Many campers choose to leave the comforts of a home behind them when they go out on a camping trip. However, if you know how to heat a camper without electricity, you can always have that back up plan in case something goes wrong with your heating system.
Knowing how to use wood burning stoves is one way of heating up your camper without power or propane!
In this article I will give some helpful tips and tricks for using these types of stoves as well as show some examples from real life experiences.
I hope that after reading this article, you will feel more confident about heating your camper with only what nature has supplied us!
Table of Contents
What is a Camper?
A camper is a recreational vehicle which can be defined as a self-propelled motorized unit, originally developed from a truck chassis.
Nowadays, RVs come in many shapes and sizes from folding trailers to hybrids or vans without the ability to tow.
They usually have a kitchenette for cooking some small food items and a table to eat on. Many of these campers offer beds that fold out into space saving furniture while others may still include bunk style beds with the option of adding more on top.
Types of Campers
There are many different types of campers such as:
- Pop up/folding trailer (Fold out like an accordion)
- Hybrid (a van without the capability to tow)
- Fifth wheel (A travel trailer that attaches to the bed of a truck)
- Class A (An RV with an internal combustion engine powering it)
- Class C (An RV with its own built in power plant)
Things You Will Need for Heating Your Camper With a Wood Burning Stove
Now that you know what campers are, here are some helpful tips and tricks you will need if you decide to extract heat from your wood-burning stove.
Wood Burning Stove
The most obvious thing needed is the actual wood burning stove itself! There are many different kinds of stoves on the market today but this post will give you an idea about one that runs off propane.
They come in different forms like either having the wood burning inside the camper or outside where you stack it.
If you go with an outside stove, make sure that you use a stove pipe to channel the smoke up and away from the camper!
This is important so as not to cause any health problems within your camping unit.
Piece of Tarpaulin (or Metal for Those Adventurous!)
To place underneath your wood burning stove just in case some sparks should fall through which could possibly start a small fire underneath your camper.
People usually use dryer lint, paper, bird seed or anything flammable to get their fires started! You can even save money by making your own kindling out of scrap pieces of wood instead of buying it at the store.
For you to be able to pick up the pot holder because there will be hot ashes inside. The gloves are essential if your stove is outside and you plan on keeping wood nearby for future use!
Know How To Lay Out Your Stove
For beginners, learn how to lay out your stove first before using it! You want to make sure that you have all of your pieces in order so as not to cause any accidents once turning it on.
First, you need to put down a tarp where your wood burning stove will go . If your stove has an opening underneath it for adding logs, set this piece directly below or else place some rocks under it so there isn’t any heat coming through.
Once you have your tarp or rocks in place, next lay down your piece of metal on top of the tarp . This is where the pot will sit once it has water inside (and yes, it will boil!)
After placing down your metal sheet, set up some kindling all around it like twigs and small pieces of wood that are about three inches long. You can even use paper to help get things started! Slightly larger pieces should be placed around the exterior with only one more layer than what you used for kindling.
The last thing to do is set up logs directly outside of where you laid out kindling/twigs so as not to smother fires underneath if possible.
Why Would I Need to Heat One Without Electricity?
There are many reasons for this to be possible. For instance, you might live in a location where it snows heavily and the electricity has yet to be restored or you may simply want an experience that is more rustic!
If your home depends on electrical heat then it may not even be an option if power lines are down.
However, there are some who don’t mind roughing it because they find themselves always vacationing within beautiful environments where staying connected seems outright foolish because of all the beauty surrounding them.
Campers usually provide enough insulation so as to keep warm air inside while at the same time blocking wind current so these situations can actually last quite some time before having to abandon camp completely due to weather conditions.
What Are the Pros of Using This Type of Heat?
One pro is that it’s free so you don’t have to worry about not having enough money to pay for electricity bills. Another positive thing about this type of heat is that it keeps things alive.
For instance, if people were able to keep their houses heated before getting power back then they may be able to grow some vegetables within a greenhouse because crops need temperatures higher than what an unheated house usually provides.
It also helps keep all water pipes running which would otherwise cause huge problems if broken!
Now, let’s say there was no extra food around and you had to go out and hunt. The extra warmth provided by a wood burning stove would be very helpful in keeping your body temperature up during those long cold winter months!
What Are the Cons?
The only con that I can think of is that it takes time to light and oftentimes leaves a messy aftermath.
However, this certainly doesn’t outweigh all of the positives so I wouldn’t even call it a true con!
Let’s break down exactly what we mean when we talk about how “messy” things will be: Yes, wood burns and as such you’ll have ashes to deal with after use but these aren’t large piles of ash like if you were using coal instead.
Realistically you should just take your ashes outside once they don’t smell anymore and dump them somewhere where wild life can eat them as a source of minerals. You might even be able to make a cheap fertilizer with the ashes if you put leaves in between!
If you plan on buying your wood from a local supplier, chances are they will also come and collect any extra ash that you have left behind once finished. This, however, would depend mostly on how much time is left before winter ends which separates this from being a true con.
Using a wood burning stove will give your family heat without electricity because it heats up an enclosed area very well while at the same time being free of charge unlike electric or gas-powered heaters.
It’s perfectly possible to use it for cooking purposes and it gives off a warm glow that is just so satisfying and helped create some of the most memorable times in history!
How to Heat a Camper Without Electricity?
By now, hopefully any of your questions about the best way to heat a camper without electricity have been answered! Before we get into how you can start heating up your room or camper with wood though, there’s just one last thing I want to say.
