cooling your tent or van

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.
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Fusion
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Fusion » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:42 am

worldjoe wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:42 pm
I can say without a doubt in my mind that the bucket design is lackluster.
I learned a lot too. I built a bucket cooler and used it to cool a six-foot stretch yurt built from 1" R-max

I cut a 12 x 12 window in the yurt to vent the hot air.

My cooler followed the specs on this thread as closely as I could figure out. I missed the part about the inner sleeve of pad material sticking up to hold the drip loop in place. My hole-burning in the drip loop could have been a little neater, but I was getting good flow nonetheless.

I used a toilet flange to attach the duct to the bucket lid, and some aluminum flashing to mate it to a smooth 90° plastic elbow. A short length of heavy flexible dryer duct to go from there into the yurt.

This was intended as a chill space for my camp. The cooler blowed (blew?) a steady stream of air that averaged 65 degrees. We didn't use it very often as this year was relatively cool as Burning Man goes- when the oad was dry, it would take a while for the incoming air to really cool down to 65 or less. The hottest I ever measured the output was 72°. Multiple people in the camp used my yurt to take naps during the hottest part of the day. It worked really well. Though, I think it could probably improve a bit if I wanted to take the time to tweak it.

Since I wasn't the sole user of the yurt and cooler, I installed a float switch to cut off the pump if the water level gets too low. Since the float switches aren't rated for the amp draw of the pumps, I installed relay to handle the draw. I had spares for both the pump and switch. The relay is rated for 10A ans was enclosed in a box so i wasn't too worried about it. Both it and the float could be bypassed if needed anyway.

My float switch came with a bracket meant for attaching to a condensate drain pan. I had to flip the float over to make it work, as they are meant to switch something OFF when the float is raised, and I wanted the opposite.

I used a zip tie to attach the bracket to my evap pad at the correct height to protect the pump. Since my pad is restrained by some wire mesh, that worked out well. We never ran it out of water but I did test it by hand to see if it worked.

Overall I was stoked for the cooler, and learned a lot. Thanks Figgy, you rock.
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:01 am

FIGJAM wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:05 pm
The bucket was never meant for a yurt and the unicooler was designed for yurts or bigger BECAUSE the bucket wasn't.

The pad has a "grain" that, when cut the right direction, doesn't sag. :roll:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:01 am

FIGJAM wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:01 am
FIGJAM wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:05 pm
The bucket was never meant for a yurt and the unicooler was designed for yurts or bigger BECAUSE the bucket wasn't.

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:23 pm

Fusion wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:42 am
... My cooler followed the specs on this thread as closely as I could figure out. ...
From the photo, using smaller holes you're a little on the low side for hole area. This may limit performance. You may benefit from adding a second row of holes (offset from those so you leave enough plastic for structure).
Looks like you've the necessary gap between the bucket side and the pad to allow air to flow down between them so air gets down lower on the pad and is flowing through a larger percentage of the pad. Overfilling with water would limit airflow through the pad. A second row of holes makes this harder to do.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:29 pm

Yup...….more holes!!!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by eighthbit » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:15 pm

Did 2 bucket coolers for this year's burn based on the original figjam design with 1 row of holes. Used 200 CFM fans and 3w water pump, wired everything up with barrel jacks for easy connection. Pulled about 3.5 amps to run everything at full speed. Worked exceedingly well, had two of them running into a shift pod and gave one to a campmate mid week because one was keeping up just fine given the mild weather.

For next year I want to wire in one of these 12v remote relays per bucket so I can lay in bed and kick the fan/pumps on independently once the sun comes up and the temp starts to rise.

