cooling your tent or van

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.

Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby fernley1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:04 pm

Thanks again for the links for the pump and fan. Got both on order today.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby sharpstick » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:09 am

I plan to make one for next year’s burning man trip. Living in Florida, it is difficult to transfer bulky stuff across the country. I can possibly do some of the building in Reno, but time is also limited.
One possible drawback of the standard design is that the area of the drilled holes is fairly small and the airflow is restricted. To avoid this, an open frame(stiff wire, hardware cloth, milk crate?) would allow more of the filter material to be exposed to airflow. or an airspace between the bucket walls and the filter might accomplish the same thing.
Another variation that would improve overall efficiency is to enclose your bed inside of a smaller tent within a tent. We’ve been doing that for years to keep dust and cold out. Now I just suspend a draped piece of thin dropcloth over the bed with two bamboo spreaders. the whole thing is suspended from the tent frame with loops of string threaded through the ceiling and over the frame tubes. the edges are tucked under the air mattress to close it up, and the sides can be clipped up to open both sides during the day. with a swamp cooler, the enclosed space that needs to be cooled is about 70 cu ft, as opposed to 700+ for a cabin tent.
as for a thermostat, I would look into the old fashioned mercury bulb style in the round housing(remember the one on your granny's wall?). Not sure what the amperage rating was on those, but they are pretty much voltage independent.
water: some people have mentioned using cooler water. I would only do that if it is pristine. we put all our ice in ziploks. when it melts, it is still potable, not rancid cooler soup. I wouldn't want to breathe that stuff any more than I'd want to drink it!
pump: some small bilge pumps have float valves built in so they don't run dry.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:40 am

Use the bucket for luggage.. Cut the holes. Duct tape over for travel.. Place the filter flat in your suitcase..Pump hose and fan will fit in the bucket bottom.. You can use a smaller (jell) battery but will have to charge it.. Ask a camp with a running generator.. You will need a small trickle charger.. Assemble it on the playa.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kowtow » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:08 pm

Sorry to sidetrack any topics going on right now, but I have a question about the Henry elastomeric coating for the unicooler or box cooler. I bought the Henry White Roof Sealant 289 http://henry.com/sealants/roof_multipurpose/roof/289whiteroofsealant and the product is easy enough to work with, but on bare plywood I can tell it's very easy to scrape away the dried coating if you drop something against the surface of the wood. If you drop a tool or piece of wood against the dried surface of the coating, it leaves a gouge down to the bare wood. It would appear you need to treat the surface with care, so as to not scrape away the waterproof properties of the coating. Any others have similar experiences?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:32 pm

You bought sealant, not coating.

Big difference.

http://henry.com/roofing/coolroofcoatings/whiteroofcoatings
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kowtow » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:24 pm

Since I don't get the differences even after trying to review Henry's site and Google, I'll ask the obvious question, what's the difference? I get that they are different products, but it's not clear to me what the purpose and big difference is between these two products. I was more concerned about getting a product that was elastomeric and white, which was VERY difficult at the home store here in the PNW.

In my elementary brain my having bought and installed Henry's 289 sealant means that I could use this product prior to installing a coating. Per the Henry site
Henry 289 White Roof Sealant is a white, elastomeric acrylic patching compound specially formulated for repairing and preventing roof leaks prior to coating with an acrylic reflective coating
. If the sealant doesn't adhere to the wood well, I don't see how using this prior to applying a "coating" is a good thing. Wouldn't a sealant generally be used to prepare a substrate for adhesion by another product (e.g. coating in this case). Since this sealant doesn't adhere I'm concerned any coating I apply is going to come off because the sealant hasn't "sealed" well.

Does the Henry product you use have a number? If so would you provide the information, so that others do not follow the same mistake I've made?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:19 am

The 287 coating is the last that I bought.

No prep, no primer, just put it right on the wood.

It dries into something similar to a sheet of rubber.

If you hit it with a hammer it would dent the wood, but the coating would flex with the dent.

Mine hasn't flaked or pealed.

The playapod is coated inside and out with it and is on it's 4th year.

I hose it out regularly. 8)

Used it on this box cooler the same way.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kowtow » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:29 am

FIGJAM wrote:The 287 coating is the last that I bought.

No prep, no primer, just put it right on the wood.

It dries into something similar to a sheet of rubber.

If you hit it with a hammer it would dent the wood, but the coating would flex with the dent.

Mine hasn't flaked or pealed.

The playapod is coated inside and out with it and is on it's 4th year.

I hose it out regularly. 8)

Used it on this box cooler the same way.



