The temp differences in our 3 similar wind up campers at Xmas when trying to kee

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:23
ThreadID: 75169 Views:3760 Replies:8 FollowUps:13
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Just back from our Xmas hols with my 2 brothers and thought you may be interested in our setups for trying to keep our cool and the actual temperature differences between all 3.

We were all in wind up camper vans, me a 95 Jayco Swan, Bros 2 in a 05 Corimal and Bros 3 in a 70s Viscount. I though it would be interesting to check the actual temps inside all 3 when looking at our various setups. We all decided to put a large silver tarp up, but each did it different. I keep a good size gap between the tarp and van/annexe roof. B2 simply lays his tarp directly over his van roof to avoid the tedious job of getting it all up high; and B3 had his tarp up off one end of his van/annexe only due to lack off support poles etc. Inside temps were taken in the same place, height etc and were:

Me 25.6 degrees
B2 was 32.1 degrees and
B3 was 27.9 degrees.
Outside at the time it was 34.6 degrees.

So I guess all the work involved sticking my tarp up is worthwhile after checking the temps. We were all camped directly next to each other. I thought the later model Corimal would have had better insulation in his fibreglass roof than my older metal Jayco one. Apparently it doesnt help him at all though. Funnily enough it was 29.9 degrees in B2's annexe when i tested it so it proved the gap over his annexe was working okay but was being harshly treated by the heat inside his van pumping out into his annexe from his fans running inside. We all had fans runnning at the time too. I found inside our annexe was just slightly cooler than our van but think this was due to the larger gap between the annexe roof and the underside of the tarp.

I find it takes longer to put up the tarp properly secured etc than to put up my van, annexe, bed flies etc. Maybe next time i spend the extra time putting the tarp up my SWMBO will agree it is really worthwhile in the end rather than complain about how long it takes after seeing the numbers firsthand for herself. And thats not even taking into account how much rain it also kept off in the first week of our break. We collected plenty of drinking water off our tarps during that rain too. Now all I have to do is work out a quicker way to get it all up and I am set....

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Reply By: Rob! - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:35

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:35
The temperature readings without the tarp would have been good to see. Nice experiment though.

AnswerID: 399202

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:43

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:43
Sorry Rob, but after the amount of time it took me to put the tarp up in the first place there was no way i was going to pull it down to check the figures for a comparison ;)

I know that since I have used a large silver tarp over my setup I have enjoyed much cooler temperatures inside. I alwas thought it would be around 5 degrees cooler not as high as i measured at Christmas. Will be interesting to see if Bros 2 now decides to take the extra time next year to put the tarp up properly to maintain an air gap between it and his van/annexe. Cheers ....

FollowupID: 668190

Reply By: Ian & Sue - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:45

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 16:45
A gap is the way to go - a lot of the old onsite vans around the Pilbara have a second roof which is around 8" or so above the original.

Great to read your results but one would have to ask - didnt you have better things to do while you where camping. LOL. (Sorry)


AnswerID: 399205

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 17:47

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 17:47
Hi Sue

I have also seen many onsite vans with the setup you describe. For camping I have seen setups with no tarp, a tarp directly on the van roof or tent roof and also a tarp with a gap between it and the van/tent roof.

You know what usually happens when you sit around drinking, the mind starts wandering and ... well you get the picture or in this case the results - cheers mick
FollowupID: 668199

Reply By: Boobook2 - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 18:22

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 18:22
Hmm, roof racks would provide a nice gap.
AnswerID: 399226

Follow Up By: Mark Howlett - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:19

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:19
I was thinking the same Boobook. With some foam or something on the corners to not put holes in the tarp.
FollowupID: 668214

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:16

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:16
even with something like roof racks (and i have looked at several designs including my own) the tarp still needs to be tied down to the ground. also the size of my camper van roof would mean the spacing would allow it to sag so then requires another rack in the middle. where does it end?

Anyway the last thought about these i had was to use those blow up type roof racks which would roll up small for packing but then it would block airflow from one direction when they were up.

Another thought i had was to have a long roller type awning on my off side and then pull it out and over the whole setup. Problem is it would be to short in length. I am still thinking and will work it out one day just in time for me to sell it and get something else no doubt ;)

I currently use a 20 foot square tarp and wish it was larger. the biggest hassle is trying to stop it sagging in middle when it rains. I currently have a long square section roof rail that runs up the middle and sits on a pole at each end. it allows the rain to run off perfectly but is all a pain at the time putting up. it is probably between 10 to 11 feet up in the air too to get over everything

thanks for the feedback
FollowupID: 668248

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:30

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:30
Just use one of those gym blow up balls people use, there very large, have plenty of strength in them. they usually use them for yoga, back exercises etc maybe even two if you have a big area to cover, the weight of the tarp with it been pulled down by ropes would be enough to stop the balls flying off ??? No need for heavy roofracks with sharp edges to worrry about. Regards Steve
FollowupID: 668311

Reply By: Mark Howlett - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:18

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:18
After some stinking hot weather up North in 2008 I too put a tarp over our Trak Shak. I didn't record any temps but we went from not being able to be inside the camper one day (even with a fan), and comfortably sitting in it the next. As you can see, the tarp rests on the very top of the roof frame, allowing for plenty of space between the rest of the roof.

