Need Heat While Camping? Uncover the Right Tent Heater for You

Introduction: Why You Need a Camping Tent Heater—and How to Choose the Right One

When you’re camping out in the cold, a tent heater can make a big difference. Not only will it provide warmth and comfort inside your tent, but it’s also relatively safe and easy to use. When deciding on a camping tent heater, there are a few things you need to consider.

Most tent heaters run on propane or butane gas, although some come with electric baseboard heating. All of these methods have their upsides and downsides, so it’s important to understand which type of heater will best suit your needs.

This guide will explain why you need a camping tent heater, how to choose the right one, and the different types of tent heaters available. We’ll discuss important safety tips, recommended models, and how to correctly set up and store a tent heater. Lastly, we’ll go over the pros and cons of different types of fuel and explain how to choose the right fuel for your tent heater.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camping Tent Heater

Choosing the right camping tent heater can be overwhelming. There are so many different options and it’s important to find the one that works best for you. Here are some of the key factors to consider when selecting a tent heater:

  • Size: It’s essential to make sure you get a tent heater that is the right size for your tent. If the heater is too big, it could end up taking up a lot of space or even be unsafe to use. If the heater is too small, it won’t be able to keep your tent warm enough.
  • Fuel Source: Different types of tent heaters use different fuel sources. Some run on electricity, while others use propane or other combustible fuels. Each type of fuel has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and select the one that works best for your needs.
  • Safety Features: Look for tent heaters that come with safety features such as auto shutoff, tip-over protection, and oxygen depletion sensors. These features are designed to protect you and your family from accidents and dangers related to using a tent heater.
  • Noise Level: Some tent heaters can be quite loud, so look for one that is rated as having a low noise level so that it won’t disturb your sleep or disrupt your relaxation time.
  • Portability: If you plan on taking your tent heater with you when you go camping, make sure it is lightweight and easy to transport. Some models can be bulky and difficult to move, so look for one that is designed for portability.
  • Weather Resistance: When purchasing a tent heater, make sure it is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, and wind. This will ensure it lasts longer and performs better in extreme conditions.
  • Price: Tent heaters come in a variety of price points, so make sure you select one that fits comfortably within your budget but still offers quality features.

When selecting a tent heater, take the time to consider these factors and select the model that best suits your individual needs. Doing your research now will help ensure you have the perfect tent heater for your next camping trip.

Different Types of Tent Heaters

When choosing a camping tent heater, there are a few different types to consider. We’ll look at the different types of heaters available and what they have to offer.

Oil Fill Radiant Heaters

Oil fill radiant heaters are powered by fuel, either kerosene or diesel. They work by heating up an internal oil reservoir. This heat is then radiated into the space in the tent. The oil gets hotter over time, dispersing the heat into the tent steadily. These heaters tend to be larger and require more setup and maintenance than other types of tent heaters.

Convection Heaters

Convection heaters are a popular choice for keeping a tent warm. They work by heating up air, which then rises and circulates throughout the tent. This type of heater tends to be more efficient than other types as it uses less energy to keep the tent warm. However, it does take a bit longer for the heat to spread throughout the tent.

Electric Radiant Heaters

Electric radiant heaters are powered by electricity, so you’ll need to make sure you have a power source nearby. They work by radiating the heat from a single panel into the tent. This type of heater is usually small and easy to set up, making it an ideal option for people who don’t want to fuss with oil fill heaters. However, they do involve some extra costs associated with electricity use.

Propane Heaters

Propane heaters are powered by propane canisters that you can purchase at most camping stores. They work by heating up the air in the tent, much like convection heaters. Propane heaters tend to be more powerful than other types of tent heaters and are a good choice if you need a lot of warmth quickly.

Understanding Output Ratings and Efficiency

When purchasing a camping tent heater, it’s important to understand the different output ratings and how they determine the efficiency of the heater. Output ratings are typically indicated in British thermal units (BTU) and help consumers determine the amount of energy released for a given model.

The higher the BTU, the more heat that is produced by the heater. A higher BTU also indicates greater efficiency when it comes to converting fuel to heat. However, a higher BTU does not always equate to a better camping experience. It’s important to also consider the size of your tent, the type of fuel used, and the climate you will be camping in.

