9 Best Portable Safe Tent Heaters for Cold Camping [+ Safety Guide]

You’ve been planning for winter camping or somewhere cold and yet you don’t know which are the best portable safe tent heaters for cold camping to carry! Don’t worry. We’ve got a list of the top portable camping heaters for you in this guide.

Other than warming your body, you also need tent heaters to fight off infections and viruses. This is why a safe portable heater for camping during the winter season is very crucial.

Cold camping is not for the heart-fainted. However, with a list of the best essentials checklist at hand, you’ll have long-lasting memories. 

What Will You Learn?

Top 9 Portable Tent Heaters for Winter Camping

Best Camping Heater For Medium Tents

Best Camping Propane Heater

Safest Tent Heater

Mr. Heater Buddy 4000-9000 BTU Indoor Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater

Mr. Heater MH18B 4000-18000 BTU Tent Heater

Honeywell Portable Surround Fan Forced Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

But before printing the checklist above, here are the best portable safe tent heaters for cold camping. Let’s check out now!

Mr. Heater Buddy 4000-9000 BTU Indoor Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater

Mr. Heater an all-season portable gas heater is recommended for indoor or outdoor use and is well equipped with all the necessary safety features.

Key Specifications
  • Brand:Mr. Heater
  • Power Output: 4,000 to 9,000 BTU
  • Effective Area: 225 sq.ft
  • Weight: 9 Pounds
  • Heating method: Radiation
  • Dimension: 7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches
  • Safety Features: Low oxygen shut off, tip-off shut-off

Besides the nice looking red and black structure, this liquid propane tent heater has enough security features for your own safety and that of the tent. As an indoor tent heater where oxygen may become sufficient, Mr. Heater comes with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor. And in case of an accidental tip-over, the automatic cut-off shuts off the propane supply.

Despite the added 1-pound propane cylinder, this heater weighs only 9 pounds. Apart from its lightweight, the top is fitted with an easy to carry handle. The large base offers a firm and prevents frequent tip-over. It’s a perfect portable propane tent heater for medium tents with safety tip-over shut-off.

Pros
  • Simple and compact
  • The size and structure make it the best portable heater for camping. Its fold-down handle and BTU to size ratio offers a minimalistic design. Operating the pilot is quite simple.
  • Portable
  • Considering its weight and handle, you can walk with this heater in your hands for long distances.
  • Almost 100% efficient
  • The fuel burn rate stands at almost 100 percent a fact that makes it safe to use indoors.
  • Well loaded with Safety Features
  • Mr. Heater is equipped with safety features like an automatic tip-over switch and low oxygen detectors.
Cons
  • No heat moderation feature
  • More sophisticated portable tent heaters have heat control features to keep temperatures at regulated levels.
  • Exposed flame
  • With kids around when the heater is switched on, the exposed flames pose great danger.

Mr. Heater Little Buddy 3800 BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater

Key Specifications
  • Bran: Mr. Heater
  • Power Output: 3,800 BTU
  • Effective Area: 95 sq.ft
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Dimension :11X11X11 Inches
  • Safety Features: Low oxygen sensor and automatic switch-off system, tip-over sensor with auto switch-off switch

This Mr. Heater Little Buddy is a small tent heater highly suitable for use in tents, workshops, garages, cabins and porches.

With the simple switch on/off button easily accessible, your heated tent will be warmed continuously for 5 to 6 hours. It has a high propane combustion rate that ensures the inside of the heated tent is odorless.

In case the oxygen level drops, Little Buddy has a sensor with an auto shut-off switch. Additionally, the tip-over switch will cut off the propane flow. The big rounded base is an added safety feature as it enhances heaters stability. Even though the 3,800 BTU rating isn’t that great, using it according to specification the results are beyond expectations. For maximum comfort, the 3,800 BTU/hr rating will keep the heat at a controlled level.

