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Old 05-21-2019, 10:45 AM   #1
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Question First Trip in our A-Frame this Weekend! Propane furnace Q.

Good Morning, all. My wife and I recently bought a 2014 Forest River Rockwood A122S A Frame popup. This weekend is the first trip! It is also our first time camping with our 9 month old baby. We're staying at Leo Carillo State Park in CA.

I had one question about the propane furnace. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm coming from tent camping.. We just turn the thing on, and go to sleep? Or do we have to vent the camper while it is running? Or only if it gets too warm, at the lowest setting? I have 0 experience camping with a heater, and wanted to make sure I'm not exposing my family to fumes or something..

I'd also love any advice you may have for a rookie such as ourselves, regarding 1st time camping with a baby, and 1st trip with our A Frame.

Thanks in advance for your time! We feel lucky to have found this forum.

Thanks,
Dylan
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:44 PM   #2
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Good Morning, all. My wife and I recently bought a 2014 Forest River Rockwood A122S A Frame popup. This weekend is the first trip! It is also our first time camping with our 9 month old baby. We're staying at Leo Carillo State Park in CA.

I had one question about the propane furnace. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm coming from tent camping.. We just turn the thing on, and go to sleep? Or do we have to vent the camper while it is running? Or only if it gets too warm, at the lowest setting? I have 0 experience camping with a heater, and wanted to make sure I'm not exposing my family to fumes or something..

I'd also love any advice you may have for a rookie such as ourselves, regarding 1st time camping with a baby, and 1st trip with our A Frame.

Thanks in advance for your time! We feel lucky to have found this forum.

Thanks,
Dylan
You don't need to vent the camper while the heater is running. Note though that if you leave it on through the night while you're on battery power only you'll drain the battery quickly and the low battery alarm will start beeping. I learned that the hard way up near Mammoth in 30 degree weather. If you're on shore power (hookups) you'll be fine. Or if you have a dual battery setup with a way to top off each day you should be fine as well.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:51 PM   #3
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Have fun!

We have a smaller aframe but I assume the furnaces are similar. We do not vent while the furnace is running but we do when using the gas range. Never had the alarm go off. As for the batteries, the fan in the furnace will eventually run them down, so be aware as was stated above. We have never run ours out over a weekend though in say 20-30degree f weather.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:33 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the replies. After your guys' warnings about the furnace fan, and running the battery down, I researched a little more, and It looks like I mistakenly bought a Marine Starting battery a month ago, for the A Frame.

I now understand I should have bought a Marine Deep Cycle battery.. Should I replace this 1 month old Marine Starting battery? I feel I may need to run the furnace through the night, with the baby.

Thank you, again,
Dylan
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:22 PM   #5
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If you are hooked up to electric, use a 1500W space heater and let your propane heater help if necessary. Saves lots of propane. You can buy a plug-in thermostat for your space heater: Ink Bird C206 Outlet Thermostat.

https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Therm...ll-spons&psc=1

I always carry a spare tank of propane. It saves having to go hunting while everyone in the camper is cold.

If you are not hooked up to electric and your battery goes down in the middle of the night, hook up your trailer to your tow vehicle and start the engine. You will get enough power, along with your "dead" battery, to run the furnace.
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:23 PM   #6
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Thanks, Jim,

I should have mentioned, we won't be connected to electric. We typically camp at campgrounds without hookups.

Thanks for your reply!

Dylan
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:06 PM   #7
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Thanks, Jim,

I should have mentioned, we won't be connected to electric. We typically camp at campgrounds without hookups.

Thanks for your reply!

Dylan
The OP lives in California, where less than 1% of California State Parks campsites have hookups of any kind.
So dry camping is required at virtually almost every campsite.
OP, having lived in California for 60 years and camped tons of times in California State Parks, you should go to a dual 6v golf cart batteries setup.
Or get a 2000w inverter generator to recharge the battery in the morning.
Let's face it, camping on a California beach will not be that cold. So if you don't set the thermostat high, the furnace won't be running that much.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:22 PM   #8
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OK, thank you! I will probably do that, the dual golf cart conversion. Thank you very much for sharing what you have learned over the years!
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:28 PM   #9
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There are many great campsites and campgrounds without electric in Colorado, too - especially Forest Service. We wanted to be able to go 4 nights in our A-frame in Fall and Spring without recharging batteries. At the end of 4 nights, we are running low on water and food, as well as battery. DW does not want to deal with a generator or solar, so the 2nd battery works well for us.

Installing 2 GC-2 6V golf cart batteries will carry us for the 4 nights with reasonable electric conservation. Even on a 35 degree night, and the thermostat set at 58, the heater runs less than 50% of the time. We do crack open the vent to avoid condensation issues as well as providing a little better air circulation from the heater or air conditioner.

hope this helps, enjoy your A-frame, we do!
Fred W
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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You guys are so awesome and generous with your time. Thank you so much for your insight! That's exactly what we'd like to do, be off-grid 3-4 nights, and be OK, while conserving. Golf cart battery conversion is in my future.
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:31 PM   #11
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You guys are so awesome and generous with your time. Thank you so much for your insight! That's exactly what we'd like to do, be off-grid 3-4 nights, and be OK, while conserving. Golf cart battery conversion is in my future.
You could also look into buying a "my little buddy" heater, which runs off of a small propane bottle but is safe for indoor use and even has a CO monitor/shutoff built in. I plan on getting one for longer boondocking trips even though I moved up to 2 6V deep cycle batteries.

Good luck! Leo Carrillo is great! I've camped at every CA State beach site from there up through Santa Barbara many times.
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:49 PM   #12
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That makes a lot of sense!! Awesome! I am very excited for this weekend. Thank you, friend!