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:33 pm

eighthbit wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:15 pm
... with 1 row of holes.
(it's not the number of rows nor the number of holes, but the total area of opening for letting in air flow. Some of the implementations have been very eclectic!)
For next year I want to wire in one of these 12v remote relays per bucket so I can lay in bed and kick the fan/pumps on independently once the sun comes up and the temp starts to rise.
I like the old bathroom solar heat lamp switch I got (salvage from sister's bathroom remodel). Twist the dial to the amount of time you want and the mechanical timer times down while the cooler runs. No power required. Super robust. Unlikely to fail.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:59 am

FIGJAM wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:05 pm
The bucket was never meant for a yurt and the unicooler was designed for yurts or bigger BECAUSE the bucket wasn't.
Something the design does not state. No mention of what the bucket cooler is for in the design, is it for tents, cars, spot cooler? I suspect spot cooler because that is the only thing I've seen it work for. I did the CFM math. I have just over 190CFM fan. 6 foot stretch yurt is 12'x7' floor, 6' at it's highest that's 504 cubic feet. My fan will take under 3 minutes to push out all that air.
FIGJAM wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:05 pm
The pad has a "grain" that, when cut the right direction, doesn't sag. :roll:
Also not mentioned in the design. Is it any wonder that people use chicken wire on their builds? I find the downward pressure on the pads causes them to warp over time, unrelated to grain. Warping means air gaps. Which is another reason I think the unicooler is far superior design. There are so many variables in the bucket cooler that aren't addressed in the step by step guide that it's improbable that someone would get stated temperature drops.

I still have never seen 20 degree temp drops from either design in even the best of conditions. It's clearly possible, but I don't think the bucket cooler design lends itself to achieving that goal. The unicooler design, at least, has fewer ways that things can go wrong.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:58 am

" No mention of what the bucket cooler is for in the design, is it for tents, cars, spot cooler?"

Read the title of the thread.

I used the original bucket cooler for 7 burns.

Never changed the pad, never had it sag, and didn't use wire support.

Tested before the first trip to the playa here in Az. where humidity is similar and got 30 degree drop in temp.

Samey same on the playa for 7 years as long as the humidity was under 10%.


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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by TT120 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:48 am

I went with a 250 CFM fan this year and had great results although the temps weren't too bad. I didn't really need to use it much. The bigger fan draws 3 amps on it's own but I didn't have any problems with my 3 year old marine battery and a 25 watt solar panel keeping it charged. I did take one afternoon nap and ended up with one of my feet right at the output and it got too cold and woke me up. Mostly, it was used as a spot cooler for my camp chair outside my tent. When I would get hot from working, I'd just go sit in my chair and point the output at me and it was awesome. I was getting about 18 to 20 degree delta at the output.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:05 pm

dragonpilot said the humidity was like 20%, so that would be in the sweet spot for what you got. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:52 pm

FIGJAM wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:58 am
" No mention of what the bucket cooler is for in the design, is it for tents, cars, spot cooler?"

Read the title of the thread.
Nice. I did miss that one. A 6 foot stretch Yurt is smaller than a van though.

I've already posted just like you, photos of temp drops, in this forum. So I won't bother doing it again. But your results don't change the fact that many people's results vary dramatically even in ideal weather conditions. I have 3 coolers bucket coolers now and none have seen anything over 15 degree drop in less than 10% humidity on hot days. I actually haven't measured the temp drop of my unicooler. Trying to get the bucket cooler to reach the temperature drops that you get nearly drove me mad. Fiddling with air flow holes, trying to solve for dry pad spots, trying to determine if the pad consistently seals with the bucket lid. It was all just too much to get right. I honestly don't think it's worth people's efforts trying to squeeze success out of the bucket cooler design if they are expecting the temperature drops that you got.

I say : Be happy with 15 degree drops, or try something else. If you get 20+ degree drops, you lucked out - congratulations. I look forward to watching Mosquito Coast.

I have not actually measured the temp drop on my unicooler. The Endless Breeze fan provides so much wind power that I view the unicooler design as an effective dust filter with a nice benefit that it drops the temperatures a bit. Although I would not be surprised to find that my unicooler does reach much better temperature drops. The significantly smaller pad size and the perfect seal (that can be tested while the unit is open) the pad creates with the vent both contribute to a much less likely situation where air is finding an easier path through the cooler without picking up water.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:50 pm

Most vans are 5x5x8 which is 200 cb ft.

And I thought you said your yurt was 579 cb ft?

