Best Way To Heat A Tent While Camping (Top 3)

If the cold doesn’t stop you from venturing out and camping, then you’ll need a way to stay warm.

Recent innovations in tent and sleeping bag technology will definitely help you stay warm, but they can only provide so much relief from the frigid cold air.

That’s where tent heaters come in!

Let’s look at 3 of the best ways to heat a tent while camping, some recommended products to help you stay warm, and we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions.

Electric Heater

First up, is an electic heater. This type of heater is able to provide consistent, reliable heat to tents in even the coldest conditions.

Electric heaters don’t consume much if any, oxygen. This makes this type of heater ideal for use in confined spaces like a tent. Unlike a kerosene heater that consumes some serious oxygen, electric heaters won’t bring your oxygen supply to a life-threatening level.

Since electric heaters don’t reduce oxygen supply, they also don’t produce carbon monoxide (which is a good thing). Carbon monoxide deprives our vital organs of oxygen, can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, and can also cause death.

The obvious downside to electric heaters is the need for a direct power source. If you’re tent camping in a remote location you will need a portable generator to power your heater. Which is just another thing to carry (and they can sometimes be heavy).

When looking for an electric heater for your tent, be sure it includes the following safety features:

  • Automatic shut-off, for example, if it tips over
  • Overheat protection
  • Flame-resistant casing

Important: Never leave your electric unit unattended as it could potentially melt or ignite objects nearby—including your tent.

A heater that meets these safety needs, and is one of our best tent heater picks, is the Honeywell 360 Degree Space Heater.

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Electric Heater is an ideal unit to heat a tent while camping because it automatically shuts off when moved or tipped over. The unit also turns off when overheating.

Aside from this auto-shutdown feature, the Honeywell 360 provides even heat across your tent with its 360 degrees rotational heating ability. It also has more than 5,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs), which can easily heat a small, medium, or large tent.

Honeywell 360 Degree Electric Heater claims that its plastic casing is flame-resistant, as well. Its wiring is made of top-grade silicone, which won’t wear down easily.

If you’re using a portable generator, you can easily control the amount of energy you’re using with the Honeywell 360’s low and high settings and modifiable thermostat. Saving energy will allow you to use the remaining power to charge your gadgets.

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

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Propane Heater

Another great way to heat a tent is through a propane heater.

What makes propane great is that it burns clean. It creates fewer emissions than oil-filled space heaters and even electric heaters! And you won’t smell fuel odors during and after usage. Propane is also less combustible as compared to other fuels, so its less risky to stack away.

Propane heaters will effectively heat your tent, no matter the size. Modern units can heat rooms up to 225 square feet. So, if you’re using a relatively large tent, a propane heater makes a great heat source.

An obvious benefit over electric heaters is that you won’t need an electrical supply nearby. You will, however, need propane tanks. But, propane tanks are small and lightweight, compared to a bulky and heavy portable generator.

Make sure that when you buy a propane heater, you choose a unit made of durable materials, including top-grade plastic or steel.

Other safety features to look for in a propane heater include:

  • An Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) to shut the unit off if oxygen levels get too low
  • Auto shut-off if the unit tips over or the pilot light goes out
  • Made of fire-resistant materials

Important: As with any heater, do not operate the unit unsupervised!

One of our favorite propane-powered units is the Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater.

Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater

The Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Heater is a top-of-the-line propane-powered heater that can be used indoors or out.

This heater features a 4,000 to 9,000 BTU output that can heat spaces of up to 20 square meters or 225 square feet.

Like the Honeywell 360 Degree Electric Heater, Mr. Heater Portable Heater also has an auto-shutoff feature when moved or tipped over. It will also shut-off if the pilot light goes out and/or the oxygen levels in the tent get too low.

The only real downsides to this heater are its limited use in high-elevation and the propane tank life. If camping above 7,000ft, the heater may turn itself off. And when operating at full capacity, the heater will burn through a tank in about 3 hours. So, plan accordingly.

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

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Candle Heater

In a distant 3rd place we have candle heaters. It may seem silly to some that a candle can produce enough heat to warm a tent.

However, modern candle heaters have proven that presumption (mostly) wrong by featuring specially designed lanterns that can heat a tent and keep you warm for long periods of time. See how to heat a tent with a candle for more information.

What’s great about candle heaters is that they are relatively small and easy to carry. If you are backpacking rather than car camping, a candle heater is an ideal unit to use.

You can also use candle heaters during emergencies if you need a good source of light or to heat food. They are an excellent alternative to gasoline, propane, or battery-powered lamps. With candle heaters, you get the benefits of heating and lighting at the same time.

With that said, a candle heater may not provide an ample amount of heat if camping in frigid conditions. Plus, as with any type of heater that burns a substance, it will use up oxygen and create carbon monoxide, so use with extreme caution.

Important: Do not leave a candle heater burning unsupervised. And never burn a candle on or near a flammable substance.

UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern

One of the best candle heaters on the market today is the UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern.

The UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern is made of durable aluminum, an excellent heat conductor. They claim it can produce 5,000 BTUs of heat, which matches the heat that the Honeywell 360 Degree Electric Heater can emit.

This candle heater and lantern can heat up small amounts of food and water on its heating shield. Just be careful when using it for this purpose since the shield may touch flammable surfaces.

You can burn up to 3 candles at a time in the lantern, with each candle having a 9 hour lifespan.

The UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern is lightweight and has a top-grade carrying handle. It is only 4 x 8 inches in size, so carrying it while backpacking or hiking is ideal.

UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern

UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern

Price:
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FAQ

How do you heat a tent for camping?

You can use portable heaters to heat your tent when camping. The best heaters to use are electric and propane. Combine a heater with a properly insulated tent and you can definitely stay warm in frigid conditions.

Is there a safe way to heat a tent?

Yes, you can safely heat a tent by using heaters. However, ensure the heater is safe for indoor and outdoor use. And use extreme caution when using any type of heater. Never leave your heater operating unsupervised.

How do I set up my tent heater?

It depends on the type of heater that you’re using. Read the manufacturer’s guide for operating instructions for your specific heater. Always place the unit in a stable spot inside the tent without touching any flammable materials. And properly vent your tent if needed.

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