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11 Best Tent Heaters (2022 Reviews and Guide)

Choosing the best tent heater can be a challenge. There are many different types of heaters to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.

When you’re camping, it’s essential to stay warm. But if you don’t have the best heater for your tent, you could be in for a rough camping experience.

Modern heaters are safe, convenient, and efficient- perfect for heating up all of those cold spots in your tent so that everyone stays comfortable when it’s cold.

We will go over the different heaters for tents, including propane gas heaters, electric heaters, and portable stoves.

We will also cover what to do and what not to do with each type of heater so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

In a hurry? Check out our top picks:

Best tent heater

There are a lot of tent heaters on the market, each with its own unique features. We have narrowed down the choices to help you choose the best option. With that, let’s get to it.

Mr. Heater MH4B

Mr. Heater MH4B-Massachusetts/Canada Portable LP Heater
  • 3, 800 BTU's per hour. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED...
  • Accidental tip-over safety shutoff
  • Automatic low oxygen shutoff system
  • Certified Outdoor Use Only - Canada & Massachusetts approved
  • For use with propane gas & heats up to 95sq ft.

Camping in the cold is a double edge sword. It’s great to explore the great outdoors any time of year, but you want to be warm and comfortable in your tent.

Mr. Heater MH4B is one of the best heaters for tents, with 3,800 BTUs per hour to keep your tent nice and warm.

It can handle up to 95 square feet, runs up to 5.6 hours, and comes with many safety features that will protect you while heating your space. The Mr. Heater MH4B also has a comfy ergonomic handle, making it easy to carry around with you.

The heater comes with safety features that will help prevent accidents, including an automatic low oxygen shut-down system and a safety shut-off in case it gets knocked over. The tent heater also has an 8″ base for stability.

I can tell you from experience the shut-off on Mr. Heater tent heaters can be a little bit sensitive if you try to move the heater when it’s on. Well, that is what it’s designed for.

The heavy-duty wire guard on the front of the heater also helps to protect the heating element. It has a push-button start, and it’s easy to turn off. The heater is also angled at 45 degrees.

The MH4B is a smaller, more compact tent heater from Mr. Heater, which means you can even take it hiking or backpacking with you.

It’s perfect for use with tents, pop-up campers, small hunting blinds, or any other tent that needs heat.

If you’re looking for a tent heater that can heat up 95 square feet, check out the Mr. Heater MH4B. It’s great for camping in cold weather and has some excellent safety features.

Make sure you follow the instructions for lighting the pilot. Sometimes it can be a little finicky.

PROS

Good safety features
Heats up to 95 square feet
Heavy-duty wire guard
Solid 8 inch base for stability

CONS

Bulky for backpacking
Can be difficult to light the first time

Mr. Heater MH9BX Heater

Sale
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater, Red-Black
  • 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for...
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may...
  • Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen...
  • Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included); Run...
  • THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY...

The Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy is a portable propane radiant heater with many features that make it ideal for tent use. The unit runs on a 1 lb. propane cylinder, which is really nice because those propane cylinders are compact and easy to take.

You can also buy an adapter to hook a propane hose to the heater if you want to attach it to a larger 5 gallon (or more) propane tank.

Mr. Heater Buddy has safety features, like it shuts off if tipped over, detects low oxygen levels, or if the pilot light goes out. In addition, it can run up to 3 hours at maximum BTU output before needing refueling.

This heater is approved for indoor/outdoor use and heats spaces to 225 square feet, making it more than enough for tents. With its heavy-duty design, easy-grip handle, clean-burning, nearly 100% efficient burner, this heater will keep you warm.

Speaking from experience, make sure your tent is well-ventilated to keep this unit running. We experienced that first hand the first time we used the heater, the oxygen sensor kicked in.

I couldn’t figure out why it kept shutting off until I realized it was supposed to do that.

As soon as I left the zipper “cracked,” there was enough ventilation to keep this heater burning for many hours.

It can be a little challenging to get the pilot light figured out the first time you use it. You just have to keep pushing down the ignition switch until it takes. Once you do it a few times, it’s easy.

The push-button knob makes lighting the heater a snap, and you can easily adjust the heat setting. But, as I said, it took me a time or two to get it nailed down.

