Sprinter Van Wallas Heater/Stove Combo

Hey, so the Wallas cooktop/heater combo, do you like it? Would it work well for say a trip to Colorado in the winter to keep me warm in a well-insulated Sprinter van?
Cheers!
Jaques

Hi Jaques,
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the Wallas stove/heater because I’d never seen it before: the big advantage is never having to deal with a propane tank, as well as having a heater without having an additional heater. A big disadvantage is that 2 of our potential kitchen cabinet spots are dedicated to the electrical fuses and venting for it.

For me, I almost never camp in places that are cold enough to really need a separate heater–since I’m traveling to climb and BASE jump, if it’s THAT cold, I usually am somewhere else. I also really like cooking over a flame (propane or gas) because it’s so much more responsive and the Wallas has a pretty long heat up and cool down time (about 10 minutes on each side). As a result, I use an MSR Reactor as an electric teakettle option when we just want hot water (which I would probably do regardless of what stove I had, because the Reactor heats water in about 12 seconds….) But there are also times when I use the windpro for cooking, just because I don’t want to wait for the Wallas to heat up, and I wouldn’t do that if my stovetop was propane. So the slow startup time is a pretty big con for me.

We’ve also had a couple of moments where the Wallas acted finicky for a minute, and we realized that there’s a lot of engineering inside it, so it’s a lot harder to manage if it actually goes on the fritz, and I never really like that either. I like stuff to be as simple as possible, so that is an issue.

But the main issue for me with the Wallas is losing the majority of the potential cabinet space underneath it: there is a horizontal cabinet area underneath it (that I want to turn into a cutlery drawer) and a vertical cabinet area underneath/alongside of it that are being taken up by the electronic box, fuses and intake/exhaust. This is a pretty big space sacrifice in a compact kitchen area–I don’t necessarily need more storage space, but it’s always nice to have.

So after having used the Wallas for a couple of years now, I am looking to replace it with a standard 2 or 3 burner propane stove–it’s not a super high priority project, because I am generally okay with the Wallas, so it’s more of a longterm plan 🙂 There is a spot under the sink area in my van that can take a tall narrow propane cylinder, and taking out the Wallas will free up those two other cabinet spots under the stove for a cutlery drawer and a tall side cabinet.

In terms of the heating power, I have noticed that since the heat comes out at counter height, it does heat the upper portion of the van first, keeping the feet/floor area colder. Usually when I see people with propane heaters mounted in the van, the heater is set low for that reason. However I haven’t used it for very long or very much, as a heater. I think with the small size of the space, if you’re very well insulated, it has to heat the whole space if you leave it on for longer than a few minutes.

So as with everything, I think there are pros and cons, and it just depends on which ones fit your personal situation the best. I have some friends who have the Wallas and LOVE it. If you are doing a lot of cold weather camping and using a heater a LOT, and you like cooking on a stovetop that acts more like an electric stove, then the advantages and convenience of the Wallas (never having to fill propane really is a plus that is not to be taken lightly) might make it a good choice for you.

Hope that helps your decision!
Steph


  • cr0ft

    There are other brands and solutions for heating and cooling as well. Webasto makes all kinds of RV specific systems that would work fine in a Sprinter, that connect to the existing diesel/gas and use something like 0.06 gallons an hour. They can also do water heaters and such if you have a shower solution. Never used any myself but might be worth looking into for people who need heat in their van.

  • Eric Meury

    hey steph. Found your blog while searching for a wallas. So are you still interested in switching from a wallas…If so i would like to buy your wallas.

  • Hi Eric, thanks! I wish I was at the point of replacing it because that would be wonderful. Unfortunately I haven’t put a ton of energy into that project yet, and am not ready to switch it out 🙁

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