Optimal settings for the night stealth camping in cold weather (below 32F) and how often engine...

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by OutdoorsPrius, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    my advice is to try out sitting in a parking lot in -25C and seeing how the car idles/stops. Right now with my temperature set to 65F (I've got an American car) and fan at lowest speed, at -10C it will start for 30 seconds and stop for 2 minutes, then start for another 30 seconds. Its really annoying and hard on the car as well.

    If you have to do it I suggest this, heat the inside of your winter bag with electric heat via a 12V or inverter heated blanket. Physics means you will need much much less energy to heat the inside of an extremely well insulated sleeping bag augmented by your body heat compared to the entire interior of the Prius with zero insulation. That way you can leave the windows cracked open to allow proper ventilation so you don't get condensation. And the bag will naturally evaporate moisture out of it with the heat source inside. If you do it this way you can turn off the HVAC heater completely and the car will rather stay "off" for 30 mins+ and charge for only 5 mins at a time.

    If you are concerned about fire or burning yourself, check out heated motorcycle vests and pants. They are designed to be run off 12V and have infinitely variable heat settings and can be worn directly against your body all night with a thin layer underneath. You will have to wire directly to your 12V battery but since its in the trunk it should be easy.
     
    #41 oil_burner, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  2. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    Here's my stealth camper solution to this problem (still under development):

    Fabricate plastic window inserts from 300 mil clear PETG sheet, cut to fit and wrap with perforated vinyl wrap on one side and 20% ceramic tint film on the other side. Tack-seal the vinyl and tint film edge with super glue, then apply black door edge protector strips around the edge of the wrapped PETG insert. The completed insert is flexible enough to pop into the perimeter recess up against the window, which is air sealed by the door edge protector strips. The inserts are also reversible. If you want to blackout the window entirely instead of using the perforated vinyl with the white side facing out - just install the insert in the opposite window (tinted side and black side of perforated vinyl facing out).

    The white vinyl and tint provides sufficient one way view for privacy during the day-time. At night, an additional 1/8 inch black foam-board insert can be used for complete privacy until lights are out (see last photo). The foam board inserts use gorilla tape at the insert edges to provide a light seal. Once all interior lights are out, you can selectively remove any foam board insert to see out. A Pedestrian should not be able to see in, without being right up against the window, since visibility through perforated vinyl into the camper at night requires interior lighting.

    In addition to privacy, the inserts also create a dead-air space at the window surface to provide thermal insulation.

    Fabrication of these inserts is time consuming, with most of the time spent on perfecting the paper insert transfers needed to outline and cut the PETG sheet. Lots of trial and error is involved, so it is advisable to fabricate the foam-board inserts first (mistakes are less costly with foam-board). However, once you get the shape right, the fabrication process is fairly straight forward. It helps if you have some experience with applying window tinting film.

    Note: The foam-board inserts (minus the gorilla tape seal) must be fabricated to a size smaller than the window itself, and a horizontal seam must be cut so that the foam-board can be folded to install. This is because, unlike PETG, foam-board is not flexible.
     

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    #42 ice9, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  3. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    no to AC reverse, its heated via coolant only. No to accumulator pump so cold startups very hard on the engine and builds tons of condensation in the exhaust and oil pan. You can use a DC inverter to power around 800W probably but pointless to try to convert it back into heat. Just leave the Prius in inspection mode and force the engine to run all night if you want cabin heat. Best way to heat food is to stop at a truck stop/gas station microwave before stealth camping. Or a 12V heated lunchbox that draws about 100W generally can heat up non-frozen TV dinners in about 30 mins or slow cook entire meals while you drive.
     
  4. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    oh and the real issue with insulating your windows is that it doesn't work very well since large areas of the trunk are also non-insulated and lose a ton of heat. Condensation is a big big issue if you are camping for more than 1 night and don't have long drive to unfold your bag and hang up your clothes to blast the AC/heat and dry everything out. After 2 nights my -30 synthetic sleeping bag was damp and lost most insulating property.
     
  5. T1 Terry

    T1 Terry Active Member

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    It would be an interesting modification to turn the AC into reverse cycle so the whole heating/cooling is powered by the traction battery. Some of the electric vehicle conversion people sell the valve required to convert the AC to reverse cycle, just not sure how you would go about upgrading the thermo switching part so it would run the air con once switched on to the desired temperature.
    Not sure if that would also remove the moisture from the air though, not really up on how the heating part of the reverse cycle air con works to see if it has the ability to dry the air as well

    T1 Terry
     
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