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Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

(Wilderness/Urban Survival), (BOB/BOL/INCH/ETC), (Shelters)
The Canadian Giant
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Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby The Canadian Giant » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:20 pm

Hello to all.

Looking to start a creative conversation that might benefit, particularly, those of us that live/travel through colder climates. Last year I was fortunate enough to be near the front of a 200+ car pileup on the QEII highway here in Alberta. While I was comfortable enough, and was able to provide some assistance to those around me, a close family friend was several km's back in the traffic jam and was unable to move for 5+ hours. Sitting in the car with 4.5 children.

For situations such as this how would you provide an alternate source of heat that would increase comfort for those in the car, and potentially also allow the melting of snow for drinking water in a similar situation. Now I understand that simply running your motor can provide some heat, but our fuel tanks might be running low, the next fueling opportunity could be 100's of km's away, or our motor be in-operable for various reasons. The assumption here is that you have intact automobile cabin, but are needing supplemental and/or multipurpose heat.

So have at it,let's hear your solutions and suggestions.
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villager
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby villager » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:44 pm

Aside from the usual wool blankets and towels which i use to sit on my seats higher, i still carry my beeswax cookie tin size multi-wick candle in the pickup,... have used it a few times in less urgent situations., and a friend borrowed it and used it to sleep in her car several nights up north in the winter....cracked the window open a touch.
Beeswax is least toxic, but more expensive. I got it at Lee Valley Tools years ago.
I made a dome-shaped cover out of a split large coffee with no ends on it to go over the flame(s), so it's harder to set your pants on fire if your legs pass over it on the truck floor. You could make a larger , better-fitting canopy for it that you could even rest your feet on briefly,with socks.
I usually also carry my fat-squat type plumbing propane bottle, and spare, with piezo ignition trigger, in back of truck, and a multi purpose medium sized metal pail to set it in....one that fits in the back seat floor and the front seat floor ...low flame pointing at the inside pail- wall. I was looking for a round perforated pizza grill to fasten securely as a lid to keep clothing from dropping in it as one can fall asleep . For that reason, i think it's a good idea to bring a carbon monoxide alarm too, unless you have a designated wake-sentinel.
A couple of older rectangular sleeping bags are good to keep along too, easier to get into .
The ultimate of course, is to install a truck-cab heater , diesel or gas..... in europe, many mercedes cars have them installed .They run with or without your engine on....on a tiny 12v- fuel fired boiler, and circulated coolant...with or without air blower.A good investment.... This would always be a backup , anywhere, even at home, as long as there is fuel.
That's something i'd save up for. I already have 2 used ones for my cabin.
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helicopilot
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby helicopilot » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:19 am

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Knuckle
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby Knuckle » Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:23 am

I grew up in a region where a mistake of not preparing for the unforeseen can get you killed. That is because the chances of someone coming along on our roads to rescue you were poor. Now that there is alternating shifts at a mine they have improved somewhat but you still might freeze to death. Since we have lots of forest, most of us carry axes and the tools to light a fire and get comfy...I'll assume this isn't the plan for prairie living!

So lets look at the facts. The greatest heat loss we all suffer from is from the head. If your stranded and have nothing else, start preserving what body heat you already have. Extremities are where you also cool the body fastest. Consider the clothing and if such things as retracting the arms to your chest inside the coat is a better option, do it. When hands are cold, the best place to warm them is putting them under the armpits or inside the pants.

If there are 2 persons in the car and your feet are freezing, sit in the back seat and place unbooted feet in others crotch with blankets, coats whatever covering the legs. Alternate and rub each others feet uncovers for comfort and friction and this action keeps hands busy and warmer too. Or instead cuddle with coats off as the seat insulates the back and you'll get double layer of clothing on front. Do some creative thinking of how to preserve body heat as now have real incentive to work with what you've got! Many girls have gone home pregnant from just such ordeals here in my country... :lol:

Do not breath under coat as breath's moisture will reduce insulation.

The fallacy that you will suffocate inside the car if you don't crack a window is stupid! You are just letting what little heat you have inside escape. Do you all suffocate in the car when you fall asleep in the summer? Or did you die when even 3 friends all smoked cigarettes at the same time? That is because there are vents from under the hood that exchange air when the car is running and still do it somewhat when it is not. Therefore you can even light a candle without fear of suffocation. The more people in the car, the more oxygen required...if some start to get tired, this is a good sign that you need more oxygen!

If you expect to be there for a long time and have the equipment, snow is an insulator too. Can you pile snow on the windows? A shovel would sure be handy for this one...!

