In the great outdoors, temperatures usually take a dip at night and sleep doesn’t come easily when you’re shivering cold. Using a portable indoor-safe heater is a great way to warm up your tent when camping in frigid conditions. When the outside is chilling cold, it will make the inside of your tent a delightfully warm shelter and get you warm enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
This guide has all the information you need to find the best tent heater that will keep you warm in a safe way. To start with, here is a selection of the best tent heaters to choose from. They include electric and propane tent heaters and they are all easy to bring along with you and top-rated for their tent heating performance, efficiency, and safety features.
How To Choose A Tent Heater – Buying Guide
Size and Weight
A camping heater is one more piece of gear to pack and bring along on your winter camping adventures. It will occupy space in your backpack or vehicle, and tent. If you have a single or two-person tent, a small heater will fit inside the tent and its heat output will be sufficient for the tent. If you have a large glamping or family tent, you will need a large camping heater with high heat output.
A portable heater for backpacking, hiking, or climbing should be compact and packable so it can fit in your backpack and inside a small tent. In this case, make sure you’re comfortable with the weight, as you will be carrying the heater on your back. If you will be using a gas-powered heater for tent camping, be sure to take into account the size and weight of the fuel cylinders.
The BTU rating will tell you the kind of heat output a tent camping heater has. Small tent heaters have BTU ratings of about 3000 while the large ones have 18000+ BTU outputs. You can also calculate the exact amount of BTU you will need for the size of your tent and the camping conditions as follows.
First, determine the length, width, and height of your tent and multiply the three measurements to determine the cubic feet of your tent. Next, find out what kind of temperature you will be camping in and subtract it from the temperature you will want to maintain inside your tent. Finally, use the following formula to determine the BTU you need:
Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase (in Fahrenheit) x .133 = Required BTUs
Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase (in Celsius) x .2394 = Required BTUs
Make sure the heater for tents you choose has a high and low setting. This will allow you to adjust the heat level for your comfort and also for efficient fuel consumption. The high setting will deliver maximum heat output to warm up the tent fast during winter camping trips. When the inside of the tent gets nice and toasty, the low setting will allow you to reduce the heat output to a comfortable level.
Safety is a major concern when warming a tent with a heater. With any appliance that produces heat comes the risk of fire. Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a concern when using propane tent heaters in a tent. Make sure that the camping heating solution you choose has the following safety mechanisms:
- Safety features such as low oxygen detection and automatic shut-off, if oxygen levels are low, are essential when using heaters in tents.
- An overheat protection feature to turn the heater for a tent off if it gets too hot.
- A stable base and a tip over switch that will automatically switch the heater off if it’s tipped over.
- A cool to touch exterior or a guard to prevent accidental contact with the hot heating elements.
- Also, heated camping tents with heaters should be well-ventilated. Be sure to read the manual to know the ventilation requirements and safety hazards of your heater and how to use the heater in the tent safely.
The different types of camping heaters for tents include electric heaters, battery-powered tent heaters, and propane tent heaters. Each type of camping heater has its advantages and disadvantages. Take them into consideration as you decide on the best heaters for your tent and camping conditions.
Gas tent heaters are the most popular camping tent heaters for use when camping in the wild. If you will be setting up a tent on a campground with access to electricity, you can use an electric heater for tent camping.
When deciding on the type of heater to go for, consider the energy source the heater requires to produce heat and choose the most convenient option.
With gas-powered portable heaters, you will have to lug along fuel canisters. Most propane tent heaters work with disposable one-pound fuel canisters. If you are going on an extended camping expedition or have a large heater for a family or glamping tent, most propane tent heaters will also allow you to connect larger fuel tanks.
Electric camp heaters are powered by electricity and require plugging into an electrical outlet. Make sure the camping site has electric hook-ups (EHUs) and carry a long power cord. Alternatively, you can hook electric heaters to a portable generator. Battery powered tent heaters that utilize batteries also exist.
The first feature to consider is the ignition mechanism. A camping heater should be easy to start. For ease of use when your hands are cold, the best tent heaters have an automatic starting mechanism. Some heaters turn on at the press of a button while others require lighting up a pilot light using a match or lighter.
The heating technology is another feature to consider. A radiant heater that heats whatever it is pointed at directly will warm you quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, a convection heater that uses a fan or blower to disperse the warm air all around is ideal for warming up a large tent space.
Q: What Heaters Are Safe For Tents?
Catalytic, candle and electric heaters are the safest camping tent heaters. Propane heaters rated safe to use in indoor spaces are also safe to use in tents. Such indoor-safe tent camping heaters should be equipped with safety features such as tip-over and low oxygen automatic shut-off.
Q: Is There A Safe Way To Heat A Tent?
Yes, there are safe ways to heat a tent. Using an indoor-safe electric, candle, or propane heater is the best way to heat a tent without compromising safety. When choosing a heater for tent camping, make sure it has safety features such as automatic shut-off in case the oxygen levels in the tent are low or if the heater is tipped over. Beyond this, care should be taken to ensure the tent with the heating unit is properly ventilated and the safety precautions observed.
Q: Are Propane Heaters Safe In A Tent?
Yes, propane heaters approved for indoor use are safe to use inside tents as long as the camping tents with heaters are well-ventilated. Safe propane heaters for tents come equipped with safety features such as a stable base, a low-oxygen detector, and automatic shut-off upon tip-over. To prevent an accidental fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s also vitally important to read and follow the safety precautions listed on the manual the heater comes with.
Q: Will An Electric Heater Keep A Tent Warm?
Yes, an electric heater for camping will keep a tent warm. Because electric camping tents heaters are less powerful than gas heaters for camping tents, they are ideal for small tents or personal warmth. Their advantage over propane tent heaters is that they do not produce carbon monoxide and you don’t have to lug along fuel canisters. However, electric tent heaters require a power supply - an electric hook-up, power bank, power inverter, or batteries.
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Fun-filled days in the great outdoors can turn into miserable nights due to the frigid night temperatures. Having the right camping gear – a well-insulated winter camping tent, a warm sleeping bag, delicious camping coffee, and a heated camping tent can make nights warm, enjoyable, and restful. When you have a reliable heater for tent camping, cold weather won’t be an excuse not to enjoy the outdoors. Hopefully, our tent heater reviews and buying guide will help you find the best tent heater. Stay warm and safe out there!