How to Heat a Campervan Without Electricity
The only reliable way to heat a campervan without electricity is to use a portable fuel powered heater.
Portable fuel powered heaters, like the Mr Heater (propane), output plenty of heat without requiring a connection to the vans electrical system.
More powerful non-portable fuel powered heaters, like the Webasto diesel heater or Propex propane heater, provide more heat than most portable fuel powered heaters, but require an electrical connection that draws up to a couple volts per hour (meaning you’d want a separate 12v lithium battery to run them for long periods).
|Heater||Mr Heater 9BX||Mr Heater 12HB||Mr Heater 18B|
|Output||4,000-9,000 BTU||6,000-12,000 BTU||4,000-18,000 BTU|
|Fuel Tank Size||1 Gallon||1 Gallon||1 Gallon|
|Max Run Time||5.4 Hours||3.6 Hours||5.4 Hours|
Getting By With Less Electricity
One thing people don’t often consider, is that reducing the amount of space you need to heat, will reduce the amount of power required to use an electric heater. This is the thought process behind using electric blankets (which are a great way to heat a campervan if you have a small power station and don’t want to use propane or other fuels).
Calculating How Much Heat You Need
As discussed in our article ‘what size diesel heater do you need‘, you can calculate exactly what size heater you need, by following this simple formula:
(Length x Width x Height of Living Space) x (20 BTU’s)
BTUs stands for British Thermal Units – 20 BTUs is the recommended amount of heat per cubic ft of space used in home heating and air.
If you apply this formula to your vehicle, you can calculate out how much heat you’ll need. One important thing to note is that the efficiency of your heater is greatly effected by how good your insulation is (and how many windows you have).
|Sprinter 170 Ext||15.75 ft||5.83 ft||6.58 ft||604.19 ft³||12,083|
|Ram ProMaster 159||12 ft||6.25 ft||6.41 ft||480.75 ft³||9,615|
|Ford E-Series||10.11 ft||6.13 ft||4.49 ft||278.41 ft³||5,568|
|VW Van||8.85 ft||4.925 ft||4.42 ft||192.65 ft³||3,853|
|Dodge Caravan||7.29 ft||5.16 ft||5.08 ft||191.09 ft³||3,821|
|Chevy Astro||10.5 ft||4.65 ft||3.90 ft||190.41 ft³||3,808|
|Ford Transit Connect||9.79 ft||4.05 ft||4.12 ft||163.35 ft³||3,267|
To conclude, portable propane heaters are the best solution for campervan heating without electricity. If however, you’re ready to invest in a more powerful, but slightly electrical dependent solution, consider a gas air heater.