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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jpitman
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by jpitman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:08 pm

FIGJAM wrote:
jpitman wrote:As long as we are all geeking out on swamp coolers, I thought I'd pass this along. I have absolutely no connection to this company and don't benefit from anything they sell. Just thought it was a cool video which includes what has to be a 4 foot x 4 foot evaporator surface. HUGE! Maybe good for some of those super big enclosed camps.



Ranger Daddy James

Heres some good pics of standard coolers.

http://www.google.com/search?q=swamp+co ... 60&bih=596

Ohh! Swamp cooler porn! Those photos make me want to spend some quality alone time with just me and my swamp cooler. Turn the lights down low, get a into something a little more comfortable, lay in front of my swamp cooler, put in some ear plugs and then roll over and go to sleep. I think I'll do just that out on the playa.

Ranger Daddy James

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MikeGyver
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MikeGyver » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:47 pm

So, gave up on computer fans and got a desk fan and some ducting and it seems to work pretty well.
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

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sjs
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sjs » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:20 pm

So is there going to be a swamp cooler party or what?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:21 pm

sjs wrote:So is there going to be a swamp cooler party or what?

Absolutly! As soon as you organize it. 8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

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tenhigh
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tenhigh » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:29 pm

So, I got everything built for the bucket cooler. I tested the fan and tested the pump. I was feeling pretty good about it so I spliced and soldered the fan to the pump and gave it a shot. Pump is going strong, but the fan isn't moving. I took it apart and tested the fan again on its own. Seems like its dead. Any idea what happened?

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sjs
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sjs » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:12 am

tenhigh wrote:So, I got everything built for the bucket cooler. I tested the fan and tested the pump. I was feeling pretty good about it so I spliced and soldered the fan to the pump and gave it a shot. Pump is going strong, but the fan isn't moving. I took it apart and tested the fan again on its own. Seems like its dead. Any idea what happened?
Weird. It seems like it'd be hard to fry the fan with too much juice because there shouldn't be enough juice around to fry it. Sounds more likely that some contact got broken the process... I'm presuming there are no obvious wires hanging off that used to be connected. In the process of installing my fan I halfway-stripped one of the wires and had to re-tape it to avoid short circuits.

tenhigh
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tenhigh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:26 am

Thanks Figjam and everyone else here. There's nothing obvious to me. I was thinking about splicing the wires above the connector in case the contact there is bad, but surely then I couldn't return the fan. Bummed...

Image

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:40 am

Since it's this late in the game, I would test above the connector, as you are going to WANT this cooler working.

How much is your comfort worth?

I'm not aquanted with that fan, but if it was me, I would'nt care how much I had to butcher the wires to make it do it's damn job.

It was working, now it's not.

Test test test!!!
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"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

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tenhigh
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tenhigh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:59 am

Alright. Butchered the wires and ran a lead so it was long enough to connect to the battery terminals. Its not spinning, but it is moving a bit when I touch to the terminals. Bad motor? I'm baffled. Any other thoughts/options? I found a fan locally that does 130 CFM, but that sucks compared to this one. Its the recommended TK-123 rated at around 215 CFM ... Would 130 CFM be reasonable?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:59 am

Sound like a "better than nothing" alternative.
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

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sjs
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sjs » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:05 am

tenhigh wrote:Thanks Figjam and everyone else here. There's nothing obvious to me. I was thinking about splicing the wires above the connector in case the contact there is bad, but surely then I couldn't return the fan. Bummed...

Image
Why is that black wire coming from the fan disconnected in your photo? I can't actually tell what the black and red wires going into that connector connect to, but they should of course connect to the respective black and red wires coming directly out of the fan. Typically the color code for these fans is:

- black: ground
- red: 12v power
- yellow: fan RPM detection

You probably already knew that and have been doing it properly, but it's tough to tell based on that photo. If you had accidentally been connecting one of the wires to yellow instead I could see a scenario where the fan got a tiny jolt of power as you described.

tenhigh
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tenhigh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:46 am

SOLVED!

Thank you Figjam. You are indeed GOOD. The wiring was really confusing because the red and yellow went into the connector from the fan. I wasn't really familiar with the controller wire and all. Not sure how I had it wired to get it working originally as the black from the fan was not connected to anything. I switched the yellow with the black and now its humming. Thank you again!

