Lesson learned: climate control

Temperature swings in the desert

Humidity wasn’t as low as it could have been out there, so day/night swings were about 25 degrees or so.  Let’s say 40F at night and 65F in the daytime.  Lower humidity would have allowed that to drop another 15F at night.


I used a buddy heater to take the chill off in the mornings. Didn’t use it as much as I thought because I was boiling water first thing for coffee (priorities!) and to add to cool water for bathing.  So that added some heat into the van interior.

Sometimes I’d run the heater just before bed, too, if it was especially chilly.  It was nice to stand near it while taking a sponge bath.  :-)

I bought a used sleeping bag that is probably a 30deg version.  Pretty snug mummy and I didn’t get chilly when I was zipped up.  I’ll replace/upgrade as I get closer to FT status.

Heating (and cooking to be covered later) consumed maybe 4 of those 1# propane bottles.  I brought a 20# tank and used one of those adapters to refill the greenies (sssssh!)  I also refilled greenies for a nearby friendly.  She had all the stuff but had never actually done the refill so we did hers together.   I did the hemostat method and one of her 6 greenies would not seal after the molestation.

Good thing I could refill;  the greenies were usually at least $5/ea in Quartzsite.  Highest I saw was $6.99/ea.  Dang, y’all.  Poor planning would be expensive in that regard…


The maxxfan stayed on 24/7, pulling in air all night (10% speed) to fight condensation and pushing out air during the day as needed for cooling.  Love that fan, yo.

I also had an O2 fan I bought at a garage sale and used a few times when the sun was coming in my side sliding door.  Awesome breeze for $2.  They run on 12v so I made a hardwire connection (anderson powerpoles).

A couple times folks asked if I had A/C because it was cool in the van.  Nope, that was the evaporation effect from my laundry drying nearby.  Will get to that in a few more episodes.


Ok, things may get a bit controversial.   You Have Been Warned.

I brought a 30W dehumidifer along but did not use it due to the genrally low humidity in the desert.  I have used this thing here in Dallas quite often and am happy with the humidity reduction.    I leave it running in my van all the time when the van’s not in use.

Yes, it’s a Peltier device.  I don’t care.  I have an excess of solar and the dehumidifier runs on the opportunity circuit so there is literally zero effect on my house bank’s state of charge.

12v cooler

Now that I’m talking about using a Peltier device and you’re not coming after me with torches, I’m going to press on.

I have a 12v peltier cooler.  I got it for $10 at a thrift shop.  It works, although it constantly pulls just under 70W.  That’s a lot of load but as I said earlier gobs of solar + opportunity circuit means you can power loads that would be wasteful or impractical in other contexts.

Yes, I’d rather have a 12v compressor fridge.  No, I don’t have $700 to spend on it right now.   Hence the cooler.

It held the low-40s while running.  Depending on the other loads on that circuit I might get an hour or half hour past sundown.  I mainly kept drinking water in there, but stored some other stuff to be discussed in a future cooking post.