Henry 287 it shall be!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:29 am

Don't be afraid to slather it on thick for a cooler.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kowtow » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:46 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Don't be afraid to slather it on thick for a cooler.


Thanks FigJam. I used Henry 587 because I didn't want to buy 5 gallons of Henry 287 for one swamp cooler. It turned out great!

Image

I fired it up and was impressed to say the least. I live in the PNW and it was 69F and raining on the day I tested it out for the first time, so I didn't have high hopes. I was amazed to see that within 10 seconds the air temperature dropped over 10 degrees to 57F (ignore the 122F set point, I was using a meat thermometer). I'm using the 12vdc Endless Breeze fan, 12vdc Keedox DC30A-1230 mini-pump and the Aspen evaporative cooling pads (messy!!! DuraCool pads have to be way easier).

Image

Image

This was a crude first go at this project. I found the wooden box in the back of my work. It is a 16"x16"x20" x 7/8" plywood box that I coated first with Henry 289 sealer (by mistake) and then with Henry 587 coating. I used the 12"x12" air vents as FigJam had suggested in his design.

In all, thanks to FigJam, this was an easy project that anyone can tackle. It likely set me back a little more than $145 total ($60 Endless Breeze fan from Camping World, $30 Henry 587 roof coating from Home Depot, $30 on Aspen evaporative pads, $15 Keedox 60gph 12vdc pump and $10 PVC pipe and fittings), but with the remaining pad and roof coating I could make a second cooler for around $80 (fan, pump and fittings only).
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:14 pm

Nice job!

The only thing is that the box could have been taller for more water reserve and room for a case of PBR! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kowtow » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:18 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Nice job!

The only thing is that the box could have been taller for more water reserve and room for a case of PBR! 8)


Great idea. My thoughts are drifting towards using the melt from "clean" cooler ice and a float valve to maintain the water level in the 'swamp thing'. Then I not only don't have to worry about draining the cooler, but I can also spend a littler less time watching the swamp cooler water level and more time drinking the contents of the cooler.

I think I will employ a passive gravity driven system where the float valve in the swamp cooler opens and a hose from the drain plug of the cooler drains into the swamp cooler. I realize that the cooler likely won't 'melt' the ice at a rate of 3/4 gallon/hour, but at least it will offer a supplemental supply of near freezing water to the swamp cooler.

Thoughts....
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:35 pm

That will be fine.

I just want people to remember that the units can be kept compact for easy hauling to the playa if they don't have a lot of space. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:50 am

about how long does it take goop and silicone to cure? Would it be feasible to make your own waterproof box with bathtub surround material the weekend before the Burn?

Here's the situation: We are flying out to Burning Man this year. We will be camping in a Box truck with a door plug, want to use a Unicooler. With 1 4'x8' sheet of surround material can build 2 cooler boxes. I was thinking maybe I would cut the material for 2 waterproof boxes, assemble a prototype to get all the innards working and tested for one box but also make a second sort of prefabricated box I could keep flat to travel with. Then maybe glue it together during the weekend before preparations.

Not sure if the curing time would be sufficient. I could maybe UPS ship the assembled cooler but I am a little worried if the cooler box would survive shipping.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:02 am

24hrs. will be plenty of time to let the glue and silicone cure.

My new playapod has room for a bigger cooler, so I'm making it with a 20"x20" intake register.

This will let me take full advantage of the Endless Breeze fan on high speed.

The smaller register wouldn't let enough air through, so you may want to up the dimensions a little. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:15 am

yes we are going for a 30" x 24" version, 9" deep. We have about 800 CF to cool. I am struggling a bit on figuring out the best way to manufacture air tight lid. Most of your pictures are gone for your Unicooler lid post. It looks like you used the same brackets to insert inside the box top, then I assume you put on some foam or something to complete the seal?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby ridingnitro » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:47 am

Weather stripping, that's what I used to seal the top of my box cooler. That, along with a hasp to keep the lid closed has worked well for the last 2 burns.

Royal Turkey wrote:yes we are going for a 30" x 24" version, 9" deep. We have about 800 CF to cool. I am struggling a bit on figuring out the best way to manufacture air tight lid. Most of your pictures are gone for your Unicooler lid post. It looks like you used the same brackets to insert inside the box top, then I assume you put on some foam or something to complete the seal?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:11 am

Image
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:48 am

Not fully understanding the mysteries of electricity... this pump you recommend it says it is 3 watts.. but how many Amps is it's draw?

https://www.greenlivingforu.com/dc-subm ... or-battery

Trying to figure out battery plans for this pump and a Easy-Breeze fan.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FossaFerox » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:12 pm

Amps = Watts / Volts
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:23 pm

Pretty sure that pump uses .23 amps. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:23 pm

Hey Figjam,

How important is the depth of the cooler for cooling? I found this SlimJim for a unicooler..

