There’s lots to love about winter camping—fewer crowds, no bugs, and snowy surroundings. But nobody looks forward to keeping warm when temperatures drop, especially if you’re staying in a tent. Which is why you definitely want one of these safe tent heaters for camping.
Aside from insulating a tent for the winter, tent heaters are the best way to stay warm when winter camping. But many campers worry about the dangers of using a tent heater in an enclosed space.
Luckily, plenty of tent heaters on the market are perfectly safe to use inside a tent. Here’s what to look for and which tent heaters to buy before heading out on your next winter camping adventure.
What should I look for in a tent heater?
You’ll find many different tent heater models on the market, some of which are far safer than others. Perhaps the most significant difference in tent heaters is between electric and propane models.
Electric tent heaters are generally much safer than propane heaters. The main reason propane heaters are more dangerous is due to oxygen consumption and carbon monoxide production.
Propane tent heaters can use up all the oxygen in an enclosed space, putting campers at risk. Propane also produces carbon monoxide, which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
That being said, many campers still choose propane heaters, as they don’t need to be hooked up to an electrical outlet and are more efficient than electric heaters. If you’re looking for a portable electric tent heater, consider bringing a mini generator to avoid long extension cables.
If you are planning to buy a propane tent heater, ensure it has an ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) and that you place a carbon monoxide detector in your tent. You also need to make sure your tent is properly ventilated.
As both electric and propane tent heaters are fire hazards, look for a model which features an automatic shut-off. With an auto shut-off, your space heater will turn off on its own if you happen to knock it over or if it reaches a high enough temperature. So, if you fall asleep or knock it over without realizing your tent heater will turn off, potentially preventing a fire.
How do I use a tent heater safely?
Despite many heaters being safe to use inside a tent, it’s wise to prepare your tent so you can use a heater as safely as possible.
The number one thing to remember is to turn your tent heater off before falling asleep. Any heat source is a fire hazard, and you don’t want to put yourself and your fellow campers at risk.
Even if your heater has an auto shut-off, don’t rely on this feature to prevent a fire.
You’ll also want to pick an appropriate spot for your tent heater. You’ll want to place your tent heater on flat ground to avoid it tipping over. Also, consider insulating the floor in case the space heater gets hot underneath.
It’s also important to place a tent heater away from any flammable objects, as they may catch fire if your heater overheats.
You should also keep the heater away from sleeping areas in case it gets tipped over at night.
If you have an electric heater, keep it away from water.
If you have a propane heater, keep it close to a ventilation source.
What are the best tent heaters on the market?
There’s a huge number of heater brands and designs on the market, making it tricky to pick out the safest tent heater possible. Here are a few suggestions. Keep in mind that you must read all safety directions and follow the instructions for each brand to reduce risks.
Mr. Heater MH9BX Portable Buddy Heater
If you’re set on buying a propane tent heater, check out the Mr. Heater MH9BX Portable Buddy Heater. One of the most popular models on the market, the Mr. Heater MH9BX Portable Buddy Heater is a highly effective radiant heater capable of warming 225 square feet.
One of the main reasons the Portable Buddy Heater is so popular is due to its safety features. The Portable Buddy Heater has an ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) and an auto shut-off if tipped over or if the pilot light goes out.
As long as campers keep their tent ventilated, the Mr. Heater MH9BX Portable Buddy Heater is one of the safest and most efficient propane tent heaters around.
Isiler 1500W Ceramic Space Heater
This pint-sized tent heater packs a punch, with its 1500W power able to heat 107 square feet, making it suitable for the largest of tents. The Isiler 1500W Ceramic Space Heater is also made from flame-retardant materials and features an auto shut-off if tipped over.
One unique feature of this heater is that it will turn off once the ambient room temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another useful feature of this heater is its adjustable thermostat, so the heater won’t warm an area to higher than the chosen temperature, making it more energy-efficient.
Givebest Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat
Another hugely popular heater worth considering is the Givebest Portable Electric Space Heater. This heater boasts both 1,500W and 750W heater settings, as well as a cool fan setting, so your heater will come in handy year-round.
Like the Isiler, the Givebest Portable Electric Space Heater has a thermostat that turns the heater on and off, keeping your tent at a comfortable temperature.
This Givebest model is also among the safest on the market. It’s made from flame-retardant materials and features tip-over protection. It also features safety shut-off protection, meaning the heater will shut off if it becomes too warm, ideal if you’ve accidentally left something too close to your heater.
Lasko 200W MyHeat Space Heater
Campers searching for a tiny, energy-efficient tent heater should take a look at the Lasko 200W MyHeat Space Heater. Standing a mere 6 inches, the Lasko MyHeat is ideal for campers short on space and looking to travel light.
Like many of the safest heaters on the market, the Lasko features a ceramic heating element, which warms up quickly and is less likely to cause a fire. It also has overheat protection and is made from insulating materials, so the heater’s exterior won’t get hot to the touch. While this heater is unlikely to warm up an eight-man tent, it’ll keep you and fellow campers toasty in a pinch!
For RVers, check out everything you need to know about winter skirting to insulate your camper and keep warm.