Safe Heating Solution for Living in a Vehicle

Safe Heating Solution for Living in a Vehicle

We went back and forth on heating for the truck.  We were set on a Camco Olympian Wave Catalytic heater, but not sure which one.  Catalytic heaters are great because they do not emit close to as much carbon monoxide like a standard propane heater would (however, they do burn oxygen and produce a small amount of carbon monoxide so we still have a Combination Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Alarm and keep our windows cracked whenever the heater is on).  But yes, they are certainly more expensive.  We thought the safety of these heaters far outweighed the added price tag.  We started with the Wave 3, but then decided we wanted to mount it to the roof of the camper, which you can’t do with the Wave 3, so we switched to the Wave 6.  The Olympian Wave-6 is HUGE and puts out a ton of heat, too much for our truck topper (perfect for the trailer!).  So, we moved the Wave 6 into the trailer and repurchased the Olympian Wave-3.  An important note about the Wave Heaters is that they cannot get dusty.  You can destroy one of these heaters very fast by letting it hang out in the desert during a couple of windy days, so the dust covers for these things are mandatory, so just assume the price of one of these is the combined price of the heater and dust cover.


Since we couldn’t mount it on the ceiling in the truck, we had to figure out where to put it so it wouldn’t be in the way.  Another huge concern was having to put holes in the truck topper.  The more holes, the greater chance for leaks.  We already had holes in the topper where we mounted the solar, so we decided to take advantage of those.  We could either mount it so that the heater mounted near the back center or on the left or right side.  We decided on the side so that the heater wasn’t in our way as we entered and exited the camper.  We went to the local hardware store and decided to brainstorm there.  What we found was a 3ft square metal bar and some straight brackets.  We put the square metal bar up in the camper where the solar mounts were, and measured where to drill holes.  We bought some 2 ½’’ bolts and added some extra nuts to give some clearance between the camper shell and the top of the Wave 3.


We then took the straight brackets and unscrewed the already existing screws in the back of the Wave 3 and attached the brackets.  We then drilled holes in the metal bar for the brackets and bolted it in.  A quick note is that the screws in the back of the Wave 3 are really little, and they are holding together some stuff that looked like could easily get misaligned and be difficult to realign.  We were extra careful to hold everything in place while attaching the flat bracket so that it all went back together smoothly.



We then put our 11-Pound Propane Cylinder in the storage compartment below the heater and connected the hose to the heater and hooray!  We now have heat in the truck!

Haley cozy and warm in the bed

To keep us extra toasty, we have also put Reflectix up on all of our windows in the truck topper.  This was really easy.  We just put the Reflectix over the windows and traced them, leaving a 2’’ gap on the outside so that we could attach the Reflectix to the walls.  We did that by cutting up Velcro with a back adhesive and gluing pieces to the edges of the Reflectix.  It works really well.   As a note, we have used Velcro for so many things in the back of the truck since it has the fabric lining in it.  From toothbrushes to tissue boxes to cup holders.  Velcro is king.



2 thoughts on “Safe Heating Solution for Living in a Vehicle

  1. Hey guys! This is Geoff from Saint George (the long-haired scientist that crashed your campsite). First, I just wanted to tell you I’m enjoying your blog! Keep up the adventuring and posting.

    Second, I might be getting a job in Orange County, California, and the cost of living is so high there we’re considering living out of a camper. If I get the gig, I would want advice from you guys, but I lost your contact info when I got a new phone. How can I reach you?

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