The Mr. Heater portable Buddy is great for camping, hunting, fishing, and more. A great choice with a long track record of satisfied customers.

PROS

Heavy-duty design
3 hours of run time at max BTU
Can use 1 pound propane or larger propane tank with an adapter
Low oxygen sensor

CONS

The pilot light can be fussy until you get the hang of it
Larger than other options

Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater

Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater & Stove, Outdoor Camping Gas Stove Camp Garage Tent Heater for Ice Fishing Backpacking Hiking Hunting Survival Emergency (Orange, CG-2000G)
  • DUAL FUNCTION CAMPING GEAR: Take the load off on your next outdoor adventure and use...
  • FAST HEATING: With a max output up to 9,000 BTU and a unique 360° radiant heating...
  • PRECISE COOKING: The heater & stove is equipped with adjustable flame control to...
  • CLEAN-BURNING: The Campy Gear 2-in-1 Heater & Stove is compatible with 110g & 230g...
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: Campy Gear offers you a 2-in-1 heater/stove that keeps you...

The Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater is an excellent heater for tents, with a unique feature that sets it apart. This heater doubles as a camp stove, which makes it the perfect addition to a small tent.

This combination of features makes this portable propane heater great for camping trips where you need more than just a heater, and you want to cook food.

As well as providing warmth and protection from cold weather conditions, the heater can also be used to prepare meals when other cooking equipment is not available.

The Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater provides up to several hours of heating on one propane tank (depending on outside temperature). In addition, it has adjustable flame controls depending on what’s for dinner!

The heater is clean-burning and uses 110g or 23g butane, isobutane, or propane internal canisters. You can also use a fuel hose (sold separately) to attach the unit to a 1 pound propane canister.

With 9,000 BTU maximum output and 360 degrees radiant heating, this is an excellent heater for tents. It is lightweight and easy to carry but is powerful enough to provide warmth in even the coldest weather conditions.

The heater is versatile and includes heater only, cooking only, or cook/heat modes. It’s a great little heater, perfect for ice fishing, camping, hunting, and is compact enough to take hiking or backpacking.

It’s an excellent 2 in 1 heater that doubles as a camp stove (or vice versa), which means you have less camping gear to haul with you. But this model isn’t a dedicated heater, so it doesn’t have the output or longevity of other models.

Depending on the environment, this heater can last for about 2 hours on a 1 pound propane tank. Also, please note this model does not have an auto shut-off feature.

PROS

Tip-over switch for safety
Durable carry handle
Simple start mechanism
Easy to switch between cook or heat mode

CONS

Doesn’t work great in windy conditions

Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane heater

The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is lightweight, and portable compared to more traditional heating sources. It’s perfect for the outdoorsman who wants an easy way to heat their tent without dealing with complex installation.

The safety features are also worth noting- if the flame goes out, it will automatically shut off the fuel valve and prevent any potential fire hazards. All in all, this is a great little heater that does what you need it to at a reasonable price point.

This is a perfect portable heater for tent camping and backpacking due to its size and weight.

One nice feature of this unit is that it has a large paddle foot base for stability. So, for example, if you place this on top of your picnic table, it will not blow away easily.

The heater uses a standard 1 pound propane cylinder (not included) which can heat up to 2,890 BTU’s. The heater will run 7-8 hours on low or 3 hours on high and is 8.5 x 10 x 5.25 inches in size.

The aluminum reflector helps to amplify the heat, and this heater works great in small and medium-sized tents. The reflector is covered with a metal safety grid.

One thing to note is this unit does not have a low oxygen shut-off sensor like other heaters. This means if you are camping at a high altitude with thin oxygen, this heater will work where others may not.

Just remember to use this heater in a well-ventilated tent. The only downside to the Texsport heater is that the angle is not adjustable, so it will always be 45 degrees.

But, if you can live with that, this is a great affordable heater that works.

PROS

Great for backpacking
Large fold-out base for stability
Fuel shut off if the flame goes out
Very lightweight

CONS

Not as powerful as other heaters
Can not adjust the angle

Stansport Portable Outdoor Propane Infrared Radiant Heater

Stansport Portable Outdoor Propane Infrared Radiant Heater, Black, One Size
  • Portable and personal heater
  • This heater uses a 16.4 ounce propane cylinder
  • 4-step control settings

The Stansport Portable Outdoor Propane Infrared Radiant Heater is one of the best tent heaters due to its size and portability. In addition, it has an easy start matchless ignition, four heat settings, and a convenient carrying handle so you can transport it easily.

