We all love backpacking and camping in the great outdoors. It is refreshing, rejuvenating, adventurous, and let’s face it COLD. Particularly during the fall seasons, when the days are warm and great for camping, but the night and especially the dawn brings up chills that are enough to make you abandon the whole thing. And even though the whole point of camping is going back to nature and stuff, a little human innovation does not hurt. I am talking about tent heaters that can keep you warm, heating up your whole tent and making the thought of leaving your warm and cozy sleeping bag much more bearable. Portable tent heaters are available in both gas and electric models that can help you survive the cold and still enjoy your trip. These tent heaters are great options for someone who might go ice fishing and plans on camping on the ice. But, before you can find the best tent heater, you need to find out a little about them!
- 1 Best Tent Heater Comparison Table 2017
- 2 How Much Heat Do You Need?
- 3 Two Different Types For The Best Tent Heater
- 3.1 Catalytic Propane Gas Heaters:
- 3.2 Types of Catalytic Propane Gas Heaters
- 4 Electric Space Tent Heaters:
- 5 Heater Safety Tips
- 6 Final Thoughts on Tent Heaters
Best Tent Heater Comparison Table 2017
|Tent Heater||Thermal Output||Weight||Rating||Cost|
|4,000- 9,000 BTU||9.5 Lbs||4.8||$$$|
|0 - 3,800 BTU||5 Lbs||4.8||$$|
|1,000-10,000 BTU||34 Lbs||4.4||$$$$$|
|220 - 500 BTU||2.9 Lbs||4||$$|
|0 - 5,000 BTU||14 Lbs||4||$$$$$|
How Much Heat Do You Need?
Because everyone has different uses for their camp heaters, here is all the information you will need to calculate how much heat you actually need. So most heaters will use BTU or British Thermal Unit to calculate the energy needed. To find the amount of BTU’s needed to heat your tent to a specific temperature you will need to do the following:
- First Find The Cubic Feet of The Tent (Length x Width x Height).
- Find The Temperature Increase Desired By Subtracting the Outside Temperature With The Desired Inside Temperature.
- If Measuring in Fahrenheit Then Use The Following Formula To Find The BTU’s Needed: Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase x 0.133 = Required BTU’s.
- If using Celsius Then Use The Following Formula: Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase x 0.2394 = Required BTU’s.
Two Different Types For The Best Tent Heater
Catalytic Propane Gas Heaters:
This is the method of producing controlled heat, as opposed to full-on combustion. Catalyzed chemical reactions within the heater break down the molecules to produce heat, and is a flameless and explosion-less heat source that is mostly considered safe and reliable. Catalytic combustion occurs when natural gas (or liquid propane gas) in the presence of oxygen creates carbon dioxide, water, and heat.
In this situation, the ignition temperature of natural gas occurs at substantially lower temperatures, therefore, no flame is involved in the combustion process and far infrared wave emitters are created, producing radiant heat. Additionally, the thermal efficiency of this type of heating is higher compared to traditional methods of heating.
While considering Propane heaters, the names you would want to look out for are Mr. Heater, Coleman, and Zodi. All of them make excellent heaters and are well reputed for a safe and reliable product. So here is a breakdown of their best models.
Types of Catalytic Propane Gas Heaters
Portable Buddy from Mr. Heater –
It has two heat settings, the low being 4,000 BTU and the high at 9,000 BTU. This heater is good not only for camping but can also be used during power outbreaks at home. The best part is the Swivel Out regulator for easy fuel connection.
It can connect either to a 1 lb. Disposable cylinder or 20 lb. Cylinder with optional hose. It can give 3 to 6 hours of heat using the former, depending on the LO-Hi settings. The handle is foldable and this leads to a compact and efficient heater.
I personally recommend the Portable Buddy as the best tent heater for any camper to all of my friends! It’s easy to use design is great, and the product itself is fantastic!
Little Buddy Portable Heater by Mr. Heater
Another Mr. Heater brand is up for our favorite heaters, and for good reason. Mr. Heater is known for it’s quality products along with it’s ability to provide these heaters with safety and functionality at the front of it’s goals. All of their products feature safety shut off switches in case of overheating.
Previously we mentioned the Portable Buddy by Mr. Heater which is their mid-tier tent heater that can output up to 9,000 BTU’s, but it featured in a little larger casing. But if you are interested in something a little smaller and a little more compact, then the Little Buddy is the best choice!
This tiny little tent heater only weighs 5 Lbs and is designed to heat areas around 95 square feet. But this little size doesn’t mean little power. It features a maximum output of 3,800 BTU’s, and this heater provides you with odor free heating for over five straight hours at a 45 degree heating angle. Along with this, this heater uses a simple On/Off functionality, for ease of use. It runs of a simple 1 lbs disposable propane heater.
