USA Road Trip Temperature Guide, We need 42-73 Degree Nights

What is the best temperature for RV, Camper, SUV, Van, or Motor Home travelers for living?

Jason Odom, in a book called "Vanbode" recommends:

"Avoid places that are colder than 42 degrees Fahrenheit at night."

"Avoid...muggy or humid states... In these wetter places you need a nighttime temperature that is not above 73 degrees.

"In the dry areas like the West, you can sleep well with nightly temperatures as high as 80 degrees."

"Avoid dry places in the West when daytime tempertures go above 90 degrees."

- Vanabode: travel and live forever on $20 a day

Road trip Weather

I am here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, trying to buy a van for a USA road trip. This book by Jason Odom is good, a friend of my Chris sent it to me, and I thank him. The book is loaded with tons of good practical information.

Presently, I have decided to travel the USA by road, then when possible, I will find rooms for 2-8 days, and when I fail to find a room, then I will sleep in the back of the van. This is just a guide... there are no plans....

Note, a flight to Guatemala feels very tempting, where life if easy.

Andy Lee Graham
Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA 


Your friends Bill and Akaisha are still in your callejon Room in GT but are flying to MX soon. They can´t seem to leave it´s so nice. Season´s change - bumping along northwards myself soon.

Thanks for the Hobo honorable mention and J appreciates.

drinking Yerba thru a silver straw,



I spend $400 a month storing my junk, 98 of which I will never use, and the bulk of which can't be sold for more than price of a years storage. I could live on that in south america or asia.

I need to think a whole lot more about sipping yerba through a silver straw these days.

Regarding heat in the van in cold weather.. i used a coleman single pot heating burner for a few years for heat, worked great... until one night the plastic gas valve melted, turned into a blazing inferno about 24 inches from my head.

Luckily I was awake, and was able to grab it by the 1 lb propane canister, climb out of bed, open the back door with one hand... and throw it out the back of the van... just in time, suffering only minor burns.. and able to put out the flaming trail of debris inside the van between my bunk and and the back door.. all such heating gismo's need to be all solid brass.. no plastic. .. and with plenty of ventilation of course. Its still risky business however. I had it reliably suspended with wire so it couldnt fall over, but that turned out not be the real hazard.


Had a Coleman "Mushroom" white-gas heater become a firebomb in the pickup camper I lived in the '70's. I also threw it out my back door but luckily wasn´t burned or scarred. These gasoline heating tools leave something to be desired, safety-wise. Cats have 9-lives, no other explanation for it!


I do not handle the cold well, therefore the temperature is my biggest concern. I think I will be using a 12 volt ceramic heater for warmth.


From the sound if it, Coleman leaves something to be desired! these are not minor issues, especially making burner parts out of plastic. gasp.

Hi Andy, I am an electrical / mech engineering type... electric space heat uses a lot of power, way to much to run for more than a few minutes, half an hour at the most on van battery power...

even with a golf cart battery fit it would be a problem unless you were going to wrap the heater up in a blanket with you... that would be dangerous unless its some kind of body warmer made for that, and never gets over 110F or so...

....or something like a 12 volt dc heating pad or electric blanket.. that might work. but would still drain a normal van battery in a short time. I can almost guarantee you that you will be real glad you carry a gas powered generator set for getting started when your van battery dies while you are camped out. Ive used mine dozens of times for that purpose.

Lately i fit two extra batteries, so I have 3 now, they seem to stay charged up pretty well.

The least you should have is a fully charged up spare battery at all times.. keep it wired in parallel with the van battery using alligator clips. charge it once a week for a few hours while driving. use #8 wire, thats fairly heavy wire, so it doesn't burn up if the battery is low.

For heat it might be worth investigating what the Everest expeditions use, my guess some sort of direct contact body warmer running on lighter fluid type fuel.


Handwarmers a couple thought, permit me. The cheapest of the handwarmers use a piece of lit charcoal and those put out loads of Carbon Monoxide and are dangerous and could be fatal in a closed vehicle. Catalytic type with lighter fluid might be different but would warrant a bit of Googl'ing, right Guys?

From my mountaineering youth, I CAN attest that boiling a couple eggs hard with one in each pocket gives a lot of heat out in low ambient temps and when they have cooled you can eat them to warm yourself again calorically. Insanely GR8!

A sleeping bag, cut roomy for your shoulder width (don´t recommend a Mummy Bag as the rectangular type can be laid out like a quilt when you have a sleeping partner or for warmer weather). So extra blankets or a quilt beats sleeping with all your clothes on and praying not to freeze to death every time.

Could check the electrical rating of 12V heating gear and get the lowest drain, not the lowest priced obviously when it comes to comfort and safety. Best advice is 3 Batteries and the wiring tip of Phil´s above also is terrific. Also suggest you mix your 12V with 110V equipment and get a heavy long outdoor extension cord to a power strip and a 1500 Watt Sine Wave inverter (not the Square Wave type) with an internal fan so it won´t burn out is highly recommended on Yahoo´s VanDweller list group. Walmart would have that and there´s been a long running inverter thread on VanDweller. Batteries can be charged with an automotive Battery Charger and it´s alligator clip or cigarette lighter-type output can charge your RV heating gear or run a 12V refrigerator, car stereo, etc.

Phil J

Hi Andy. Guatemala sounds nice. I love Panajachal. I will go back. And stay at the same hotel in the same room if possible. Ground floor was only about 12 feet from wi fi router. I miss the steak grill at night. Pizza was good too. It was a memorable trip.
take care

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