There are lots of people getting variable temps from the cooler do to some small mistake or "change" they made. (mostly engineers.....go figure)

I tried to be complete and accurate in my instructions. so maybe I failed in some way. :oops:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:04 am

FIGJAM wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:50 pm
... There are lots of people getting variable temps from the cooler do to some small mistake or "change" they made. (mostly engineers.....go figure)
Changed the design or substituted different materials or parts that don't have the same specs, or an intentional "improvement" based on one aspect they read about, only without understanding all of the aspects that come together to make it work. Then wonder why it doesn't perform, or even doesn't work.

Classic missed details: pad against the holes, wrong fan specs, too small hole area, gap at the top, no shelter exhaust.

I think my favourite is people who use a powered exhaust fan, then wonder why it's hot inside, as the powered exhaust is sucking hot dusty air in through all of the air leaks in the shelter.

It's hard to figure out why people aren't getting good performance when they don't post photos, or say they used a 250 CFM fan, but don't identify the fan nor its specs (most miss that the fan requires a minimum static pressure, not just a CFM).

All of the people who followed the directions, used recommended materials and parts, and then had great performance, shows that getting it right isn't a matter of luck. Some don't get the performance they expected when testing, and posted photos so people could help them figure out where it went wrong, so they could fix it before they hit the playa and wanted/needed the cooling.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by justinn007 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:05 am

Upside down tote over it and nobody will be the wiser.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:22 am

For next year @ TTITD, I am rebuilding the bucket cooler .. Making the filter, water ring , water pump, fan, lid & wires into a cartridge in a 1 inch welded wire cage .. I just purchased a sitting room tent .. The tent is designed for a chair enclosed out of the elements .. Plan to be cooled, shaded, and out of the wind, while watching the parade of people .. Last year, the cooler was redesigned into a waste basket .. The shape was used the fit in the car, while waiting in the long entrance lines ..
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Fusion » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:12 pm

A six foot stretch yurt with 4 foot high walls is about 333 cubic feet. Should be ok with a good bucket cooler unless there's something I'm missing. Ours was great but again, it wasn't that hot this year. I only used one row of holes but they were sized and spaced according to the Figgy specs. 2" holes with 1/2" of plastic in between. As for the directionality of the dura cool, I wasn't really sure so I just went with the metal mesh to help it hold shape. Again, thanks to Fig and all the others who figured all this stuff out.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:50 pm

6 years in, I get 15 to 20 degree drops in a small trailer with a dividing curtain. Followed instructions exactly and sealed everything up tight on the bucket, pad, and lid. Only mod is the chicken wire to help stabilize the pad. Thanks for the thread, this is my favorite and most useful playa project! Works like a charm.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by QuantumDeep » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:29 pm

FIGJAM, I've told so many non-burners about and your designs. They think it's the coolest (pun intented) shit ever, and they're not even burners :P

What do people thing of this design:



I'd loooove to build a uni-cooler, but I'm flying in from Canada, and if possible, I'd like to make as many parts as possible beforehand. Looks like with this design, I could drill the pipes and make most of the structure beforehand, and then pick up an endless breeze fan, a tub and some other supplies in CA/NV.

Thoughts?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratty » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:27 pm

Hi Quantum. Welcome to ePlaya. Why don't you step over to the Greeters thread and tell us a bit about yourself. You look familiar. Have we met?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by QuantumDeep » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:51 pm

Ratty wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:27 pm
Hi Quantum. Welcome to ePlaya. Why don't you step over to the Greeters thread and tell us a bit about yourself. You look familiar. Have we met?
Did we meet at the first annual Trash Fence Sausage Fest? Or perhaps the dust storm shortly after that? I remember not remembering a whole lot of that morning in 2014. A lot of strange and awesome memories :P

Thanks for the welcome Ratty. Made a thread at the greeters station, and I'm looking forward to (continuing) to read these forums :)

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:37 pm

Research exactly where you will buy the fan.

