I stumbled upon Keven’s Small Wood Stove installation in his Vintage Airstream while browsing images on google. His 1971 Airstream has been a labor of love for the past few years. He is now living full-time in his trailer and his Navigator Little Cod Wood Burning Stove is his primary heat source.
Here are the questions I had for Keven and his responses:
Q: Introduce yourself and your home?
A: I’m a 33 year old small business owner, always attracted to the freedom and independence that a small, off grid home could provide. I liked the look of Airstream trailers, so I bought a 31 ft. 1971 Airstream Sovereign that had been in a really bad fire and was totally destroyed. It was a large restoration job from the beginning, requiring about 2 years of planning and saving, and an additional 2 years of work. Currently the project is finished except for some aesthetic features that I intend to add over the next few months. The bathroom is also a work in progress.
Q: Where is home and what is the climate like?
A: I’m located in Ontario Canada. Summers are hot and winters are very cold. Its not uncommon for Jan and Feb to be -25C, in the most extreme cold we can get -35C.
Q: Why did you choose the Navigator COD? Did you consider any other stoves?
A: Mainly the size and weight. I did consider a propane stove but preferred to have a fuel source that was easily renewable. I also looked at the smallest conventional wood stove and it was still too big for the space.
Q: What was your experience like purchasing your stove? Did you have to wait long?
A: Yes. This is my only complaint about the company. The wait time was ridiculous and the completion date was constantly moved. I made a downpayment in May with an expected delivery date of mid October. As the date approached, it was moved to December, and then again to mid January. I ended up having to contact Navigator and tell them that if they could not deliver within the week, then cancel my order and I would go elsewhere. They completed the stove and delivered it but by that time it was still very cold to complete the install and it affected my move in date by at least a month.
Q: Is your small wood stove the only heat source for your trailer?
A: It is the primary heat source. I also use a Lasko 6050 Ceramic heater in extreme situations and a couple of upside down clay pots with candles, they can generate a surprising amount of heat.
Q: What did flue components and other installation materials cost?
A: A damper is included but additionally you will have to purchase stove pipe, insulated chimney, pipe adapter, pipe boot, roof support, hi temp cement, paint and silicon, rain cap. In total, I think the extras were around 6-700USD. I also had to build a hearth which totalled about 300USD.
Q: Where did you source your flue parts?
A: Some from Navigator, some from pipebootexpress.com and some are standard at big box hardware stores.
Q: Any Installation tips/tricks?
A: Installation was pretty straight forward. I have no experience with this type of thing but I did not find it difficult. 2 people are needed to install the chimney.
Q: How does the stove function in heating your space?
A: My Airstream is approx 220sq ft. and the stove does a great job. I have only been testing it for about 2 weeks so far but I have had it comfortable inside on evenings when it has been -16C outside. It might help to note that the insulation in my Airstream is all closed cell spray foam. I have over 4 inches in the floor which provides a value of approx R25 and I have 1.5 in the walls which gives an R value of 9.
Q: What is the average burn duration of the COD?
A: I intend to pretty much run it constantly throughout the winter, so far I’ve found that I need to add a log every hour or so but I’m still figuring out how to get the best fire out of it.
Q: Have you noticed any draftiness when the stove is burning?
A: No, its very comfortable. The first few test burns were pretty smoky but that has subsided considerably since regular operation.
Q: Anything you would have done differently now that the stove is installed?
A: Compared to other more typical wood stoves, this one is extremely expensive considering what you need to add on. I’m quite happy with it now, but considering I could have saved a ton of money and time by purchasing a bulkier traditional wood stove at Lowes or Home Depot, I can’t say I wouldn’t consider that if I had to do it over. I would definitely still choose a natural wood burning heat source over propane though.
Be sure to check-out Kevens Airstream Blog for an in depth renovation journal including his solar setup, appliance selection, spray foam installation and much more. Thanks for sharing Keven!
Questions, feedback — comment below!