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I'm going to be wintering in Colorado for at least a couple years, but I come from a much warmer climate, so I don't completely know what to plan for. I do not have my vehicle picked out yet. What ideas do you guys have for makeshift insulation if I were to get a large SUV? Could you conceivably be comfortable layering some fleece throws on the walls and bundling up? Also, how difficult would it be to insulate a pop-up camper? It seems absurdly difficult for what I need, but maybe someone can suggest something.

Guest

I wouldn't really bother with "makeshift" insulation. Depending on what you use, it could just get damp, and moldy, or not really insulate at all. Check out this: Reflectix

This is to a Canadian website, but I'm certain you'll find a site down there. Colorado has pretty mild winters, so shouldn't be too much to insulate, and with a heater, keep yourself nice and toasty warm.

stude53 Wrote:IMHO - Take a look at several of the van build projects on cheaprvliving home page to see how others did it and what they used. Depending on the elevation of the land you are planning to stay on, Colorado can get darned cold. My daughter lives in Gunnison, CO.

More insulation is better.

Bob

imlandris, I bought reflectix at Lowes but Maynards has it a couple $ cheaper.  It is basically bubble wrap w/ heavy duty foil on both sides...comes in a roll. It's aprox $25 a roll...the wider width is aprox $37  I'd never heard of the stuff til I joined this forum.  My van windshield will need the wider width but the narrow was adequate for the other windows. 

Reflectix can also be duct taped around coolers to add insulation.

For covering windows, cut the reflectix a couple inches larger than the window and tuck it in at the edges, I leave excess at the bottom and one side on pieces that will be removed...like the rear and side door windows of my cargo van.  I remove those for driving.  The long side windows I've tucked in all around and do not remove.

For sleeping in a cold van it sure helps to wear some kind of headgear, I have a fleece lined "hat" that covers the head, neck and ears.  On really cold nights I found that my eyelids got cold and I had to cover the top of my face w/ a scarf for comfort.

My bear hunting/camper brother swears by his mummybag that is rated for -24*.  It covers all of your body & your head.  I don't have a mummybag yet.

I toughed it out in my van one 20* night last winter when I was testing out my van.  I was warm enough only as long as my quilts&sleeping bag stayed on me. 

 However I was constantly waking up because covers shifted.  Plus if I moved inside the sleeping bag...brrr!!...the bag only stays warm in the spot where your body touches...move and you discover a Cold spot. A mummy bag would solve these issues as it fits close around your body.  

Sleep is important.  For long term cold weather camping my best advice is find a way to get a mummy bag.  My brother has slept out in the open in the Idaho mtns in winter and claims he was snug n warm all night.

Guest

stude53 Wrote:Depending on the elevation of the land you are planning to stay on, Colorado can get darned cold.


Heh, Yea, I have to remember where I live, and not discount that what's mild to me is cold to another!
I've lived in Denver for more than 30 years so I've seen a few winters here . Mostly temps are in the 20s-40s (F), with occasional warm days (50s), but it does go into the teens - especially at night - and sometimes below that. I don't know what the "official" sites say but in my experience we get maybe five days a year below 10 - and one or two below 0.

I don't know where you're going to be, but that's what it's like here in the city, which is at 5230' above sea level - but *not* in the mountains. It gets much colder up there.

I hope that helps.

Meg

thx guys. any of you have experience with popup campers and insulation or temp extremes?
Usually Winter starts in October and ends in April as far as the colder weather is concerned. Average lows being in the 20s and highs of 30s and 40s. Around Christmas time there is usually a good chance of 0s or -0s for a couple of weeks. It can snow 3 inches to 3 feet but usually disappears quickly. This is of course in the "lowlands". The higher elevations usually get more snow and it stays through the winter. The southern half of the state is a little warmer in general to the tune of 5 to 10 degrees difference. Subtract 5 to 10 degrees for each 5 thousand feet elevation above 5 thousand feet for the average although peaks and valleys complicate the math. Cold of course settles in lower regions. With less air mass you will find that the sun seems warmer when directly in it. When I lived at 8k feet I could wear a tshirt while in the sun at 25 degrees and be comfortable as long as there was no wind. In January there is usually a couple of days when the highs can sometimes reach 70 degrees giving a nice break to the winter. Daily highs peak around 1-3 pm and lows are at 4-6 am. There are usually 3 big storms on average that produce blizzard conditions being 1 around Thanksgiving, 1 at the end of January to the first couple of weeks of February, and one really wet blizzard usually occurring at the end of March to the first couple of weeks in April. Oh and spring and fall agonize between warm and cold weather on a daily basis. YMMV.


I guess I did learn something after 50 years in Colorado. :-)
 Translucent (not quite clear) Coroplast  http://www.coroplast.com/ ; on the windows will cut down heat loss and condensation enormously, while letting in light while providing some privacy. The colored versions make for good 'n rot-proof wall panels that, as well as providing a significant R-value, act as a vapour barrier. Over here it's about $6 for a 4x8' sheet.
 White polystyrene sheets with the reflective aluminized layer (4x8' x3/4") should work as well as Reflectix and is considerably cheaper. If you have access to a local scrap metal pile, look for hot water tanks wrapped with Reflectix jackets and dishwashing machines that have that fiberglass w. aluminized blanket strapped to them. While that fiberglass/aluminum stuff isn't as good as Reflectix or polystyrene sheets, it's surprisingly effective, though requires a vapour barrier.. but if it's free, who cares? ..Willy.   
Imladris Wrote:I'm going to be wintering in Colorado for at least a couple years, but I come from a much warmer climate, so I don't completely know what to plan for. I do not have my vehicle picked out yet. What ideas do you guys have for makeshift insulation if I were to get a large SUV? Could you conceivably be comfortable layering some fleece throws on the walls and bundling up? Also, how difficult would it be to insulate a pop-up camper? It seems absurdly difficult for what I need, but maybe someone can suggest something.


In the southwestern US Mexican 'blankets' and rugs are usually to be found at auctions, garage sales, flea markets and being given away on Yahoo FreeCycle Group sites.  Nice thing about them is they're easy to hang and they block off a lot of heat loss.  I've spent some winters with them plastered all over the windows with duct tape, but today I'd use gorilla tape, I reckons.