I've only found them online.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratty » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:36 pm

The water looks so clean and pure. Will this system still work when the dust settles in it?
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:27 am

QuantumDeep wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:29 pm
...
What do people thing of this design:
... I'd like to make as many parts as possible beforehand. Looks like with this design, I could drill the pipes and make most of the structure beforehand, and then pick up an endless breeze fan, a tub and some other supplies in CA/NV.
Thoughts?
That 'design', assuming the components work as intended, will start with hot dry air, make it cool humid air, which will become hot humid air. It will run as a swampcooler until it has filled the space it is running in with humidity, at which point evaporative cooling is impossible until you get rid of the humid air and replace it with dry air. It's only practical for demonstrating the concept of evaporative cooling.

On the playa, you can do the same more easily with potable water in a spray bottle, spray to cool. Once it's full of humidity and can't cool anymore, then open door/windows/vent to let the humid air out, and dry (hot) air in, then spray some more water into the air to cool it evaporatively.

To have an effective swampcooler on the playa, it needs to be taking hot dry air from outside the structure, evaporatively cooling it, and filling the interior with that cooled dust-free air, thereby also pushing out any hot dusty air inside the structure. Lots of places to get it wrong. Figjam's designs work on the playa, are proven designs, IF you use the correct components (i.e. fan that has sufficient pressure (not cfm), and a pump that will work, and the media that can handle playa dust). And runs on VDC (battery, solar).

You can pre-source the fan & pump and take them with you, or order them delivered to a UPS Store in CA/Reno. Same for the correct media, so you're not depending on it not being sold out in Reno. (that media on ebay and others in Canada can go for over $200, when the price in the U.S. is under $15)(Google eplaya for delivery to a UPS store)
Flying in, remember you'll need to have a battery and sufficient water too. The rest should be easily obtainable in stores, either a bucketcooler or being more flexible in fitting the design into a plastic container for the others. Long job, but search through the thread for successful implementations in a garbage can, etc..

And, post burn, what will you do with the cooler's components. Pump & fan can go back home with you, or be shipped. Donate battery to ____ (DON'T leave it on the playa). Container?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by QuantumDeep » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:46 am

Canoe wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:27 am
QuantumDeep wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:29 pm
...
What do people thing of this design:
... I'd like to make as many parts as possible beforehand. Looks like with this design, I could drill the pipes and make most of the structure beforehand, and then pick up an endless breeze fan, a tub and some other supplies in CA/NV.
Thoughts?
That 'design', assuming the components work as intended, will start with hot dry air, make it cool humid air, which will become hot humid air. It will run as a swampcooler until it has filled the space it is running in with humidity, at which point evaporative cooling is impossible until you get rid of the humid air and replace it with dry air. It's only practical for demonstrating the concept of evaporative cooling.

On the playa, you can do the same more easily with potable water in a spray bottle, spray to cool. Once it's full of humidity and can't cool anymore, then open door/windows/vent to let the humid air out, and dry (hot) air in, then spray some more water into the air to cool it evaporatively.

To have an effective swampcooler on the playa, it needs to be taking hot dry air from outside the structure, evaporatively cooling it, and filling the interior with that cooled dust-free air, thereby also pushing out any hot dusty air inside the structure. Lots of places to get it wrong. Figjam's designs work on the playa, are proven designs, IF you use the correct components (i.e. fan that has sufficient pressure (not cfm), and a pump that will work, and the media that can handle playa dust). And runs on VDC (battery, solar).

You can pre-source the fan & pump and take them with you, or order them delivered to a UPS Store in CA/Reno. Same for the correct media, so you're not depending on it not being sold out in Reno. (that media on ebay and others in Canada can go for over $200, when the price in the U.S. is under $15)(Google eplaya for delivery to a UPS store)
Flying in, remember you'll need to have a battery and sufficient water too. The rest should be easily obtainable in stores, either a bucketcooler or being more flexible in fitting the design into a plastic container for the others. Long job, but search through the thread for successful implementations in a garbage can, etc..

