Some people use their Bongos all year around. Whether or not you go wild camping, or on a site with EHU (electric hook-up), there will come a time when you think about keeping warm – beyond the times you get into a sleeping bag or have to add another layer of clothing.
The first choices that most think of, and by far the most cost-effective when it comes to heating, are fan heaters, small oil-filled radiators, or the portable mini gas heaters, often sold through camping outlets. Most people with a van, would not use the small open-fire gas heaters, due to the risk of carbon monoxide build-up in a confined space – with or without any small openings for fresh air circulation. Fan heaters can warm the space up very quickly, but it can soon feel stuffy. When a fan heater is switched off, the air cools down very rapidly and very soon, you have to turn the fan heater on again.
Of the appliances so far mentioned, possibly the best choice (when EHU is available) is a small oil-filled heater. This provides a constant ambient temperature, although it can take a while to warm a van up from cold. However, left on a low heat throughout the night, it can keep some of the condensation from forming and raise the temperature just enough not to feel too cold when sleeping.
So what other alternatives are there? Listed below, are some of the heaters mentioned by campervan owners as being effective. Of course, there is a premium to be paid when it comes to cost, but for the more hardened veterans of year-around camping out, a good heater that can be used, whether or not there is EHU, is a comfort that can make a big difference to the experience. (click on images to enlarge)
Gas powered Trumatic e 2400 – compact liquid gas warm air heater
Planar 2D-12GP compact Diesel heater
Owen Cox: UK dealer for Planar Heaters. “They are very reliable and reasonably priced. All heaters I supply come with two years factory supported warranty and full English instructions, plus I am available for advice and assistance. I also install them.” (You can find Owen on facebook).
Check out this useful guide: Fitting Your Own Chinese Diesel Heater – Everything You Need To Know
Believe it or not, quite a number of people install wood burning stoves in their vans – and they can be surprisingly small and compact. Please note, that I am not making any recommendations here, but just informing you of further options that might be considered. (click on images to enlarge)
The ‘Wendy’ by Windy Smithy, Devon
The ‘Gnome’ by Glastonbury Burners
There are also a few on eBay
Wood Burning Stove Retro model Cast Iron Top Log Burner Solid Fuel 5kw