Shivering is the bodies way of trying to warm up. As you cease to shiver, this shows that your body functions are slowing. When your feet are no longer cold, this is a warning sign that your body MAY be protecting itself by shutting off circulation. Check for coloration of skin http://www.emedicinehealth.com/frostbit ... e_pictures

Bottom Line:


We don't drive out of town without proper clothing at least thrown in back just in case of a breakdown or maybe we chose to bush it(usually trying to miss a moose). I may drive long distance with my runners on but my snow boots are still in the truck. I carry 3 emergency blankets always, a hatchet and a swede saw as I just burn bottom branches and not kill trees anyways. I usually wear a light coat driving and carry a long winter coat otherwise. I always leave toques in the truck as I don't wear them unless needed otherwise. I used to carry a sleeping bag but often don't anymore(unless hunting on back roads) any know I will be alot colder waiting for this choice...I always have lighters, snare wire, rope, hard candies, and such in my emergency kit....I'll live! ;)
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villager
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby villager » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:17 am

While i enjoyed your graphic depictions of maintaining circulation , i maintain that you should be prepared to "crack" a window open if needed (Like a paper-thickness), and on the down side of the wind....especially if you are up to all the antics you describe to keep warm :) ....and you have multiple wicks and/or propane going front and back as i described , plus a car full of kids as was suggested example. I assume you wouldn't have both all those activities at once ?
Also, most vehicles have a "closed-circuit" air setting which i think should be engaged for minimum air intrusion, and use the window as adjustment rather than activating the air vent settings.
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The Canadian Giant
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby The Canadian Giant » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:52 am

Thanks to those who have answered. Particularly the mention of the truck-cab heaters that can be retrofitted to a smaller vehicle. Excellent suggestion.

Villager, would you happen to have any pictures of the propane/piezo system you mentioned? I"m struggling to understand the flame control and the actual heating element itself.

The mighty debate as to whether to crack or not as re-surfaced. While it is my understanding that vehicles are not very airtight, I thought Villager made another great suggestion to set the fan to "recirculate" to help isolate the cabin air from the outside air. Not something that I had thought of in the context of keeping warm by improvised methods.

Knuckle, excellent idea of placing snow over the windshield to provide some additional insulation. Not sure of how effective this would be considering the other windows that would likely be left uncovered. However, reflective sunshades, or even mylar can be placed over windows/walls to assist in reflecting heat back towards the interior. But then there is always the question of visibility, being able to observe what's going on outside.
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Knuckle
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby Knuckle » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:28 pm

Snow is indeed a good insulator....ask any Eskimo.

As small kids, we used to make igloos out of snow banks and keep warm with just a candle. Everyone played outside and the big snowbanks became small castles outside with sometimes 3 rooms. No parents ever worried about them collapsing in those days and us suffocating, we were just having fun. We used broken hockey sticks to tell us how thick the walls were by writing measurements on them and poking them thru the walls. We used to pour colored water on them to hide the dog piss and make it so snow plows couldn't ruin our creations easily.

I guess that covering much of the vehicle may be an issue if your still on the road, but I bushed a 71 Cougar GT in the 70's and I didn't have to cover much else. I had to open a window to get out. I had to dig for the trunk (as the car went in backwards) to retrieve my 5 star sleeping bag. I climbed back in the car and awoke the next morning. It was -35 below that night and not too cold in the car until I opened the window. I closed the window but a crack and lit a candle. It warmed up considerably as I waited until about 11 AM for a truck to pass and stop. Just think how much warmer it'd have been if the roof was covered too....

I was grateful for those childhood play skills then!
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villager
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Re: Alternative Heat Source in Automobile

Postby villager » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:21 pm

The Canadian Giant wrote:Thanks to those who have answered. Particularly the mention of the truck-cab heaters that can be retrofitted to a smaller vehicle. Excellent suggestion.

Villager, would you happen to have any pictures of the propane/piezo system you mentioned? I"m struggling to understand the flame control and the actual heating element itself.

The mighty debate as to whether to crack or not as re-surfaced. While it is my understanding that vehicles are not very airtight, I thought Villager made another great suggestion to set the fan to "recirculate" to help isolate the cabin air from the outside air. Not something that I had thought of in the context of keeping warm by improvised methods.

Knuckle, excellent idea of placing snow over the windshield to provide some additional insulation. Not sure of how effective this would be considering the other windows that would likely be left uncovered. However, reflective sunshades, or even mylar can be placed over windows/walls to assist in reflecting heat back towards the interior. But then there is always the question of visibility, being able to observe what's going on outside.


In the beginning of this summer, i remembered the question about the propane torch with the piezo ignition for making an emergency heater in the truck or car. It is on sale at Princess Auto again now :
Precision Burner Torch View Larger Image Print Precision Burner Torch SKU: 0140084
I'm going to refine my original adaptation and experiment with the heat with a perforated lid, to see if there is too much heat in the pail to melt the plastic control knob. I'll perforate the pail at the bottom for convective circulation as well as Placing a thick metal baffle between the outer pail surface and the flame, so the flame hits that heat sink, in order to keep the outer shell from getting too hot in one spot.
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