And, post burn, what will you do with the cooler's components. Pump & fan can go back home with you, or be shipped. Donate battery to ____ (DON'T leave it on the playa). Container?
Hey Canoe! Thanks for all the insight. This is why I'm starting to think about these things now, so I have time to consider every detail. You've certainly given me a lot to think about. The current iteration of my plan (I've gone through several so far :P) is to rent a cargo Van in Sacramento, and stay in an airbnb there for a few days before heading out to the Playa, so having parts shipped there, picking them up and assembling the cooler is definitely doable.

My SO will be meeting me on Playa, so I'm thinking of getting a 55 gallon drum of water which I think would be plenty for both drinking and for the cooler. As for the battery, I'm looking at places that both sell and buy used batteries.

I agree that I could likely ship/carry most of the parts back, and recycle parts like the plastic bin and the vent grate.

You're absolutely right that this design has a lot of heritage and it's proven. Our last burn was 2017, and it was my SO's first time out there. After that unusually hot year, we've vowed to do as much as possible to stay cool this year, including shade design, building a yurt and of course the cooler :)

Watch it be super cold this year after all our prep :P

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:12 am

QuantumDeep wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:46 am
is to rent a cargo Van in Sacramento,
Do your research on who will allow theirs to go to BRC. And fees. And if still available. And if res will get cancelled and rented out to someone at a higher rate due to demand. This is the swampcooler thread. Google eplaya on renting cargo vans.
QuantumDeep wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:46 am
...
My SO will be meeting me on Playa, so I'm thinking of getting a 55 gallon drum of water .
Forgive me but my first resonse was bwaaa ha ha haaa.
That's a lot of water. And a lot of weight, even if you fill it at the Gerlach town water sales.
55 gal, 250 l, 250 kg, 550 lbs + drum
You might want to do some more estimating on your water usage. This thread for swampcoolers, google eplaya for other water needs.
Many, not all, of the white utility buckets at Walmart are food safe. Or get the flexible water containers so you can empty them and take them home with you.
QuantumDeep wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:46 am
...
including shade design, building a yurt and of course the cooler :)
Watch it be super cold this year after all our prep
A yurt too. A lot to do. And to dispose of after the burn. A yurt can be warm too. Something on the floor; a rug.
Shade & a yurt? Fine if you'll be sitting in the shade at your yurt. Kinda a waste if you're going to be going out and exploring BRC; you'll have a swampcooler to chill it down when you return to camp. And if you can build shade, you can throw a tent under it and chill it with a swampcooler. The raised tarp things (tarp & two poles) are on sale at REI right now. Their own brand to replace them has a split guyline - not as secure in wind as two guylines running to the top of each pole and to each tarp side anchor point. REI really missed the point with the split guyline. Again, google eplaya on solo shade.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:46 am

If you only use the cooler for napping or the hottest part of the afternoon, 20 gallons of water should do.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:34 am

Quantumleap, Just a second vote that you won't need a 55 gal drum and it would be impossible to lift or load without equipment anyway. Take a couple 5 gallon containers or a few smaller drums that you can actually handle.

Melted cooler ice works great in a swamp cooler as long as you keep it clean and often your camp neighbors will be looking to get rid of it anyway. I put a few drops of bleach in my swampie each day just to keep it fresh.
The FJ designs work great esp in a yurt or enclosed space. Good luck!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:43 am

LowePro wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:34 am
... I put a few drops of bleach in my swampie each day just to keep it fresh. ...
For me, not a f'n chance I'm putting bleach into the air I'll be breathing. yrmv - your choice...

Use clean potable water.

There are ways to manage cooler/cooler-ice to be able to use ice melt. Google eplaya on that.
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.

LowePro
Posts: 625
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:58 pm

Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:07 pm

A few drops of household bleach in a 3 gallons of water is less chlorine inhalation you'd experience from the air offgassing at a pool or hot tub. Washington Health Dept recommends 20 drops per gallon is actually suitable for *drinking*, so I'm not worried about a few drops in my cooler melt water. I prefer that over microbes or funky smelling water in the bucket. But that's just me! Of course people can take whatever safety precautions that work for themselves, thanks for the discussion. :D

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/BePr ... rification

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