Chasing the Twist is a new publication covering the world of adventuring with a practical and real point of view.

Wool & Propane - Staying Warm While Camping in the Adventure Van

My idea of a ‘room with a view’

After our initial ‘work-out-the-kinks’ trip in the Adventure Van, we were ready to stretch out a bit farther and decided to make the New England sojourn to The Flume in New Hampshire.

11 years ago my wife and I did the same sojourn before we were married with kids. On that trip we stayed in a tent at The Lost River campground, and we decided to pay them a visit again, this time with two kids and an Adventure Van. I highly recommend the campground for both its proximity to attractions and for its river-side campsites, which cost a bit more but are worth it. The river makes for the best background noise for sleeping and provides a perfect backdrop to your campfire.

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The river makes the perfect campfire backdrop

The first night was a chilly one and we’ve found our Beaver State blanket, made by Pendleton (pictured at the top), to be a great weight but works best as a middle layer. Using a light blanket or quilt of top, like a shell on a jacket, allows the wool blanket to create the air space to trap the warm air. The Pendleton blanket is thick and soft, and nowhere near scratchy. An added bonus it that it seems to not pick up much campfire smell either.

When your blankets, sleeping bags, and sweatshirts aren’t enough to keep you warm, or when you want to take the edge off in the morning, the Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater does the trick with ease. It runs on common small propane canisters, often used by camping cooktops, and has proven to be quite efficient. We’ve run ours for hours and are still on the first canister. One reason why a canister lasts so long is that running it on low puts out more than enough heat for a small space like a van. Its size is a defining characteristic and it is both good and bad. By being so large it is incredibly well insulated, to be cool to the touch, and effectively creates its own safe space to minimize the chance of setting adjacent blankets or seat fabric on fire. But, being so large also means it can be a bit cumbersome to store.

With propane combustion we need to be concerned about ventilation as well, which brings us to our third tool in staying warm while camping. We have yet to put a roof-vent in our Adventure Van, so we use windows for ventilation. Our van is the passenger configuration and, as such, comes with two front door windows (like most any vehicle) and two pop-open windows in the middle of the cab. After experimenting with different configurations, we’ve settled on using the front driver and passenger windows for ventilation. They open at the top, the best for getting rid of carbon monoxide from the propane heater, and allow for cross ventilation. The trick is getting the size of the opening right to allow for airflow but not so much as to let all of the heat out of the van. I’ve did that the first few times and woke up rather chilly. When it’s been cold, a roughly half inch opening worked best for us. When it’s warm four inch openings provided plenty of air movement. (Tip: use mosquito netting and magnets, on the outside of the windows, to keep out unwanted guests)

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Now, if you will indulge me, the following is a bit of a travelogue, but also a recommendation to get out on your own adventure.

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The Flume, in New Hampshire, is spectacular

Admittance to the Flume is a bit costly, but as you will see the trail and walkway structure are very well maintained, and the Flume is quite a spectacle even if my photos don’t capture it. The walk up to the Flume is very pleasant and my kids were excited to find the little hand-written cards identifying various local plants along the path.

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The air gets cooler and cooler as you approach the waterfall, a pleasant change from the hot parking lot, and the initial views of the crevasse are pretty amazing.

The first view of the Flume
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Part of the admittance fee goes to building and maintaining the very sturdy cantilevered walkway up through the opening and along the waterfall.

Incredibly sturdy cantilevered walkways lead you up to the waterfall
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It took 200-million years for this gorge to form and it is still forming with water constantly running down both the main river and the surrounding walls.

A surprising amount of water flows across the underlying rock
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Perhaps my favorite photos from the trip are of the persistent trees growing off cliffs, over and around rocks.

These trees have found a way to grow while hanging off the cliff
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At last the majestic upper-waterfall.

The upper-waterfall of the Flume in New Hampshire
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Hopefully this post will help you stay warm while camping and encourage you to get out on your own adventure.


Edited to fix the link for the space heater


Chasing the Twist is a new publication covering the world of adventuring with a practical and real point of view. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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