Personal comfort while camping is something that both occasional campers and die-hard outdoor adventurers think about when preparing for any camping trip. And a key component to your comfort is staying warm and toasty when you retire to your tent to get some shut-eye after a day of fun and exploration.
But before you head to your local sporting goods store to purchase a tent heater to maximize your personal comfort during your next camping trip, there are several factors you should consider:
The Size of Your Tent
The size of tent you use when you venture into the great outdoors is a key factor in what type of tent heater is the best option for you. If you are using a one-person tent, then you can purchase a heater option with lower BTUs. BTUs tell you how much heat the unit gives off, and a heater with fewer BTUs is better suited to a smaller tent. So, generally speaking, the greater the size of your tent the more BTUs you would need to easily maintain a desired warm temperature.
Calculating your BTU
- Multiply together length x width x height to find the cubic feet of the tent.
- Subtract the temperature outside of your tent from the desired temperature of the inside of your tent. This will give you the temperature your heater has to work to rise to.
- If measuring in Fahrenheit, you will need to solve the following equation: Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase x 0.133 = BTUs needed.
- If Celsius is your unit of choice, figure this out: Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase x 0.2394 = BTUs needed.
- This can be a bit tricky; especially if math is something you dread. You can also find great BTU calculators online.
There are a few key features that you should consider when purchasing a tent heater. Auto-shut off is an option you will find on many tent heaters, and it is important to the safety of you and your fellow campers. Some tent heaters also have a thermostat and/or the ability to oscillate, for more precise temperature control than simply on and off.
Another important feature is a blower. These types of fans are found on many heaters to allow the hot air to be directed in whatever way you prefer. Look to make sure the fan on your blower is not too much of a disturbance. No one likes a noisy neighbor keeping them up at night. You can look for heaters that offer the feature of low noise when working.
Keep in mind that you want a heater that does not take too long to heat up. Honestly when you are cold and tired you definitely want to be warm and comfy as quickly as possible.
Type of Power Required
Many tent heaters on the market are electric, requiring access to a power outlet for their operation. But there are a few non-electric types available, if you are heading to a more remote location for your camping trip or do not have access to a power supply source. Heater varieties that do not require power include gas-powered choices that can run on propane, and wood-burning options that are designed for use in a large outfitters tent that also serve as cooking stoves.
- Broan-NuTone Big Heat Heater: This steel heater is designed with built on bumpers and bulk to endure extreme conditions, drops and scrapes. Other features include automatic shut off protection and caution lights in the case of overheating. The 6-foot long cord includes a safety-flanged plug in case of surges or wire damage.
- Brightown Ceramic Space Heater: The convenient handle has a lightweight design that makes it easy to pack in your car and your tent. Features include three different settings with the adjustable thermostat, automatic overheat protection, and small size.
- Lasko Space Heater: If you are camping in a larger tent this 25’’ height heater is for you. It has a patented blower technology and three heat sweep settings. It’s also user friendly with an easy to clean filter and wireless remote control.
- TMS Portable Military Camping Stove: What is better than a multipurpose heater? This is technically a camping stove but it has removable dual side cooking tubes that cook meals quickly and heat the place up efficiently and quickly. It can also double as a drying rack for wet socks and boots from any snow play.
- Mr. Heater Buddy Portable RV Radiant Heater: At just 9 pounds this heater is lightweight and very affordable. There is a swivel regulator that enables you to go from remote gas supply to a cylinder. Other features include a low oxygen safety gauge, foldable handle, and wide heat radiation.
- Sengoku KeroHeat Radiant Kerosene Heater: This heater is both powerful and quiet. At just 2 feet tall with a 1.9 gallon tank it can keep your tent heated for up to 12 hours. It also has an automatic shut off feature, easy-to-read fuel gauge, and electronic ignition.
If you are focused on finding a tent heater that will be durable for several years of use in a wide range of locations, you should consider how the product is made. A heater made of steel will be resilient for use anywhere and will last through accidental drops and dings. Also, many tent heaters include a handle for convenient transport. If the heater does not have a handle, it makes it more difficult and more dangerous to relocate while it is still hot.
There are several things to keep in mind as you shop for a tent heater, but above all your primary focus should be on safety. Whatever heater you decide to purchase, make sure it appears stable to prevent potential injury or fires. After all, who wants to ruin an enjoyable camping trip with a ruined tent or emergency medical care?
Kaitlin is a former ballerina who now travels around the country in an 18-foot converted school bus. Her and her tall one husband have welcomed 34 sweet children into their home the past eleven years. Although they would be a forever home for all of them they were able to adopt their daughter buckets and are legal guardians of their son monkey. Follow their crazy adventures on Instagram @runawaymusbus.