Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible)

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Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible)

Postby annemarie » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Hi, everyone,

First-time Burner here, and I'm coming in an RV partly because I have fairly intense dust allergies. I've read every thread on this excellent forum going back to, oh, 2009 or so, and I've read as many RV-related threads as I could find, but I haven't found an answer to this question yet--supposing that we wanted to keep our RV as close to dust-free as possible, what might be the best way to do so? We're definitely going to be shoe-free, and keep baby wipes by the door so that people can wipe off their feet as they come in, but what else could we do?

I've read that a feather duster or flogger (ha!) can help, but I wonder if there's a way to wipe off even more thoroughly before getting in the RV. What if we leave our outer layers outside in plastic bins, for example, or would spray bottles would help at all (or would spray bottles just cake the dust on us)? Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks very much for any help.

Yours,
R
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Fufa » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:16 pm

I was able to keep the sleeping room of my tent almost entirely dust free last year. It's a bit different than an RV, but hopefully the advice is applicable. We had multiple barriers from the outside world to the room: the door of the tent (covered with a thick fleece sheet clipped to the outside, and always closed when not entering or leaving), and the zippered wall in the middle of the tent (with an extra cotton sheet pinned to it to cover the zipper). All the windows were kept closed with cotton or fleece sheets clipped over the outside of them. We shook off outside, then stripped off all our clothes (to our birthday suits) in the front room of tent after entering, and baby wipes were enough to do a thorough wipe down of all the dust on our bodies. Sometimes we got a head start on the dust by wiping some of it off with the wipes outside the tent as well. Also, we covered the bed with a large sheet whenever we left to stop any lingering dust from ending up on our bed. I don't have a dust allergy however, this was to provide a safe haven should my asthma act up really bad (thank goodness it didn't).

If you own the RV, I suggest finding a way to set up a barrier system like I did using something simple like old bed sheets. Cover windows that may have frames that let in dust, and velcro or somehow attach them to the ceiling to make a cubicle around your doorway to help stop dust when you enter and leave the RV. If you have a mini dustbuster style vacuum cleaner that you can recharge, then that can easily be used to suck up dust, as well as wiping down with wet wipes and/or a swiffer duster. Add extra protection/barriers to your sleeping area, as ultimately that's probably the place you want the least dust to get to. Nothing is fool proof through, so get one of those heavy duty chemical painter's masks (the one's with filter cartridges) to wear should you not be able to fully escape the dust and your allergic reactions
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby DustHand » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:25 pm

Last year we taped up the windows with blue painters tape and put plastic down on everything. When the first dust storm hit, it looked like a dust bomb went off in the RV. It came in through every crack and crevice. For cleaning, cover what you can in the adhesive construction plastic. for your allergies, keep a dust mask close at hand at all times.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:36 pm

A severe dust allergy? That's terrible. Are you going to stay in the RV the entire time?

It's really dusty. Everywhere. And it's the kind of dust that penetrates everything. Nothing less than HEPA filters will keep it out. You'll be plugging holes and cracks you didn't even know existed. Short of having sticky tape mats that you'd find at the entrances to optical labs, boot booties, and other cleanroom tricks (assuming everything else is plugged and filtered), you better keep your dust/gas mask ready at all times and be ready to bear it out for a week.

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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Savannah » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:48 pm

Did you see the wonderful House Rules for RVs thread? It had this:

essjay wrote:DesmondD's post reminded me of one more tip: Go to Lowes/HomeDepot and get a roll of contractor's mask. It comes in a roll about 30" wide and looks like heavy-duty saranwrap - only much, much thicker and a very light adhesive on one side. Use this mask to cover the floor and carpet. You can also wrap the furniture and cushions and then lay old sheets over it for comfort. This stuff is great and will save you hours on clean up. When you get home, sweep and vacuum and pull the mask off - floor looks just like it did when you got it and no dust in the cushions.

here is an example: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202020271/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053


It's one of my favorite threads . . . and I don't even have an RV.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby essjay » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:54 pm

Get over it now - Your RV will NOT be dust free. It comes through the vents. You can sweep it off the floor every day - but there is no way to keep it out. Especially during a dust storm.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Eric » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:20 pm

One other thing to keep in mind (along with the fact I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV) is that most dust allergies are not due to "dust", they are due to something in the dust: dust mites, insect bits, animal dander, fungi... The good news with playa dust is that it probably doesn't have huge amounts of any of those (except maybe brine shrimp eggs, and who knows how many or few of those there are).