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AnswerID: 399239

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:19

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:19
Nice set up Mark. you would be surprised how much cooler it would be if you could get it up off the top of the roof frame to allow air flow over the whole camper. big difference now anyway by the sounds of it
FollowupID: 668249

Reply By: Tadooch - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:52

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 19:52
Hi PradOz

In thread 75140 last night we were talking about thermal or solar blankets. They make a big difference over a standard tarp.
AnswerID: 399241

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:30

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:30
HI - thats what got me thinking about writing this. I thought i would write this separately to 75140 so if anyone wanted to know what the differences are it wouldnt be lost in that thread if they didnt actually go back in and look. I have seen on here and other caravan forums people ask about what the temp differences may be when using a tropical roof setup. Most people complain about the setup time and equipment needed so I guess the perfect setup is still to be found ....
FollowupID: 668253

Follow Up By: Tadooch - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 23:35

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 23:35
Good idea PradOz. I read your aircon thread as well.

I spent xmas in the camper at my brothers just north of Caboolture. Had all my windows open and was under the solar blanket up the back with some tree shade.

It got cool enough to put a t-shirt on and pull a sheet over. Woke around 9:00 on boxing day (good sleep in as was cool). It was already hotter outside, & in the house, than in my camper!
FollowupID: 668264

Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 20:21

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 20:21
When we go camping with everyone, sometimes up to four couples, first thing up is thw big silver backed tarp for shade, then we setup underneath.

My hat off to you for 1: taking the time to do the job right
2: not taking short cuts.

You have reaped the rewards of that.

Might i suggest two people with poles, put poles in tarp on short edge and drag the tarp from one end of the camper to the other.

walk down the long side of camper and then all it is to do is set height and peg.

i do that with our tent fly.

AnswerID: 399244

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:42

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:42
Thank you Christopher

I am usually fussy like that and prefer to do a job properly or not at all. SWMBO sometimes can get a bit frustrated by me because of it.

I have tried what you suggest but might add you need to secure the tarp temporarily onto the pole with a rope looped over the tarp and over the pole and hold the other end of the rope with the pole or the wind can make the whole process messy. My tarp height ends up between 10 and 11 feet from memory which allows air to move under it and over my van roof and annexe.

This time I lay the tarp out lengthwise along my roof but left it folded up about 1 metre wide and didnt pull it out until the camper van roof was wound up. I secured one edge of 2 of the corners to the camper with a bungy cord to stop it flying away or moving when i pulled it out straight. I also attached 2 other bungy cords on other side so i could reach it to pull it down when the roof was up.

I found this the quickest and easiest i have ever done it by doing that. i did try it that way a few years back but that time i unfolded it more right across the full width and length of the roof but the wind came up before i could secure it enough and blew it off the roof. Of course i had just wound the roof up when it happened so i then had a harder job because i was too stubborn to wind it all back down and start again. Anyway it was simpler this year so if i can just remember what i did i will be right next year. Pity my memory isnt that good at times but i am sure i will be reminded when the time comes by SWMBO. cheers....

FollowupID: 668257

Reply By: S&N - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:16

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:16
we did this last Australia day at sheep yard flat! a friend and us both have a tambo camper. we put one of those black and silver tarps over the whole thing and noticed a massive difference in temp between our camper and theirs. the only problem was when the wind picked up a little and tore 2 of the corners off!!!!! thinking of getting 2 of them sewn together or something, to make it stronger!

any ideas?

Shannon & Nicole
AnswerID: 399278

Follow Up By: PradOz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:24

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 22:24
Did you have it tied down using the ropes with the springs on them? I tried using them and also 2 ratchet straps where needed but this was too strong on one side for me too. I may try using either a double spring setup or longer springs on those ropes. The tarp needs to be able to lift up in the wind but not take off.

The perfect setup would probably have a small square section in the centre cut out with a raised roof over that. Then the air and wind would flow straight up and out and not flap the tarp so much. Are you handy on a sewing machine?? Have a look at some of the cheaper pergola setups from bunnings etc with the canvas type roofs and you will see what i mean about the centre raised roof section. I will have to think a bit more about that and see what i come up with....
FollowupID: 668250

Follow Up By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 07:58

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 07:58
I use spring and on medium to heavy pull, this has shaved my two most expensive tarps to date in wind that you could take off in. lol
FollowupID: 668282

Reply By: TassieD - Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 10:45

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 10:45
Being a wind up camper could you fit 2 shaped bars, like they use to hold the middle of ute covers up, on top of the camper before winding up?

If you had them running front to back its then an easy guide to slide the tarp over with the required gap underneath?
AnswerID: 399333

Follow Up By: PradOz - Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:18

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:18
Hi TassieD

I was looking at the roof racks that Jayco manufacture for their range of campers and was thinking of getting one of them. They are curved front and rear so would allow tarps to slide over and keep the gap like you suggest. Only problem is the rack is probably too short as it is about half the length of my roof and would make the tarp drop onto the roof at front and rear but keep it off at the centre. I am not sure if they make a longer one but will look into it and see what they say. I think it would be easy enough for them to do it but you know what manufacturers are like when you want something different. I made my own on a previous shorter camper but it had squarer corners.

Thanks Mick....
FollowupID: 668309

Follow Up By: HGMonaro - Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 13:42

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 13:42

If you wanted to use existing roof bars or install for other purposes, you could use them as mounts for TassieD's suggestion. If this frame the only thing the roof bars would be used for, you could bolt it on permanently. Something like this...

Cheers, Nige.
FollowupID: 668334

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