Snug as a bug in a Safari

NOAA issued a Wind Warning as the first cold storm of the season barreled down the Pacific coast and made its way to the mountains midweek during our first camping trip of the season.  We saw clouds moving in as we ate bratwurst and a salad Tuesday evening and then battened down the hatches by taking mats to the truck and the table display and setting into our Airstream Safari.

DSC_0045 Airstream away from trees

Our favorite site here puts the Safari in full sun that maximizes the effectiveness of our rooftop solar panels and distances the trailer from the surrounding trees.  Wind gusts up to 65 mph were predicted, so I moved our truck out of harm’s way since it was under a tall pine tree with large and heavy pine cones.

DSC_0042 Pine tree with heavy cones

During the night we could hear the wind high up in the trees and raindrops on our trailer.  The temperature in our trailer was 55° when we awoke, and 49° the following morning.  We were reluctant to use the trailer’s furnace while doing non-hookup camping because it can quickly drain battery power and we weren’t sure when the sun would return and recharge our batteries.  We experienced similar conditions here last spring, and after that trip we found a solution.  We bought Mr. Heater Portable Buddy, MH9BX, indoor-safe (if used as directed by the “Operating Instructions and Owner’s Manual”), radiant heater.

DSC_0003 Mr Heater Buddy

We carefully read the instructions, viewed a review* and tried it out at home before bringing it along for its first test in the field.  For safe indoor use, the instructions say, “This heater requires a vent area of 9 square inches (example 3″ x 3″ opening) minimum for adequate ventilation during operation.”  We kept the bathroom vent and door open (our bathroom vent has a diameter of 6″, which is equivalent to 28.28 sq. in.).  For additional safety, the main door was left slightly ajar, and our carbon monoxide detector alarm never sounded.  The instructions also say, “keep any objects at least 24 inches from the front of the heater.”  We placed the heater on wood and a mat to ensure that the vinyl flooring immediately in front of the heater would not be damaged.

DSC_0099 Mr Heater in Airstream

We were pleased with its operation.  The first morning Mr. Heater brought the trailer’s temperature from 55° to a relatively comfortable 65° within 2 hours on the “LO” setting and was turned off.  We used it three more times that day, for 1-hour periods, to bring the temperature to 65°.  Our 16.4 oz. propane cylinder lasted 5 hours.  The next morning we attached a new cylinder and took away the morning chill.  So our rule of thumb now is to take along a propane cylinder for every day that rain and cold temperatures are predicted when we are doing non-hookup camping.

So instead of shivering, we were cozy and snug as a bug in our Safari, while listening to the falling rain.*

DSC_0112 Cozy Mac & Tasha

*This is a link to a YouTube video.


  1. says

    We have had a Mr. Heater Buddy for 3 years now and LOVE it!

    We will run it overnight in real cold areas, on low. I have to change the propane once at night but have got real good at that in the dark and half asleep.

  2. Rich Luhr says

    Aha — yet another convert to the efficient method of heating your travel trailer. We use the “big brother” of this device, a 9000 BTU catalytic heater and it heats our entire 30-footer beautifully, even at freezing temperatures. Once you go catalytic, it’s hard to put up with the noisy, battery-hogging, dust-blowing furnace.

  3. Bill D. says

    Thanks, Roger, for sharing your experience with Mr. Heater Buddy.

    Note to readers:

    Roger writes that he has been traveling in an Airstream for the vast majority of his life. He was 4 years old when his family took him and their Airstream to Alaska. The family’s trailer was eventually passed on to him and this year he passed it on to his son, Aaron… and bought a 2012 31′ Classic Airstream and a 2013 F-250 to continue their Airstream adventures into retirement, just 2 years away… Congratulations Roger!

    See the story and wonderful photos in his blog:

    Casarodante – Our Airstream Travels, and Such

  4. Bill D. says

    Thanks, Rich, for your comments.

    Yes, not only did the furnace blow dust, it would set off the smoke detector at the beginning of the season.

    And now we don’t have to put up with the noise… Mr. Heater Buddy is virtually noise free… and we can enjoy listening to each other and to the sound of the rain!

  5. Beverly says

    Sounds like such a cozy trip. LOVE the photo of the pups under the blankets. Mr Heater sounds like the perfect solution to staying snug as a bug!