Poll about heaters at high altitude

Hi all, I know this topic has been discussed ad nauseam in this forum and I've gone through old threads like Parking heaters at altitude and What is the BEST....High Altitude Solution for Heating? etc. but I'm not looking to rehash the same discussions. I'm only trying to decide between getting one or two Espar D5WSC diesel hydronic heaters with high altitude kits. For a 5 meter habitat box with 60mm foam GRP panels 5kW seems like it could be low for places like the Himalayas, but 10kW perhaps overkill. Unfortunately their 8kW heater doesn't work at high altitude or the decision would already be made.

So I would love to poll more experienced overlanders than me:
- What heater(s) do you use and what is their kW or BTU output?
- How big is the space that it's heating and how well insulated is it?
- Highest altitude you've taken this setup?
- Outside temp at these altitudes?
- How did it go?

Really appreciate any input! Hopefully this thread will become a source of concise real life data for anyone else wondering the same thing as well.
 

Mickey Bitsko

Adventurer
Might be quicker to ask which heater is best for YOUR INTENDED USE.
And cut all the bickering about what is GENERALLY BEST..imo
 
I already know which heater I want, that's not the question.

Please think of this thread as real life data collection rather than advice collection. The threads asking for advice get derailed quickly. I would prefer to hear about people's actual experiences, know some context about their setup, and form my own conclusions. 🙏
 
Last edited:

sg1

Adventurer
Truma Combi 4 kw propane. Composite cabin 11 ft long, 7 ft wide and 7 ft high, 50 mm insulation. Used it from 2014 to 2019 on the Panamericana up to 5000m and minus 15 c for heating and hot water. No problems at all.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Im low tech.

We run a 6kbtu sealed burn LP furnace from the 60's
Only change Ive done is swap the valve body out for one that allows for a millivolt (2-wire) wall thermostat

We do fine until about 9k ft At that point it starts sooting, and decreased output is obvious.
Still plenty to keep us warm in 20 below though ;)

Ive considered an adjustable regulator, which would clear things up, but it would still have a reduced output.
 

Joe917

Explorer
Webasto Thermotop C 5.2kW
18'X8'X8' 4" floor, 2 1/2" walls, 3" roof, composite foam.
We have run it -10 C at 14000', it was not happy! occasionally would not fire up for a number of attempts.
Much happier at 10000' and below.
Heats the habitat comfortably down to -30C (I spent the winter in it in Ottawa). The only issue was fuel gelling.
I would suggest the smaller heater working harder is better than the larger unit .
 
Webasto Thermotop C 5.2kW
18'X8'X8' 4" floor, 2 1/2" walls, 3" roof, composite foam.
We have run it -10 C at 14000', it was not happy! occasionally would not fire up for a number of attempts.
Much happier at 10000' and below.
Heats the habitat comfortably down to -30C (I spent the winter in it in Ottawa). The only issue was fuel gelling.
I would suggest the smaller heater working harder is better than the larger unit .
Thanks for sharing, good to know! Finicky but mostly still functional is fine for us, I don't imagine we'll be that high up for too long. I think we should be fine with just the 5kW, then. -30C will be about our limit too.
 

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