Top Camping Heaters: Staying Warm During Outdoors Adventures
The great outdoors, where your heart and mind meet peace and wholesomeness. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by nature to charge your batteries, breath fresh air and feel like a new person. One of the preferred ways of connecting with nature and getting away from the day-to-day stress is to go camping.
Camping can be a great experience to enjoy with friends, significant others, family and even kids. It’s the sort of activity that can teach great and valuable lessons about life, the planet we leave in, but even letting go from cellphones, routines and the chaos of the city.
If you’ve gone camping, you know what I’m talking about. However, going camping during winter or fall, might not be as simple. Depending on where you live or where you want to go, the temperatures can drop quite a bit. You will need to be prepared, and a portable heater for camping can become one of your best allies.
A camping heater can be your best buddy, fit it inside your tent, whether that’s a traditional ground tent or a roof top tent, and feel it warm your soul during those cold nights and freezing early mornings. Depending on the heater you have, it can be a great addition to your car, or perfect for any outdoors occasion, since power isn’t an inconvenience.
In this article we will go over a few different options for camping heaters, that are portable, will work inside your tent and inside your car, as well as some that are easier to carry around and charge or power depending on the dimensions, features and technology. We’ll do our best to help you find what you’re after.
|Product Name||Weight||Size||Special Features|
|Mr. Heater F23200||9 pounds||7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches||Auto-shut off when tipped, runs with a 1 lb propane cylinder.|
|Flame King YSN-CHS20||24 pounds||18 x 17.5 x 12 inches||Long lasting, up to two hours with 2 bottles of propane of 1 lb each.|
|Mr. Heater F215100||5 pounds||11 x 11 x 11 inches||Extremely portable, ideal for smaller tents and spaces.|
|Campy Gear Chubby 2||0.25 pounds||5.88 x 6 x 5.25 inches||Works with propane, butane and isobutane. Portable even in backpacks.|
|SEEYANG Propane Heater||8.98 pounds||14 x 11 x 10.88 inches||Works as a portable heater and coffee maker.|
|Sound Ordnance Toberto Car Heater||0.78 pounds||7.4 x 5.04 x 3.23 inches||12v powered car heater. Easy vent installation.|
|FUHUY Car Heater||0.85 pounds||6.89 x 5.08 x 3.15 inches||12v car heater, not noisy at all.|
What To Look For Before Buying
Camping heaters or outdoors heaters, call them what you like, come in different shapes and sizes. The table above shows the different models of portable heaters we will look for. A few of them are ideal to keep your camping tent warm, others can help out inside your vehicle. So, what are the things you want to look out for before you decide to purchase?
Weight, Size & Dimensions
This is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when going after a portable heater for camping. Making sure that it has the right dimensions, it’s not too big or too heavy depending on what you want, as well as its portability.
Weight: if you want a camping heater that you can easily fit on a backpack for a trip where you will be hiking or walking a lot, then you want a small, compact and lightweight heater. Perhaps one that can be used as a stove too.
If you are going to a campground that’s not too far from your ride, then you can get a larger heater for your tent or campground. In said case, you will want something still not too heavy, with a good carrying handle.
If you are winter camping with your vehicle, say with a rooftop tent, then you can look at different options. Potentially, you can get a much bigger option for your tent, a larger propane heater. Otherwise, if the temperatures aren’t dropping too much, a car heater with a 12v connection directly to your vehicle, could do the trick
Plenty of heaters are powered by propane tanks or canisters. Others might connect to a 12v connector in a car, others have other methods. However, all of them can be a risk. If they fall towards one side, and you don’t realize, they could catch fire with blankets, tent canvas, or other materials.
Auto-shut off safety features is a must, you want to make sure you get those with whatever heater you are getting. These auto-shutting features must be working when the heater falls off, or when it gets too warm. Make sure to check for these.
Heater Life Capacity
How long can the camping heater keep going? What’s the lifespan or durability of it? Does it depend on the size of the propane tank or canister? Does it need to be always connected to a power source? Can it be charged?
All these questions are important. Normally, you want a heater with a good lifespan, that can last up to at least two hours running continuously. That way you can make sure during that time it will heat up the whole space where you are in, and keep it warm for a good amount of time. Even if it turns off, then the heat in the room, tent or area, will remain for a while.
Is it powered by a propane or another gas canister or tank? Is it powered by a 12v source from your vehicle, or directly to a power outlet? Solar panel? There are many different ways to power a heater, but you need to choose the right one for you. Let’s be honest, do you imagine going camping and having to find a power outlet? Unlikely if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Therefore, if you’re going to be surrounded by nature, you will need gas, or solar power. Or well, if you are car camping or overlanding, the 12v outlet in your vehicle suddenly becomes your best friend. Plan accordingly for your needs and the type of camping trip or adventure you want to have.
