Cooling our van?

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.
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Canoe
Posts: 3739
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Cooling our van?

Post by Canoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:47 pm

ses2sus wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:02 am
My group has now given up on the comfort of a cool van.... but our plan:

please tell me if we're stupid

dollar store reflectors on all the windows
carpet on the floor of the van
foam mattress
air cooling unit (desk size) with mister faced at a 16 inch fan

my friends scared we're gonna suffocate (CO poisoning)....

any tips? we wanted to bring an AC but too poor for a generator
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3739
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Cooling our van?

Post by Canoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:49 pm

ses2sus wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:38 pm
Canoe wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:47 am
ses2sus wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:02 am
My group has now given up on the comfort of a cool van.... but our plan:
> dollar store reflectors on all the windows
Yes. Use red Stucco Tape; low/no residue. Works much better if they're on the outside. Cut into smaller pieces so they're held well by the tape. But will they take the wind abuse.
Cut sheets of Reflectix to fit glass, can take the abuse on the outside, has some insulation too.
If you have enough reflective material, do the SE sides and the roof.
Point van at the SE, so the engine area is taking the early morning sun.

THANK YOU FOR THIS. I think budget wise we ruled out aluminet/reflection material for the tops of the vans. We were gonna use gorilla tape/left over hexayurt tape for anything we needed tape on the van. Will look into the Stucco Tape material difference.

> carpet on the floor of the van, foam mattress
sure
> my friends scared we're gonna suffocate (CO poisoning)....
How many people.

We're 2 people in each van


No smoking (CO). There should be enough air leaks to be fine. Crack a window; get a furnace filter to tape in place to keep dust out. Close when you're not in the van.

> air cooling unit (desk size) with mister faced at a 16 inch fan please tell me if we're stupid
This will provide some evap chilling until you've turned the hot dry air inside the van into cool humid air, then it will no longer cool (can't evaporate and produce chilling). The air will heat up until you have hot humid air. Open the door, let the hot humid air be replaced by hot dry dusty air, then you can spray again. People do the same thing, only without the fan and with a spray bottle. Make sure you use potable water.

> My group has now given up on the comfort of a cool van...
What's the cost of that mister and the fan? What power will they use? Do they need VAC, so you'll be buying and running an inverter too? You're planning on starting your car to recharge it's battery? And you have to keep dumping the hot humid air and taking in hot dusty air.

We're borrowing the fan and mister. Our camp has electricity (BR Boutique) so we'll use that to recharge our fans. I'm starting to understand the heat build up a bit more from your response

Or build a bucket-cooler to get chilled dust-free fresh air. Solves cooling and fresh air concern.
Don't substitute pads or fan and expect it to work well, or even work.
Bucket on ground (or on something to let it sit higher so the fan isn't working as hard) on the north or NE side of van. Run the vent straight up to one of the windows, opened enough for the duct plus another inch or two. Cut a piece of thin plywood or foam-board to fit the window and taped in place (stucco tape), with a matching hole for the vent for the chilled incoming air. Stick the duct in the hole, tape to seal. Now you need an exhaust, so the incoming chilled air can get in by it pushing out the air already in the van. There are some air leaks in the interior already, but crack a window enough to be getting good air-flow from the bucket-cooler. Make sure you close that cracked window when you shut the cooler off when you head out to explore BRC.
Using the van battery to power chilling will deplete it and abuse it. You need a deep cycle battery. Best deal is usually costco. Search this thread for the workable fans, pumps and battery capacity.
Thanks for all this information, we've been looking at swamp coolers. Just don't know if we have the budget for it. Will look again. Thank you!
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3739
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Cooling our van?

Post by Canoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:49 pm

ses2sus wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:40 pm
Canoe wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:47 am
ses2sus wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:02 am
My group has now given up on the comfort of a cool van.... but our plan:
Forgot to mention, we're in uhaul cargo van. There's a metal wall between where we sleep & the front seat. Front seat has the only two windows in the van that open. I think the concern with the swamp cooler system is we don't have a window to shove the pipe/exhaust piece out of.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3739
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Cooling our van?

