When most people think of camping, they think of sunny and warm evenings. However, with more and more people getting into extreme sports, setting up camp often has to be in just as extreme conditions. Other people still, just love camping in the winter and want to do so in comfort. Fortunately, there are now loads of different camp heaters to help solve these problems and others like them. But how do you find the best cam heater? How do you heat a tent without electricity? And what camp heaters are the best for traveling?
In this post, we will answer all these questions and more as we take you through how to find the right camp heater for your needs. We will also give you the low down on a few of our favorite camping heaters for different settings.
Our Top Picks
Best tent fan heater: Honeywell’s HHF360V 360-Degree electric camp heater fan
For a tent heater with 360-degree distribution on the go, this electric heater impresses and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Best tent propane heater: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
Mr. MH Buddy MH4B Little Buddy is a portable heater and compact size, very suitable for personal use. It can work continuously for one night and fit in your backpack when on the go.
Best battery powered tent heater: Lasko’s MyHeat Battery Powered Portable Camp Heater
For a great value heater powered by batteries, this heater does just enough to heat up small spaces and is super portable at just 6 inches tall.
Best ice fishing tent heater: Mr. Heater’s MH18B Portable Propane Heater
For an impressively powerful heater that can heat you up in sub-zero conditions, this heavy propane heater works great when ice fishing.
Best Portable Butane Camping Heater: Neiko’s Camping Emergency Butane Heater Survival Kit
For a portable outdoor camping heater powered by butane, this handy device packs a punch and is easy to bring along for the ride.
Best tent heater for high altitude: Coleman’s SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater
When traveling, hiking, or climbing high mountains, this portable propane heater works great at all altitudes and offers portability alongside impressive heat.
Buying Guide: What to look out for when purchasing best Camp Heater
When it comes to buying a camping heater, the most important consideration is always going to be safety. All of the heaters will have to meet certain criteria to be deemed safe. However, this does not mean they will be safe to use in every scenario. Will you be using it indoors, outdoors, or both? Does it need to be portable? What fuel should you choose for your camp heater? Here, we will tell you everything you need to know when looking for the best camp heater for your needs.
Size is another aspect that can’t be overlooked when it comes to camping. You would want a gadget that can be easily carried around. Size plays a major role during transportation, and with smaller size, your storage space will also be maximized. Also, if your tent has a limited space, you can go for the model which will occupy lesser space.
If you are often going to camp somewhere at the wilderness, where you can’t reach with your car and you might have to walk a few distance, you must also consider the weight of the heater. As you are going for camping, you’ll have to carry along a lot of things, so the weight has to be limited. It will be good if you pick a unit which is light and portable. However, in case you are getting a heater for RV, weight is hardly a matter of concern.
#3 Heat Output
Thermal output or BTU is the amount of heat given out by the heater to warm up a particular space. While this can be very confusing for some buyers, but before going for the purchase it’s very important to calculate the amount of heat you will need.
You must buy a heater with enough BTU rating. BTU can be easily calculated by considering the size of your tent and the liable temperature of your camping area. The camping heaters will be able to warm up your tent or RV quickly in no time.
#4 Power Consumption
Fuel and electricity are going to add an extra expense to your winter camping experience. The number of cylinders required and the unit of electricity needed must be calculated. The best heaters for camping will consume less fuel or power but function more efficiently.
When it comes to camping heaters, it’s very important that you choose the right unit. Many models may have similar functions up to some extent, but a small variation makes a big difference. So consider all the necessary factors and choose the heater that best suits your requirements.
What are the main types of tent heaters?
There are 3 main types of camp tent heaters:
One of the most popular choices for tents. They can be powered by mains or battery power. Many campsites offer electric hook-ups (EHU) that provide safes power limited to 5 amps. You should also use a circuit breaker when using EHUs and the proper connections to keep things safe. However, if you are camping for long periods at a time without accessing to the mains, the longest electric camp heaters will last on batteries won’t usually go beyond 2-3 days.
A catalyst heater functions by combining oxygen and propane with a platinum catalyst. This type of device is flameless, but the front grill of the unit can still heat up.
#3 Propane (not safe indoors without proper ventilation)
Propane heaters can be safe to use when camping but you have to be careful whether or not it is for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor propane heaters will burn at a much more rapid rate. With an insufficient ratio of air to fuel, Carbon Monoxide can also be produced, which is lethal in an enclosed space.