Take reasonable precautions, have a HEPA filter mask in case you do get an attack, and if your not with a registered theme camp you might want to be near one of the med stations if you think you might have a reaction (ESD outposts at 3 & 9, main ESD is in Center Camp). You'll probably be fine.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby AntiM » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:46 pm

Eric is right about the dust, it ins't. Dust. Dust aggravates my asthma ... house dust, and yes, it is the mites and pet dander. Playa dust doesn't bother me much at all.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:51 pm

It's actually pretty amazing what the playa dust does not aggravate despite causing cracks in feet, etc. My eyes were encrusted with dust and tears after forgetting my goggles during a burn, but after shaking down my contact lenses remained clean and my eyes didn't feel like they had shit in them despite squinting through a dust storm. Now sawdust... that is bad shit.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby trilobyte » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:55 pm

What Eric & Savannah said regarding playa dust (super-fine alkali dust, not the normal household dust that aggravates your asthma).

Another suggestion/recommendation - get a mat or small piece of carpet to plop down on the dust at the bottom of your RV's stairs, and make sure people take shoes off before coming in. The mat seems tiny/trivial, but it's huge for dust abatement (even for people camping in tents).

I'm sure you already know to bring an extra inhaler (or backup set of any meds you may need), and for your own peace of mind, take note of the nearest medical tent to where you camp. You'll also notice that they have an easy-to-spot blue neon cross at night. You'll probably never need to make a visit, but sometimes that little extra bit of info can help reduce any anxiety you may be feeling (I've known a few folks with severe asthma issues, and in a couple cases anxiety has been a big factor).
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby annemarie » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:34 am

Thanks for the replies, all. Wanted to post back with our experiences--we were able to keep most of the RV remarkably dust-free after all. What was probably most helpful was that we sealed up all the windows on the outside with silver bubble wrap and painters' tape--this also kept the RV deliciously cool. The second most helpful thing we did was to have plastic bins for our shoes, outer layers, and backpacks in the front of the RV, as well as a stash of baby wipes with which to clean off any exposed skin before entering the rest of the RV. So the front two seats got white with dust, but it stayed pretty localized to that area. Finally, we kept all our dirty and even our sort-of dirty clothes in plastic bags, instead of letting them lie around the RV. Having a mat around helped, too.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby ibdave » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:43 am

the main reason you got lucky this year is that we had PERFECT PLAYA and NO WHIT-OUTS... Glad it worked this year.. I have taken my RV for 13 yrs... I gave up long time ago.. yes it's mine and I don't have to answer to the rental co... 8) 8)
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby eachin » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:11 pm

I realize it's too late for this year's burn, and I'm no expert having never been to burning man (next year hopefully!), but I know a guy that uses his truck to do some pretty serious expedition/overlanding in some very extreme conditions, and one of the ways he keeps dust out of his canopy covered truck bed is via positive pressure. Just run an air pump with the intake on the outside of the RV that passes through a filter (I take it this would have to be a serious filter to deal with playa dust), and have the output somewhere in the RV to create positive pressure in the RV thereby ensuring that any airflow through cracks and seems etc will be from the inside out.

That said, I'm sure you'll need to take lots of other steps, and this setup was used in a pretty small space (truck bed with canopy), I'm not sure what kind cubic feet per minute would be required for a larger space.

I suppose another option could be a tank of compressed air that is released at a controlled rate via a regulator in order to create the positive pressure.

Naturally, this would be most advantageous during a dust storm.

Anyway, just some ideas for next year in case anyone stumbles across this thread.

Edit: I just had another thought. running a compressor will generate heat, not a big deal but not exactly helpful, on the other hand, allowing compressed gas to expand will have a cooling effect as the expanding air absorbs heat out of the environment. I'd be curious to know if this would actually be measurable or negligible...
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Snow » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:52 pm

I agree that the dust that causes allergic reactions is different than the dust you will encounter in BRC (there will be a FUCKING LOT OF DUST, don't take 2011 as an example!). I'm mildly allergic to house dust (and sawdust) but I'm perfectly ok with playa dust, I could probably even snort it.

