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Old 03-28-2011, 01:58 PM   #1
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Location: Eureka, California
Trailer: 2009 19' Escape
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Wet Bed

My husband just returned from a 3 week fishing trip on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, where the humidity was 100%, 100% of the time. The bed in our 19' was set up with a memory foam pad on top of the mattress, a fitted sheet and a comforter on top. He elected to use a sleeping bag on top of all that since I wasn't there to make the bed. :

The inside of the trailer stayed very moist even though he used a cube heater nearly full time. When he stripped the bed we found that everything was soaked. Took out the mattress and it was very wet, with mildew on the bottom of the mattress and top of the particle board bed. Luckily, the mattress cover is removable and washed up nicely. We washed the wood with a bleach solution but maybe it needs more?

The particle board is unfinished and we're wondering if anyone has put varnish or shellac on theirs.

Has anyone else experienced this much wetness in the bed area? I don't believe there are any leaks; it's just that the walls stayed moist and the bed covers acted like a wick.

Cheryl and Bruce
Eureka, California
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:09 PM   #2
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Re: Wet Bed

Some people will find this unhelpful and pedantic, but here goes:

Running the heater can only help you out in a limited set of circumstances. Warm air can hold more water than cold air. But the exterior walls of the trailer are going to be cold on a rainy day, so the air near the walls is less able to hold water than air in the middle of the trailer, so the water comes out of the air as condensation.

Running your furnace warms the air where the circulation is good, but there is no air circulation between your mattress and the wall. You are going to get water there.

When we breathe, we put a lot of moisture into the air. We breathe when we sleep. Making coffee puts a lot of moisture in the air in a short time. I am unwilling to go without breathing or coffee.

The secret seems to be getting the moisture out of the air. When we sleep in the trailer in dry, cold weather, we open windows on both sides of the bed. Any breeze will bring dry air in, and carry moist air out. That will mean running the furnace because it's going to get cold otherwise. But opening windows in the rain is counterproductive. All I can think to do is regularly towel.

Run the stove fan whenever you are cooking anything (yes, I know it is loud).

If we go on another Christmas camping trip like we did recently, I think we will get a small dehumidifier. The Eva-Dry EDV-2200 (80 bucks on Amazon)is supposed to be good for 650 mL per day. (Don't forget to use the Amazon link from this site.) It uses a solid state cooling system instead of a compressor, so it is quiet, but has low capacity. I think it would be enough for one of our trailers, but only testing will tell.

Ron Stewart
Tsawwassen, BC

2009 17' Plan B
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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Re: Wet Bed

Hi: All...I'm always afraid to look and see if the bed is wet!!!
Another thing good to say about the 5.0 is the 6-8" of carpeted space between the sides of the trailer and the mattress. Also "Our Escape Hatch" has a full 60X80 queen matt. and it curves up at the head end ( a bit to long) so its away from the subfloor there!!! Alf
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by escape artist
Hi: All...I'm always afraid to look and see if the bed is wet!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Well maybe when they fix the kidney stone, they'll put in a long range bladder too : - ) Or, at least an "overnighter" : - )
By the way (off topic) how are you feeling (only Alf can answer and then BACK ON TOPIC)
"In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning, I will offer my prayer to you, and wait in expectation" Ps 5:3
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: Wet Bed

If you are going to coat the particle board I'd suggest using varnish rather than shellac - shellac is not really waterproof, at least as effective as varnish. I agree that more ventilation is needed. The amount of moisture a human produces in a tiny enclosed space is impressive!
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:11 PM   #6
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Re: Wet Bed

Fortunately I am not of an age yet where wet beds are an issue.

Kidding aside, adequate venting is required. I would use the ceiling fan on low speed fairly often, and use the hood fan whenever cooking. The walls and windows will get moisture on them when real cold out, and one could maybe ensure they get wiped down once in a while.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: Wet Bed

I remember in our Casita, how the walls and mattress were in intimate contact! I can see how condensation would be a problem. Except for the head of the mattress, the 5.0 has about 6" of airspace all around (as Alf said) which cuts down on this problem (except where you store your clothes against the outer wall). Did you notice the same wetness in your overheads where you had clothes?
"In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning, I will offer my prayer to you, and wait in expectation" Ps 5:3
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:00 PM   #8
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Re: Wet Bed

I painted all of our particle board with a primer plus 2 coats of finish in oil base. The plywood that is used for the 2 tables I varnished. Just seemed like the right thing to do.
09 Tacoma ext-cab (v6, 4wd,auto)
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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Re: Wet Bed

As we've been overnighting in our 19 for some time during a home remodel we had some similar experiences. I learned that each adult can put nearly a pint of moisture into the air and mattress overnight. We were getting condensation and some mildew where the vinyl backs of seat cushions met the walls, condensation on the window frames and between the mattress and walls. Keeping a window open just helped a little. We were on AC power using the Electric space heater, so it wasn't propane induced.

We Started out by buying a waterproof zippered mattress pad. You can find them for $10 to $20, depending on the quality, whether they're zippered or pullover, soft or vinyl. Not ideal for every day use, but they will prevent the mattress from moldering, and make sense if you know you're going where it's wet. We wound up buying a 30 pint dehumidifier at Lowes over the weekend for USD $159 and it has pulled more than a liter of water every 12 hours for the past 36. It's not a solution unless you're camped with AC, but I would definitely recommend using a dehumidifier when you return, before storage. you could also use the trailer Air conditioning if you have it, but I have heard bad things about using some AC units on 10 amp circuits, that can cause premature wearing of the compressor due to brown starts, so do make sure you have adequate power, and the cord is not overheating.

Some folks suggest Dri-Z-Air and dessicant stuff, but we'd go through quite a bit. I think we were actually getting some condensation down in the traps, because when I hitched up a couple of times to move things around the driveway we had a few liters run off and seep out!

Keeping the cushions off the walls helps. I think better insulation is part of the "solution," but a hard thing to retrofit!


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Old 03-29-2011, 05:32 AM   #10
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Re: Wet Bed

Condensation can be a seriously damp problem. I sleep on the dinette and have found body moisture wicks through the foam and the formica is damp in the morning. I stand the foam on the edges for a couple of hours while I'm out and about to help dry it out. I don't like to sleep on plastic encased mattresses... then I truly sweat. When I get home, I again stand the cushions on edge and use Dri-Z-Air to dry the trailer out. Unfortunately you can't keep a trailer at 70 degrees in the cold weather without getting some moisture somewhere. Keeping the roof vent open and some cross ventilation certainly helps. Boiling water for pasta makes it worse and definitely requires the stove fan to be used. This isn't the trailer's fault... it's a matter of physics. Over on FiberglassRV there's an old thread that mentions how many pints of moisture one expells just breathing in and out in a 24 hour period. That moisture has to go somewhere.

Donna D.
Ten Forward
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