Indoor propane heaters do burn cleaner and more efficiently with hardly any CO2 emitted during the burning process. However, they still release some CO2 and Carbon Monoxide if ideal conditions are not met. Therefore, if you plan to use a propane heater in your tent it must indicate that it is “safe to be used indoors”. Moreover, you will need to maintain plenty of ventilation as it takes just 3 minutes for Carbon Monoxide poisoning to lead to asphyxiation
#4 Butane (not safe indoors without proper ventilation)
Butane gas does burn more cleanly than propane, producing less Carbon Monoxide. It also lasts up to 20% longer than propane. However, it still releases some Carbon Monoxide! This means you need the tent to be properly ventilated even with a butane gas heater if you are using it indoors. A well-ventilated tent is going to get cold quickly and remain hard to heat up, suggesting both butane and propane are not ideal for use as indoor tent heaters. However, the lower the ventilation, the warmer your tent will be due to the fact that heat rises.
Top 5 Best Camp Heater Reviews
So you know a little bit about what you need to think about when it comes to buying a tent heater and some of the risks attached. Now, with these risk factors in mind, let’s explore some of our favorite tent heaters for different needs.
#1 Best tent fan heater: Honeywell’s HHF360V 360-Degree electric camp heater fan
If you’re looking for the best camp tent heater in town and know you’ll be in campsites with power, then this electric heater will be right up your street. With an adjustable thermostat as well as two heat settings as well as a cool and breezy fan, you can use this in all weather conditions. Designed for medium to large spaces, this is the best tent space heater for the price.
Other pros about this heater are that: it is electric so there are no risks of carbon monoxide poisoning as there are with propane and butane; it is energy efficient; it has a handle to improve its portability; it can also be used at your home to help reduce energy waste; it has 2 types of overheating protection which automatically shuts it down, and; it is stand alone. The downside is this heater will not suit people camping off-grid.
#Fan_Heater #Electric_Heater #Tent_Heater #Tent_Fan #360_Degree_Heater
#2 Best tent propane heater: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
For those who love camping in the winter, a sleeping bag and a small tent cannot provide a good night’s sleep for you over a long cold night. That’s why a portable and compact heater like Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy is a reasonable choice for you.
The heater is extremely compact so you can easily take it with you on a camping trip, and you can attach it to your backpack. At less than $ 60, this heater should also be an economical option for those on a tight budget.
Despite its compact size, this heater can produce 3,800 BTU per hour and operate continuously for 5 and a half hours. So it ensures your personal space is heated all night long.
However, you will not be able to adjust the temperature of this heater and it will only provide enough heat for personal use. But overall this is still a reasonable investment.
#3 Best battery powered tent heater: Lasko’s MyHeat Battery Powered Portable Camp Heater
If you’re after a small camp heater powered by batteries, then look no further than this impressive device. With up to 682 BTUs, this won’t heat huge tents but is great in a small tent. As it is powered by batteries, you’ll also be able to use this heater safe in the knowledge that it won’t be the cause of any Carbon Monoxide poisoning. It’s compact size of 6X4X4 inches highlights its impressive portability.
Other pluses about this heater are that: it is great value; it is ready to go right out of the box; it can also be run off the mains if they are available; it has built-in overheating safety protection, and; its internal fan helps the warm air to circulate freely in your tent. The downside of this heater is its limited power which means it won’t be suitable for really icy settings.
#4 Best ice fishing tent heater: Mr. Heater’s MH18B Portable Propane Heater
When it comes to ice fishing, you’re going to need a lot more power to keep you warm. This impressive propane heater can heat up space as large as 450 square feet, equivalent to a pretty big shelter for ice fishing. This power doesn’t come cheap in either how much it costs or how much it weighs. However, if you are fishing in sub-zero conditions, then this is the best propane camp heater to keep you warm.
Other good things about this not so portable ice fishing tent heater are that: it can be bought at 4K, 9k, and 18K BTU to suit the sort of space you are trying to heat; it shuts down automatically when oxygen levels are low to help defend against the production of Carbon Monoxide, and; it has a built-in fan to blow the heat around. The downside of this heater is the weight, cost, and unsuitability for smaller tents. Because it is propane, make sure you use it in well-ventilated spaces.
#Propane #Propane_Ice_Heater #Ice_Fishing #Ice_Fishing_Heater #Propane_Heating
#5 Best Portable Butane Camping Heater: Neiko’s Camping Emergency Butane Heater Survival Kit
If you need a small but powerful heater, then this excellent gas camp heater powered by butane will be music to your ears. With an adjustable heater that can be adjusted to heat in different directions, this 700BTU heater is suitable for heating outdoor spaces at your camp. Highly efficient, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this tent heater with a useful handle on the top for portability.
Other things to like about this butane camp heater are that: it is pretty lightweight, at under 6 pounds (compared to the 17 pound of the ice fishing heater above that’s easy); it consumes just 100 gram of butane an hour even at full temperature, and; it is reasonably priced. The downsides of this camping heater are that it is not at all safe for indoor use in tents and it doesn’t have an O2 or Carbon Monoxide monitor.
