The benefits of a tent heater during camping
If you’re always camping during the cold season, you are likely to experience freezing nights sometimes. In these situations, your winter sleeping bag and jackets may be inadequate to help you. If you want to get toast warm and cozy while camping during the winter season, you will need a tent heater.
So, what are the benefits, you may be wondering? Well, below are some of the major advantages of having a tent heater during your camping:
Warmth – A tent heater provides warmth, which is self-explanatory. First and foremost, these machines are designed primarily to keep your body warm. However, the great thing about them is that they are engineered to heat up a whole space instead of just insulating your body. Therefore, a tent heater makes your tent a lot more livable and cozier, so there’s no need for you to stay all wrapped up in your jackets and blankets all day.
Safety-conscious – Manufacturers of tent heaters always make these machines with the safety of the users in mind, which is good news for the users. Most modern tent heaters come with overheating protection or tip-over safety switch, both of which are excellent safety measures. In addition, the best propane heaters feature an inbuilt carbon monoxide alarm so that you can peacefully sleep at night.
Portability – There’s a perception that having a tent heater needs lots of heavy gear, but that is not always true. The truth is that the best tent heaters are portable and compact, which makes it easy to carry them without much hassle. It’s also worth adding that most of these machines consume very little space in your camping tent, so they surely discharge a lot of heat in a little package.
Easy to use – Nowadays, most camping tent heaters are extremely easy to use. You just need to plug them into their energy source, which is usually either batteries or propane, and then turn them on. You don’t need special tools, effort, or skills to stay cozy and warm during the night.
Features to consider while choosing a tent heater
To choose the right tent heater for your needs, there are some factors you need to take into consideration. While we may not be able to discuss each of those factors in this guide, we will talk about the most important ones. The important features to consider before choosing a tent heater are:
There are many types of tent heaters, which include electric heaters, propane tent heaters, and battery-powered tent heaters. Of course, each type of tent heaters has its pros and cons, so you need to consider them as you choose the best heater type for your camping tent and conditions.
The most popular type of tent heaters when camping in a place where there’s no electricity is a portable gas-powered heater. You can opt for an electric tent heater if you will be camping in a place where you can readily hook up (EHU) or access the electrical power supply.
Meanwhile, electric tent heaters are much safer to use in a camping tent since they don’t generate carbon monoxide, and they have a cool to the touch exterior. However, they have a significant downside as well in the fact that they need electricity access and do not generate as much heat as their gas-powered counterparts. If you want to bring an emergency heater on your trip though, chemical models are the most suitable option.
If you are looking for a tent heater, you surely want something that will effectively and efficiently heat your tent, which is where the BTU comes in. The BTU rating will let you know the type of heat output that is possessed by a heater and whether it’ll be enough for your camping conditions and tent. Also referred to as British Thermal Units, the BTU is the amount of energy that a heater can produce.
When a heater has a high BTU rating, that means its thermal output is high and it produces a lot of heat. Therefore, you need a high BTU rating if you will be camping in the snow or your tent is large. However, you might need to make do with a lower BTU rating if your tent is small. Most manufacturers usually specify the BTU rating of their heaters and the maximum space they’re engineered for. While large tent heaters have BTU ratings of 18,000 BTUs, the small ones have BTU outputs of around 3000.
With a heat output of 18,000 BTUs, the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater has the highest BTU rating on our list.
Before buying a tent heater, you have to figure out the exact wattage you require. Meanwhile, you just have to multiply your room’s square footage by ten to figure out the exact wattage you need. For example, a tent that measures 150 square feet will use a 1,500-watt unit. This ensures that you can efficiently and quickly warm-up space. Of course, a unit with small wattage may heat up a tent eventually, but it could take many hours more than necessary.
Another key factor you need to consider when finding the best tent heater for your camping trip is the coverage area. This is very vital since your unit may end up being ineffective if it’s too small for your tent. And if it’s too large, you will need to be spending unnecessarily on fuel. With that said, you need to figure out the exact size of your tent and go for a heater that can adequately cover it.
For instance, if your tent measures 1,000 square feet, then you need to choose a heater with a coverage area of 1,000 square feet or more. With its ability to cover up to 400 square feet, the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater has the largest coverage area on this list.
A heater is designed to circulate heat to nearby regions, so if the heat it is producing is too much, it may be dangerous for the people nearby. Thus, you need to know if your heater comes with adequate safety features. Most heaters come with a cool-to-touch body, guaranteeing total safety when you touch it accidentally or while moving it. A tip-over safety switch is another vital feature, as it prevents fire hazards when you kick the heater accidentally.