When trying to decide on a BTU rating for your heater, it’s important to know that different tents require different BTUs. For instance, if you’re camping in a small two-person tent, a 10,000 BTU heater may be too powerful. On the other hand, if you’re camping in a larger family-sized tent, you might need a heater with a higher BTU rating in order to effectively warm your tent.

You should also consider the type of fuel you plan on using for your camping tent heater. Different fuels require different BTU ratings, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the correct one in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heater.

Finally, when determining the best BTU rating for your tent heater, you must take into account the climate you will be camping in. If you’re camping in a hot and humid environment, you may need a lower BTU rating as your tent will not need as much heat to remain comfortable. Conversely, if you’re camping in a cold and dry environment, you may need a higher BTU rating so your tent can remain sufficiently heated.

In conclusion, understanding the output ratings and efficiency of your tent heater is essential when choosing the right one for your camping needs. Take into consideration the size of your tent, the type of fuel you plan to use, and the climate you will be camping in before deciding which BTU rating is best for you.

Camping Tent Heater Safety Tips

When using a camping tent heater, it’s important to take extra care and precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some of the most important safety tips to keep in mind when using a camping tent heater:

  • Always read the instructions that come with your camping tent heater before use.
  • Never leave a burning heater unattended. Always turn it off when leaving the tent.
  • Make sure the heater is in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep the tent heater away from flammable materials and combustibles (clothing, bedding, etc.).
  • Keep children and pets away from the tent heater at all times.
  • Do not use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start or fuel your camping tent heater.
  • Only refill a fuel tank outdoors and when the heater has cooled down.
  • Double check that all connections are secure and the tent structure is safe before use.
  • Never use a tent heater if it is damaged or malfunctioning.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your camping tent heater safely.

Recommended Tent Heater Brands and Models

No matter where in the world you are camping, there are a number of well-regarded brands and models of tent heaters available. Some of the most popular tent heater brands include Mr. Heater, Kovea, Texsport, and Selkirk. When looking for a tent heater, it is important to consider your specific needs and choose the model that will best suit your situation. Consider factors like size, output, fuel type, and portability when making your decision. Let’s take a closer look at some of the widely known tent heater models.

  • Mr. Heater Big Buddy – This model from Mr. Heater is a powerful, portable heater with a fuel capacity of up to 1.6 gallons. It is capable of producing up to 18,000 BTUs and can heat up to 400 square feet. It is also equipped with safety features such as tip-over protection and an oxygen depletion sensor.
  • Kovea Supreme Gas Heater – This propane-powered tent heater is perfect for cold weather camping. It comes with an adjustable temperature range and can produce up to 12,000 BTUs, enough to heat up to 180 square feet. It has a built-in safety system and is very lightweight and compact, making it ideal for backpacking trips.
  • Texsport Propane Heater – This high-performance propane heater is ideal for larger tents and can heat up to 400 square feet. It also has adjustable temperature settings and a built-in safety shut-off feature. The tank capacity holds up to one gallon of fuel and the heater produces up to 30,000 BTUs.
  • Selkirk Radiant Heat Tent Heater – This tent heater is great for large groups or family camping trips. It is designed to be safe and efficient, featuring an adjustable temperature range and a built-in high temperature alarm. It runs on either propane or natural gas and produces up to 20,000 BTUs.

These are just a few of the well-known brands and models of tent heaters. Be sure to research different models and brands carefully before making your purchase so you can find the best option for your specific needs.

Setting Up Your Tent Heater

When it comes to setting up a camping tent heater, the most important step is to ensure that it is safely installed and well away from any flammable materials. It is also important to ensure that your tent has adequate ventilation and that you have the right amount of fuel on hand. The following guide will walk you through the steps to take when setting up a camping tent heater.

Find the Right Spot

The first step when setting up a camping tent heater is to find the right spot. Choose a well-ventilated and clear area away from any flammable materials (such as tents). This should be done before you assemble the heater.

Assemble the Heater and Position It

Once you have found the right spot for the camping tent heater, you can begin to assemble it. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, assemble the frame, insert the wall plug and attach the hose to the fuel container. Place the heater in the chosen location and ensure it is level and stable.

Connect the Fuel Container

Connect the fuel container to the heater, making sure it is securely attached and not leaking. It is important to check the fuel container before connecting it in case of any damage or leaks.