-Dylan
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:55 PM   #13
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You guys are so awesome and generous with your time. Thank you so much for your insight! That's exactly what we'd like to do, be off-grid 3-4 nights, and be OK, while conserving. Golf cart battery conversion is in my future.
A couple of notes from going to the 2 GC-2 batteries:

We bought the batteries at Costco, currently $93 each.

The single plastic battery box that holds 2 batteries end-to-end is no longer available (I couldn't find it on-line and neither could my dealer). On my current A-frame dealer installed a $200 metal locking dual battery box. You can go a lot cheaper with 2 single battery plastic boxes ($20-$30 each), lined up end to end. Just make sure the box is tall enough to hold the GC-2 batteries, which are slightly taller than a Group 24 12V.

If you don't already have one, install a battery cut-off switch in the positive lead coming from the battery bank to the trailer. I used a marine switch (Marinco) for $35. If you use 6V batteries, you only need the single battery switch, not the dual one I installed. The cut-off switch is so handy to preserve the batteries while the A-frame is in storage. Sure beats removing a wire from the battery terminal every time.

I recommend installing a voltmeter just inside the camper door (or outside on the battery box) with a switch to turn it off and on. I used a Drak digital voltmeter with 0.7" high numbers. I'll check the meter once a day, and if it reads above 12.2V, the batteries are good for another night of camping. The voltmeter also tells me what mode the converter is in when the camper is plugged in. The switch is because the numbers are too bright to leave on in the camper at night.

I used made-up battery cables from OReilly car parts to link the 2 batteries and the battery switch. I didn't have a crimper that would work on 4 or 6 gauge wire fittings.

And that's my dual battery install story.

Fred W
2019 T21TBHW A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:59 AM   #14
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A couple of notes from going to the 2 GC-2 batteries:

We bought the batteries at Costco, currently $93 each.

The single plastic battery box that holds 2 batteries end-to-end is no longer available (I couldn't find it on-line and neither could my dealer). On my current A-frame dealer installed a $200 metal locking dual battery box. You can go a lot cheaper with 2 single battery plastic boxes ($20-$30 each), lined up end to end. Just make sure the box is tall enough to hold the GC-2 batteries, which are slightly taller than a Group 24 12V.

If you don't already have one, install a battery cut-off switch in the positive lead coming from the battery bank to the trailer. I used a marine switch (Marinco) for $35. If you use 6V batteries, you only need the single battery switch, not the dual one I installed. The cut-off switch is so handy to preserve the batteries while the A-frame is in storage. Sure beats removing a wire from the battery terminal every time.

I recommend installing a voltmeter just inside the camper door (or outside on the battery box) with a switch to turn it off and on. I used a Drak digital voltmeter with 0.7" high numbers. I'll check the meter once a day, and if it reads above 12.2V, the batteries are good for another night of camping. The voltmeter also tells me what mode the converter is in when the camper is plugged in. The switch is because the numbers are too bright to leave on in the camper at night.

I used made-up battery cables from OReilly car parts to link the 2 batteries and the battery switch. I didn't have a crimper that would work on 4 or 6 gauge wire fittings.

And that's my dual battery install story.

Fred W
2019 T21TBHW A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
Here's one that looks to be available. I've been using this one for about a year and a half and have been happy with it.

https://allbatterysalesandservice.co...atteries-gce-g
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:56 PM   #15
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Wow, that system is awesome!! Thank you again for sharing! I look forward to doing this.

Dylan
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:14 PM   #16
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You could also look into buying a "my little buddy" heater, which runs off of a small propane bottle but is safe for indoor use and even has a CO monitor/shutoff built in.
X2 - it's a godsend to fire up even for 15-20 minutes before bed and again in the morning, but it does use a lot of propane, so use sparingly (or refill 1# cylinders, or hook up to a 20#).

Sometimes I think longingly about a great battery setup, especially seeing what some of the YouTube celebs (e.g. Nomadic Fanatic and even Slim Potato) do with solar. But so far I've gotten by for over three seasons on the dealer group 24 deep cycle and it's generally enough for me - only the water pump is an essential dry camping battery draw for me.

Enjoy and stay warm!
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:47 AM   #17
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Here's one that looks to be available. I've been using this one for about a year and a half and have been happy with it.

https://allbatterysalesandservice.co...atteries-gce-g
Looks very similar to the battery box dealer installed on my 2014 A122. Just a word of caution - use more than one strap to tie the cover down. I used the single strap the cover came with, and had it blow away twice. First time I found the cover on the side of the road, second time I lost it. I made a new cover of 1/4" plywood and 1x1 stock. I put screw eyes in, and used 2 bungee cords to make sure the cover stayed in place.

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2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:32 PM   #18
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You may want to crack a window slightly when using your furnace due to the condensation that "may" occur during the cool evening. Ive always done that and never had a drip issue. I camp in eastern WA, N Idaho where temps dramatically raise or drop depending on sunrise, sunset or cold rain/ winds that often occur in my region... evrn in the middle of a hot summer month. Lol
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:40 AM   #19
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How about a generator??

We are planning our first camping trip to the rockies this Sept. Staying on the north rim of the Gr Canyon two nights in Demotte Camground with NO hookups. Being from Florida we need heat!! Can we just run a generator to supply us with all the elect we need???
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:53 AM   #20
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We are planning our first camping trip to the rockies this Sept. Staying on the north rim of the Gr Canyon two nights in Demotte Camground with NO hookups. Being from Florida we need heat!! Can we just run a generator to supply us with all the elect we need???
Most campgrounds won't allow you to run a generator during quiet hours. Plus, that'd just be rude. Good info on batteries and standalone heaters in this thread.
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