The Stansport heater uses a 1 pound propane cylinder which heats up to 3,100 BTUs. It’s great because it has a metal dish to focus the heat where you want it.

It also has an adjustable heat control knob so you can direct the heat to where you need it. The heater has four heat settings which are low, medium, high, and off.

This portable propane heater is great because you can choose how much heat you want and where you need it most.

The plastic base is very stable with wide, tip-resistant feet, so it doesn’t tip over easily. In addition, it’s made of a durable, rust-resistant powder-coated finish, so it will keep working for several uses.

What I like best is it’s easy to carry around, no propping required. Also, the matchless ignition makes it easy to light even if you have gloves on or are trying to start it in cold weather.

The stove is lightweight, and it’s 8.8 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches in size, making it very compact and easy to store or transport. Take it in the car, truck, or boat for camping trips, tailgating parties, hunting expeditions, bonfires, and more.

This heater does not have a low oxygen sensor like other heaters, so it’s great for camping at higher altitudes. But you also have to make sure your tent is adequately ventilated when using this heater.

PROS

Convenient carry handle
Focuses heat where you want it
Great for backpacking
Can run 7-8 hours on low

CONS

Can’t adjust the angle of the heater
No igniter requires a lighter

Mr. Heater MH30T Double Top Propane Heater

Sale
Mr. Heater, MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater (Propane Cylinder not Included)
  • Portable heat
  • Efficient radiant heating
  • 1 year warranty
  • Quiet operation
  • Sturdy construction

Now, if you require some serious heat, The Mr. Heater MH30T is an excellent choice for heating a large tent.

Its double burner radiant propane heater mounts directly to a 20 lb tank for easy portability up to 30,000 BTUs with both burners. The dual tip-over safety shut-off switches are easy to operate.

You can adjust the regulator with high, medium, and low settings on this unit, which can operate just one burner head at a time while still getting 14 hours of run time on high with both burners.

This product also comes equipped with adjustable swivel burner heads that can operate one or both and an easy match lit pilot – no electricity required.

Mr. Heater, MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater weighs under 8 pounds and has a maximum heat of 30,000 BTUs (9000 Watts).

This heater is definitely more clunky than some other options, and may take up more space. However, the convenience of having a powerful heater that operates without electricity is worth it for those cold nights camping.

Each head can be rotated independently so you can have heat where you want it.

One downside to this heater is the sheer volume of the unit and the amount of heat it generates. It might be more than some people need.

If you are looking to heat a large area and want a more powerful heater than some of the other options on the market, this is definitely a great heater.

It may be cumbersome and bulky, but at least you’ll know you’ll be as warm as you need to be wherever your adventures take you. Just make sure your tent is well-ventilated.

PROS

Lots of safety features
Easy to operate
Low, medium, and high settings
Can operate one or both burners at a time

CONS

Might be way too big for some people
Can’t adjust the direction of each burner

Sengoku HeatMate

Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77
  • Perfect for emergency heating or zone heating of rooms up to 380 square feet
  • The large capacity 1.2 gallon/4.5 liter fuel tank will keep you warm for up to 14...
  • Features an automatic safety shut off, easy push button start (no matches or...
  • This heater is also great for outdoor usage on patio, deck, gazebo and other...
  • It’s new burner design protects from the wind and ensures proper performance.

The Sengoku HeatMate is a 10,000-BTU portable radiant kerosene heater that provides zone heating up to 380 square feet. It features an automatic safety shut-off and an easy push-button start, no matches or electricity required.

The EZ Flame adjuster allows you to easily control the unit’s heat output level, while the tip-over switch and safety grills give an added level of protection.

One negative aspect of the Sengoku HeatMate is that it is a bit on the heavy side and bulkier than some other options. The heater is 22 x 13 x 20 inches, so that is something to keep in mind when buying a heater for camping or hiking.