Post by Canoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:50 pm

ses2sus wrote: I think budget wise we ruled out aluminet/reflection material for the tops of the vans. We were gonna use gorilla tape/left over hexayurt tape for anything we needed tape on the van. Will look into the Stucco Tape material difference.
...
Forgot to mention, we're in uhaul cargo van. There's a metal wall between where we sleep & the front seat. Front seat has the only two windows in the van that open.
...
  • Your camp may have extra shade cover that you can park under. If such is avilable and allowed, get under that shade.
  • Else see if you can park in the shade of something really big, like a cube truck.
  • Else if you're stuck out in the sun, park facing south-east.
  • Cover the glass with something reflective (not a floppy tear apart space blanket), as the heat getting in the front will transfer through to you. Left window, front window and right side window. They will all get sun. They will all get radiated heat from the sun-baked ground, and conducted heat from the hot air.
  • You should be able to sleep in until 9:00 am. Possibly 11:00 am. Sometime in there you'll have to start cooling or adbondon the van and go to a camp to chill out if you're not heading out exploring.
  • Do not use gorilla tape, or hexayurt tape or duct tape. Gorilla tape: sometimes it holds on the playa, sometimes it doesn't - you take your chances. Same for any duct tape, except the expensive stuff, like Gaffer tape. Stuff comes lose and blows around, the power that is will not be happy with the MOOP. They have the power to fine you or kick you out of BRC, or both.
    Both types leave a nasty residue. Although the residue of the hexa-tape can be fun to play with - for the first 15 seconds, then you're wtfits! You will not be happy. UHaul will be less happy. UHaul may give you a bill for that, which will make you even less happy than you were already not happy.
  • Stucco tape is cheap and proven on the playa. Holds in heat. Good inside or outside. Low or no residue. It's red.
  • Sounds like Reflectix will be out of your budget. Some dollar store reflective covers may take the wind, but most won't. Check out the cheap ones at the vehicle supply stores and wallyworld.
    - If it's not looking overly robust (compare with Reflectix), then you can cut it into smaller pieces, so it's held more secure. Tape a strip or square on at a time.
    - If you still have doubt, even though it does a much better job on the outside, install it on the inside. Even a 1" strip of glass not blocked will let an amazing amount of heat in.
    - Worst case: aluminium foil taped inside to the glass, shiny side out. Where it sags, make a tiny hole and patch it so the tape sticks to the glass to hold it in place. Or back it with cardboard.
  • ALL of them still let heat in (heat gain). There's no magic. It just happens slower with the better the treatment, so you get more time to sleep in when the sun rises at 6:19 am and starts baking the van.
  • When you return to the van, don't forget to open a front door and see if it's hotter inside there than outside. Let it cool off - don't run the battery dead by that having the overhead light on.
> We're borrowing the fan and mister. Our camp has electricity (BR Boutique) so we'll use that to recharge our fans. I'm starting to understand the heat build up a bit more from your response.

Give it a try. Just let the mister run, and the fan circulate the air. No need to try and drown the fan. Once it gets humid inside, you need to open the door to let the hot humid air out, and hot dusty fresh air in, so you have dry air that evap works with, and then you can start evap chilling again.

The old school tried and true is a hand spray mister - bring two or three per van - dollar store - the more industrial/robust looking the better. Carry one with potable water in it around with you on the playa, for a quick cool down. Try by spraying your arm with the warm water in the bottle: spray close, arms wet/warm, cools a bit; spray so the spray falls on your arm, spray starts evaporating as it falls, chilling the drops, chilled drops fall on your arm.
A spray or two can be a nice gift to give someone out on the playa.

> Thanks for all this information, we've been looking at swamp coolers. Just don't know if we have the budget for it. Will look again.
> Forgot to mention, we're in uhaul cargo van. There's a metal wall between where we sleep & the front seat. Front seat has the only two windows in the van that open. I think the concern with the swamp cooler system is we don't have a window to shove the pipe/exhaust piece out of.

Not cheap. But not expensive either.
The issue will be how to duct it in, and how to get an exhaust vent. What people have done before, is to leave a door open (secured so it can't blow around), and cover the opening with plywood, rigid foam sheet, or such. You need to be able to remove that when you go out exploring, so you can lock the door and throw your bucket-cooler into the front seat to secure it since it's not installed. When installed in place, seal it with that cheap Stucco Tape. Same for securing the bucket-cooler duct where goes through the hole you made for it in the partition/door. You need another similar sized hole up near the top, for an exhaust to let air out. If air can't get out, then the swamp cooler won't be able to push it's chilled dust-free fresh air into the van.
As it's a van, you may be able to do that with only half the door, making it easier. If you have two doors in the rear, make the partition cover one side and leave it in place behind the doors when you go out. When you're in the van, have one door open and secured, and the other door closed - Stucco Tape to seal the gap.

Gaping a door and filling most of it with rigid foam board may be the way for you to get fresh air, even if you don't use a swamp-cooler. Start with it having a small opening at the top and at the bottom, to try and let the hottest air out first. It will help get rid of humidity if you're trying your mister and fan, but I wouldn't expect it to keep up.

WARNING
Use google to search eplaya and UHaul and Rental. For a while, various vendors were prohibiting their rentals from going to the playa. They had a crew that come to BRC, looked for their vehicles, and towed them away. See if you can find out if this is still happening.

Also do that search on how to keep vehicles clean on the playa, and how to clean a rental up before you return it. Less chance of your getting a we-can't-rent-this-out-until-we-give-it-a-cleanup bill.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

ses2sus
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:13 am
Burning Since: 2018

Re: Cooling our van?