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rubbermaid-C ... ifications

30" x 22" x 11" (at the top) but has these "venting channels" that cut inward, I would have to install the vents inside the tub, that cuts it down maybe only 6" between the pad and the fan.. would that impact the performance?

Putting the intake inside that "venting channel" depression would give me about a 13" by 14.5" intake, the Easy breeze fits perfect within the other side's channel.

I am trying to cool 800 sq feet, you think those dimensions are up to it?

(Ideally I would build a nice 30"x24"x9" box, but getting the box out there even flattened out in a picture frame shipping is more expensive than buying a readily available box in reno and redoing the cuts fresh. SlimJims are standard HD inventory.)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:55 pm

Couple of issues.

Absolutly nothing will stick to that box!

That means using brackets and screws to hold the fan and vent in place, then use 100% silicone for sealing.

The taper will add a small challange getting a good seal to the bulkhead.

Putting the vent intake inside is the way I do it anyway.

That size intake means you won't be able to use the fan on high speed as the intake won't allow enough air flow.

The fan on low will giver you a complete air exchange in a little over 3 minutes, which should be fine.

Will also work on medium speed if you need it. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:16 pm

Ok! Good to know.

Perhaps for the fan I will make an adapter plate out of some FRP, bolt it into the tub, seal it, then I can silicone glue the fan to the FRP. Makes the cuts on the tub in Reno easier too I think.

For the gasket to the bulkhead, I will have to see what kind of weatherstripping solutions I can find.. I suppose it should be closed cell. I will work on it.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:28 pm

Some scrape foam rubber will make a very adaptable gasket. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Royal Turkey » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:13 pm

I don't think gasket will be too tough but I don't think the FPR insert will work it's too tight a fit at the top and I don't want the fan cut out lower than the vent cut out. If I over fill we might get the fan wet - by the powercord no less :| ..

Actually looking at it again I might be able to get enough of a lip all around if put the fan's mounting plate just a smidge higher than the vent hole. I am looking just under 8" of water when full I calculate that to be a little over 4 gallons. but the top of the pump would get air at roughly 1/2 that volume I figure.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby swella » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:25 pm

THANKS for great info!

Guys, what I am doing now is pay a friend $20 per week to let me park my mini van in his spare parking space, use his shower, power, etc.. During hot days, I cover it with the cheapie variant of the Mylar Space blanket (no wind here). I live in my $900, 14 year old van, using a $30 per month, climate=controlled 5x5 ft storage space to hold stuff that I'm not immediately using, with a cat litter box for emergencies! :-) A wide mouthed jar handles liquid wastes. Often, a black garbage bag on the roof will heat up water enough for a sponge bath, and a kid's $5 inflatable pool will serve to catch the used water. A couple of 5 gallon water jugs see to it that water's handy, and a couple of "Life Straw" water filters mean that I can drink it.

I move twice per year, in order to mostly avoid the head and the cold. In the past, I have paid $120 per year for a "mining claim", upon which you have all the rights of an owner. BLM has over 1 million square miles of land west of the Mississippi, guys. One in the mountains for summer, one In the desert for the winter does away with most of your heat and cold issues.

You can rent a "tow-behind" little backhoe device, which uses your vehicle as the "counterweight". Near the top of a small hill, not on a flood plain, dig a slot large enough to accept your van. Scatter-hide the excavated dirt. Back your van or trailer into the slot, cover it with brush or a camo net. Use a mountain bike or small motorbike to get out to the main road, where you have another van parked (if town is too far to ride your bike) The van in the dirt-slot need not run, or even have a motor or tranny. In fact, having them removed makes the van much lighter, and not worth stealing. :-)

Rent and mount a tow bar. You can pick up old mini-vans that don't run for $300, and get $75 or so for the trannie and motor. If you go into town, don't leave much of anything in your (hidden) van. When I did this (for 3 years) I tried to always come and go in the dark, and to brush out my tracks when near the van. Some people will tear up your stuff just to be doing it, valuable or not.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Ano » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:11 am

Do box coolers still function if they are attached to a tent underneath a carport with all the walls/roofs up? Or would it not work out too well? I'm thinking that if I leave the windows open, it should be enough circulation?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:48 am

I can't imagine a carport sealed well enough to effect the dry air getting to the cooler.

If the carport starts to feel muggy, vent it! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby solemnraven » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:25 pm

Someone made a video for how to build the bucket cooler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHbQYajfGqM
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