To seal up an RV enough and attempt to make a positive pressure system would be a technical challenge and might not even be feasibly possible, and that is a GREAT reason to try it! Wouldn't it be easiest to reconfigure the already in place heater fan? Filtration would of course be necessary (we'll save that for later) but you just need to use that fan to move air from the outside to the inside. Accomplished by changing the intake hose routing. You don't need to have much of a pressure increase but due to the incurable leaks you'll need to move a bit of air volume. Compressed gas is an great idea if you mixed in some gasses to make it interesting, perhaps a little He or N2O. Otherwise you'd need a LOT of breathing air canisters! A typical scuba tank only holds about 80ft^3 of air.

Of course my HAZMAT training tells me you'll need a decontamination zone to decontaminate your protective clothing (level A chemical suit or perhaps a tutu)/respirators and exposed skin of the contaminants of concern (playa dust and sparkle pony dander). This would need to be atmospherically separated to truly be effective. Basically we'll need to build a clean room in a dust storm (our safe zone). The outside world would be effectively the hot zone (exclusion zone) only to be entered fully suited (and properly intoxicated). Perhaps if one had one of those toy hauler trailers, the garage part could serve as the decontamination zone. It'd be great for hauling all your outside stuff like shade, gallows and flame effects, and you could live in the RV part.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Snow » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:59 pm

Of course to do it in style you need to drive your steampunk moon buggy into the decon zone in the back of the steampunk space shuttle, where you remove your steampunk space suit. Hmmmm :twisted:
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Eric » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:06 pm

Snow wrote:Of course to do it in style you need to drive your steampunk moon buggy into the decon zone in the back of the steampunk space shuttle, where you remove your steampunk space suit. Hmmmm :twisted:


Yeah, my brain is going there as well...
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Drawingablank » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:12 pm

The 2 biggest factors to keeping casual dust out:

Look at the outside windows - the rubber usually has 2 slits on the bottom of the window frame - these are vents so use painters tape or frog tape to seal them!

Look on the outside wall above the stove - that plastic rectangle is a fan vent - tape it shut and don't use the stove fan.

A good regimen to prevent bringing dust in on body clothes will still be needed, but the 2 tips above will eliminate 99% of the passive dust entries.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby happydragon » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:08 am

This was my GF's first burn, and she was terrified because she has asthma and has had some pretty bad reactions to airborn dust in the past. (really glad it was such light dust year for her) but as our last ditch plan before the medical tent we brought a hepa air purifier for the RV. The few times she started to feel like she may be having a reaction, we headed back, started the ginny and shut her in with the purifier running. Between that, shoes off and keeping doors and windows and vents shut, I was actually surprised when I got back home at how little dust there was in the RV this year as compared to last year.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby essjay » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:31 am

This year was NOT normal. Best playa (rock-hard) and weather I have ever seen. Dust was down significantly. Didn't have to bunker-down for a dust-storm once in my 9 days on the playa this year. I wish we could have this every year. The hard playa was very nice for bike-riding.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:45 pm

I have been successfully maintaining a dust-free RV at BM since 2000, minus the four or five burns I've missed in between.
Painter's tape is indeed your friend. Bring lots of it. The already-mentioned places to tape (windows and stove vent) help, and I've found that taping all external access hatches also helps. Many sources of dust entry only reveal themselves during a dust storm, so just bust out the tape and apply as necessary.

My BIG secret is a Rainbow vacuum cleaner. Playa dust is so fine it gets past or clogs virtually all dry filters, but the old Rainbow vacuums suck everything through a bowl of water in the bottom. I just turn mine on and let it run, and it does a hell of a job cleaning the air. If you're lucky you can score one on craigslist fairly cheap. And you can even vacuum your stuff if you want.
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Re: Keeping the RV dust-free (well, as dust-free as possible

Postby daft » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:08 pm

I have found that leaving blue tape on the moho for a week peels off the paint.
I just close off all the windows and try and shut the door during day even when getting another beer. By evening its cooling off enough to go in, hit the gen and jack the air and to get the micro up.
I would rather hang in the shade of the monster during the day than hole up in it and use the gas to run the gen to run the air to keep me comfy.
Back to the dust, I think the answer is to figure out a way to put up a structure on the outside the door to be the clean room entrance, and just stumble on that one as it seems so much trouble.
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