No matter how much gear you have, sometimes camping in cold conditions requires some backup. Camping heaters or tent heaters are devices used to heat the inside of your tent in freezing conditions so that you can sleep in warmth and comfort.
Any time you go to use something like this inside a tent, there are many safety concerns you have to be aware of. Deciding what type of tent heater to use is a big decision, and there are many things you have to weigh up, with safety being the biggest one.
We’re here to review the popular options, including electric, gas, and wood tent heaters. With some understanding of what each of them offers and the safety risks involved, you’ll be able to make a smart investment for your next winter camping trip.
Electric Tent Heaters
An electric tent heater is an easy option if you have the power to run it. Therefore, these heaters are better reserved for powered camp sites or when you’re camping out in the backyard. They come in varying sizes, like a 12V heater, to suit your tent and how many people are in it, and there are plenty of settings and features to personalize it.
In regards to safety, these newer models of tent heaters have you covered. There are temperature monitors and automatic controls that shut off the heater if there’s a risk of overheating or if it tips over. For safety reasons, it’s better to opt for modern devices that have these kinds of precautions in mind, especially when you’re dealing with electricity and fire hazard in one.
Gas Tent Heaters
The idea of having a gas tent heater running in an enclosed space might sound strange, but it’s a matter of choosing the right one. Are butane gas heaters safe indoors? No, but there are gas heaters made for tents, and they use propane to operate. You’ll need to bring a supply of gas on your camping trip and make sure you have some for backup as well.
The safety features on modern gas tent heaters are amazing, and will completely put your mind at ease. You’ll get ones with auto shut off functions that will turn the device off when oxygen levels are low or it’s starting to overheat.
Depending on the volume of the area you need to heat, you’ll have to choose a gas heater that can achieve it. There are small devices that fit up to 95 square feet or much larger ones to accommodate bigger tents. Whichever one you decide though, you’ll want to ensure the safety features are in place.
Wood Tent Heaters
The least common type of heater is a wood tent heater, and it comes down the output of smoke. While there are certainly great wood stoves available for camping when you’re looking for something to heat up the tent that you’re going to be sleeping in it’s not really ideal.
Most tents will have some degree of breathability but not enough to clear the smoke out. Some might prefer to use their wood-burning camp stove to heat up the area around their tent, but they’re not recommended for use indoors.
People camping with larger outfitter tents that have a lot of breathability, may be able to use a smaller style of wood burning tent, but you’ll need to have a flue for ventilation. Otherwise, it’s recommended to stick to gas or electric when choosing something safe and efficient to heat up your campsite.
Which Heater Is Best?
In terms of care, it appears that the safe electric heaters are the best option, but there are some conditions on this recommendation. You’ll need to purchase one specifically made for heating tents and not just any old space heater, otherwise, there are many fire hazards and risks. Secondly, it has to be a newer model with built-in auto-off functions to keep you and your family safe.
A propane heater is still a good option, especially if you’re getting a newer model that comes equipped with safety features. However, there are additional risks when using gas at any point, and especially in an enclosed space like a tent.
Where you can avoid it, camping without a heater tent is ideal. There are additional things you can do to warm up like using two sleeping pads underneath your bag or a tent made for colder climates. Anything you can do to reduce risk and harm while camping is always a good idea. Therefore, see what other options you have before you reach for the tent heater on your next trip outdoors.
Being Safe In The Outdoors
There are so many things to think about when planning a camping trip, and adding the worry of a tent heater might be an inevitable one. When you’re in freezing conditions and relying on this device to keep you warm at night when temperatures drop even lower, it’s essential to choose one that focuses on safety first.
Our recommendation for the best tent heater would be an electric or gas powered one, but again it will depend on the model and your specific needs. Think about the size of your tent, what resources you have, and just how much protection you need in terms of the safety features it offers.
Safe camping heaters for tents are out there, and the market now has many that meet the safety recommendations which makes shopping for them a lot easier. If you truly can’t be without a heater for your tent, just be sure you choose one that helps you cover all of the bases in case the worst happens.