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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up a new '16 3500 extended high roof diesel and made a road trip to figure out what's what. Mostly I prefer high elevation mountain lakes; beautiful waters as I call them. And here in the middle of August I discovered that hanging in a hammock inside my windowless cargo van while sleeping, I get colder than I've ever been in similar situations minus the van. So I need temperature control. Then, in the valleys in-between the mountains, I had moments where I would've loved to pull into a truck stop for a nap but the heat was just unbearable.

I have a Honda 2000 generator. Works fine except for when it runs out of gas. By the time I wake up I'm already shivering. And in certain locations, the thought of grizzlies roaming about just add to the frustration. And of course running it in truck stops is not an option that I'm aware.

I have this heater here and I like it, but no a/c yet:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mr-Heater-...ctric-Space-Heater-with-Thermostat/1000107633

The likely inaccurate temp readout on the dash read as low as 40 F and that was terribly uncomfortable inside the van. Plus, I snowboard and chase powder snow in the winter so it'll only get colder from here - much colder. So I need a power system to run both a heater and a/c at will. Where do I start and what do I need?

Much obliged.

Forgot to add, my van is not insulated as of this moment. Not sure if I can get away without it, I'd like to keep my setup as KISS as possible as long as it gets the job done. Tools, not jewels.

- Nate
 

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Welcome. You cannot tell anything without insulation your van first. There are many, many options on insulation that have been posted here. You should really try and read them all first - the same goes for heat and AC. The dash outside temp readout is actually quite accurate (at least mine is).

You should have no problem at all running your Honda 2000i all night long without running out of gas. I have one and have run it for 12 hours on a full tank (in eco mode). You can easily add an external gas source to the Honda it's well documented all over the web.

You have a long journey ahead, good luck! Google is your friend ;)
 

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2014 Ram Promaster 2500 159" diesel
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Go diesel heat, German or Chinese, the german ones offer high altitude adjustment as a option. Search the web for high altitude diesel heaters. If you want a warranty read the fine print Webasto my not honor one if not installed by an authorized dealer. That is from their FAQ. Here's one web site about high altitude heat:
http://faroutride.com/webasto-espar-high-altitudes/
 

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2014 Ram Promaster 2500 159" diesel
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You need to first insulate, foam or poly fiber. Put at least a 1/2 inch of 25psi foam on the floor this acts as a thermal break. Foam insulation pink, blue, green no white for walls and roof. Fiber insulation Climashield Apex or Thinsulate no pink glass for walls and roof. You need to pick what you think is best insulating a van is not the same as insulting a house so no vapor barrier. The metal walls will condense in the cold with or without insulation so an open vent is a must when sleeping and cooking in the van.
 

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You will need the generator for AC and getting the right AC unit is a challenge or the Honda won’t run it at all. Insulation as KOV says is first. By adding 200 watts of solar and 200+A-H of batteries you can run a bunch of stuff to make life better such as the Espar diesel heater you need (with Hi alt). Shut off the genny unless you need AC all night. Then get a butane stove with propane back up as the cold will limit the butane.
I have slept on cots and in hammocks and they are cold because you have no insulation below you. We have slept comfortably on a foam mattress in much colder temps than you are getting w/o heat (down to 19º) sheet below us and our old Kelty sleeping bag over us (we call it “the BEAR”) That heater you mention passes the products of combustion to the air in your van. If everything is good it is Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor if not it is Carbon MONoxide and you die. I’d not risk it but many have. Sure, sure, it’s safe.
If you don’t wake up it doesn't really matter if its a bear or poison gas, you are still dead.
I agree with your little motto, mine is “Doing is better than having!”

Cheaper sites exist but these are some of the products:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Thermash...-Rigid-Foam-Insulation-Board-787264/100549260

http://www.rvpartscountry.com/Coleman-13770-BTU-Power-Saver-White.html
 

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I agree with RD that sleeping off an insulated surface (like a mattress) can make you feel much colder. I slept in the overcab bed of an old Class C where there was an air space between van and underside of (very thin) bed and was extremely cold even though the RV's heater ran most of the night. By comparison I've slept at 28 F on thicker 4" foam mattress in my van and wasn't as cold.


One option for heat that I've read about and want to try one day is using electric blanket(s) that can run off batteries at night. At campgrounds we use 1000/1500 watt electric heater but think that no more than 200 watts concentrated at bed may work well through night, and that can run from batteries. Unfortunately that doesn't address heat during day, but we mostly drive during day anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all.

I know that this information is all out there, somewhere, and I have been googling. The thing is there's just so much information out there. Having my own post allows people to respond with the cherry-picked, distilled information I'm looking for.

The suggestions above have been most helpful. Thanks again.
 
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