Test the System

Once the camping tent heater is assembled and connected to the fuel container, you should test the system by turning it on and letting it run for a few minutes. During this time, check for any leaks, smells, or unusual noises. If you encounter any problems, contact the manufacturer immediately for advice or assistance.

Adjust Settings and Enjoy

Once the heater has been tested and is running correctly, you can adjust the settings to your desired comfort level. Make sure to keep the area around the heater clear and free of combustible materials. Now you can enjoy the warmth of your camping tent heater!

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Fuel

When it comes to choosing the right fuel for your camping tent heater, there are pros and cons to consider. Depending on your needs, budget, and preference, you can choose from several types of fuels.


Propane is the most common type of camping tent heater fuel. It’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive, making it a great choice for occasional campers. Propane also produces a very clean burn, so it won’t create a lot of smoke or soot. The downside is that propane is less efficient than other fuels, so you’ll need to carry and purchase more of it over time.


Wood is a reliable source of fuel that you can easily forage in most outdoor settings. It’s also a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint because it’s a renewable resource. However, burning wood creates a lot of smoke and requires more effort to operate than gas or electric-powered heaters.


Kerosene is another popular choice among campers due to its low cost and long-lasting burn. It’s also more efficient than propane, but it can create a lot of soot and smoke. Additionally, kerosene gives off an unpleasant odor, so it’s not ideal for enclosed spaces.


Gasoline-fueled camping tent heaters provide superior performance and efficiency, but they’re also the most expensive option. Gasoline also has a higher risk of fire due to its flammability, meaning you’ll need to be extra careful when handling it. Furthermore, gasoline-powered heaters require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly.


Electric-powered camping tent heaters are the cleanest and safest option available. They don’t produce any emissions, and all you need to do is plug them in to use them. The downside is that they’re usually more expensive and you’ll need to have access to a power source. Additionally, electric heaters are not as portable as other fuel-based options.

Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Tent Heater

When it comes to a camping tent heater, the fuel you choose is just as important as the heater itself. Each type of fuel has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know which one suits your needs the best. But before we delve into the details of the different fuels available, it’s worth mentioning safety tips to bear in mind when using a tent heater. Never leave the tent heater unattended or leave it on when no one is there to tend to it. Ensure that you are aware of the risks of fire hazards and use common sense when selecting where to place the tent heater.

Different Types of Fuel

The most popular fuels used in camping tent heaters are propane, kerosene, and Coleman fuel (white gas). All three have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so here is a brief overview of each:

  • Propane – Propane is the most widely available fuel for camping tent heaters and is usually the most cost-effective option. It is also relatively easy to use and produces a consistent flame. However, propane can be dangerous if not used correctly.
  • Kerosene – Kerosene is a less expensive alternative to propane and is widely available. It produces a consistent flame and is generally a safe fuel to use. However, it does emit a strong odor and can be messy to refuel.
  • Coleman Fuel (White Gas) – Coleman fuel is a special blend of hydrocarbons and is designed to burn cleanly and evenly. It is more expensive than propane or kerosene, but is also cleaner and more efficient than the other two fuels. However, it can be difficult to find and is usually more expensive.

Which Fuel Is Best For You?

When it comes to choosing the right fuel for your camping tent heater, it really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you want something that is easy to use and won’t break the bank, then propane is probably the way to go. But if you are looking for a fuel that is more efficient and doesn’t have an odor, then Coleman fuel might be the better option. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which fuel is best for you.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Camping Tent Heaters

It can be frustrating when you encounter problems with your camping tent heater, especially when you’re in the middle of a camping trip. Fortunately, there are several common problems that can be easily fixed. Here are some of the most common issues you may encounter and how to resolve them.

The Heater Won’t Turn On

First, check the fuel source to make sure it is connected properly. Then, check your battery to see if it is charged. If it isn’t, charge it and try again. You should also check the connections on the igniter to make sure they are secure. If none of these solutions work, your heater may need to be serviced.

The Heater Is Producing Low Heat Output

If your camping tent heater is producing low heat output, you should first check to make sure the unit is clean and free of debris. Then, check the fuel source to make sure it has enough fuel. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then the air vents may be blocked or the gas regulator may be malfunctioning.

