If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best tent heaters for winter camping is, then we recommend the Mr. Heater Buddy.
We’re right in the middle of the coldest time of the year, then we’ll enter into Spring in the next few months. In both of these periods, outdoor enthusiasts will need to have something to keep them warm, such as a heater for the tent. The question is, what are the best tent heaters for winter camping?
In our opinion, there are several amazing heaters that will keep you warm inside your tent. The only problem for most people is finding the right one for them. This is often more difficult for people than it should be. The sad part is that a lot of outdoor stores also do not know what is best in this department. However, we know our stuff and feel we can be a huge help to you!
We have found a few of the best overall tent heaters you can use for cold winter camping. Each has been thoroughly reviewed by us to make sure it will work for various needs one might have. Yet there are some very important things you need to consider before buying one. Let’s examine those things below.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3 Picks…
Things To Consider Before Buying A Tent Heater
As mentioned, there are a lot of important factors in buying a tent heater. The best tent heaters for winter camping are going to usually come down to specific personal needs. It’ll be good to know where you’re camping and how cold it is expected to be.
Naturally, these won’t help as much in a place like Antarctica. However, they will certainly be perfect for usual camping trips outside of arctic circles. Yet a lot of people have questions about these tent heaters and how they work. Seeing that we like to be helpful, we wanted to tackle a few of those.
Are Tent Heaters Safe
The quick and easy answer is, yes. A lot of these run on batteries while some may run on an electrical connection to something like your car or truck. The latter is not as useful, but they do exist. In any case, due to working on batteries, they will only stay on for so long.
Meanwhile, you have others that are gas-powered. While some may assume they are risky, these are actually very safe.
This means, there is a low risk of any type of shorting out or possible tent fires. They also simply heat things up in the tent. This is not a raging fire to worry about maintaining.
Therefore, you’re far safer with one of these lying around versus something like a roaring fire.
Do You Need More Than One To Heat A Tent
Honestly, this will all come down to the heater you purchase and the size of your tent overall. Usually, however, you’ll only need one.
Some of the best tent heaters for winter camping are relatively small. Yet many are also made for smaller tents too. Therefore, you’ll need something larger to heat up a 3-person tent or more. Think of it as you would an apartment or home.
It all comes down to the size of the area and heater you have in it. There are two measurements of importance here. That is Wattage as well as British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs are mostly a measurement used by the Brits while the rest of us prefer Wattage.
To get an idea of how much you might need in power, consider 50 square feet of space. That is a pretty good bit of space for a small tent. To properly heat and maintain warmth, you’d need around 4,500 BTU or 1,319 Watts. However, for 150 square feet, you’d need 5,525 BTU or 1,619 Watts. Most tent heaters can reach one, both, or even higher.
Different Types Of Tent Heaters
Yes, there are multiple different types of tent heaters on the market today. However, there is some debate regarding which is best. Between gas and electric, which version is typically up there with the best tent heaters for winter camping the most?
Honestly, this all depends on the person. Both are good but the gas-powered versions will be costly long-term in comparison. These typically use small to large propane tanks. That means after they expire in use, you have to buy a new one each time. Refills are possible for some, however.
In spite of this, propane used for gas-powered heaters is not exactly high-priced. They are pretty affordable.
Meanwhile, the electric types work until their charge is up. Then you simply plug them up for recharge. Others work on battery power, meaning you’d just replace the batteries. Each version is less expensive in comparison.
Some may have a longer runtime. However, this is not always the case. It truly does differ from heater to heater.
In spite of this, propane used for gas-powered heaters is not exactly high-priced. They are pretty affordable.
One common question asked is about the Catalytic Heater. These are heaters that operate without a flame, as they rely on natural chemical reactions to produce heat. A catalyst combines with natural gas and oxygen combine at such a low temperature that the flame does not occur.
They do still create heat without the flame, making these heaters incredibly useful.
However, they will STILL need natural gas or propane to work. They’re safe and effective, yet the drawback with them is that some can be expensive compared to the other types.