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sjs
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sjs » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:04 am

FIGJAM wrote:
sjs wrote:So is there going to be a swamp cooler party or what?
Absolutly! As soon as you organize it. 8)
Cooler-Con 2011
Tuesday at 5:00PM
Camp Bioluminati @ 6:30 & Anniversary


Bring your swamp cooler! Meet the other fabulous people from this epic thread! Fix, troubleshoot, and invent!

I can have some power/batteries, so if you're coming from far away don't bother bringing your own. However, if you're nearby it might be helpful to have a couple of extra batteries.

Bioluminati is also the home of Pimp Your Bike. We'll gather in the pimping area.

Map:
http://whereareyoucamping.org/#1311642528271102

firstmanonmars
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by firstmanonmars » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:05 pm

Hey all,

I built one of the sexy bucket coolers for Rites of Passage. Totally loved it.

I found it didn't "cool down" the yurt too much. It did very well to humidify the yurt, and definitely dropped it maybe 4-5 degrees from normal ambient temperature. But realistically, it was more of a "cool air to blow on your body" kind of machine (we directed the vent down onto our bed). But certainly I wasn't getting 15-20 degree temperature drops even at the exhaust port, which is what I've seen in some of the descriptions/photos in this thread.

I built a pretty stock unit from FIGJAM's instructions except for the drill holes. I only had a 1.5-inch bit, so I created many 1.5" holes rather than the larger holes seen in the pictures on this thread -- though I suspect total evap surface was probably equivalent. An aluminum dryer vent tube ran sealed from the swamp cooler into the yurt. Generally we kept a small air-filter-sized window open on the far side.

Just want to know what people's experiences were this year, and if my experience is abnormal or just about right.

(FIGJAM, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!)

Booger Presley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Booger Presley » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:30 pm

firstmanonmars wrote:Hey all,

I built one of the sexy bucket coolers for Rites of Passage. Totally loved it.

I found it didn't "cool down" the yurt too much. It did very well to humidify the yurt, and definitely dropped it maybe 4-5 degrees from normal ambient temperature. But realistically, it was more of a "cool air to blow on your body" kind of machine (we directed the vent down onto our bed). But certainly I wasn't getting 15-20 degree temperature drops even at the exhaust port, which is what I've seen in some of the descriptions/photos in this thread.

I built a pretty stock unit from FIGJAM's instructions except for the drill holes. I only had a 1.5-inch bit, so I created many 1.5" holes rather than the larger holes seen in the pictures on this thread -- though I suspect total evap surface was probably equivalent. An aluminum dryer vent tube ran sealed from the swamp cooler into the yurt. Generally we kept a small air-filter-sized window open on the far side.

Just want to know what people's experiences were this year, and if my experience is abnormal or just about right.

(FIGJAM, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!)
I built one and used it in a smaller 4' Hexayurt and it was amazing!

I ran it one morning when I was hungover and it was hot as hell. Two of us lounged in the yurt for 5 hours drinking water and napping in the cool air. It was actually cooling so well we had to use a blanket during the day.

I had installed an exhaust fan in the ceiling to vent the warm air and never even used it. I would let the dog door flap and it was enough to cool it well and still keep the dust out.

I think the size of the space is the issue. My yurt was 6' at the peak and about 6'6" across inside, so the volume of air needing cooling was much less. Next year I am upsizing both the yurt and cooler. I am going to use the smaller setup for a cooling hut in front of camp for weary travelers.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:04 pm

firstmanonmars wrote:Hey all,

I built one of the sexy bucket coolers for Rites of Passage. Totally loved it.

I found it didn't "cool down" the yurt too much. It did very well to humidify the yurt, and definitely dropped it maybe 4-5 degrees from normal ambient temperature. But realistically, it was more of a "cool air to blow on your body" kind of machine (we directed the vent down onto our bed). But certainly I wasn't getting 15-20 degree temperature drops even at the exhaust port, which is what I've seen in some of the descriptions/photos in this thread.

I built a pretty stock unit from FIGJAM's instructions except for the drill holes. I only had a 1.5-inch bit, so I created many 1.5" holes rather than the larger holes seen in the pictures on this thread -- though I suspect total evap surface was probably equivalent. An aluminum dryer vent tube ran sealed from the swamp cooler into the yurt. Generally we kept a small air-filter-sized window open on the far side.

Just want to know what people's experiences were this year, and if my experience is abnormal or just about right.

(FIGJAM, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!)
There MUST have been a problem with your cooler if you only got 2 to 4 degrees cooling.

The Playa is dryer than here where I built and tested the coolers.

The dryer air makes them work even better, so I'm not sure what your problem is.

