What are the benefits of a tent heater? Camping in the wilderness, you can easily get cold, even if you are dwelling in a comfortable tent: you still need to heat it somehow. For this purpose, you will need a heater. It will make the temperature inside the tent bearable and won’t burn all the oxygen. In our article, we will tell you about heating devices from butane heaters to a portable stove, so that you could sleep soundly inside your sleeping bag warmed by the heater.
How to use a tent heater? What is the difference between an electric tent heater and a portable propane heater? Why are there such alien names like the Mr. heater f215100 mh4b with 3 000 BTUs and more? What are the safety measures while using camping tent heaters in cold weather? In this article, we will answer all your questions concerning tent heaters, safety features, how to choose the best tent heater, and other relevant tips. As I’ve personally purchased a portable outdoor propane heater for camping with an oxygen depletion sensor and all the necessary winter camping gear via Amazon.com (no buying guide is required), my camping season is going well, being one of the best winter campers right now. So I’m going to share everything I know about tent heaters and winter tents as well with you.
A Tent Heater: What is it Exactly?
If you haven’t ever paid attention to tent heaters and their features, then you are not alone. Some people think that it is not indoor safe to use any space heater or any battery-powered camp heater for safety features. This is why they never decide upon buying camping heaters.
However, due to modern technologies, all camping tent heaters are specially designed for indoor use. Any heater type should fulfill the safety criteria inside your tent. Since the tent heaters’ industry has recently undergone a breakthrough, you can choose whatever camping heater you find the most appropriate from well-known brands. There are different models of heaters on the market nowadays: electric, propane, and butane. It depends on what fuel source they have. Other tent heaters have a power supply from a battery and extension cord. It is noteworthy that tent heaters have no carbon monoxide emissions at all. There is also another type of heater, which is a gas heater. No wood stove can replace this easy-to-use portable stove. However, we are going to talk about gas heaters in another article. This article is dedicated to the best tent heaters, winter camping gear, and safety tips while using them.
Safety Features While Using A Tent Heater
It is a real joy to have a tent heater for your camping experience. It is especially effective in cold weather. However, you should take into consideration safety features and strictly abide by them. Here are some safety tips:
So Keep Clear
It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge butane heater or a couple of small electric heaters –all of them become extremely hot while producing heat. Don’t keep all the highly flammable objects like sleeping bags, clothes, sprays near a tent heater.
Safer Electric Heaters
Though electric heaters are inferior to propane heaters in heat output, they prevail over them in one very significant factor, which is safety. Electric heaters neither produce carbon monoxide compounds nor consume oxygen from the air in your tent. This is why they don’t need filtration systems installed. Should a malfunction happen, it won’t bring about asphyxiation or death. However, there can be combustion if a highly flammable object is near an electric heater.
Turn It Off
Some people fall asleep, keeping their heaters turned on. This is unacceptable. If you are an attentive person, make sure that your heater has been turned off before going to sleep. It doesn’t take a long time for a heater to warm up space around you.
Gas-powered heaters can give off exhaust fumes. The amount of these harmful gases can increase and become dangerous for life. This is why it is necessary to ventilate the tent in a way that is put down in the heater instructions.
We highly recommend you to comply with the safety features. Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector, it doesn’t guarantee that everything will be right. Though there is a video on sleeping while their tent heater is on, it is too risky to follow this example.
A Camping Tent Heater: 6 Reasons To Get
1 ‒ Prolonging Your Camping Experience
Having a tent heater, you can spend more time camping: from six to nine months a year. With the right camping gear and heating settings, you can withstand cold weather, which means that your camping season can last a whole year. Be confident in your camping equipment and survival strategy, and you will feel comfortable even in the low-oxygen area. Of course, a cold-weather tent, sleeping bags, or a bivy sack will come in handy to resist cold weather.
2 ‒ Free Of Charge Camping
Though most expensive camping places get occupied during the season, you can always find a site without reservation payments. While these facilities may no longer have the same convenience, they are not usually locked behind a gate.
3 ‒ Extra Comfort
Nothing can be worse on a camping trip than spending a night in a chilly tent. No one liked having such cold weather camping in the past. However, the solution to this problem is clear nowadays. A good camping heater with adjustable heat settings and a warm sleeping bag open a new horizon for comfort.
4 ‒ Don’t Fall For Buying Expensive Tent Heaters
Some campers who are fans of extreme winter camping have never thought about adding space heaters to their camping inventory. As a rule, they rely on their own survival tools and items while camping. For example, they choose a heavy zero-degree sleeping bag instead of a lightweight one, or a camping tent for four seasons with a watertight tent-fly and insulation material instead of a breezy tent. As a passionate camper myself, I can say that not every upgrade for your camping equipment can work out. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to acquire a reliable budget-friendly tent heater and change the rules of the game in your favor?