#Butane #Butane_Heater #Outdoor_Camping_Heater #Efficient_Outdoor_Heater #Portable_Butane_Heater
#6 Best tent heater for high altitude: Coleman’s SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater
If your hiking up in the Himalayas or traveling to other cold and far-flung corners of the world then this is the best tent heater for backpacking. You’ll get impressive heat (1,500 BTU) for up 14 hours on a solitary propane canister (16.40z) with this heater that works great even at high altitudes where there is less oxygen and lower ambient temperatures. The portability of this heater also makes it great for more generally.
Other benefits of this portable indoor camp heater for backpackers are that: it offers safe and efficient flameless heat; it comes with a detachable base which can be used as a stand or it can be attached to most other surfaces thanks to the built-in eyelets; it comes with a whopping limited warranty of 5 years, and; it’s one of the most portable heaters you’ll find. The downside of this heater is that it is propane so you need to ensure proper ventilation is possible to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
#Travel_Heater #Backpacking_Heater #Propane_Heater #Portable_Heater #Camping_Heater
What heaters are safe for tents?
So what is the take away from this? Well, whilst butane and propane claim to be safe for indoor use, electric heaters are more likely to be safer in most instances. This is due to the fact that they do not emit CO2 or Carbon Monoxide. Nevertheless, with any type of tent heater you still need to take a number of safety precautions:
#1 Risk of fire & Overheating
Heaters that overheat themselves or nearby materials can cause a fire even f the label says they are safe to use indoors. The heater should be centrally located away from dangly bits, tent sides, and anything potentially flammable.
#2 Carbon Monoxide
When using a heater indoors, it is vital that it is never left on accidentally when we fall asleep. Because of the rapid effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, it is vital not to fall asleep with a butane or propane heater on and be vigilant for anything blocking the ventilation of your tent. For this reason, you should never rely on a single opening to provide your ventilation.
#3 Don’t use home-made stands
If your heater doesn’t come with a stand don’t try to prop it up on anything as this could potentially cause a fire. You also don’t want it to be raised off the ground on a rickety structure that is likely to see it fall over. Built-in stands are fine because they are designed for particular models they are used on.
#4 Steer clear of dryer ground
This one goes for camping heaters indoors and out. If you are camping on super dry ground covered in dry leaves or other naturally flammable materials, using a heater is going to increase the risk of causing a fire that could do more damage than just setting fire to your own tent.
You will need to ensure your tent is well ventilated when using a camping heater, especially with propane and butane. However, even with electric, it is important to consider ventilation to ensure nothing in the tent overheats.
Is there a portable heater that runs on batteries?
Some electric heaters do run on batteries but, unfortunately, they tend to be low power and won’t last long when in use. As such, they won’t do a great job of heating up a large tent. They are also not ideal for hiking trips as they require you to carry additional items and weight.
How do you heat a tent without electricity?
The different types of heaters above can all be used without electricity from the mains. Evidently, however, all of the above options require some consideration of potential risks. Other useful ways you can keep tents warm without electricity include:
Additional floor tarpaulin and blankets inside the tent between you and the floor help to retain more heat and prevent cold getting in.
#2 Use a hot water bottle (or a hot stone)
Hot water bottles can easily be filled thanks to camp-fires or camp stoves. This can be the classic one you take to bed or a metal bottle used to store water. Some people also use hot stones heated near the fire, they can be wrapped in some socks to make sure you don’t burn. Just make sure they are not directly touching anything particularly flammable ether.
#3 Use smaller tents
They heat up more quickly from your body heat.
#4 Keep your head warm
Whilst there are some myths about how much heat gets lost through our heads, we do lose around 10% of our body heat this way. In a sleeping it’s the only part not covered so wearing a hat can help keep you warm.
Questions You Need to Ask Yourself when Buying a Heater for Camping
So how do you find the best tent heater for winter camping, best tent heater on the market, or the best portable camp heater? Here, are 5 questions you have to ask yourself to decide:
#1 Do I really need a camping heater?
The best heater is always first taking other measures to heat your tent that don’t require you to take on the risk of a tent heater.
#2 What is the best camp heater: what is the right one for my needs?
If you are going to be at a campsite with electricity, electric heaters will always be the best of the 3 main heater options. However, whilst propane and butane come with risks, they offer more heat for less weight and space costs so may be more suitable for hiking.
#3 Will I be safe?
If the only heater suitable for your needs comes with risks, then you need to think carefully about the risks associated with the heater you choose. Make sure you know how to safely use any heater you choose and that is suitable for your specific plans for use.
#4 Will it be safe to use where I am going?
With forest fires increasingly making global news, campers need to be more and more aware of how they can safely heat themselves.
You don’t have to stay cold when you go camping. There are a range of strategies you can use to keep your tent warm without electricity. If these are insufficient, then heaters can be a good option. Make sure to carefully check their safety instructions and suitability for the space you intend to use them in and get cozy. Always remember the importance of good ventilation and never fall asleep with a portable heater left on in your tent.