use very little power, and can use your house battery or a USB power bank. I often use my USB powered DIY heated clothes if I’m working outside in the cold.
I use a Dickinson Newport solid fuel heater. Keeps the van nice and toasty during those 20 degree (minus-7 C) evenings and mornings. Runs great on charcoal briquettes - no electricity needed, and no fumes or moisture in the van.
Doubles as a makeshift cooking surface for a small pot or coffee maker. Took the picture two mornings ago while brewing some French roast at Big Bend National Park - nights were cold, but we were warm.
I’m a huge fan of non electrical appliances. It’s so much easier to store fuel than it is to create and store power. 14 gallons of kerosene will get me through a brutal Northern Minnesota winter, with fuel to spare. I could put about 3 batteries in the same amount of space, but without an added power generation source, there is no way those three batteries could keep me comfortable for anywhere near as long as the fuel stored in the same amount of room.
@Axel if you’d like an electricity free fan to circulate your heat, you can get a heat powered wood stove fan to place on top of your heater. I use one on top of my kerosene heater, and really like it.
I like the dickenson heater I will research it, Thank you!
Do any of you know anything about the candlier?
I was thinking about one of those fans. The heat does become stratified in the van, and a fan like that would break it up.
The Uco Candleier’s a fun & versatile little candle lantern capable of lighting, heating, and even cooking. The drawback is that the candles are expensive. Too expensive to make them a good choice as-is, but many people convert them to more economical liquid candles, which is exactly what I did, my conversion differs from most of the others I’ve seen…
Most of the conversions I’ve seen use 3-4 airline size alcohol bottle for liquid candles. I opted for a single jar 5 wick liquid candle. I filled the jar with sand, to hold my wicks in place, put my wicks in, then filled it with vegetable oil. It will burn for several days on a single filling, and when traveling or for storage, I simply put the jar lid on it. It would work with or without the candelier, but I like the candelier anyway.
I made an extra stable base for mine out of a cookie tin filled with sand. That makes it very stable, and I can even place one of the heat powered woodstove fans on top of it.
Yes, I love these fans. They circulate the heat really well without the need of electricity. Even my floor is warmish.
Van_Dweller - where do you get a heat powered fan? What kind do you have?
Seems like I got both of my smaller ones (6-8 inch blades) at yard sales for probably about $5.00 each. These are the ones I use on my heaters, stovetop (with a heat diffuser), or outside powered by a liquid candle. They are also available for under $20 with free shipping on both Amazon & Ebay. Be careful though, some of the listings are for a blade only…
These newer ones appear to use a Peltier chip to generate the power for an electric motor, by converting heat into electrical power.
I also have a much larger antique one, made in 1880 that uses a heat powered stirling engine. I’m hoping to convert it into either a liquid candle powered swamp cooler or full blown air conditioner, and maybe even incorporating heating into the same unit. The ways they accomplished things before electricity, or where it wasn’t available, has always intrigued me, and I think a combination of history and newer technologies would serve us nomads better than much of what many people use today. Simple, safe, effective, reliable, cheap, & easily duplicable are my goals.
I envision the day when my entire rig including all my appliances & amenities are powered by water converted into hydrogen, and I will accomplish it if I live long enough. The technology exists, although mostly hidden, but I believe if I can take bits & pieces from multiple places and combine them, it can be done.
Can you show me a pic of the conversion candle? I am visual, I would have to see it.
I don’t currently have a camera, but here are a few videos to give you a general idea. In the video’s they’re using salt or gravel, I opted for sand because I was at the beach and it was handy & free. The idea is that the salt/sand/gravel hold the wick(s) in place.
In this first video, he replaced the candles in the candelier with 4 airline bottles:
The next 2 video’s show people using salt or gravel:
So I wanted a single 5 wick liquid candle that would fit inside the candelier. I went to walmart and found either a olive or pickle jar that was the right height & width to fit. Then I bought a string mop at a dollar store for a lifetime supply of wicks. I filled the jar with sand, to the height where I wanted the wicks, then inserted the first wick in the center using a screwdriver to push it down through the sand. I then added 4 more wicks evenly spaced between the center wick and the outside jar, in an X pattern with a wick at each point, and one in the center. When traveling, I simply put the lid on the jar to prevent any leaks.
This will actually work with or without the candelier, but the candelier makes it look nicer, and makes it easier to add my heat powered fan on top.