5 ‒ Choose The Best Sites
There is always a problem with reserving a perfect site for a camping trip. However, if you are dexterous enough to plan your camping pastime and do everything beforehand, you will surely get one of the best sites.
6 – Picturesque, Serene, And Calm Winter Camping
To have a quiet camping experience, you need to choose cold weather seasons. Most of these sites become unoccupied during this time. Usually, no one wants to start camping in the cold. However, if you are a brave camper, why not try out something new?
What Is So Beneficial About Investing In Tent Heaters?
There are many pros to having a portable heater for camping. Here are the best ones:
Push Button Comfort
A tent heater provides you with heat, which is its primary purpose. Unlike a warm jacket that retains the heat your body has accumulated, heaters for camping possess a certain heating system adaptable to different conditions. Sometimes it is very problematic to work out in cold weather conditions, and a tent heater is a perfect device to sustain heat output depending on its fuel type. Your body cannot deal with it alone and produce heat constantly.
Almost all tent heaters are portable. They are not heavy on average (under 10 kg). They are user-independent and easily portable from one place to another.
If a tent heater burns up all the fuel or discharges a battery fast, it is not a good heater. An efficient tent heater doesn’t waste so much energy and has an overheat protection feature that prevents it from a breakdown. However, you had better get by with good winter camping gear for a short-term camping trip because a tent heater can be a burden in this case. You should also remember that some portable heaters won’t work in areas of low-oxygen levels. At the height of 6000 ft and higher, the sensors may start malfunctioning. Should a tent heater shut down, use a safety switch. I’ve personally used my “little buddy” portable heater in the mountains (about 8000), and I was lucky to have my heater diligently functioning. If the altitude is higher than 8000 ft, your heater may fail to function.
Better Safety Features
The safety feature of modern tent heaters has improved a lot compared to older versions of tent heaters. Tent heater safety is provided by the following innovations in-built in their design:
- A tip-over switch – should it overturn unintentionally.
- Overheat protection with a shutoff switch that turns off the heating element before it reaches a critical condition
- Propane and butane camping heaters usually have carbon monoxide sensors. Another remarkable thing is that some of them may have lox-oxygen sensors that signalize whether you are in the area of low-oxygen levels. It is especially important when you are in a tightly closed up tent.
What Is The Right Way To Choose The Best Tent Heater?
If you are interested in a certain heater type, there are many well-known brands to choose from. Before buying a tent heater, make sure that it meets your requirements.
There are two main types of portable heaters (depending on their fuel type and heat settings). These are electric and gas heaters.
Fueled either by a butane or propane tank, these are more popular tent heaters than an electric heater. These fuels are clean enough to be burned in an enclosed area without negative consequences. Moreover, the amount of fuel in gas canisters is aimed at long-term camping trips.
Electric heaters have a lot of advantages. The most important thing is that they do not harm the environment (no carbon monoxide emissions, only ecologically-safe heat output). Besides, they are straightforward to use. However, they are mostly suitable for well-developed campgrounds with service hookups. In other cases, the best option is a battery-powered tent heater, though their selection is minimal and their heat output.
Suitable Heat Output Characteristics
If a home furnace can have a 100 000 BTU range, it is not an appropriate amount for a portable heater. Usually, tent heaters within 5 000 BTUs are enough to create comfortable conditions for a camper. Moreover, if your tent heater has BTU control buttons, you can regulate the level of temperature.
Why Is The Size Of Heaters So Important?
The next step is to make sure that you choose a tent heater with a heat output appropriate for your tent’s space. For example, to heat a tent designed for one person with a powerful tent heater is a poor decision. And vice versa, it is insufficient to heat a tent designed for tent campers with a small tent heater.
You can use the following formulas to calculate the necessary heat output for your tent. At first, calculate the cubic feet (Height x Length x Width) = Cubic Feet. Then subtract the outside temperature from the desired inside temperature = Temperature Rise.
- If you use the Fahrenheit scale, use this formula: Cubic Feet x Temperature Rise x .133 = Necessary BTUs
- If you use the Celcius scale, use this formula: Cubic Feet x Temperature Rise x .2394 = Necessary BTUs
Selection Of A Durable Tent Heater For Extreme Conditions
Of course, you will need a constantly functioning tent heater in your cold winter camping. Durability is an important feature of your trip. Study what characteristics your tent heater has, read lots of reviews to ensure that your choice is right. Pay attention to brands and their reputation before purchasing it. Remember that original designers never sell out their products at inadequately low prices and with strict sales deadlines.
6 Best Tent Heaters To Purchase
Compact Heaters For Small Tents
In this section, we’ve selected only heaters for small tents since a larger camping heater would make a sweating-room out of a tent.
1 – Portable Electric Heater (Ceramic, 750W/1500W).