It has a 1.2 gallon/4.5 liter fuel tank that will keep the unit running for long periods without refilling or refueling. The large capacity kerosene tank is excellent because the heater can run for about 14 hours before you need to refill it.

Another great feature is that this heater comes with a fuel gauge. No more guessing how much propane is left in a little one-gallon propane cylinder.

The Sengoku HeatMate creates radiant heat. There is no fan or vent needed to distribute the warmth. All you have to do is place the heater where you want it and turn it on.

Features like an easy-to-read fuel gauge and easy push-button starting make this heater a great option for anyone looking to make sure they are warm throughout their camping experience.

This heater is great for hunting, fishing, camping, or other outdoor activities.

PROS

Protective safety grills
Tip-over switch
Push-button start
Large capacity fuel tank

CONS

Wick doesn’t last long
Some users complain of kerosene smell

Martin Portable Outdoor Camping Infrared Propane Gas Heater

Martin Portable Outdoor Camping Infrared Propane Gas Heater Parabolic
  • Keep warm during your camping or ice fishing trip with this portable propane heater...
  • Adjustable Heat Control- It has simple controls, and you can turn it off, set it to...
  • Works with a 1 lb (16.4 oz) propane bottle sold separately and a metal dish that...
  • Includes stable extendable cylinder base for greater stability! This beast produces...
  • Safety feature- include an auto shut-off fuel valve if the flame goes out, large...

The Martin Portable Heater is the perfect solution to your heating needs. It’s small and compact, but it still packs a punch with 3100 BTU’s of heat.

Plus, it has an adjustable heat control to choose between low, medium, and high settings. The metal dish helps focus the heat where you want it and also makes for more efficient heating.

You can even use this heater with a 1 lb propane bottle. And if the flame goes out, there’s an auto shut-off fuel valve. This tent heater also comes with a convenient carry handle and a stable extendable cylinder base for greater stability.

The Martin Portable Heater is the perfect solution for heating up your tent. It’s easy to use and has all of the features you need in a portable heater. Depending on how warm you want it to be, you can adjust it to low, medium, or high heat.

With its simple controls, this heater will make your camping trip much more enjoyable. Plus, with its metal dish that helps focus the heat where you want it and large paddle foot base for stability, this heater is sure to keep everyone comfortable.

This convenient carry handle makes transporting this heater from place to place very easy. If you’re looking for a great way to stay warm during your next camping trip, then look no further than the Martin Portable Heater.

This efficient portable heater is great for hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, or whatever nature calls you. Safety features and portability make this a great little heater.

PROS

Efficient heater
Convenient carry handle
Auto shut off if the flame goes out
Paddle foot base for stability

CONS

Does not have an igniter
Some users complain it is not hot enough at higher altitudes

Comfort Zone CZ707 1500 Watt Compact Utility Heater

Comfort Zone CZ707 1500 Watt Compact Utility Heater, Gray
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Reduce your heating bills with this safe and durable electric...
  • 3 POWERFUL SETTINGS: Choose from low and high heat settings on this utility heater...
  • ADJUSTABLE THERMOSTAT: It’s easy to find the perfect temperature and take control...
  • SAFETY FIRST: This portable utility heater is equipped with power and caution...
  • DURABLE AND PORTABLE: The durable stay-cool metal housing and convenient carry handle...

If you are camping in your backyard, at a campground with full hookups, or have a generator, the Cozy Tent Heater is another excellent option for those looking for an electric tent heater.

The Comfort Zone CZ707 1500 Watt Compact Utility Heater is perfect for those looking to heat up a small space. This heater is lightweight, compact, and weighs only 3.1 pounds, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.

It has an adjustable rotary thermostat that allows you to adjust between low and high heat settings depending on the current temperature needs. In addition, it is equipped with both a power and caution indicator light so that you can let others know when it’s on.

This heater also has a tip-over switch, and an overheat protection sensor, which will automatically shut the unit off if it starts to overheat.

The CZ707 compact utility heater provides targeted heating because it features a fan-only setting. In addition, you can choose between low and high heat settings.

This heater is energy efficient, and its compact design makes it easy to keep this heater out of the way in your tent.

If you are using this heater with an extension cord, make sure the cord is sufficient to handle the draw of the heater. You will need a pretty heavy-duty extension cord with this heater.