Ease Of Use
You don’t want to get something that’s complex, hard to use and badly designed. You want an ergonomic design that’s easy to carry anywhere, with not too many buttons or features that can turn a useful item into a frustrating one. A camping heater is supposed to keep you warm; it should have some features like an auto-shut off, temperature control and a few extras here and there. But remember, you’re probably outdoors and simplicity might be the solution sometimes. Unless of course, you want something that’s really high end.
Reviews Of The Best Camping Heaters
Time to dig in and explore, a bit more in depth, each of the top camping heaters. We will go over their features, dimensions, description as well as the pros and potential cons of each one. Make sure to read carefully, since as mentioned above, each one might be handy for a specific camping trip or person. It all depends on what you really need, so hopefully this in depth review will help.
Weight: 9 lbs
Dimensions: 7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches
Best suited for: Camping trips with bigger tents, cottages or camping spaces.
Description: The Mr. Buddy Heater F23200 MH9BX is one of the best portable camping heaters in the market. With the ability of heating up to 225 square feet, you know it can keep a small family heated and comfy inside a large camping tent or even a cottage. It has the power and reach to keep warm a bigger area than other heaters.
This tent heater has around 3 hours of run time, as well as having a burn rate or consumption ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 BTU. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and basically you can burn 0.044 gal/hr at 4,000 BTU.
It’s indoor safe, it comes with a fold down handle that makes it very easy to carry anywhere, it’s not heavy, runs on propane bottles/canister/tanks. It will automatically turn off if tipped over, or if it detects low oxygen levels, making it one of the safest options out there.
Planning to camp in Montana during winter? Well, a Mr. Heater can become the best buddy for your outdoors adventure.
- Great safety features
- Not too heavy for the heating area capacity and run time
- Very good heating area capacity as well as a reliable run time
- Slightly large to easily fit a backpack or bag.
Weight: 24 lbs
Dimensions: 18 x 17.5 x 12 inches
Best suited for: Camping tips or overlanding trips with a larger group.
Description: The Flame King YSN-CHS20 is an outstanding portable heater for camping. It’s on the heavier side, so transportation is an issue, hence why using it for overlanding trips, where you reach your destination by car, is better.
It has a power of 20,000 BTU, which is a lot, as well as lasting one or two hours on just two 1 lb propane bottles. It can also be hooked or attached to bigger tanks. On top of that, the safety features are excellent, thanks to a tilt shut off and an exterior crate guard to avoid potential burns from sudden movements. Also, it has a built in thermostat to help you keep much better track of the temperature in the tent or room.
- Excellent safety features
- Built-in thermostat
Weight: 5 lbs
Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 11 inches
Best suited for: Small camping tents, hiking trips, heating your vehicle.
Description: The definition of portable, the Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B is the ideal camping heart for smaller tents. If you are planning a hiking and camping trip during winter or fall, where you need to walk quite a bit as well as transporting other accessories or items, then this will be your best bet.
Just 5 pounds, runs on a small propane cylinder, with a run time at a minimum BTU of 3800 of over 5 hours. It’s easy to carry, small enough to fit in a bag or rucksack, and it will keep your camping tent warm and cozy. It has good safety features with an auto-shut off when tipped or it detects a lack of oxygen.
- Lightweight and compact
- Great run time at low BTU
- Ideal for smaller camping tents
- Not suited for larger tents or groups of people
Weight: 0.25 lbs
Dimensions: 5.88 x 6 x 5.25 inches
Best suited for: Hiking and camping trips with small groups and tents.
Description: Another great portable heater, the Campy Gear Chubby 2 ideal for those who go hiking and camping and need a truly portable item. It runs on either butane or propane canisters, with a max output of 9,000 BTU, as well as being lightweight and compact.
On top of all this, it helps save space, as it is a 2 in 1 device, with a heating stove integration so you can even cook or prepare coffee with it. Take it with you on any camping trip to make sure your tent is warm, but you can even take it on hunting or fishing trips and constantly heat food or beverages as you patiently wait for your prey.
- Lightweight and portable
- 2 in 1 that allows you to cook over it
- Fuels also with butane
- Small, doesn’t heat as much
- No safety features for auto-shut off, hence to be used with care
Weight: 9 lbs
Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 10.88 inches
Best suited for: Outdoor camping, cooking and heating tents.
Description: Another 2 in 1 option for those that need a practical solution. The SEEYANG Propane Heater is a great option as it allows you not only to heat and bring warmth to a camping tent or outdoors spot where you are fishing, cooking or hunting, but also to cook.