Among other electric heaters, this tent heater is designed for small tents. It can easily heat a space of 200 square feet in seconds. There are three settings: high heat (1500W), low heat (750W), and cool air fan. This electric heater also has overheat and tip-over protection. To calculate its efficiency, we need to convert Watts into BTUs. (This calculator may help).
Considering that 750W is equal to 2559 BTUs, and 1500W is twice as much, we can use the previous formulas to make precise calculations. The result is 481 Cubic Feet (taking 40F degree as Temperature Rise). However, this heater comes at these numbers, spending a decent amount of energy. In this case, a deep cycle battery comes to the rescue. To supp
ly your heater for 5 hours, you will need to purchase three such deep cycle batteries. Moreover, you will need an inverter for AC outlets. This is the best heater only if you are aiming at “power camping.” Otherwise, you will need to choose gas heaters.
2 – Mr. Heater Portable Little Buddy
Being one of the smallest heaters nowadays, this portable outdoor propane heater can produce almost 4 000 BTUs and heat a 95 square feet space. This little buddy is the winner of winter camping because its propane canister can provide it with fuel for five hours. For the sake of safety features, this tent heater has a tip-over shutoff switch and low-oxygen sensors.
3 – Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is the lightest propane heater that can produce up to 3 000 BTUs. Moreover, it can withstand extremely high temperatures because of its durability. This portable propane tent heater has a valve and fuel shutoffs; however, it has no low-oxygen shutoff. On the one hand, it is a drawback because you will have to ventilate your tent and turn it off overnight. On the other hand, this propane tent heater is good because it can be very effective at higher elevations. Finally, the portable heater has a plastic fold-away foot that makes this propane heater more stable along with the propane tank.
Best Heater For Tents Of Middling Size
This Mr. Heater’s power ranges from 4 000 to 9 000 BTUs, and it can heat a space of 225 square feet. However, it may stop functioning at a height of over 2 km. It also includes a tip-over shutoff switch. At 4 000 BTU, the ratio of Fuel Consumption to Brun Rate is equal to 0,044 Gal/Hr, at 9 000 BTU – 0,099 Gal/Hr. It can be connected to a propane tank with adapter equipment, and its run time is equal to 3 hours at maximum BTUs on a 0,5 L propane canister. This survival tent heater is a dream to purchase for any camper.
Best Heater For Larger Tents
Mr. Heater Big Buddy is designed for tents of larger sizes. It has a 4 000 – 18 000 BTU power range and can heat a 400 square foot space. This portable tent heater is about 5,5 kg, which is pretty lightweight for its productiveness. Also, an in-built handle makes this big heater carrying it from one place to another easier.
Best Heater For Extremely Large Tents
This propane heater is the best option for winter camping. Its unique feature is that this tent heater filtrates the air and returns it into your tent through insulated ducts. All the polluted air is outside your tent. The chance of a harmful gas accretion is also reduced. Mr. Heater X-40 has a power of 40 000 BTU, which is enough for huge tents. However, this tent heater comes at a high price, both for itself and for all the necessary equipment. But if you are going to have a camping adventure with many friends, no other tent heater can prevail over this portable heater.
The Bottom Line
A tent heater of high quality is what makes your winter camping unforgettable and pleasant. For a steady-going person, using a tent heater is unnecessary. But for other resilient campers who regularly spend their time in a tent (especially in cold weather), having a heater is obligatory.
What are the best tent heaters?
It is hard to say what type of heaters or what exactly heater is the best. They have different functions, features, and designations. For example, some heaters are designed only for small tents, and using them for event sized tents would be inappropriate. Vice versa, using a powerful heater in a small tent can turn it into a sweating-room. Choose what suits you best.
Why is it necessary to have a tent heater?
If you are a regular camper who cannot imagine their life without camping, especially in winter, then a tent heater is an essential attribute to your inventory. One of the most important features of a tent heater is that it always protects you against hypothermia. Sleeping bags won’t save you if it is bitterly cold outside. A tent heater will do it for sure.
What tent heater is safer to use in a tent?
If you abide by the instructions applied to your tent heater and the safety tips we’ve touched upon in this article, there is no significant difference in what tent heater to use. However, electrical heaters are more environment-friendly than portable propane tent heaters since they don’t pollute the air. Nevertheless, if you regularly ventilate your tent and fulfill everything according to the instructions, you will never be in a problematic situation.
What are the safety features necessary to take care of while using a tent heater?
First off, you should never fall asleep while your tent heater is working. Don’t forget to ventilate your tent either. If you have highly inflammable things in your tent, keep them off your tent heater. As a rule, electric heaters are safer in comparison to propane heaters. However, their heat output is not that powerful.
How to choose the best tent heater?
There are a lot of options on the market nowadays. On the website Amazon.com, you can find more information about all types of tent heaters. There are also all the characteristics, parameters, photos, reviews of heaters on this website. Weigh all the pros and cons, and you won’t make a mistake choosing a tent heater.