The nice thing is, many tents come with an access port for just this purpose. You can run a propane hose or extension cord through the access port, but I digress.

If you are in the market for a compact, lightweight, portable electric tent heater, be sure to check out this model from Comfort Zone.

PROS

Electric heat
Compact
It has a fan-only setting
Tip-over switch

CONS

You need electrical hookups
The handle is kind of weak

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater with Fan Forced Technology – Space Heater with Surround Heat Output and Two Heat Settings – Energy Efficient Portable Heater
  • 360 DEGREE ALL AROUND WARMTH – Use the Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater in...
  • SAFETY MATTERS: This small heater offers multiple safety options...
  • INCREASE YOUR COMFORT – Always be comfortable, no matter what season it is....
  • SMART SAVINGS: A portable heater is an easy way to add warmth to any space. By...
  • HONEYWELL QUALITY: Help improve heating and energy savings in your home, bedroom or...

If you are camping with a power source nearby, this tent heater from Honeywell will serve you well.

The Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater is a reliable heater that can be used in tents. It has an adjustable thermostat, two heat settings, and multiple safety options.

The heater also offers fan forced technology which circulates the warm air through the tent to ensure all corners are heated evenly. This is a corded electric heater with high-grade silicone-covered wiring for powerful 1500 watts of output power.

Lastly, it has a programmable thermostat so you can set it to the desired temperature.

The heater has built-in safety features and a cool touch carry handle for easy transport. This heater is great for people who want their tents to be warm in different climates, especially colder ones.

A cool touch plastic housing means you won’t get burnt if you accidentally touch the heater, and 2x overheat shut-off give you added protection.

The 360-degree tip-over switch makes this very safe even if you get tangled up with the cord while in your tent. Not that that has ever happened to anyone.

The Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater is a reliable heater for all-weather camping. It has an adjustable thermostat, two heat settings, and multiple safety options, including the protection from overheating to make this safe around children or pets that may be in your tent with you.

The Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater does not overheat, it is not hot to the touch, and it will shut itself off if it’s tripped.

This heater should be on your list if you are backyard camping or at a state park with electrical hookups.

PROS

Small and compact
Adjustable thermostat
Cool-touch handle
1500 watts

CONS

It’s pretty loud

Camping Emergency Butane Heater

Camping Emergency Butane Heater Coherent Heat Source Survival Tools
  • Use standard butane gas cartidge for portability
  • Ceramic burner
  • Pressure sensing safety shut off device
  • Gas consumption 100gm/hr
  • CE certificate

Butane gas heaters are great because they are more mobile since you aren’t tied to an electricity source or heavy propane tanks.

The Camping Emergency Butane Heater is a good option because it uses standard butane gas cartridges, which are great for portability. In addition, the ceramic burner is highly efficient and highly portable.

This heater also has a pressure sensing safety shut-off device, so you won’t have to worry about it overheating, and it shuts off when it is tipped over.

The gas consumption runs at 100 gm/hr, which means you’ll be able to heat your tent for hours before needing a refill. Constructed of high-quality stainless steel and weighing only about 5 pounds, it can be easily transported to and from your car or campsite.

This heater is perfect for taking the chill off in your tent. Just be sure you have adequate ventilation before you fire this bad boy up. With 4,440 BTU/hour, this is an excellent heater for camping trips.

The butane heater delivers if you are on a budget. The cartridges are easy to load, and the portable heater is lightweight, safe, and durable.

The cartridges are also easy to find at most outdoor sports shops or hardware stores.

The only downside is that the butane cartridge needs to be disposed of safely, so follow your local city ordinances. Otherwise, this heater is an excellent choice for your camping needs.

Overall, the butane gas heater from Camping Emergency is an excellent option for those looking for a mobile camping heater that does not require electricity.

PROS

Only weighs about 5 pounds
High-quality stainless steel
Great for taking the chill off
Easy to load cartridge

CONS

Struggles to burn butane below freezing
Doesn’t have a low oxygen sensor

How to choose the best tent heater

There are many factors to consider when choosing a tent heater, including the climate, how much space you have, safety features, etc. Next, we will discuss what to look for when choosing a heater for your tent.