My unicooler worked just as expected, even to the point that while I waited all day monday for exodis with the shade packed up, the playapod stayed nice and cool.

Again I ran it all week without being conservetive on power, and did'nt have to recharge.

I brought the bucket cooler and offered people off the street "some cool air".

They would sit for a couple of minutes in front of the cooler while we talked, then have to move from getting COLD!

Heres some pics of my camp (across the street from "Burning Sky" where they drove people out to the airport to skydive. On the 5 o'clock spoke at H.)

Image

Image

Image

Image

Every thing worked as designed.

Haveing my ice chest just inside the door was very convenient for grabing snacks and the ice lasted MUCH longer with it in the "cooler" enviornment.

Great Burn!!! :D 8)

So now is the time to tell your tale of success (or failure) with your cooler.

Details please, so we can get you all fixed for next year!
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:26 pm

I was'nt going to go out side today, but I felt compelled to show you this.

Keep in mind that the humugity is 20% right now and the cooler was only on for 5 minutes.

Outside temp.

Image

Inside temp.

Image

8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me

tspinning
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tspinning » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:06 am

Hey FIGJAM,

I met you on Wednesday, we camped next door (had the big van that was parked next to you when you woke up). Thanks again for all the ideas and assistance given in this thread. We had a good experience overall with the swamp cooler however our yurt was huge (6ft x 8ft sides) so the volume of air inside was too much for the single cooler, but it sill provided a nice fresh stream of air right on the lounge/chill area of the yurt. Also packing 4-6 people in it probably didn't help, anyway next year/time we're gonna do twin coolers and revel in our arctic palace! Hope the rest of your burn was spectacular, and again, great meeting you!

Cheers all!

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atomicray
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by atomicray » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:08 am

I am new to the site so I missed this thread, but I have lots and lots of desert, tropical, and arid environments experience.

One of the easiest ways to create a temperature barrier is to incorporate a dual shield and allow air flow between them.

For example a single person tent with a simple light colored/white (metallic film cloth would be even better) tarp installed over the tent...the tarp absorbs/refracts the direct radiant energy allowing the tent to create a secondary barrier that will provide a surface for any incoming air to transfer heat between the layers which will create a natural updraft drawing heat up and away.

The best case of a primitive heat transfer shelter would provide that the internal layer never has direct contact with the sun. So a 6'x6' tent with a 12'x12' tarp over it.

There needs to be a 10-15% gap between the two surfaces to gain the best updraft situation. So a fair base rule is at least 1' of a gap if possible.

Even a complex or rigid construct can benefit from a second surface to act a solar shield...you see this often with RVs and trailers in desert settings as a standing open sided garage (posts and a roof).

*****

A layer of black hose on rigid solar shields makes a great second use of the radiant energy, hot water.

*****

The idea of a simple fan to increase air flow is smart...even in direct sun exposure a fan of any kind will help transfer the heat away from the skin with the evaporating sweat.

The swamp coolers with radiators is more complex and useful tool but in a tent it seems a bit of excess...I would go with larger tarp first...a full coverage tarp will help defeat sun energy, rain, snow, etc. as well as providing a covered space around the tent for chairs...a primary shade source.

A cheap and easy tent helper, beyond the tarp is a solar fan. Easy to make a simple fan using a DC fan and a sidewalk solar light...you can put a three way switch (light on...off...fan on)...whole project should run about $12 each...a would use one of these for each person/space.

A really good thread...I will have to read through all the posts :shock:

Atomic Ray
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strangeloop
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by strangeloop » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:18 am

Image

I had what I considered good success with my first swamp cooler at my first burn.

In the heat of mid day, at 100+ degrees, I was able to blow out 72 degree air from the cooler and cool my entire tent to about 87. It got the most use when I wanted to sleep a couple extra hours in the morning. Not being as hot as the middle of the day, it worked even better.

I used this fan and this pump connected to a lawn & garden battery.

