Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by Douglas
We live in an age where electricity is very common. It’s hard to think of situations where an electrical connection might not be available to you. However, camping is quite popular. When you are out camping, and RV can come in handy. It can help you stay relatively comfortable even if you are away from society. However, electricity supply would still be an issue. There are other ways in which you can illuminate your space. Heating tends to be a problem, though. People that use RVs often struggle to properly heat them without electrical supply.
We have compiled a list of techniques that you can use to heat your RV without electricity. Some of these techniques might be easy to implement. Others would not be feasible for many RV users. Regardless, at least one or two of these RV warming methods could work out for you. You can use a couple of them in conjunction as well. Combining any of these methods will result in much more efficient heat production. Read on to find out how you can warm up your RV even if you don’t have access to electricity.
Heat a Camper Without Electricity While Dry Camping
Using the below-mentioned methods, you can easily enjoy your heated and toasty camper without using Electricity and it doesn’t matter what your Location is.
Leave Your RV’s Heater On
Any quality RV would come with a heater. You can leave this heater on to keep your vehicle toasty. You can’t leave it on all night though. This would use too much fuel and it would also damage your battery. What’s more is that it can be bad for health. However, if you do it properly this technique can leave your RV warmer than it might have otherwise been. You just need to be strategic about how you go about implementing such a technique.
The right way to do this is to leave your heater on for a while before you sleep. Turn the heater on about half an hour before you plan to sleep. Make sure that it’s at its highest possible setting. Once your RV is nice and warm, you can turn it off. It will stay warm for quite some time. You would need to properly insulate the RV, though. We have a few tips about this that you can read below. Without proper insulation this technique will simply not work. So you should think about how well equipped your RV is at sustaining heat before trying this method out.
Bear in mind that this is not a sustainable solution. While it is quite effective, you can’t do it every day. It’s just not convenient enough to be worth it in the long run. This technique does work well in emergency situations, though. You can rely on it if you have no other option that you can look into. Just make sure that you have enough fuel, though. Heaters use up a lot of it. You don’t want to warm up your RV only to wake up and find that you are stranded. It might be a matter of life or death, though. So you would be inclined to at least try this method out.
Portable RV Heaters
This technique is similar to the one above, but it has one key difference. It doesn’t rely on your vehicle’s fuel source. A portable heater can be a great solution. It will most likely run on propane. Some run on butane as well. Both of these are gasses that you might be using anyway while you are out camping. They can be useful for cooking. If you use a camping stove for cooking, chances are that you already have some propane or butane that you can use.
This is a far more efficient heating method than your car’s heater. You can place this heater anywhere. This means that you can use it more effectively. Try to get something that puts out around 5000 BTUs of heat. This is the lower limit, though. Up to 10,000 BTUs might be necessary. It all depends on the size of your RV. Most 5000 BTU heaters would work great for smaller cars. Larger RVs might require more BTUs. 10,000 is enough for practically any RV, no matter how large it might be.
There are a few safety risks with portable heaters, though. They produce an enormous amount of heat. This is great for warming up your RV. However, it also poses a fire hazard. If the heater tips over, it could set flammable items alight. Things like bed sheets are at particular risk. Make sure that it doesn’t tip over. Otherwise a fire might break out that could cause serious injuries.
Fire is not the only risk that comes with such heaters. When they burn propane or butane, carbon monoxide is produced. This is a very poisonous gas. What’s worse is that it’s impossible to detect. Leaving your portable heater on all night could flood your RV with carbon monoxide. If this happens, you will suffocate in your sleep. Or you might suffer brain damage. You should use these heaters the same way you would your vehicle’s heaters. Leave them on for fifteen to twenty minutes until your RV is warm and then turn them off.
Install a Floor Mounted Furnace
This is one of the most effective RV heating solutions. It can create a constant source of heat that you can use. What’s more is that you can leave it on all night without having to worry about your safety. However, it would require you to have a gas setup installed. Some RVs come with cooking ranges. If this is the case for your RV, you can install a furnace easily.
There are a lot of benefits to using such furnaces. For example, they don’t just heat your RV. They also ventilate it. Air is brought in from the outside and heated up. Air from the RV is vented outside. This means that there would be no carbon monoxide build up. You would also always be breathing in fresh, warm air.