Heater type

There are different types of heaters (mainly gas and electric) you can use for your tent. While all of them have pros and cons, it’s essential to make sure you can safely use one in your tent.

Gas tent heater

Gas-powered tent heaters are a great choice if you’re looking for a heater that is both powerful and has excellent safety features. Gas heaters typically use propane, butane, kerosene. These fuels are usually readily available at many big box and sporting goods stores. So, fuel is pretty easy to come by, and it’s also affordable.

Propane is probably the most popular. You can use small one-gallon propane cylinders, or often you can use a large propane tank. Depending on the heater, you might need an adapter.

Propane heaters are also popular because other camping appliances like a camp stove and grill run off propane. So then you only need to take one kind of fuel camping.

The downside is that gas heaters emit carbon monoxide fumes into the air when running. Carbon monoxide (CO) can be fatal, so it’s imperative to ensure your tent is well-ventilated. We will get into safety with gas heaters in a bit.

Gas heaters are very popular because they are portable, and you don’t need electricity to run them. This makes them great for backpacking, remote camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Electric tent heater

Electric tent heaters are excellent because they don’t burn fuel, but they do require electricity. If you are camping in your backyard or at a campground with electric hookups, you are in luck. Otherwise, you will need a generator.

Most likely, you will need to use an extension cord. Just keep in mind the maximum length of the cord, and buy the proper heavy-gauge wire needed for your heater.

You can also use solar power if you are so inclined or equipped.

You don’t get potentially harmful fumes with an electric tent heater, which is a plus, but they are often not as powerful.

Portability and size

A tent heater is a great way to keep your tent warm if you are in an area where it gets cold. Many different types of heaters can be used for tents, but not all will work for every situation.

Gas-powered tent heaters use propane or butane. Electric heaters require electricity and extension cords, while portable stoves need fuel like kerosene.

The best option will depend on what type of camping you do and the climate around you. Some heaters are small enough (and are designed) for backpacking and hiking. Other heaters require you to have a lot more space to haul and use the heater.

It depends on your needs, the weather, etc. There are many different heaters, so it’s essential to choose one that will work best for your situation.

Camping location

Camping can be a great way to spend time with friends and family, but it’s not always the most comfortable experience. The best tent heater for you will depend on where you camp and what type of camping conditions you will encounter.

Many different heaters can be used in tents, propane gas heaters, electric heaters, and portable stoves.

If your trip involves backpacking or hiking, then a small gas heater may be the best option for you since they are lightweight and easy to carry around. However, if you are camping at a high altitude, you may not want a propane heater with a low oxygen sensor because the air is thinner, and the heater may shut off.

If there is more space available when camping at a campsite or if electricity is an option for heating your tent, then an electric heater would work well as long as there is an extension cord available.

If you know there will be no electricity, then gas is your option (unless you are set up for solar power).

Noise level

Camping is all about peace and quiet, or that’s my opinion, and a noisy heater can put a damper on your relaxation time.

Most camping heaters are generally pretty quiet. However, you run into problems when you need a noisy generator to power your tent heater.

After a long day of fishing or hiking, all you want to do is crawl into your tent and relax. But, unfortunately, loud irritating noise can completely destroy the quiet atmosphere around you, so keep this in mind when purchasing a heater.

Heat output

The heat your tent heater produces is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units) for gas heaters and watts for electric heaters. The more, the merrier (or hotter).

How much heat you want or need depends on factors like the size and material of the tent, the number of people, the tolerance of those around you, and how cold it will be while you are camping.

For instance, my wife and daughter are the coldest people on the planet (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). So, we need a heater that produces some serious heat.

A small portable heater like the Mr. Heater MH4B puts out 3,800 BTU and is great for a small tent. On the other hand, a heater like the Mr. Heater MH9BX Heater runs between 4,000-9,000 BTU and is better for a large tent or for heating up your outdoor space.

Bigger is not always better, but you want to ensure you have enough power to keep everyone warm.

Safety features

There are some inherent risks when using a tent heater. Thankfully most modern heaters have some built-in safety features. We will also go over some best practices to help you safely use a tent heater.

I’ll quickly go over what you should look for in a tent heater, then how to avoid these potential risks.

One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe while using a tent heater is to make sure your tent has adequate ventilation. For example, open up a window, or leave the door unzipped. Most tents have screens on them, and that comes in very handy for ventilation.

