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Building an Arctic - Cold Weather Pack


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#41 Ronin

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 05:07 PM

You do not want to use spaceloft or any of the other aerogel insulations!   They are essential a fiberglass batt, impregnated with an aerogel dust which gets everywhere and is horrible to work with, requiring gloves and dustmask.   The batts are fairly stiff and would not work well for this application.   I use this stuff for some very specific applications in a high altitude research project, and while it does work well, it is really unpleasant to be around unless it is fully encapsulated.

 

Also, consider the thermal loss out of the rest of the camper - there is no point insulating the soft sides more than the rest of the camper.  I think the walls and roof of the camper have 1" foam insulation, but you need to add the conduction path through the frame, single pane windows and roof vents to the calculation, meaning the effective insulation is probably more like R-3 or R-4, so there is not much need to go above this for the soft sides.    I have used 'warm window' insulation for a previous camper arctic pack, and it seemed to help a little, but did make the arctic pack more cumbersome:

https://www.fabricde...insulated-shade

 

Thanks for sharing your first hand experience working with Spaceloft. Watching the attached training guide the sheets look to be flexible and neither installer is wearing gloves or face masks. Is this the same material you've worked with ? But again, as you state just throwing an insulation blanket on the soft sides will not keep the camper from heat loss. This brings me back to my original concerns of what the gain would be of having an Arctic Pack.

 


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#42 ckent323

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:03 PM

Rando wrote:

 

"Also, consider the thermal loss out of the rest of the camper - there is no point insulating the soft sides more than the rest of the camper.  I think the walls and roof of the camper have 1" foam insulation, but you need to add the conduction path through the frame, single pane windows and roof vents to the calculation, meaning the effective insulation is probably more like R-3 or R-4, so there is not much need to go above this for the soft sides."

 

 

FWIW:  Based on extensive research and reading about insulating my house as well as working closely with the Thermal Engineers on Spaceborne scientific instruments for 40 years (I am a instrument Systems Engineer - mostly Opto-Mechanical)  I concur with Rando's comment above.

 

I have not yet heard back from my colleges on Spaceloft (I am very familiar with metalized mylar multi-layer blankets but not spaceloft).

 

What I believe Rando was saying is that blanketing the soft sides only makes sense up to matching the R-value equivalent to the insulation in the hard sides and top (which is on the order of R-3 or R-4) 

 

Using a better insulator with higher effective R-value in one location if you do not use it in the others doesn't really accomplish much 

 

This brings up another issue.  The lower portion of the campers is Plywood.  Plywood has an R value of only about 1.25 per inch.

 

So the aluminum body and top may have an R-value around 3 but the soft sides and the base have an R-value around 1.

 

Of course putting an R-3 or R-4 liner around the soft sides in combination with the existing insulation in the Aluminum top and sides will help keep heat in around the overcab bed area even if the floor area is much colder.

 

 

The insulation in my 2007 Keystone is some kind of white Styrofoam which has an R-value around 5 per inch but, as Rando points out, the Aluminum studs and rafters in the top, walls and the glass windows brings the effective insulation down to the range of R-3 or R-4.

 

So all this said using a material that is more than R-3 per inch is not worth the extra expense (or trouble) unless you also upgrade the insulation in the top and sides as well as retofit double pane windows.

 

Regards

 

 

Craig
 


Edited by ckent323, 04 November 2017 - 06:24 PM.

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#43 rando

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:27 PM

Having spent some time working with this stuff, I always wear a dust mask and gloves.   I don't think it is necessarily a health hazard, but the dust (aerogel) has an amazing propensity to dry out your skin, and make you cough like crazy if you inhale it.   When you are cutting or moving it generates a lot of dust, and as it is super hydrophobic it is hard to wash off.   It is plenty flexible for installation in a building, but folding up an arctic pack made of the stuff would be harder - it is like a thick felt or the double layer reflectix type insulation. 

 

As for the insulation value - just the dead air space between the arctic pack and the vinyl wall will get you an extra insulation of R 1 or so and the surface effects and the insulation of the material itself (which is kind of fuzzy) is probably another R .5 or so.    However the best indication is practical experience - the camper is much warmer (probably 10F more above ambient) with the arctic pack without the furnace running, and the furnace cycles noticeably less often with arctic pack installed.  It is also more comfortable with the pack installed - you don't feel the radiative loss to the bare liner.   Even at the same interior temperature, it feels warmer with the arctic pack. 


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#44 Ronin

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 08:06 PM

Having spent some time working with this stuff, I always wear a dust mask and gloves.   I don't think it is necessarily a health hazard, but the dust (aerogel) has an amazing propensity to dry out your skin, and make you cough like crazy if you inhale it.   When you are cutting or moving it generates a lot of dust, and as it is super hydrophobic it is hard to wash off.   It is plenty flexible for installation in a building, but folding up an arctic pack made of the stuff would be harder - it is like a thick felt or the double layer reflectix type insulation. 

 

As for the insulation value - just the dead air space between the arctic pack and the vinyl wall will get you an extra insulation of R 1 or so and the surface effects and the insulation of the material itself (which is kind of fuzzy) is probably another R .5 or so.    However the best indication is practical experience - the camper is much warmer (probably 10F more above ambient) with the arctic pack without the furnace running, and the furnace cycles noticeably less often with arctic pack installed.  It is also more comfortable with the pack installed - you don't feel the radiative loss to the bare liner.   Even at the same interior temperature, it feels warmer with the arctic pack. 

 

My idea is to just sew velcro to the leading edges of some type of flexible lightweight material to attach it over the length of the canvas. I'll want to pull the blanket off and roll or fold it up when I pull the top down. You mention warm window insulation- would a single layer of this material work?? I'm not looking for total insulation of my camper, just something that will make a noticeable difference.


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#45 rando

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 10:04 PM

 I would just go with the Kimberly Clark Evolution fabric that FWC and most folks here are using.  It does make a noticeable difference in how warm the camper is AND you can leave it in place when you put the top down.   A single layer of the warm window fabric (which is a multilayer quilted fabric itself) would maybe make a little more of a difference, but you run the risk of not being able to leave it installed.  The other nice thing about the Evolution fabric is that it absorbs essentially no water so it won't get wet with condensation and it is super easy to cut and sew.   


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#46 buckland

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Posted 30 December 2021 - 10:57 PM

Neither my wife nor I have the sewing ability for this ...though being a self-reliant sort I sure wish I could. I absolutely cringe at the nearly $900 for the pack but ..... for those that have them are they up there in the "oh...absolutely worth it" category. (I have a few things in it). 


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#47 FreezingMan

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 03:18 AM

We went with the warm windows fabric for our arctic pack upgrade. In my opinion having a good vapor barrier is key if you camp in low temperatures. We still get ice at the camper ends where the fabric does not extend. Overall it’s a huge improvement over the fwc arctic pack. We had a couple times where it was it was difficult to drop the camper due to ice buildup between the liners when using the fwc pack. We added external rigid insulation around the hard sides and place removable sections over the windows. With all this we use less propane and temperature is more constant throughout the night. The coldest we’ve camped is around-20f. Starting the truck was the biggest concern.
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