Another important addition is an automatic shut-off, which shuts the unit off automatically when it has run for a few hours continuously. An overheat protection is another feature that may come in handy, as it’s designed to prevent the machine from becoming excessively hot and damaging its internal mechanism. The Mr. Heater MH4B Heater and the Stansport Portable Outdoor Infrared Propane Heater are examples of models that come with these safety features.
The primary reason why most people go outdoors is to unwind and relax after strenuous activities and work. Thus, you surely want to get back to a warm, quiet, and comfortable tent that will allow you to sleep soundly and relax. With that in mind, then you need to avoid heaters that are excessively noisy. Some tent heaters produce too much noise when they are discharging heat, and that can distract the people around.
It’s important to get a tent heater that has a low decibel level since you wouldn’t want to be disturbing your friends or fellow campers. Of course, every heater makes a noise, but it’s better to go for a model whose noise is small and negligible. Besides, the kind of heater you buy will determine how noisy your heater is.
Tent heaters usually come in various sizes and weights. Your tent’s space or the type of camping you’ll be engaging in will help you determine the right heater for your needs. You will consider your tent’s size and if you’ll be carrying the unit through a long distance during backpacking. With all these factors considered, you might want to keep it compact and portable, especially if you’ll be carrying the unit a long distance. Speaking generally, it’s usually the larger the tent, the more powerful the heater you will need.
Most of the heaters we included here are portable and compact, so they will be great for camping and backpacking trips as they won’t require much room in your gear. While there are also some models that are well more than 30 pounds in weight, they usually have high thermal production and can generate a lot of heat, so you may not really need them for camping. The temperature and the weather are other factors you may need to consider. While the thermal output of smaller units may not be as high as larger units, it may not be a problem if you intend to camp in mild weather. However, if you will be camping in freezing cold weather, then you may need a larger unit with a higher thermal output.
The warranty is a very important consideration that you should never ignore when making any purchase, especially electronics. Tent heaters are usually designed to last for a lot of years, so you need to make sure your unit is backed by a warranty that suggests so. Besides, a warranty is usually an indication of the manufacturer’s confidence level in their product, so you may also use that to gauge the quality of the product.
There are other features you could take into consideration, such as the ignition mechanism. Normally, a tent heater ought to be easy to ignite and should feature an automatic starting mechanism. This will make it easy to get going during cold periods. While you just need to press a button to get some units going, others need igniting a pilot light with a lighter or a match.
Another feature to think about is heating technology. Does the unit heat the air first or it heats whatever it’s directly pointed at? A heater like that will quickly and efficiently warm you. While a convection heater will take longer to heat up the entire tent, it’s perfect for heating a large tent up.
Some safety tips
Using a heater safely is not as easy as it sounds. It’s more than simply putting it down, switching it on, and just hoping anything bad won’t happen. You have to adopt every possible safety tip to make sure that yourself and other members of your camp will be safe. With that said, for the safety-conscious camping enthusiasts, below are some safety tips you may need to adopt.
Always avoid stands
The first safety tip we’ll be giving you is for you to avoid stands. If your unit comes with an inbuilt stand, use it. Those stands are usually designed for certain models by their manufacturers. If you are, however, annoyed at the proximity of the unit to the ground, always remember to not use a stand or any object to raise your unit higher. A piece of wood or a milk crate can cause a fire hazard. Besides, if your heater falls, a stand could throw it a father distance, which may cause your camping cot or sleeping bag to catch fire as well.
While it’s ideal to put your unit at the center of your tent for proper distribution, it isn’t always practical. Note that if your tent has a compact, ergonomic design, it is not designed to endure tent warmers. Instead of that, you must think logistically, while keeping it from the edges. While it’s a quite complicated situation, it depends on your tent’s interior shape. Make use of your best judgment and keep in mind that your tent’s edge does not have to directly touch the heater to set on fire or melt.
Keep your brush away
If you are in the woods roughing it and you have not taken the simple path to the campsite, your primary priority is ensuring you are choosing the ideal spot. While campsites are not actually roughing it, it’s important to know that every region is built specifically the way it’s built for a particular reason. Therefore, be wary of leaves, twigs, and dried brush if you are on the floor of the forest. If your tent heater sets those ablaze, it’s a certainty that it will spread.
Understand the maximum heat of your model
If you go through the model that comes with your unit, you will be able to find out your tent heater’s maximum heat. When you know your heater’s power, it can help you to make better decisions when it comes to placing the unit and will let you know if your unit is even capable of starting a fire.