Pros
  • Temperature control
  • You can maintain the heat released per hour and thus enjoy constant warmth on your cold camping.
  • Design and stability
  • For easy portability and a safety measure, the carrying handle is built strong while the base is rounded and has a large circumference.
  • Safe to use
  • There is no other safer small portable propane heater compared to the Little Buddy. The auto shut- off switch takes control of any imminent danger.
  • Recommended for use in many different conditions
  • Whether camping behind the patios or spending the night in ice fishing shanties, this is the best tent heater.
Cons
  • Propane cylinder not included
  • After buying this Little Buddy, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to buy the propane cylinder. 
  • Delicate to use
  • Even though it comes with a sturdy handle, accidental dropping is likely to make it go in flames.

Texsport 2890 BTU Ultralight Outdoor Propane Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Texsport
  • Power Output: 2,890 BTU
  • Weight: 1 Pounds
  • Product Dimension: 8.5 x 10 x 5.25 inches
  • Safety Features: Auto shut-off switches, large paddle plastic base for stability, the gas valve shut off and safety grid.

Texsport tent heater is a popular and high quality outdoor portable heater for camping designed mostly for camping and hiking. 

This propane heater comes with a wide variety of safety features and the entire design is created with every safety precaution at heart. Carrying Texsport is ornamental given the beauty of the stainless steel finish, the glossy copper material and the propeller-like plastic base. 

Powering on and off is much easier as the switch is open and simple to operate. Additionally, the automatic fuel valve shut off doesn’t need your input when the flame goes off. Its lightweight characteristic ensures portability isn’t an issue.

How about buying a low maintenance tent heater? As the burner is made of durable stainless steel for durability, the piping is copper made to minimize heat loss.

Pros
  • Portable and compact
  • Texsport comprises only three components (base, propane bottle and burner) and weighs 1 pound.
  • Economical
  • At a low setting, this small heater sips one bottle for 7-8 hours. It also takes less duration to warm a small-sized tent compared to Mr. Heater.
Cons
  • A bit noisy
  • Being the only thing producing some noise at night, that little battling sound will sounder louder than it really is.
  • Head not adjustable
  • Trying to heat a specific target is a challenge unless you use a hose.

Mr. Heater Corporation 29000-45000 BTU Safe Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Mr. Heater.
  • Power Output: 30,000, 36,000, and 45,000 BTU.
  • Heating method: Convention.
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds.
  • Dimension :10.4 x 10.4 x 17.5 inches.
  • Safety Features: Automatic safety shut-off, oxygen depletion sensor, grill guard.

A great portable gas heater with the highest power output to keep you warm when in the garage, camping or in construction sites. 

Mr. Heater Corporation is a multidirectional top tank propane heater manufactured for outdoor multipurpose use. To suit every condition, this heater has three heat settings: at 30,000 BTU, 36,000 BTU and 45,000 BTU. Keeping the entire surrounding warm, the rotating knob will spread the heat to all directions. The temperatures are regulated by an output valve so the warmth is constant.

The 990 sq. ft heating area rating is more than enough for a normal camping site. Despite having rotating parts, it’s a quiet device. By using the gas cylinder as the base, stability is assured. To keep you alert once the propane gas is completed, this unit is equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor.

Pros
  • Dependability and durability
  • By looking at the sturdy structure of the unit, the guarantee to offer good and long service is evident.
  • A Lot of heat
  • Whether on the low, medium or high setting, a lot of heat is produced.
  • Fast heating
  • Considering the amount of heat emitted and the heating method, objects are heated faster.
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Combining the weight of the gas cylinder and that of the unit, you cannot walk around with it.
  • Not economical
  • Remember the amount of heat produced is proportional to the fuel consumed. Setting the heater at 45,000 BTU, it's likely to consume a gallon every 2 hours.

Mr. Heater MH18B 4000-18000 BTU Tent Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Mr. Heater.
  • Power Output: 4, 000, 9, 000, or 18, 000 BTU/ hour.
  • Heating space: 450 Sq. Ft.
  • Heating method: Radiation.
  • Weight: 16. 30 pounds.
  • Dimension: 16.70 x 11.20 x 12.00 inches.
  • Safety Features: Tip-over safety shut off, low oxygen shut-off system.

Mr. Heater Red is among the commendable safe tent heaters for camping during cold seasons due to its multiple temperature controls and portability.