Other Things To Consider
When buying any type of tent heater, always consider what size of tent you’re going to be using. This also means you should be careful to not use the same heater for every single tent type you own. While it may seem more expensive, you’re better off buying two different heaters for two different tents.
A one-person tent does not need a heater made for a three to four-person tent. The same is true for a one-person tent heater being used for a three to four-person tent. You’d be surprised how often this seems to happen.
Product Reviews: Best Tent Heaters For Winter Camping
Mr. Heater Buddy
- 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for...
- When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut...
- Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels....
- Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included); Run Time...
- THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY...
The Mr. Heater Buddy Tent Heater is one of the best tent heaters for winter camping that we have seen in years. Unlike some tent heaters, it is actually cleared for both outdoor and indoor use. Meaning, you can take and use this heater just about anywhere you want.
Some propane products can cause trouble breathing or smoke issues, possibly even unsafe issues regarding their explosion chances. Yet the makers of Mr. Heater Buddy wanted to put you at ease. None of that is an issue with this tent heater.
For people who love the environment, getting a 100% efficient and clean-burning heater unit is important. That is exactly what you get with Mr. Heater Buddy!!
It is extremely powerful too, as it reaches 4,000 to 9,000 BTU. This translates to around 1,172 to 2,637 Watts. This can heat up to 225 square feet, which is pretty impressive for any tent heater. The runtime is roughly 3 hours for this heater on its full use too.
We also love the safety measure it puts into place. If it is tipped over, it automatically shuts off to prevent any problems. It also does this if it detects low oxygen levels.
One slightly sad problem is that once it is around 7,000 feet above sea level, it might randomly shut off. Remember the oxygen thing. This means it may not be the best mountain climbing heater. It’s also likely to not be a favorite with the people in Denver, CO.
Martin Portable Gas Catalytic Heater
- Flameless: the martin catalytic heater provides comfortable and flameless warmth so you...
- Advanced catalytic technology: the catalytic technology used in this heating tool is the...
- 7 hours on 1 lb propane cylinder: delivers up provides 3000 btu and this safe portable...
- Efficient: catalytic heating is 99;98% efficient (flame type heaters waste up to 45% of...
- Safe heating tool: also, because it uses safe, clean and efficient propane, this propane...
The Martin Portable Gas Catalytic Heater is the highest-priced item on our list. However, it may be the best made and most fuel-efficient of any here too. In fact, the heating for this heater is 99.98% efficient.
That allows for maximum use. While there are two settings on this heater (high and low), on the highest temp it can still run for up to 7 hours on just 1 propane cylinder. This means you’ll need less propane and will save money long-term while using it.
The makers tout it as a flameless device, which is always great to see. Again, this is Catalytic, so a flame is not needed to create heat. Yet it can reach up to 3,000 BTU in power, or 879 Watts.
The foldable legs are very helpful in keeping it stable. They also allow you to place it in numerous places, making it the perfect portable heater.
This is among the best tent heaters for winter camping due to the fact that you get so much out of it. Sure, the price is a bit steep. However, the money saved on propane buys per year essentially means it’ll pay for itself after a while.
This is a natural gas heater that is better for you and the environment. It is literally the safest heater on this entire list and they are all very safe. Making the Martin Catalytic Heater one of the safest heaters, gas or electric-powered, in the world.
It does not have any issues with odor or heavy gas secretion. That makes it a perfect heater for indoors and outdoors. The Martin is so safe, in fact, it is recommended for camping with families and even kids. We cannot recommend it enough!
Mr. Heater Little Buddy
- Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT...
- Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic...
- Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time...
- Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety.THE USE OF...
- Recommended for emergency heat, tents, campers, workshops, job sites, porches, patios,...
While all of the heaters on this list have some level of great portability, the little buddy of Mr. Heater is truly one of the best in this category. When looking for one of the best tent heaters for winter camping, a mission for anyone is to find a great small heater.
We know you’ll want to travel around with these heaters, especially during the time of the year when day hiking is fun but the night can bring bitter cold. Mr. Heater Little Buddy is perfect for this.
While it is not advised to use inside motorized vehicles or golf carts, it is terrific inside a smaller tent. It has the power to heat up rooms or tents up to 95 square feet. This is due to the impressive 3,800 BTU or 1,114 Watts it uses.