Furnaces are permanent. Once you have one installed, it would fundamentally change your RV. This might be a problem for some people. Others might appreciate this, though. Most furnaces come with a wired thermostat. This can help you optimize the level of heat it produces. While being cold is not comfortable, you don’t want to be too hot either. Having control over heat production is useful. The interior of your RV would always be at the perfect temperature. The thermostat can also help you create a temperature floor. If the internal temperature of your RV reaches this level, the heater would turn on automatically.
Part of why this is so permanent is because you would have to install flue holes. These holes would provide ventilation. However, these holes won’t go away. If you ever move your furnace, you will have to plug up these holes. Bear this in mind before you get the furnace installed. There is no aesthetically pleasing way to fix these holes. So you should take them into consideration beforehand. Otherwise you might feel like you have made the wrong decision. There are other heating options available too. They won’t require permanent modifications to be done.
You should try to keep your thermostat in the most well ventilated part of your RV. This will help it take more accurate readings. Otherwise it might not work well. If it’s too close to the furnace, it would get a reading that is higher in temperature than the actual ambient temperature of your RV. If it’s too far, it might get a reading that’s too cold and turn the furnace off. Some trial and error is required before you can begin using this properly. It’s worth it, though. This is the most premium RV heating solution that you can go for.
Top Notch Insulation
Any heating solution you implement would require insulation. A lack of good insulation would make heating useless. Your heater might generate heat, but it won’t stay. Instead it will leak out and cold air would come in to replace it. Insulation is also great during hotter months. It will prevent hot air from coming into your RV. What’s more is that the human body naturally produces heat. If your RV is well insulated, this heat would accumulate. Hence, you might not need a heater at all. The people in the RV would warm it up nicely enough.
The biggest enemy for insulation is your window. Cover your window up to maximize insulation. You can use cardboard to cut out a custom window covering. Just make sure that it’s the right size for this sort of thing. A covering of the right size will prevent cold air from coming in. It will also prevent hot air from going out. Hence, your heating solutions would be more effective. You will notice the difference once you start to use this method. Your heater wouldn’t need to be left on for long. Also, your RV would stay nice and toasty all night long.
Alternatively, you might not want to have to cut cardboard up. Or you might not have access to any but still want to try and insulate your windows. A blanket can come in handy here. Just put your blanket up on the window. When you do this, a lot of insulation would be provided. You also get the added advantage of soundproofing. A quieter RV is easier to live in. RVs are notorious for letting a lot of noise in. Simple blankets could do the trick and create a peaceful internal RV environment.
If you want to go for the best insulation solution, try using space blankets. These are made of several materials. They are usually made of plastic. This plastic has a thin film of metal on it. Aluminum is most often used. It is generally used to keep people warm. Even astronauts use this as a great solution. If any part of their body is exposed to the frigid vacuum of space, space blankets can prevent frostbite. Covering your windows with this reflective material is great. It can give you incredible insulation benefits. All of which would help you stay warm.
Choose Your Camping Area Wisely
You wouldn’t have to worry about heating if you pick the right camping site. Some sites have great weather. If it’s pleasant enough outside, it will be pleasant inside as well. The ideal temperature would be 16 to 20 degrees celsius. Any area that has average temperatures in this range would work well enough for you. You can also look at what geographical features are nearby. These features can help you get the right internal RV temperatures. It’s all about planning well enough in advance. You can look into heating solutions all you like. But opting for a cooler camping site is an even better solution.
Coastal areas can be great for such things. They always have a bracing sea breeze. The temperatures rarely get too high or too low. Some coasts can be cold and others might be hot. On average, though, they are quite easy to work with. Mountains are generally thought to be cold. Areas around mountains can be quite pleasant, though. If you camp in the right spot, you’d get plenty of cool air from the mountain. It would also protect you from storms that might becoming your way.
This is called a rain shadow. It is a patch of land where major storms never arrive due to mountains in their path. Some people like to keep traveling. If this is the case with you, you can travel strategically. Stay down south during the winter. These areas tend to be warmer. You can head for colder areas during the summer. That way you would always be able to enjoy the best weather. It’s a rare privilege to be able to enjoy the best weather at all times. Traveling around in an RV makes this possible.