With a minimum output of 4,000 BTU and a maximum of 18,000 BTU, you have the opportunity to adjust the temperatures to the best levels of your choice. Since it utilizes two disposable liquid propane cylinders, replacing them at different intervals means Mr. Heater Red will never allow coldness to torment you. 

The single control knob and the built-in Piezo sparking system makes operating this portable camping tent is oversimplified. Forget the obvious safety features and look at the base. Unless due negligence, tipping over is next to impossibility.

During cold camping, you can comfortably use Mr. Heater outdoors and indoors safely. And even with its 16.3 pounds, the handle will permit carrying it wherever you go.

Pros
  • Low-mid-high heat setting
  • As the cold tent temperature rises, the heat control settings allow adjustments.
  • Easy to operate
  • Look at the red control knob. Rotating it from the OFF -PILOT- LO is all you need to do.
  • Large heating space
  • The rated heating space of 450 sq. ft. is above the normal tent size you are most likely to use during cold camping.
  • An option to use remote gas supply
  • Using a hose and a filter, you can connect the heater to a larger propane gas cylinder remotely.
  • Safe to use
  • Even though it's advisable to use a gas heater in a tent with vents, it's safe to use this Red Buddy inside your tent.
Cons
  • No blower
  • Due to lack of a blower, the efficiency is degraded as all heat is not directed to the front.

Mr. Heater Big Buddy 4000-18000 BTU Indoor-Safe Portable RV Propane Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Mr. Heater
  • Power Output: 4, 000 - 18, 000-BTU
  • Heating space: 450 Sq. Ft.
  • Heating method: Radiation/ convection (Optional)
  • Weight: 16.66 pounds
  • Dimension:  19 x 12 x 17.75 inches
  • Safety Features: Tip-over shut off switch, oxygen depletion sensor

The Mr.Heater grey buddy utilizes both conventional and radiation heating methods making it the best portable heater for camping in large tents.

Finding a portable indoor safe propane heater with batteries and AC adapter options for connecting fans is something hard to find. Assembling and using this heater is faster and easy. Just push and rotate the knob to light and the piezo sparking will complete your mission. With the swivel regulator available, it’s safe to use Mr. Heater Grey in enclosed cabins, tents, workshops and patios with spaces of up to 450 sq. ft.

Turning the knob to 18,000 BTU, rest assured your cold tent would be warmed in a few minutes. And like this big buddy, heaters for tents winter camping need a combination of radiation and convection to spread the heat to every corner.

Pros
  • Large power output
  • It's not obviously the most powerful buddy in the Mr. Heater family but for a safe indoor tent heater, 18,000 BTU isn't something to ignore.
  • D battery and AC adapter options
  • With these features, you can improve the effectiveness of this portable camping heater.
  • Connects to a larger gas cylinder
  • To avoid replacing the 1lb cylinder often, you can remotely connect the heater to a 20 lb cylinder.
  • Safety is assured
  • From the flame grill, tip-over shut off switch to expanded base, this heater promises safety in every aspect.
Cons
  • Medium setting not effective
  • Rotating the knob to the medium setting lights the two elements. But compared to the low setting, the medium option isn't effective.

Dura Heat 23800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Dura Heat
  • Power Output: 23,800 BTU
  • Power Source: Kerosene
  • Weight: 27.6 pounds
  • Dimension: 17.5 x 17.5 x 26.75 inches

The Dura DH2304S is a portable heater for camping that gets its power source from kerosene and is capable of heating a large camping tent for 8-12 hours on a one-tank refill.

Kerosene is known for bad odor but in this heater, the no-lift heat chamber is designed to minimize the odor during startup. As the heater surfaces become hot, the surrounding grille will protect you against burns. Among the greatest benefits of using Dura Heat Indoor Kerosine heater is it acts as a heat source and a light source. 

From top to bottom, the construction materials are durable thus guaranteeing long-term service. With the tank filled, this kerosene heater is more stable which makes it safe. Heat output of 23,800 BTU works great in a cold camping tent.

