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#80528 - 12/17/06 03:48 AM Portable Heat Source
Anonymous
Unregistered


I do a modicum of travel in a large van, with my dogs. I don't drive in serious weather or at night if at all possible to do otherwise. Sometimes I sleep in the van on top of the dog crates. I always carry sleeping gear, food, water and etc. inc. first aid kit for myself and dogs. HOWEVER, as I am of an older age I'd like to have some portable heat in the van when it is frosty. I've read that Sterno gives off enough heat to keep the temp above freezing in an auto. Exactly what is Sterno in so far as it's chemical nature is concerned and is it really safe to burn inside a vehicle? How much window do I need to roll down to avoid suffocating? I wrap the crates in large cardboard boxes and then blankets. I can't cover the front totally as the dogs are 80 to 120 lbs and create a good amount of heat from their own stocky bodies. Input please.
I also saw a program that said if a soda bottle of water is exposed to direct sunlight for a full day it becomes sterilized: this in Africa. Comments please.
For me this information helps me to survive solo trips and go where angels fear to tread or at least were my friends think an old lady should not go.
Thanks. [color:"black"] [/color]

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#80529 - 12/17/06 04:06 AM Re: Portable Heat Source
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I think that I would be very leery of having Sterno, or any other flamable gel/liquid, in the vehicle with you sleeping. You could easily bump into the can or whatever it is sitting on, and spill burning liquid all over yourself, the dogs, or anything else. I think that I would look for one of the small catalitic heaters that run on one propane cylinder. Much safer in my opinion...
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#80530 - 12/17/06 04:26 AM Re: Portable Heat Source
Excomantia Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 98
Loc: Moved to my new home and now h...
Quote:
also saw a program that said if a soda bottle of water is exposed to direct sunlight for a full day it becomes sterilized: this in Africa. Comments please.

I read something about it in this post here on this sight, those posts say there is even more information if you search for sodis.
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Words Mean Something.

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#80531 - 12/17/06 05:00 AM Re: Portable Heat Source
Matt26 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/27/05
Posts: 309
Loc: Vermont
If you use ANY fuel burning appliance in your van at least have a battery opperated carbon monoxide detector in there with you!
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#80532 - 12/17/06 05:07 AM Re: Portable Heat Source
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Sterno is methyl alcohol with gelling agents put into it. Its the pink stuff you see under chaffing dishes and the like. I'm not sure it's warm enough to do much as far as heating goes, and if it spills (the part that is burning is liquefied) in a vehicle interior, your best bet is to bail out and grab the extinguisher as you go.

There is another thread around here somewhere about 12V appliances, including heaters, although I do like the idea of using a catalytic heater as it won't draw down your battery but you do need to be worried about ventilation.

Speaking of insulation, how much is under the dog crates? More of that, even if it is two inches of closed cell foam (used for upholstry work, even salvaged couch cushions will work), will keep them warmer. And if they aren't claustrophobic, a BIG blanket or two that can go over you and the crates will keep all of you a little more toasty.
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When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#80533 - 12/17/06 07:35 AM Re: Portable Heat Source
norad45 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
I have used Sterno for years. As an open flame heat source it is about as safe as you can get. Since it is a gel it is far less prone to spillage than liquid fuel. Awhile back I emailed the company and specifically asked them about CO emissions. Here is the exchange:

"I am trying to determine whether or not Sterno puts out any appreciable amount of Carbon Monoxide (CO) while burning. I am putting some into my 72 hour kits. I understand adequate ventilation is necessary, but I specifically need to know about carbon monoxide emissions."

"Thank you for your inquiry. Sterno produces only CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and H2O (Water) as a result of burning. It was designed to be safe indoors. As it is a fire-producing product, however, we would advise that children and pets be kept away to prevent accidental burns.
The Sterno Brand Team "

I would definately keep the dogs away from it, and I would not let it burn while sleeping and keep a window cracked as it will deplete oxygen. I keep 4 large cans in my truck kit. Each one will burn for 3 hours. No mixing or measuring; just pop the lid and light. They will boil water but can take up to 20 minutes to do so. All in all it is a very useful addition to a truck kit.


Edited by norad45 (12/17/06 12:45 PM)

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#80534 - 12/17/06 02:47 PM Re: Portable Heat Source
redflare Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/25/05
Posts: 647
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
How about some simple hand warmers? You can put them close to the body and climb inside a sleeping bag.

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#80535 - 12/17/06 03:20 PM Re: Portable Heat Source
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...Sterno produces only CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and H2O (Water) as a result of burning..."

You know, I never stop learning something here. Thanks for that info on Sterno...
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#80536 - 12/17/06 05:15 PM Re: Portable Heat Source
north_of_north Offline
Stranger

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 22
Loc: Gunflint Trail, Minnesota, USA
Since this type of verbiage seems to be pretty common, I have two comments in reply to:

"I've read that Sterno gives off enough heat to keep the temp above freezing in an auto.”

1. Any claim about attainable vehicle inside temperature is completely useless without reference to the allowable outside weather conditions under which this is possible. For example, it takes a lot more BTU production at -40 deg F than at +20 deg F to achieve the same temperature inside the vehicle.

2. More people die from hypothermia in “above freezing” conditions than any other. In other words, just because you may be able to get the inside temperature to, for example, +35 deg F, does not necessarily mean that one is out of the woods.

(I am not suggesting that we disagree on either of these points, but thought the clarification may be helpful.)

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#80537 - 12/17/06 05:29 PM Re: Portable Heat Source
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada

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