Saturday, December 9, 2017

Test fire

A little dusty and dented, but still working

It's that time of year when van dweller forum discussions turn to heaters, the pros and cons of various types, dangers real and imagined, and so on.

After my disappointing test of a second-hand Coleman Sport Cat heater, and after all the handwringing on the forums, I figured I'd drag my Mr. Heater Portable Buddy from under the bed and see if it still functioned—before I really needed it.

It fired right up, first try, and the Rolling Steel Tent was toasty in less than a minute. I love it when things go right.


  1. A propane torch might be all you need and it is a lot more compact. I used to heat a 10 foot popup camper with one in moderate cold weather above freezing.

    1. Or I could use my cookstove, as I did when I was camped too high for the heater's 7,000' low-oxygen cut off.

    2. It probably has nothing to do with the oxygen cut-off, but I've found that using a partial bottle of gas keeps the heater running at higher altitudes. I was at a shade less than 9000 feet last spring when it snowed on me. A little heat in the morning seemed like a good idea but the full bottle was blowing the pilot right off the tube and it wouldn't stay lit. I switched it out for the half-used bottle from my stove and it worked just fine.

  2. I've used mine in my cargo trailer up to 9000 feet no problem. The only time I had an issue was on Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado which is listed as only slightly higher. I had a hard time keeping it lit until it warmed up a bit - then it ran fine. I want to permanently mount a Wave 3 heater and run a line to a bulk tank on the tongue, but the old Mr Buddy just keep ticking away so it's hard to spend money on something that only gets used a couple times a year. Maybe when I get a little closer to semi retiring and hit the road in the winter more it will be worth it?