Pros
  • 1 year warranty
  • Effective from the date of purchase, Dura Heat company offers a replacement if the defect originates from the manufacturer.
  • No smoke and no smell
  • When using 1k kerosene, you’ll not smell smoke in your tent neither will you see any smoke.
  • Long heating hours
  • On a full tank, your tent will be warmed continuously for 10 to 12 hours.
Cons
  • No manual option
  • In case the auto lighter fails in the new Dura DH2304S model heater, you have no manual lighting option.

Honeywell Portable Surround Fan Forced Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

Key Specifications
  • Brand: Honeywell
  • Power Output: 1500 Watts
  • Power Source: Electricity
  • Heating method: Forced air
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Dimension: 8 x 8 x 11.5 inches

As a fan forced electric camping heater with 1500-watt power output, warming your tent is a matter of seconds.

Whether using this heater for outdoors or indoors winter camping, use the 2 heating settings in conjunction with the programmable thermostat to maintain a standard heat level. Using the easy to grab handle, moving around with the heater is quite simple.

The auto-off timer will not only help minimize power usage but will also protect the heating elements from overheating. Interestingly, even with all the heat produced, the plastic housing is always cool to touch. No burns. Other safety features included is a thermal insulated wiring, tip-over protection and overheat shut off system.

Pros
  • 3 years warranty
  • Given a three-year window to return the heater in case its faulty is advantageous to you.
  • Controlled heat
  • With the thermostat working, you don't have to roast yourself in the heated tent. 
  • Easy to operate
  • Every switch and button on this electric heater is simple to understand and easy to operate. 
  • No hot surfaces
  • Other than the vented heat outlet areas, the other surfaces remain cold.
Cons
  • No temperature setting
  • Even though the heater has LO-HI settings, Honeywell Fan Forced Heater misses the temperature control switch. 

PELONIS PH-17P Fast Heating Easy Control Tent Heater

Key Specifications
  • Brand: PELONIS
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Heating method: Fun forced, radiation
  • Weight: 4.94 pounds
  • Dimension: 7.87 x 8.07 x 12.01 inches

PELONIS PH-17P tent heater features 3 heat settings and comes with 2 easy to control knobs making it among the safe tent heaters for camping. 

As opposed to the Honeywell, this electric camping heater has a temperature control knob to help level up the exact temperature in the cold camping tent. And since it doesn’t use propane gas or kerosene, you can use it in an enclosed tent the whole night. 

With the combination of all the heating methods in this tent, it will warm the tent in a few minutes. The 360-degree fan forced surround heating system spreads the heat faster in all directions. Electrical costs are kept at a minimum as the heating elements are ultra-energy saving.

Pros
  • Programmable thermostat
  • This means you don't have to keep worrying about increased temperatures as it's automatically controlled.
  • Safe to use indoors
  • No smell and no smoke is produced. Oxygen levels are never compromised. PELONIS PH-17P also comes with a tip-over auto shut-off switch.
  • User friendly
  • From rotating the knobs to setting the thermostat, everything is simple to operate. 
Cons
  • Small noise
  • You are likely to be rattled by the small noise at night, which rarely occurs when at a high setting. 

What to Consider When Buying a Tent Heater?

When buying heaters for warming tents during winter camping, their features and specifications should be the main guiding factor and not the physical appearance.

 Here is what to consider when buying a tent heater.

Heat Output: Wattage and BTU

When considering the heaters BTU rating, the size of your tent should be in your mind. If you are going to use a small tent for cold camping, the right BTU rating of the heater to buy should range from 2,500 BTU to 8,000 BTU. This rating best suits an average area of up to 200 sq. ft.

Alternatively, you can opt for a tent heater variable heating switches to suit any tent size. Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater, Silver is a good heater with three heat settings. 

Wattage refers to the amount of electrical power the heater requires operating.

Power Source

Every tent warmer uses either kerosene, propane or electricity. Depending on the place where you’ll be camping, you consider the immediate available power source. If electricity is not available, consider a tent warmer that uses kerosene or propane.

When camping remotely, you better buy a propane or kerosene powered tent heater.

