Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to spend long frigid days and nights huddled in your sleeping bag.
There are ways to keep warm, even without bulky layers and exotic gear. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to select the best tent heater your money can buy.
Buying Heaters For Camping: What You Need To Know
Can Heaters Be Used In Tents?
The short answer is yes, but it’s important to select the right type of heater. It can be hazardous to run a heater in a confined area, and since most tents are made out of flammable material, the risk increases considerably.
Fortunately, there are heaters designed specifically for tenting. As you search for the right product, make sure you read and understand all of the pertinent information before making your decision.
Take a look at this YouTube tutorial for more information on the proper use of a tent heater.
Why Invest In A Tent Heater?
A tent heater allows you to extend your camping activities throughout all four seasons, even in the dead of winter. No matter how warm your sleeping bag is, you’re bound to appreciate the freedom to move around the tent when the temperature drops. Depending on which tent heater you choose, it might not even be necessary to invest in winter camping gear.
These inventions are also exceptionally lightweight and portable, which gives them the edge over wood-burning camp stoves. Some models can be stowed right in your knapsack for winter backpacking expeditions. In addition, tent heaters are remarkably fuel-efficient, with the ability to heat a large area in a short period of time.
One other benefit that is often overlooked: Winter camping allows you to take advantage of prime campsites that are usually fully booked during the summer season. With a portable heat source, you can enjoy all the views and natural amenities without battling heavy crowds.
Things To Look For In A Camping Heater
- Portability—The heater should pack easily into your camping gear
- Cost—Only select a heater that you can afford, but make sure it’s a quality product
- Noise Level—The best tent heater will be quiet enough to allow for restful sleep
- Power Source—Check to see whether the unit runs off gas or electricity, and decide which will be more convenient for you
- Safety Features—An automatic shutoff function is an invaluable feature, but there may be others in place as well (see “Safety Precautions,” below, for more information)
Before taking your new tent heater on the road, make sure you’re prepared to follow these guidelines:
- Keep the area around the heater clear for at least three feet in every direction when the unit is in use.
- Read all instructions carefully and thoroughly.
- Make sure to use the proper fuel source.
- Keep a camping or hunting knife handy in case you need to cut your way out of the tent during a fire.
- If your heater runs off gas or propane, invest in a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector. This feature might also be included with some units, so check the labeling carefully.
Product Review Guide
1. Mr. Heater Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater
This propane-fueled model is capable of heating up to 225 square feet of living space—an impressive feat, considering its compact size. An automatic shutoff feature prevents it from burning when oxygen levels are low, if the pilot light goes out, or if the device gets tipped over.
2. OPOLAR 1500W Ceramic Space Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
An electric-powered model with a decibel rating of around 50, the OPOLAR is one of the quietest heaters listed here. The unit will switch off automatically if it begins to overheat, or if the device is knocked over. It also offers three different settings: low, high, or fan-only.
3. HONEYWELL 360 Degree Digital Surround Fan Forced Heater
Honeywell’s offering is an electric-powered unit, featuring a tower design for 360-degree output, a digital display readout, and programmable thermostat. It also comes equipped with a remote control, a handle for portability, and an automatic shutoff feature.
4. TRUSTECH Portable Heater with Adjustable Thermostat & Overheat Protection
This ceramic heater comes equipped with two heat settings: high (which can heat the tent in just a few seconds) and low (suitable for longer periods). The automatic shutoff feature keeps it from overheating, and a sturdy handle makes it easy to carry. Be forewarned that it can’t be used in areas of high humidity.
5. Mr. Heater Portable Little Buddy Propane Heater
The Portable Little Buddy is shaped like an oversized flashlight, with a squat base and a round head. The shutoff system is enabled when the unit tips over, or if it senses low oxygen levels in the surrounding air. Because of its diminutive size, it’s probably best for smaller tents, but it’s capable of heating up to 95 square feet.
Since we prefer the convenience and versatility of a propane-fueled unit, we award the top prize to the Mr. Buddy Portable “Little Buddy” heater. While it’s not as big as some of the competition, it’s durable enough to hold up to frequent use. Also, if you enjoy hunting and backpacking, the small size could be considered an asset.
We hope our roundup has provided you with all the information you need to select the tent heater that’s right for you. Happy trails!