Temperature is not the only thing, though. Weather patterns can be tricky to predict. Don’t pick a spot just because of its good weather. This spot might be prone to rain storms or even tornadoes. Plenty of places with good temperatures suffer natural disasters. These disasters can be tough to deal with. Try to research the weather thoroughly before you decide to go anywhere. This can help you stay safe on the road. RV life can be exciting but it can also be dangerous. Taking a few sensible precautions can go a long way. They would help you feel safe during your travels and protect you from harm.
Hot Water Bottles
Not every heating solution needs to be technical. Sometimes the simple things are what work best. Especially if all you want to do is keep yourself warm. There is no need to heat up your entire RV if you are about to sleep. It’s not like you’re going to be walking around after all. A great personal heating solution is to use a hot water bottle. If it’s hot enough, it can keep you pretty comfortable. You can use multiple bottles to keep your whole body warm. You just need to prepare for this method to be effective.
You need the right kinds of bottles for this. Certain bottles come with excellent insulation. They will keep the hot water you put into them at a higher temperature for longer. You don’t want a bag of cold water under you after all. Waking up like that can be quite unpleasant. All you really need to do here is to add hot water to the bag and put it under your blanket. It doesn’t even need to be touching your skin. The heat will spread throughout the blanket. You would feel warm all night thanks to this effect.
There is a danger of burning yourself with hot water bottles though. If it’s too hot, wrap it up in something to protect your skin. Scalding hot water can make the bottle too hot to use. You can work around this by using an old t-shirt or something similar. Use something that would allow the heat to come through. Otherwise the bottle would stay hot but you wouldn’t get to enjoy any of the heat.
If you feel like the water bottle is too hard, a common complaint due to the material used, try using a hot water bag instead. These bags are newer models of the same product. They are softer and can even be used as a pillow. Hot water bottles are particularly effective with sleeping bags. They can warm the entire bag up.
We recommend this method because of how effective it is. It doesn’t cost any money to use either. All you need is a hot water bottle, some water to heat up and a stove that you can use to bring the water to the right temperature. None of these things cost a lot of money. The only real expense here is the gas you are using in your stove. You would be using gas anyway with other heating solutions. This solution requires a fraction of the gas. Hence, it’s perfect if you’re strapped for cash. If you combine this method with insulation, you don’t really need much else. It’s hard to find a solution that’s as cheap and as effective as this one.
Bedding And Clothing
What you are wearing can have a surprisingly large impact on how cold or warm you feel. Two main areas of your body that heat escapes from are your head and your feet. Covering them up can prove to be effective.
A beanie on your head can leave you feeling quite warm. Even if you don’t wear anything else. Even more important are your socks. Try to wear thick socks that are made of wool. They will keep your feet fully warm. Warm feet can be enough to help you feel comfortable even when it’s extremely cold. A combination of a beanie and thick woolen socks can make a remarkable difference. You might not even need a heater if you are wearing these kinds of clothes. Your body would be able to regulate its internal temperature on its own.
Beanies and socks are great, but they are just the start of the process. You need to layer up if you want to feel truly comfortable. Think of your outfit in layers. That way, you can add or remove layers as required. Don’t rely too much on a single article of clothing to keep you warm. Wear a sweater on top of your t-shirt. Wear a jacket on top of that. Have a coat ready if you need more layers. Make sure that each layer covers as much of you as possible. Full sleeves work great here. However, focus more on your chest. Protecting your chest from the cold prevents illnesses.
Your bedding matters too. You might want to get the warmest blanket available. This would work great during winter. However, hotter summer months would be a nightmare. You would feel like you are in a sauna while using your blanket. Instead of getting one thick blanket, get a number of thin comforters. You can use as many as required. This is similar to what we have said about clothes. Layering is the best technique to use here.
Your sheets shouldn’t be too thick. However, get some thick ones for winter. They capture a lot of heat. Over time they will absorb your body’s natural heat output. This would leave them toasty and warm. In fact, they might get so warm that you would have to turn your heater off. Your clothing and bedding choices matter a lot here. Don’t ignore them in favor of fancy heating gadgets.
It can be argued that electricity is unnecessary to warm up an RV. There are plenty of non-electric methods. All of these methods work wonderfully. They can leave your RV extremely toasty. All you need is a little bit of gas. Many of our solutions don’t even require that. They also cover different budgets. If you have money to spare, install a furnace. Otherwise you can use a portable heater. Insulation costs next to nothing. Same goes for a hot water bottle. You don’t need a lot of money to stay warm in an RV. Rather, you just need to be smart about how you live.