Safety features

Where going camping alone or with pets and kids, you need a safe tent heater. Tipping over and low oxygen levels are the least you would expect when camping. But since they are inevitable, buying a portable tent heater equipped with safety features is the best option.

AUZKIN Portable Electric Tent Heater is an example of an electric camping heater featuring all the essential safety features.

A large base is another safety feature ignored by many but it’s worth considering.

Size and weight

When going camping, a compact and lightweight tent warmer is everybody’s wish. This does not only make packing items simple, but moving around when camping is an easy exercise. For intense hiking, any unnecessary weight that pulls you down is worth eliminating.

How To Choose A Tent Heater?

Tent heaters are different, work differently and perform better under different conditions or seasons. So, how do you choose the right tent heater that meets your specifications?

 Here is how to choose a tent heater:

Step 1:  Consider the type of the heater

There are many types of tent heaters. They include ceramic heaters, fan heaters, radiation/ convection/Micathermic heaters and utility heaters. Each type works differently and their maintenance costs are different.

Honeywell HCE100B Ceramic Tent Heater is an economical and portable ceramic tent heater while the 2-in1 Portable Space Heater is a combo of ceramic and fan, which makes it more advantageous.

Step 2: Benefits

All tent heaters have benefits.  The question is, which one offers the benefits you need without straining? Some heaters will demand you wake up and switch off while others are not humble enough to let you sleep. And if you love camping, a durable and portable tent heater would offer the much-needed benefits.

Step 3: How the tent heater works

While some campers prefer being warmed directly, others love receiving the warmth from the surrounding. Tent heaters for cold camping utilizes different modes of heat transfer and this majorly determines how the heater works.

The different modes of heat transfer in tent heaters are radiation, convection and fan.

Step 4: Type of tent to use

Radiant tent heaters heat you directly while convection tent heaters warm the surrounding air thus heating all objects in the entire camping tent. Using a tent with more than one room requires a convection heater but for a solo in a small-enclosed tent, a radiant heater would be fine.

Comfort Zone CZQTV007BK Radiant Quartz Heater has two tubes that radiate heat directly to the persons and objects directly in front of it. This makes only good for a few people in a single room.

 Important Tent Heater Safety Features

Depending on the tent heater you have, there are important safety features worth observing when using in a tent. They are:

1. Oxygen Depletion Sensor

Other than when using an electric camping heater, the oxygen level in a tent decreases as the heater continues to burn the propane or the kerosene. This poses great danger and continued use may lead to death.

It’s therefore advisable not to buy a kerosene or propane tent heater without an oxygen depletion sensor.

2. Tip- Over Switch

Unless you are hanging the tent heater, tipping over is a common and this is due to their lightweight characteristic. Some heaters are susceptible to bursting and causing fire. The only way to avoid this danger is by buying a tent heater fitted with a tip-over switch with automatic switch-off feature.

3. Anti-OverHeat System

There are many good tent heaters without a thermostat.  Without this feature, the tent heater is likely to go in flames or have some parts burned out. When buying mostly electrical tent heaters, consider those with anti-over heat systems as it automatically switches the heater off.

4. Large base

A large base is critical for stability. It’s therefore prudent to buy a tent heater with a large base.

Safety Tips When Using a Tent Heater

How do you ensure your safety, safety of your family and the tent is at its maximum when using a tent heater? While some kerosene tent heaters are easy to go on flames or consume all the oxygen, the electricity in the electric camping heater is always ready to shock you.

Below are safety tips when using a tent heater:

Use Ventilation

Before switching on a tent heater in enclosed spaces or in a tent, ensure there is enough ventilation to allow air to flow in and out smoothly. The smaller is the ventilation, the more the carbon monoxide. Suffocation becomes the only unavoidable circumstance when there is no oxygen.

In case your tent has no ventilation, Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Propane Heater Infrared is the right safe tent heater to use in the tent.

Keep flammable objects away from the tent heater

Objects likely to burst into flames on heating are dangerous and should be kept away from tent heaters. Some of the flammables you are likely to go camping with include hairsprays, fireworks and alcohol.

