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Camping Heaters at Altitude

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby djkest » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:04 am

A good appropriately sized tent with rainfly is surprisingly warm with 2 people sleeping inside of it.

The Kifaru looks pretty nice, but it's overpriced ($800) in my opinion. Sure, you can put a camp stove in it, but if you are backpacking, a campstove is way too heavy to bring with you. You can get a good lightweight 2 or 3 person tent for half that much money.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby schrund » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:06 am

An industrial hygienist would only try such a thing if he had a carbon monoxide (CO) measurement instrument in his hand showing no detectable levels of CO. The Mr. Heater design of propane heaters emit almost no CO. A bigger concern for this type heater is carbon dioxide (CO2) which is emitted at potentially significant concentrations with some older heaters. But your concern is well stated one should always exercise care when using fossil fuel powered heaters inside tents - which no IH would condone - I was just answering a question that was posed. I've also used noise measurement instrumentation to measure the noise emitted by gasoline powered generators and some of the newer Honda generators are quieter than many office enviornments http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/inverter-generators with noise levels in the 60 dB range. Ambient sound levels that quiet are infrequent at the THs I've visited - that's whisper type noise levels. But again you are right we don't want to bother our neighbors at the trailheads.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby realhillboarding » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:19 am

Another way to stay warm in your sleeping bag is fill your nalgene with boiling water, wrap it in some clothes, and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag. It will stay warm (and keep your feet warm) for most of the night.

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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby rijaca » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:28 am

djkest wrote:A good appropriately sized tent with rainfly is surprisingly warm with 2 people sleeping inside of it.

The Kifaru looks pretty nice, but it's overpriced ($800) in my opinion. Sure, you can put a camp stove in it, but if you are backpacking, a campstove is way too heavy to bring with you. You can get a good lightweight 2 or 3 person tent for half that much money.


Yep, way over priced and not very practical (backpacking/winter camping). You could get a good three season tent (light enough for backpacking), two sleeping bags (20*), and two decent pads for the price of that tent.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby CO Native » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:34 am

Do you drive a pickup? If so for that kind of money you can get a used slide in that will give you a decent bed, a heater, and stove. Example

A floorless, single wall, non-freestanding tent is not a good tent. Even if you get the stove with it, it's a lot of work to keep a stove like that going all night. You'll be up every couple of hours adding more fuel. Not to mention that staking that thing out would be a nightmare on the rocky ground you're going to find at the trailhead. It definitely makes a lot more sense to spend the money on good sleeping bags and pads. Since you're just using them at the trailhead and aren't concerned about weight it's not expensive to get warm sleeping bags. This one from Cabelas is very warm, roomy and relatively cheap. It weighs nearly 8 pounds so its not a backpacking bag. Pick up a nice large freestanding tent with room for gear and changing in the morning (Like this one.) Add some nice cushy pads. That setup is under $800 and you'll have everything you need for a luxurious warm nights sleep.

I'll second the hot water bottle idea as well, very nice to sleep with one of those in the bag.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby djkest » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:53 am

I have a Kelty Gunnison 4 tent. It's a 4-person tent that's roomy for 2 but light enough for 3 people to use when backpacking. So yeah, depends if you want car-camping only stuff, or lightweight backpacking stuff. Good suggestions so far.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby hotrod » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:23 pm

If you use the hot water bottle idea, seal it up in a plastic bag in case it should leak.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:58 pm

Rangerat1 wrote:WOW thanks. I am thinking though that the Kifaru sawtooth and camp stove is the way I am gonna go. Just need to save the money to get it.

http://www.kifaru.net/sawtooth.html

There are some great videos on this and seems like the nicest option and is super small and lite and can be easily packed in any where!


Please don't spend your money on this. Seriously, don't do it.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby smrcka » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:27 pm

its_not_a_tuba wrote:Please don't spend your money on this. Seriously, don't do it.


I couldn't agree more - if you use the advice for layers and sleeping arrangements already posted on here, you shouldn't need a heater at all.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:42 pm

If you're that worried about the temperature, you could just stay in a hotel in Georgetown and drive up in the morning.

FWIW, we've camped at 11K many times (in summer) with 20 degree bags in a 3-season tent, and the most my wife has ever done is wear extra layers (sweats, hat, socks). I almost never have to do more than wear socks and an extra t-shirt if I'm cold. A good ground pad is key for me - I've now got an insulated inflatable that has made me much more comfortable than my previous foam pads and such.
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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby montana1000 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:10 pm

the beauty of car camping is you can bring whatever you want. so a couple of down comforters and you'll be all toasty. I use couple of foam pads with a thick blanket on top followed by a down comforter followed by a fleece blanket on top of me and the wife when I car camp and i sweat.

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Re: Camping Heaters at Altitude

Postby coloradokevin » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:02 pm

CO Native wrote:Do you drive a pickup? If so for that kind of money you can get a used slide in that will give you a decent bed, a heater, and stove. Example


And, if you drive a pickup truck and find that you don't have the money or space for a slide in camper, you can always just add a shell to the truck and build a platform for sleeping. I have a full size truck, but don't really have the room to easily store a slide in camper at my house without making it a pain to use my garage. So, I'm currently using an ARE camper shell on the back of the truck. I built a carpeted platform in the bed of the truck, and now I can store my gear underneath the platform, and sleep on top. I strapped together two of the Dreamtime Thermarest pads, which gives me a bed surface that is close to that of a queen sized mattress, and an R-value of 8.

This sleeping option is fairly simple, easy, and effective. I can camp anywhere that I can park, and there's no setup or take-down time.

Yeah, a propane catalytic heater would be nice for waking up on those sub-zero mornings in the mountains, but I've heard lots of complaints about using those at altitude. For the sake of sleeping it is really all about the sleeping bag and pad (I doubt I'd be comfortable running any type of portable propane heater in a tent while actually sleeping, though I know some are supposedly safe). If your bag/pad system is coming up a bit short on a real cold night, adding a Nalgene bottle full of hot water to the bag will make a HUGE difference in comfort. Instead of buying an $800 tent system, I'd recommend looking to spend $500-600 on a real nice Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, and a real nice camping pad (Exped Downmat, etc). You won't regret it for those COLD days in the hills. You can get by spending far less depending on the temperatures you actually plan to camp in. As you might expect, sleeping bags get more expensive as you look to camp in colder conditions. I camp comfortably to about -30F in a tent with the system I have, but it wasn't cheap gear.

Here's part of my pickup setup:
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