It runs on a propane gas canister, and has a maximum output of 13,000 BTU sending heat in 360 degrees. It also includes a rubber hose to safely attach to any type of propane gas or canister, giving you some flexibility on what you prefer, as well as not being limited to one size and hence a specific run time.
Only real downside is the lack of safety auto-shut off features, meaning you must make sure this is placed somewhere it won’t fall down.
- 2 in 1 suitable for heating as well as cooking
- Compact enough to be easily carried
- Includes a hose that can be attached to any type of propane canister or tank
- No auto shut off safety features, meaning it must be handled with care.
Weight: 0.78 lbs
Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.04 x 3.23 inches
Best suited for: Overlanding, car camping, heating your vehicle.
Description: A portable car heater, with a suction mechanism that can easily attach to either the windows inside the car or other metal surfaces. It’s ideal to heat the inside of your rig in case you are sleeping inside your car during winter or fall, or to even heat your camping tent if needed.
This portable car heater can attach to the 12v outlet inside your vehicle, it can help heating camping tents as you just connect it to your car, pull the heater out and place it inside your roof top tent or ground tent and you start heating the inside of it. If not, keep it inside the car to defrost windows or windshields, or keep everyone cozy.
It’s safe, easy to turn off, and powered by the very safe 12 v connection of any vehicle, from a truck to an SUV, Jeep, car, whatever you need.
- Connects to any 12v outlet in any vehicle
- As long as your vehicle has battery, it can keep heating
- A bit too small to really heat bigger tents or areas
- Needs a 12v connector, so a vehicle, to function
Weight: 0.85 lbs
Dimensions: 6.89 x 5.08 x 3.15 inches
Best suited for: Overlanding, car camping, winter drives, heating smaller tents.
Description: Another portable car heater that attaches to the 12v outlet in the vehicle. However, this FUHUY heater can also defog the windshields and windows, as well as purify the air inside the vehicle. It’s extremely safe and reliable thanks to the fact it connects to the 12v port, yet at the same time it doesn’t overheat, so it can’t give out that burning sensation if you touch it, plus it’s quite silent as compared to other models.
It comes with a cable to connect to the 12v port, which allows you to pull it out and potentially even use it inside a rooftop tent or a regular camping tent. Just make sure it’s plugged to the cigarette lighter compartment, and the battery of the car is powered.
- Connects to any 12v port on any vehicle
- Portable, compact, purifies air inside a car as well as heating it and defrosting windows
- Can heat roof top tents, and it’s safe
- It’s not exactly the best heating option for a cold winter camping situation
How About A Tent Inner Insulation Layer?
There is another “camping tent heating” option for you, and that’s an inner insulation layer. Recently, many roof top tent brands have come out with inner insulating layers, that allow you to trap the body heat inside the tent itself, almost like a winter jacket. You put inside the tent this layer, and you’ll sleep much better.
Of course, you can still get the adequate bedding, use thicker sheets or blankets, get a very reliable sleeping bag, so on and so forth.
However, a good inner insulation layer can be a very good ally under low temperatures. There are a few brands that make them:
It works perfectly with almost any softshell roof top tent in the market, but it was designed for the Guana Equipment tents, the Nosara 55, the Wanaka 55, Wanaka 64 and Wanaka 72. Just make sure to pick the correct size of Insulation Layer.
This layer is easy to install, and it does help heat the tent and keep the warmth trapped inside for a much better night’s sleep. Also, it keeps the tent inside darker, so it’ll be even better not to be woken up in the morning by the sun rays coming in!
iKamper is another brand that makes an inner layer of insulation for their tents: Skycamp 2.0, Skycamp Mini, X-Cover 2.0, and other models.
Much as the Guana layer, it helps heat the tent, keep the warmth and just overall offer a cozy sleeping environment for those overlanding.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Time to come to an end. The list of different camping tent heaters mentioned above should give you a good indication of what you need. The heaters powered by propane or other gas canisters, are perhaps the ones that can give you the most warmth and heat.
The 2 in 1 option, are great as they save space and have more than one function, but just keep in mind the safety features do change, as well as the heat they can give out and the running time. Some of them might not be suitable for lower temperatures or bigger camping tents, in those cases you might want a bigger and more powerful heart like the Mr. Heater.
If what you are after is just heating your tent or even vehicle just a bit, a portable car heater can be the easiest solution, plus you can always have it in your car to defrost the windshield and once again, you have sort of a 2 in 1 solution. Nonetheless, this will not work in hiking trips, and even for overlanding, depending on where you are sleeping the night, it may not be enough.
Make sure to think about what you want it for, where will you be camping, the temperatures, as well as your own comfort and safety. After you have weighed the options out, ticked the boxes and have a clear idea of what you need, choose amongst the portable tent heaters we gave you, they are all of excellent quality, tested by hundreds of users, and you will not be disappointed.