Run the tent heater on low setting

Running a propane or kerosene tent heater on HI setting consumes more oxygen in the tent. Do not run a heater at night on HI setting. Before sleeping, turn the heater to LOW setting to avoid faster completion of oxygen in the tent and this may cause health complications.  

Alternatively, if you are equipped with a heavy sleeping bag, it’s advisable to turn off the tent heater immediately before sleeping.

Avoid open liquids in the tent

Water is a good conductor of electricity and should not be kept near electrical tent heaters. When using an electric camping heater, try to keep open liquids far from it. Spilling water on the electric tent heater can cause electrocution if you get into conduct with the water.

FAQs about Tent Heaters

What is the Safest Type of Tent Heater?

Whereas we cannot authoritatively say certain types of tent heaters are safer than the other, the best we can say is to judge each tent heater based on its features. However, electric camping tent heaters are the safest tent heaters for camping.

Portable Electric Space Tent Heater, a safe indoor tent heater well-equipped with multi protection safety features and does not use propane or kerosene.

Is an Electric Heater Safe to Use Inside a Tent?

Electric tent heaters are highly rated in terms of safety standards. As long as you observe the safety tips in the above section, an electric tent heater is safe to use inside a tent.

Is it Safe to Use a Gas Tent Heater?

Gas tent heaters have safety features to care of any unseen accident. With a tip-over switch, low oxygen sensor and a thermostat, they are safe tent heaters for camping whether indoors or outdoors.

 Are Electrical Heaters Safer Than Gas Variants?

Whereas both tent heaters have safety features, the electric tent heaters are more safe compared to gas heaters. As the electric heater uses electricity to heat elements, the gas heater uses the much needed oxygen for survival to support combustion. 

For combustion to take place, oxygen is mandatory. Oxygen is very important when relaxing or sleeping inside a tent. The gas variants use the oxygen in the tent, which is dangerous as low oxygen levels can cause suffocation or health complications.

Are Oil Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?

Most of the oil heaters are equipped with the necessary safety features that makes it safe to leave on overnight. They are fitted with 3 heat control settings and a programmable thermostat to keep the heat moderated. Additionally, oil heaters also feature overheating shut-off switches, and a tip-over automatic switch-off.

If you consider an oil heater, the De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater is a good choice for overnight camping. No oxygen is used, and it’s fitted with heat control settings that can be used to control heat levels.

How Long Does a Tent Heater Heat for?

There is no general time frame a tent heater should take to warm your tent. The time frame depends on a heaters specific BTU rating and your settings. The tents internal and external environment also affects the time a heater takes to heat the tent.

For example, using Dura Heat 23800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heaterto heat the Coleman Elite Sundome 6 Person Tent which has dimensions of (12 x 10 x 6 feet=720 ) it would take about one hour to make it hot.

What is a BTU?

BTU is the acronym for British Thermal Unit and is used when rating energy. BTU is the amount of energy (heat) required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit (1° F). 

 How Many BTUs Do I Need to Warm Up My Tent?

It depends on the volume of the tent. All you need is to know the volume of the tent. Suppose you only know the dimensions of the tent? Use this tent heater calculator to get the tent volume. You now need to calculate the temperature difference between the outside and the inside.

The exact BTU needed per hour is calculated as BTU= Tent Volume X Temperature difference X 0.133 (Fahrenheit). If using degree Celsius, multiply by 0.2394.

Will Carbon Monoxide Build Up In The Tent?

When using a gas tent heater or kerosene tent heater in an enclosed tent with no vents, carbon monoxide will build up. Even though some heaters have high gas or kerosene combustion ratings, you need vents for fresh air circulation.

Can the Tent Heaters be Noisy?

Yes, but not all.  When you turn heat settings to HI, vibration of the elements or the fan is likely to start. This translates to noise but is usually very minimal.

Conclusion

When looking for a portable heater for camping, it is good you consider the size of your tent, the heaters BTU rating, safety features and the specified altitude on which it can operate. Most of the safe tent heaters for camping have all the critical safety features and are simple to operate.

From the portable safe tent heaters reviewed above, which one would you prefer to buy for your camping? Kindly share or comment on our social media handles or reach to us via the email for expert advice on your next camping trip.

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