Funny enough, despite the disposable 1-pound propane being smaller than that of Mr. Heater’s bigger version, the Little Buddy actually has a better runtime than Mr. Heater does. On MAX use, it’ll run up to 5.6 hours!
Like Mr. Heater, it’s odor-free and has several safety measures to keep you safe while using it. This includes the low-oxygen shut-off sensor as well as the auto shut-off if the heater tips over accidentally.
Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane
While it may look a little weird compared to some of the other tent heaters on this list, it is very effective at its job. This is all you can ask for in any product you buy, clearly. The look of the Texsports Portable heater throws people off, but don’t be confused, it is truly one of the best tent heaters for winter camping on the planet.
Like Mr. Heater & his Little Buddy, the Texsport uses propane as its main power source. The product uses a stainless steel burner for the main source of heat. The best part is that it has an individual regular with an on/off control, which also allows you to freely adjust the levels.
You can do this all the way up to its 2,890 BTU capability. The free adjust system allows you to place it in both high and lower temp strengths, which may also allow you to save power.
If the flame goes out or the propane is gone, it’ll automatically shut-off. Yet it also does this should an accidental tip-over occur. The large fold-away paddle foot base offers a great stable product that likely won’t tip-over, however.
Another cool part of the Texsport is that it is essentially something that doubles as a detection device should you get lost with this in the middle of nowhere. The aluminum reflector offers a lot here.
The steel handle ensures the device won’t just pop-off randomly. Once you have it, the Texsport isn’t going anywhere.
The propane types it uses are all pretty affordable. You’ll just need something like a 16.4 oz. or 14.1 oz disposable propane cylinder. Most come in packs of 4 to 8, depending on where you buy them from. We’d recommend buying the propane locally instead of online to save money.
APG Portable Gas Heater
- Material: Stainless steel & Aluminum alloy & Copper
- Weighs 320G and comes in a storage bag, convenient to carry. Dimension: 15 * 14cm / 5.9 *...
- Package List: 1 * Heater 1 * Canister Stand 1 * Storage Bag (Note: this product doesn't...
- Note: Propane Tank Need Mapp Adapter to use
- The delivery will be delayed due to the novel coronavirus.
The APG Portable Gas Heater is one of our favorites yet it seems to sell very well. So much so, in fact, that most online stores run out of it quite often. They cannot keep it on the digital shelves it seems.
This is likely due to the price range as well as the gas-powered versatility of the item. While some of the best tent heaters for winter camping happen to be strictly propane, the APG actually uses both butane and propane.
They are quite similar, but butane operates slightly different compared to propane. Propane is often handled exactly like butane, but the major differences are how they are both stored as well as the gas secreted. On top of this, butane’s boiling point is far lower than that of propane.
The flammability is then slightly higher for butane, which is why it can be a good source for gas-power. You’ll likely get more out of butane, depending on “how” it is used.
The APG can use both, so you can pick whichever you feel is best for you.
The APG Gas Heater is made out of stainless steel, aluminum alloy, and copper. This is key, as the structures can heat up a bit when left in the sun but only the copper is something to worry about. The rest will just rust.
Depending on the power source used, the amount of heat you can get from this can be quite extreme. However, it is uncertain how long it’ll run for.
Unlike others on this list, you may want to be careful when storing it in your tent. Propane-power will allow you to store it inside a tent without worry. But if you use butane, there is a risk some of this will get out in the closed tent. If you use butane, simply add proper ventilation inside your tent and it’ll be perfectly fine.
There you have it, our choices for the best tent heaters for winter camping. They are all tremendous and well-worth your investment. Overall, our favorite is the Martin Portable Gas Catalytic Heater.
However, each and every single one has merits that make them worthy of this list.
We love the APG and Texsport for their small, portability. Meanwhile, we love the power that comes with Mr. Heater and even his Little Buddy. All are fairly priced and worth your investment.
The question now is, which do you feel fits your needs most? At the end of the day, you cannot fail with any of these terrific tent heaters.