If you’re not familiar with any of this then it might be better for you to not attempt keeping yourself warm using firewood so you don’t accidentally set anything on fire. There are plenty of other options out there that can help heat small areas like tents and cabins instead.
So, let’s start this off by saying that if you live in an area where it snows heavily during winter months then chances are really good that you’ll have some sort of heating option available to you.
If not, then I feel bad for you because life doesn’t ever get all that fun when you’re stuck inside the house all day! People generally use electricity to keep appliances running but there are plenty of other ways around this type of power shortage!
The best way to heat a camper without electricity is by using wood pellets . These can be found in almost any hardware store and come mostly used as fuel for pellet stoves which were popular years ago due to their ability to heat small areas very effectively.
A container with around 20 pounds will cost somewhere between $15-$25 depending on where exactly you’re purchasing it from but one bag like this will last anywhere from 3-4 days depending on how much your room heats up and how often you use your pellet stove in general.
A Small Bit of Background
Wood pellets are literally just wood that’s been chopped and ground into extremely small pieces, making it ideal for quickly heating up small areas without needing to take the time to build a fire or anything like that! These are available pretty much anywhere nowadays but costs will vary depending on where exactly you’re buying them from.
I recommend using places like Wal-Mart if you want the cheapest option possible because they allow online orders with free shipping which can save you some bucks. You could even get multiple bags at once if necessary so make sure not to miss out if this sounds like something right up your alley!
On top of this, pellets burn cleanly and quickly which means that you don’t have to worry about any of the residual smoke that other types of fires produce. This will help keep your room or camper nice and clean while still allowing for plenty of heat to be kept inside! These also take up very little space so it’ll be easy to organize them depending on how much time is left before winter ends.
How to Burn Wood
Realistically, if you ever need a source of firewood then there’s no better option than using your old pal nature! You can go out and cut down your own tree and chop it into logs yourself but if you’ve never done this before then I recommend looking online for guides on how to do it properly so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself.
That said, you can also purchase firewood from places like Wal-Mart or your local grocery store. It will usually cost around $5 for a 1/4 of a cord which is about 7 feet high and 4 feet wide so it’s not too bad! Just make sure to check the type of wood being sold before buying any because many types won’t actually burn that easily.
If you do decide to go with this option then I recommend looking into purchasing two different kinds of wood at once! This way you get to try out both types and find out which one works best for you depending on how much heat they produce when burned together.
How Not to Burn Wood
Like I mentioned earlier, there are some differences between each type of wood so it’s important to know the basics regarding their differences. For example, most people likely won’t be able to tell the difference between a pine and an oak log at first glance but they’re actually pretty different in terms of how well they burn! Oaks will produce much more heat than pine but do require a bit more work when cutting them into logs.
Chopping/Cutting: If you go out and cut down your own tree, then chances are good that you’ll need to cut up the limbs or thick branches into smaller logs. This is easy enough if you have the proper tools such as an axe or even better yet a chainsaw . But even with basic household tools like shovels and r , it won’t take too long to chop up these limbs into logs that are about 10 inches wide and around 20-30 inches long.
It’s a good idea to try and split them in half after doing this if you can because it will help speed up the process tremendously! But even without splitting them, chopping is still pretty straightforward as long as you have the proper tools for the job.
Burning: From here, it’ll be simple enough to start burning your firewood depending on what type of stove or furnace you have available. Simply place either a log or two onto the top of your stove and light them on fire just like you would with a piece of paper or matchbook . Make sure not to leave it unattended for too long because fires can become dangerous quickly!
This can also be done using a basic fireplace just like the ones you might see in an old home. Just make sure to clean out all of the ashes from the previous fire before burning any new firewood because these will catch on extremely quickly and travel up your chimney if left unattended for too long.
Camping: Finally, you’ll need somewhere to actually burn your wood when it comes time to use them outside! The best option here is likely going to be by setting things up near your camper or in a small pit near where you’re planning on camping. Either place will work well but you may want to consider what’s available in that location which could impact how easy or it is to start a fire.
Also, make sure that you’re not planning on actually sleeping near your fire while camping because these things can get very hot and burn you in seconds if you’re not careful! Your best bet would be to place it near a wall or other object so it’s shielded from any wind which could blow sparks onto you.
Placing Logs Into Your Stove: You can start this process by simply placing one or two logs onto your stove depending on how quickly you want them to burn down. But for faster results, I recommend splitting the logs in half so they’ll burn faster than before. If you don’t have anything sharp/strong enough to split these things with then I would recommend sticking to only using whole logs until you get something good enough for this task!
Frequency: Lastly, it’s really important that you’re burning wood frequently if not daily while camping just like you normally would at home. This is to make sure that your fire doesn’t get out of hand due to neglect while you’re sleeping which could lead to a very bad night for everyone involved!
Also, it’s always important that you leave ash in the fireplace or stove when you go because these are incredibly flammable if left unattended for too long while still burning at extremely hot temperatures!
I hope this article has helped provide information about what wood is good for heating up camper vans, how to cut it down quickly, where to place it while camping , and finally how often it should be used! Happy Exploring!
With a few simple steps, you can have your camper heated in no time! Â If you are looking for some creative ideas to keep warm this winter without electricity, try these methods.
Propane heaters are the perfect solution if you don’t want to rely on electric heating systems or fireplaces that need wood. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks about how to stay warm during the cold months!
I`m a current Law Enforcement Officer working within the Counterterrorism Bureau in New York State. I have been Camping for over 20 years. My styles of camping include tent, car, truck, van, and RV travel trailer. I have a YouTube channel where I teach all types of camping with an entertaining method: https://youtube.com/@TheSmallsRVAdventures