Some comments & improvements:
  • I could only find 5" insulated ducting, when I wanted 6". I could have used the 6" for more air flow.
  • I had a lot of water leakage from the holes in the bucket, thus using much more water than I should have, but I think I still used less than 3 gallons per day.
  • A stronger fan would have been nice to blow more air in.
  • Add shade over my tent, or a canvas tent and it would be paradise.
Since I didn't want to fly home with it, I gifted it to the Poisoned Palace, so hopefully it sees more use on the playa. Thanks for all the suggestions here!

ranger magnum
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ranger magnum » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:05 pm

i built the bucket cooler as a way to humidify the air in our rv, and as a supplement to the a/c. i used a cigarette lighter adapter, and plugged it in directly. about the only thing i would do differently is use a bigger fan. the 107cfm dayco wasn't enough for a small rv.
Praise the Lowered

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:14 pm

We found this one to be much more affective.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8547/ ... 6c435s1108
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Packoderm
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Packoderm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:17 pm

I had a shade canopy set up over my motorhome and to the side, and it never got hot enough to bother turning on the swamp cooler. My girlfriend napped all though the day sometimes.
(currently Zeke Chaparral)

rubymermaid
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rubymermaid » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:39 pm

Thanks for your design and help FIGJAM. I successfully made and used my 5 gallon bucket swamp cooler at Burning Man this year! I'm thinking of trying a bigger version next year. We shall see.

mrfunsacramento
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mrfunsacramento » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:57 pm

Reporting from the playa...

I left BRC in 2010 with the thought that if I was going to bring my wife, I was going to need an air-conditioned hexayurt.

I built the box cooler out of plywood, coupled it with the Costco 115ah battery and the HF 45 watt solar panels. Worked fabulously. My wife would head in for an afternoon nap, and would return saying that she knew it was time to get up because she was getting too cold. We had plenty of power, so no issues running it on high for hours.

Just some extra notes...

While it was originally held together with glue and silicon, the fan fell off as I was loading it, which got me to reattach it with a cleat underneath, and plumber's tape. I also rethought the whole "no screws" idea, and drove in a bunch of screws to the sides and base. While before it felt fragile, now I feel like I could throw it around.

While it worked as well as I could have hoped, it's hard not to wonder if I could've done a better job of implementing the design. Is there a way to know whether it's working at max efficiency? Is the temperature of the water a clue? To that end, I'll be looking at getting a bigger pump (any ideas?), taking the metal filter cover off and flattening the edges, getting new pads to really fill the box all the way to the top. I could see that the pad was uniformly wet by looking through the fan from the inside, but this seems to be a big design issue.I also want to work on the lid. I had it hinged to lift front to back, but the box was so close to the wall, I couldn't really get the lid to open very well. I ended up taking off the hinge, and building a gasket out of yurt tape, but I suspect there's a better solution available.

I'm also looking at a way to get more ventilation in general. This seems to be the big hexayurt issue, as I know my yurt felt stuffy, and everywhere I went I saw yurts with newly cut holes in the roofs and walls. I had a nine inch hole in the roof covered with a sheet metal contraption I got at Home Depot, but I put in on the same (leeward) side of the yurt as the door and AC. Next year I'll put it another one on the windward side, and see if I can rig some sort of solar exhaust fan. I'll also cover all the roof seams with foil tape to cut down on the ambient light (and heat) that comes in that way.

Figjam --- thanks so much for this concept and all your efforts to distribute these ideas. My biggest regret is that I didn't get to meet you. I walked by your camp several times a day on my way to the loo (I was in Hushville at about 5:04 Funeral) and recognize your camp from the photos you posted, but was too glazed to make the connection between your online image and the image on your tarp while I was actually walking by it...maybe next year.

Image



Image

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:25 pm

Sounds like you did a great job building your cooler!

To check how well it was working, you just need to check the outside temp, then check the temp of the air coming from the cooler itself.

Normal playa dry humidity should allow a temp drop in the 30 degree range.

The stuffiness is a venting issue as the air has to be able to flow out of the space as fast as it's coming in.

The roof vent you chose is not letting enough air out.

Something I found out this year was that having the cooler on the windward side allowed me to just have the pump on and still get some partial cooling without the fan.

Did you notice any issue with dust?

I only had dust that came in on me and my clothes. 8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

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mrfunsacramento
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mrfunsacramento » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:20 pm

I had no issues with dust, but then again, seemed like a pretty calm year, and I had the cooler (and door) on the leeward side of my yurt.

Clearly I need to pick up a thermometer.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:27 pm

The little cen-tech I use came from HF.

http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contac ... 93983.html
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atomicray
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by atomicray » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:51 am

Harbor Freight does have some great deals...but you must weigh the checks and balances...some things are best considered single use like some of the hand tools, but keep them for converting into wedges, prybars, etc.

The thermometer looks like one of those great deals :D
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hookahdude
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by hookahdude » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:05 pm

I will be building one of these starting with next week's check. Once built, it will be shipped from my location in Mi. to a secret staging layer in NV. I will post costs for this portion of the experiment should you be a FIB (Fly In Burner)...
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