GeekDad Puzzle of the Week: Sleepless Camping

Geek Culture

The fan that blows propane-warmed air in our new, old pop-top camper

Kristi and I recently crossed a line that as parents we swore we’d never cross: we purchased a very used, tow-behind pop-top camper. Its inaugural run was this past weekend in Santa Fe, where Kristi had a psychology conference and the kids and I tagged along for comic relief.

The thing about the hills outside Santa Fe in mid April is they’re mind-numbingly cold. No worries — the pop-top has a propane heater, set on a thermostat. Only, the heater blows like a Boeing 747 test wind tunnel. It’s absolutely impossible to sleep with it on. Then again, it was absolutely impossible to sleep when the temperature got below 40 in the pop-top.

There are 30 degrees of “play” in the pop-top thermostat, meaning that if it’s set at 60, the heater in fact brings the temperature to 70 before letting it decay over the course of 20 minutes until reaching 40, at which point it turns back on and blows for 20 minutes until it reaches 70 again. At 8:00pm, we set the thermostat for 55 degrees and at 6:30am we got out of bed. How much sleep did we get? (And how should we have set the thermostat to get more?)

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