The Heater Is Smoking

If your heater is smoking, the most likely cause is an accumulation of dirt and debris. If this is the case, shut off the heater and let it cool down, then clean out the dirt and debris. You should also check for any blockages in the air intake and exhaust vents, as well as the fuel lines. If these issues aren’t resolved, chances are there is an issue with the internal combustion components that will need to be diagnosed and fixed by a professional.

The Heater Is Making A Rattling Sound

If your heater starts making a loud rattling noise, it could be due to a buildup of dirt and debris inside the unit. Shut off the heater and allow it to cool down, then take off the outer cover and inspect the internal components for any blockages. If you find any, remove them and try the heater again. If the noise persists, it could be a sign of a loose connection or faulty motor that will require professional attention.

Packing and Storing Your Tent Heater

It is essential to properly pack and store your camping tent heater in order to ensure it is kept safe and in good condition. To prevent damage or malfunction, you should always make sure to clean and dry your tent heater before packing it away. This will help reduce the risk of rust and corrosion over time.

When you plan to store your heater for an extended period of time, it’s important to ensure that it is completely cool before packing it away. This will minimize the risk of starting a fire or causing any other unexpected accidents. To be extra cautious, it’s also recommended to remove the fuel and store it separately from the heater.

When it comes to packing and storing your tent heater, the best option is to purchase a storage bag that is specifically designed for your model. This will provide additional protection and keep all of the parts together in one neat package. You should also make sure the bag is labeled clearly and stored in a dry place so that you don’t accidentally misplace it.

Finally, it’s essential to keep all instructions and safety manuals about your tent heater stored safely. That way, if you ever need to refer to them when you are setting up the tent heater in the future, you know exactly where to find them.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your tent heater is always kept in perfect working order and ready for your next adventure.


Camping tent heaters provide a great way to stay warm and comfortable while camping. With the right unit, you can keep your tent nice and toasty when the temperature drops. When choosing a tent heater, you’ll need to consider things like size, output, type of fuel used, and safety features. Different types of tent heaters offer different advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to do some research before making a purchase. Furthermore, it’s important to pay attention to safety features, fuel types, and setup instructions in order to prevent accidents. With the proper precautions, you can enjoy camping much more comfortably thanks to your trusty tent heater.

FAQs About Camping Tent Heaters

  • Q: What type of tent heater is best for camping?
    A: The best type of tent heater depends on your individual needs. Consider the size of the space you need to heat, the desired temperature, the duration of your camping trip, any safety concerns, and access to fuel resources before deciding which type of tent heater is best for you.
  • Q: What should I look for in a camping tent heater?
    A: When choosing a camping tent heater, look for one that provides sufficient output to heat your desired space, has an efficient design, and includes built-in safety features. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for details and specs about the heater, as well as any additional safety requirements like fire retardant products.
  • Q: Are camping tent heaters safe to use?
    A:When used correctly, camping tent heaters are generally safe. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions and safety warnings, and be sure to use fire retardant tents and materials to minimize the potential for a fire hazard.
  • Q: What types of fuel can be used with camping tent heaters?
    A:The type of fuel used with camping tent heaters varies according to the model. Common fuel sources include propane, paraffin, kerosene, or diesel.
  • Q: How do I properly set up a camping tent heater?
    A:Make sure you read and understand all directions for setup and operation for your particular tent heater model. Typically, you will position the heater in the center of the tent and attach it to the frame using straps or brackets. Most heaters require at least 6 inches of air between the heater and the walls of the tent. You may also need to cut and seal openings in the tent to install ducts and outlets for ventilation.
  • Q: What are the pros and cons of different types of fuel for camping tent heaters?
    A: Different types of fuel have different advantages and disadvantages. Propane is relatively lightweight and easy to transport, but it can be noisy and release harmful fumes unless you use a catalytic converter. Kerosene is easy to light, yet it produces intense fumes and a significant amount of soot. Diesel is inexpensive and efficient, yet it can create carbon monoxide buildup and unpleasant smells.
  • Q: What should I do if my camping tent heater isn’t working properly?
    A: If your camping tent heater isn’t working properly, make sure that the fuel tank is full and that all connections are secure. Check the manufacturer manual for troubleshooting tips specific to your model. If necessary, contact the manufacturer’s customer service team for additional assistance.

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