Post by ses2sus » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:49 am

Canoe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:50 pm
ses2sus wrote: I think budget wise we ruled out aluminet/reflection material for the tops of the vans. We were gonna use gorilla tape/left over hexayurt tape for anything we needed tape on the van. Will look into the Stucco Tape material difference.
...
Forgot to mention, we're in uhaul cargo van. There's a metal wall between where we sleep & the front seat. Front seat has the only two windows in the van that open.
...
  • Your camp may have extra shade cover that you can park under. If such is avilable and allowed, get under that shade.
  • Else see if you can park in the shade of something really big, like a cube truck.
  • Else if you're stuck out in the sun, park facing south-east.
  • Cover the glass with something reflective (not a floppy tear apart space blanket), as the heat getting in the front will transfer through to you. Left window, front window and right side window. They will all get sun. They will all get radiated heat from the sun-baked ground, and conducted heat from the hot air.
  • You should be able to sleep in until 9:00 am. Possibly 11:00 am. Sometime in there you'll have to start cooling or adbondon the van and go to a camp to chill out if you're not heading out exploring.
  • Do not use gorilla tape, or hexayurt tape or duct tape. Gorilla tape: sometimes it holds on the playa, sometimes it doesn't - you take your chances. Same for any duct tape, except the expensive stuff, like Gaffer tape. Stuff comes lose and blows around, the power that is will not be happy with the MOOP. They have the power to fine you or kick you out of BRC, or both.
    Both types leave a nasty residue. Although the residue of the hexa-tape can be fun to play with - for the first 15 seconds, then you're wtfits! You will not be happy. UHaul will be less happy. UHaul may give you a bill for that, which will make you even less happy than you were already not happy.
  • Stucco tape is cheap and proven on the playa. Holds in heat. Good inside or outside. Low or no residue. It's red.
  • Sounds like Reflectix will be out of your budget. Some dollar store reflective covers may take the wind, but most won't. Check out the cheap ones at the vehicle supply stores and wallyworld.
    - If it's not looking overly robust (compare with Reflectix), then you can cut it into smaller pieces, so it's held more secure. Tape a strip or square on at a time.
    - If you still have doubt, even though it does a much better job on the outside, install it on the inside. Even a 1" strip of glass not blocked will let an amazing amount of heat in.
    - Worst case: aluminium foil taped inside to the glass, shiny side out. Where it sags, make a tiny hole and patch it so the tape sticks to the glass to hold it in place. Or back it with cardboard.
  • ALL of them still let heat in (heat gain). There's no magic. It just happens slower with the better the treatment, so you get more time to sleep in when the sun rises at 6:19 am and starts baking the van.
  • When you return to the van, don't forget to open a front door and see if it's hotter inside there than outside. Let it cool off - don't run the battery dead by that having the overhead light on.
> We're borrowing the fan and mister. Our camp has electricity (BR Boutique) so we'll use that to recharge our fans. I'm starting to understand the heat build up a bit more from your response.

Give it a try. Just let the mister run, and the fan circulate the air. No need to try and drown the fan. Once it gets humid inside, you need to open the door to let the hot humid air out, and hot dusty fresh air in, so you have dry air that evap works with, and then you can start evap chilling again.

The old school tried and true is a hand spray mister - bring two or three per van - dollar store - the more industrial/robust looking the better. Carry one with potable water in it around with you on the playa, for a quick cool down. Try by spraying your arm with the warm water in the bottle: spray close, arms wet/warm, cools a bit; spray so the spray falls on your arm, spray starts evaporating as it falls, chilling the drops, chilled drops fall on your arm.
A spray or two can be a nice gift to give someone out on the playa.

> Thanks for all this information, we've been looking at swamp coolers. Just don't know if we have the budget for it. Will look again.
> Forgot to mention, we're in uhaul cargo van. There's a metal wall between where we sleep & the front seat. Front seat has the only two windows in the van that open. I think the concern with the swamp cooler system is we don't have a window to shove the pipe/exhaust piece out of.

Not cheap. But not expensive either.
The issue will be how to duct it in, and how to get an exhaust vent. What people have done before, is to leave a door open (secured so it can't blow around), and cover the opening with plywood, rigid foam sheet, or such. You need to be able to remove that when you go out exploring, so you can lock the door and throw your bucket-cooler into the front seat to secure it since it's not installed. When installed in place, seal it with that cheap Stucco Tape. Same for securing the bucket-cooler duct where goes through the hole you made for it in the partition/door. You need another similar sized hole up near the top, for an exhaust to let air out. If air can't get out, then the swamp cooler won't be able to push it's chilled dust-free fresh air into the van.
As it's a van, you may be able to do that with only half the door, making it easier. If you have two doors in the rear, make the partition cover one side and leave it in place behind the doors when you go out. When you're in the van, have one door open and secured, and the other door closed - Stucco Tape to seal the gap.

Gaping a door and filling most of it with rigid foam board may be the way for you to get fresh air, even if you don't use a swamp-cooler. Start with it having a small opening at the top and at the bottom, to try and let the hottest air out first. It will help get rid of humidity if you're trying your mister and fan, but I wouldn't expect it to keep up.

WARNING
Use google to search eplaya and UHaul and Rental. For a while, various vendors were prohibiting their rentals from going to the playa. They had a crew that come to BRC, looked for their vehicles, and towed them away. See if you can find out if this is still happening.

Also do that search on how to keep vehicles clean on the playa, and how to clean a rental up before you return it. Less chance of your getting a we-can't-rent-this-out-until-we-give-it-a-cleanup bill.
Thanks for helping us out with all of this. Our group really appreciates it. We're going to go in on the stucco tape and reflectix and filters for the windows.

Thank you again and again. We really needed this advice.

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