Keeping your rig warm is very important, even if you are staying in warm places all year around, the desert and many places still get cold at night! Running the big on board RV heater to heat the whole RV uses more propane, and the power hungry fans use quite a bit of battery, as I quickly found out. The heater was also pretty loud on my older RV.
I needed a different solution that was less wasteful and more practical. I discovered many RVers and van dwellers especially, use mini propane heaters, so I went and got myself a Mr Heater and was very impressed with how much heat came off it and the over all performance.
Install Your Buddy
(Read instructions and safety procedures – Must have proper ventilation while operating and check for leaks with soapy water)
Now of course the heater comes with a little 1 lb propane bottles attached right to the side, so no installation is required and the heater is completely portable! However, the bottle doesn’t last very long, only around two hours (depending on heater setting) until you need to switch bottles. There are a couple cheaper and less wasteful options than buying new mini bottles all the time.
First if you already have a big propane tank on your RV, you can connect a hose right to the heater to keep it running much longer. Many people run the hose out the RV window and into the propane compartment, however, if you want something more permanent you can make a pathway feeding your hose through an outlet hole or drilling a new hole from the main area you want the heater to be into the propane compartment. than the hose will be available for you to connect the heater anytime, or connect the little 1 lb bottle instead and be able move it around again.
If you don’t want to bother with installing and routing a hose through your rig, another option is refilling the little bottles from your big propane bottle using a special adapter you can find here. This is the option I took, I fill 10 little bottles at a time, once they are all spent, I fill them up and it takes about 15 minutes. 10 bottles should last between 10-20 hours of use or more depending on heater setting (I always use low and all I’ve needed). This saves from wasting money on buying new 1 lb bottles all the time (Much cheaper to refill your big propane bottles) and It’s a huge waste to have to throw all those used bottles out after one use!
Overall, I’m very happy with my Buddy, much more sense able than running the big heater and if you have a van or no heater on your RV, this is a great option! It puts off plenty of heat and you can always isolate it to the room you’re sleeping in, shutting the door so your not wasting propane and power heating the whole RV when you don’t need to. I only used it a few hours before bed in the south-west when it got colder at night. Since I was always in warm places during the winter, I can’t say how well this would work actually in cold climates. If used in cold places you would probably for sure want to connect via hose to a big 20 lb propane tank.
- Plenty of heat, with three different temp levels
- Light, easy to move around, easy to store.
- Sensors for automatic shut off if tipped over or low oxygen
- Completely silent
- unit stays cool (besides the grill) to touch and can move after being on
- Good price
- 1 lb bottles don’t last long
- The pilot light knob can take a few times to work
- sometimes hard to screw on new 1 lb bottles
- Could get burned if you touch the hot part (not good for small kids)
There are a couple different models to choose from, the Big Buddy will keep you very warm and is ideal for bigger RV’s. There is also the Mr Heater portable Buddy, essentially half the big buddy, half the heat, half the size and half the price. If I had a smaller RV (less than 20 ft) or a van I’d stick with the portable buddy, that should be all you need. Unless you really can’t handle the cold than go big!
The cheapest place to buy the buddies are on amazon, linked below.
For the buddy connecting hose Click Here
For the 1 lbs propane tank adapter to refill them, Click Here
Thanks for Reading! What do you think about theses kind of heaters? Leave a Comment Below!
Happy Camping! and Stay Warm!