Winter camping insight (Need for Insulation/Heater)

Hello, I am picking up my GFC platform camper in March. I currently have a Decked drawer system in my truck bed. I am debating whether I want to pull the Decked system out and insulate the bed and reinstall the drawers before picking up the camper. I plan to spend a lot of nights in the truck as I travel a lot and do plan on sleeping in the camper during the winter on cold nights for getting early ski runs in.

My question is if anyone has slept in the camper without insulation in their truck bed or camper on cold nights (Cold being low teens) How effective would a propane or diesel heater be without insulation? Can I get by with a good sleeping bag/quilts?

I know this can be a very subjective topic considering differing opinions on comfort, but just curious if anyone has experience or insight to share.

Thank you.

My Tacoma with recirculating air through the diesel heater in -10 and a 5kw heater will get up to 80+ degrees if I let it. No insulation. If I decide to run the heat all night I usually keep it on the lowest setting so that it isn’t actually “warm” but keeps the condensation down. Or I set the timer so it turns on a hour before I am going to wake up and cook off the condensation and force me to get up cuz I am roasting…

In short the heater will do its job… that said I would still prep as though you don’t have it (crap happens)

I use a buddy heater to take the edge off before bed and in the morning, but a good bag is all you need.


Awesome, thanks for the tips!

@Millertyme1990 , I want to point out something that wasn’t obvious to me when I first started looking at heaters. Propane heaters produce water in their exhaust as a byproduct of burning propane, so they make condensation worse. Diesel heaters exhaust outside the truck, so they don’t introduce additional condensation.

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This is true for propane heaters that have the combustion in the camper like the Buddy Heaters. Propane heaters like the Propex models use forced air to heat and exhaust outside of the camper so work the same as a diesel.




I bought a sewing machine and made insulation. It works pretty good even without a heat source. I don’t have a diesel heater yet but it’s in the mail! Gonna add that to the project soon hopefully and it’s gonna be so warm and toasty!"

Can you post some pics? Would be cool to see how you managed it. I keep thinking about it, vs buying some of the ones that will be coming out (or may have by now)

I routinely camp in single digits with a diesel heater and no insulation in the winter. I don’t run the heater overnight while I’m sleeping (get a good sleeping bag), and turn it on in the morning to let it run for a few minutes before getting out of the bag. Yes… insulation and whatnot would probably make it more efficient, but one gallon of diesel lasts me 2-3 days and I keep an extra gallon Jerry can in case it runs out before I can find a gas station. Walls and ceiling will be frozen every morning, but have a towel ready for when you turn the heater on and its easy to wipe it dry. It honesty gets super cozy in there; when the heaters running I’m usually hanging out in shorts and a tshirt. Primary issue is snow blowing up inside through the open bottoms of the doors when its windy. Planning on putting some Velcro on that eventually but really its a minor nuisance.