Be careful where you have the heater set up in your tent. Don’t set the heater too close to the tent’s fabric or near sleeping bags that could catch fire or melt. Just make sure your heater has plenty of space around it, so your gear doesn’t go up in flames or worse.

Some of the features you should look for on a heater are:

Anti-tipping – if the heater gets knocked over (by kids, dogs, or you), the heater will turn off automatically.

Low oxygen sensor – this helps protect you and your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning. If the oxygen level gets too low, the tent heater will turn off. I learned this one the hard way.

Overheating protection – Certain tent heaters will shut down if something stops working and the unit overheats.

Run time

One of the top tips when choosing a tent heater for camping is to buy the right size and know how long it will run. Of course, an electric heater can run for a very long time, as long as there is electricity.

Propane and other gas-powered heaters will run for a certain length of time given the conditions, how hot you burn it, and the size of the fuel tank. For example, some heaters will last a couple of hours on a 1 pound propane cylinder.

Again, the run time will depend on how hot your heater is and how much fuel you have. Some people like a 5-gallon propane tank and will run the heater all day and night. Other people only want the heater to take off the chill before calling it a night.

No matter which heater you are using, make sure you have plenty of fuel. Looking at your heater and realizing you have no way to use it is no fun.

Durability

Camping can be rough on your equipment, rocks, tree stumps, and plenty of dirt can be tough on a tent heater. You want a heater that is durable and can stand up to the rigors of the outdoors.

You can bet that a heater will get knocked over, kicked, or dropped, even if you are not trying. So as you stumble out of your tent in the wee hours of the morning when you can’t quite see straight, it’s not out of the question to accidentally kick the heater. Again, this is where the safety features are critical.

Your heater needs to be able to stand up to camping, end of story.

Warranty

Many heaters come with a one-year warranty, but this is something you will want to check before you buy the heater. A quality company will stand behind its product.

For example, the Mr. Heater MH9BX comes with a one-year limited warranty. Some tent heaters will be more comprehensive than that.

Other tips to staying warm while camping

In addition to using a heater to stay cozy in your tent, there are other ways to help keep warm while camping.

Use a rug

If you have the room in your vehicle to pack a rug, you can help yourself out a little bit from the cold, hard ground by using a rug in your tent. This can help keep some of the cold out and make your stay a little more comfortable. It is also nice to step out of your sleeping bag onto a rug, or be able to stand on it while getting dressed.

Insulate your tent

If you’re going to be out in the cold, one of the best ways to keep yourself warm is by insulating your tent. You can use reflective bubble foil to help keep the heat in.

Depending on how big your tent is, this can be kind of cumbersome, but it’s worth a try.

Buy a good sleeping bag

A good sleeping bag can make all the difference when you are cold-weather camping. Some sleeping bags keep you so warm you don’t want or need a heater. You can also try using a zip together sleeping bag if you want to share a bag with someone else.

Take extra blankets

It’s also an option to bring more blankets and coverings with you camping. Bundle up under several layers of blankets, this can help keep you toasty in your tent.

Insulated camping mattress

Not only is a good camping mattress great for comfort, but it can help keep the cold coming up from the ground and you will be a lot warmer as a result.

Hand warmers

Good old cheap hand warmers are so great for cold nights. We always take tons of these. We put one in each glove in the evening or in our coat pockets. Our kids would sleep with them in their sleeping bags. They are like little life savers and keep small campers especially happy.

Conclusion

If you are looking for an efficient way to stay warm while camping, a tent heater may be the best option. There are different types of heaters depending on your needs.

The right type for your situation will depend on how much heat you need to keep yourself toastie. Do not forget about safety features when it comes to choosing your heater.

Buying a quality tent heater can make all the difference when you’re out camping in cold weather. No one wants to be stuck huddled together, getting colder by the minute and cranky.

One more thing, make sure your tent has adequate ventilation when using your heater and never leave the tent heater unattended.

Happy camping!

Steve and Kris
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Steve and Kris are avid campers, outdoor lovers, and founders of Camp S'more Worry Less. When they are not camping, they enjoy other outdoor activities, including fishing, kayaking, and hiking with their family. Read more.

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