As for safety features, this heater is featured with a low oxygen sensor that will shut off the heater if it detects there is too little oxygen, and an auto-shut off switch if the heater tips over.
This little heater provides the new standard for all portable heaters, and is the absolute best tent heater for you to use if you are trying to save space. I suggest it for anyone that enjoys backpacking or camping on a budget.
Hot Vent from Zodi–
Zodi makes excellent external heaters that stay outside the tent, making it a tad bit safer. Their model uses two foil hoses and a fan to blow the heated air into the tent. 10,000 BTUs heat produced and can last from 3-8 hours on 16.4 oz cylinder. The best part is that it stays outside, and only the heat comes in. There is no danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is one of my choices for the best tent heater on the market. I definitely prefer the electric heater over gas for safety reasons, and it really does make those cold nights in a tent extremely nice!
This is definitely more of a permanent solution for a tent heater, and it is best used by those who are setting up camp for a long period of time, or setting up a research outpost. This heater weighs about 34 pounds and can be quite expensive, but it is the most professional solution. It has a maximum output of 40,000 BTU’s which means that it can heat a huge tent, and really provide a heat solution to a large research team.
Electric Space Tent Heaters:
Electric Space Heaters become a more viable option for heating, provided that you are camping at a site that has easily available electrical hook-ups. Electric space heaters are an obvious choice for campers that prefer RV camping, or campers who opt for organized campsites which provide such services. Electric heaters work on two principles, they are either convection heater that produce heat by moving air over a heated surface, or Radiant heater that use a metal element such as Quartz and a reflector produce heat. The former one can heat up an entire room while the latter is used to produce heat for a specific area.
The latest development in convection heaters is ceramic heaters which use ceramic plates and aluminum baffles, the ceramic is heated when electricity passes through it, this heat is absorbed by the aluminum and a fan blows the warm air into your room. As you can guess, there is no glowing element like radiant heater and it is completely flameless. They are more energy efficient as well as safer.
Some of the Best Electric Tent Heaters Are:
Comfort Zone Oscillating Ceramic Heater–
It has an adjustable thermostat and 3 settings options to choose from. The oscillation is 80 degrees wide. The two heat settings are Low at 750 watts and High at 1500 watts. You can also opt for a fan only option if you need to cool things down a bit, the fan works noiselessly and efficiently. The thermostat has a status light as well that indicates the current state of the heater.
Its heater is made up of metal and so is durable and at the same time light enough for one person to carry, weighing at 2.9 pounds. The dimensions as well are very compact, being 8 X 6 X 6.8 inches, it works as an amazing personal heater. There has also been an addition for extra safety of a high limit safety fuse. Now isn’t that amazing?
Overall this heater packs a lot of heat into a little tower. It is perfect for chilly nights where you can hook this heater up, and it will just start pumping some warmth into your tent.
Allegro Industries 940150 Tent Heater
Talking of lightweight and compact heaters, one of the best ones in the market currently is definitely the 940150 tent heater from Allegro Industries. It is known far and wide for its commendable performance and durability. It weighs slightly on the heavier side, standing at 14 pounds but can be easily carried if you have got yourself a pair of helping hands. It has a 120V motor and burns at 1500 Watts to produce 5,000 BTUs of heat.
This is great for any sort of work tents, or where you need something just a little more heavy duty than the tower previously mentioned. This heater has the ability to heat a tent up to 50 degrees! Along with this, it comes in a durable design, made of all steel.
Overall this is a great commercial tent heater, and it also is a great choice if you need a heater that is a little more heavy duty and powerful.
Heater Safety Tips
It is better to not operate the heater while sleeping, in fact, all these heaters are meant to heat up the tent before hitting the sack or in the morning before stepping out of your sleeping bag. In case of a propane fire heater, make sure of available ventilation so that you don’t inhale any harmful gases. Electric heaters should be preferred with a fuse or a catch so there is no chance of overheating. Avoid plugging in the Electric heater through extension cords and if need be, make yourself sure that it is a heavy duty extension wire to avoid short circuits and fire. Above all, always follow the manufacturer instruction, to the letter. It can become a matter of life or death and safety always comes first.
Final Thoughts on Tent Heaters
Although this article gives you a fair amount of know how to help in selecting the best camp heater for you, you need to understand that at presen,t there are no 100% safe and secure method of camp heating and personal vigilance and safety precautions are highly advised. Every camp heater has its own positive and negative points so you should go through the specifics, and do a thorough research on the product that you are investing in so that you know for sure that it is the best-fit item for you.