Are Tent Heaters Safe for Winter Camping

Published on: February 22, 2022
Written by Camila Avery / Fact-checked by David Rowan

On arrival of cold weather or cold waves, leaves get their color changed, and even fall off on the ground. But do not make your camping at that time useless, use an alternative way, as one of the best tent heaters as excellent camping gear to keep you toasty.

are tent heaters safe for winter camping

But before stepping forward to venture out with that waterproof new tent or the old one, figure out the specifications about your camping location and preferences into your backpack as well. In terms of heater selection, Butane, Propane, and electrical units with certain features, for instance, integrated model fans to spread out air. For more like in-built auto shut on/off switches is the next preference we think. 

To make you the warmest, better ways remain, for instance, carrying hot water barrels under cot vs air mattress inside the tent, or an electric blanket. Either you can warm yourself without electricity or heater by placing the entire tent fly over the campfire trench where the coals are still alive. However, in terms of heater safety measurement, BTU standard maintenance is the foremost requirement, and campers often involve in brawls like, propane heaters are safe vs, can they put an electric heater in a tent. Both are logical up to the decision you have taken as far as per the location and weather need. 

are tent heaters safe for winter camping
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But whatever you select, ensure safety as there your tent may contain sleeping pads too which are dangerous to catch fire at ease. Still, confined with confusions? Follow the alternative sources. Either carry on with putting a heater in a tent solution which is far better for camping in winter, or realize the differences between electrical tent heaters vs gas heaters from the description that we have narrated. 

Possible to Put a Heater In a Tent?

Before answering it, let us ask, how cold is extreme cold for tent camping? The possible answer is the higher the temperature, like the 30s, and the lower it is about 40s Fahrenheit. This is the extreme limit for inexperienced campers. However, 50°F to 65°F is the most contemplating and comfy nighttime temperature for camping under a full moonlit sky. 

Now it is time to answer the exact question of inexperienced campers. Assume that you are not laying out your rainfly in direct sunlight, and it is a maximum of 6 or 8 degrees warmer than regular outdoor activities arranged in summer. A tent heater or a space heater is the best solution, not only safe for winter camping but also to create ventilation in place. Though the CO2 is dangerous, often clogging the ventilation, the purpose calls for an auto shut-off tent heater that can sense the harmful air leaves.    

So, yes it is possible without dragging yourself out of the store from purchasing a good tent heater. And some people want to be deep asleep with Mr. Buddy’s heater in a tent, but we do not agree as always without knowing the integrated features. As if, you are searching for the perfect one, it is time for a pinpoint feature focusing on tent heaters before buying one of these. 

Power Source

3 types of tent heaters are available in the camp item shops, such as electric-powered, Propane, and Butane. On the biggest race, electric-powered ones with various customizable options are on the top selection list. In terms of the electric tent heater’s usage, it exits very little fumes into the air, even ranging power consumption from 500W to 1500W. Only a single electric hookup on the campsite or a portable generator is required. 

Compared to the previous tent heater model, if it is about Propane heaters, prudence heats by burning inside a clean and efficient fuel, named Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Passed the standard from British Thermal Units (BTUs), which measured its output around 2,500 to 5,000 BTUs per hour.

Though the releases cleaner gas as always, a few Carbon Monoxide can demolish. However, focusing in the store on an auto shut-off/on the integrated device can solve the issue. In contrast, Butane is a rapid heater to generate enough warmth with fewer bad effects than Propane. Yet you have to pay attention to safety because it is not as much as you expect. 


Size means portability too. If we consider the portability, it is common sense that the heavy-duty ones abort the portability, as well as inconvenience carrying all by itself to the campsite. According to heater manufacturers and pros suggestions, gas-powered heaters are quite bulkier to transport. Some are even lighter, not with the in-built materials, but for the casing materials. 

First, find the middle ground. Hold a big enough stuff to warm the entire tent with safety as per your need. On the other hand, make the heater compact enough that may avoid being a barrier in anyone’s way. Get the specific dimension about the tent size and in the car backspace. Never compromise with a smaller heater, than the one which has oscillating movements in the configuration. 

Temperature Settings and BTU

Either heater can heat up rapidly, or slowly, both depending on its integrated temperature setting which is effective for small spaces. Some of the brands feature dial-type temperature setup options, some on the other hand feature keys for appropriate heat settings. Customizable options, for instance, CO2 measuring auto shut off switch is another useful option. 

In this way, not only prohibit CO2 or Carbon Monoxide, but also detect it and shut off the heater on your naps taking time even. As well, no hesitation, yet a comfortable tent with an affordable cost and mattress you can enjoy the whole night for sleeping purposes. Sometimes additional cooling fans one can notice that air out the heat out of the living space. 

If you are planning to use a propane model instead of one of the best electric-powered ones, some noticeable specifications on the manual about that using purpose and maintenance are available. In particular, popular as BTU, a unit of heat production to fill the entire tent space. An ideal way to measure by multiplying overall tent length, width, and height as well after setting it up with an Iron horse tarp. Comparison between the external environment and tent temperature that you desire for, can find exact cubic feet and optimize the original rate. 

Are Tent Heaters Dangerous?

Whether the subject is to purchase tent heaters for winter camping, safety issues become the first concern. Tent heaters, are available in both gas-powered and electrical units, in particular, Propane, natural gas, Butane and convection, radiant ones. All of these models’ heating range goes between 20-degrees Fahrenheit up to 110-degrees Fahrenheit.  

To calculate your model’s exact, follow this formula:

tent volume (length x width x height) x temperature difference, as in, current outside air temperature – desired inside temperature x 0.133 = required BTU/hour.

In general, the first optimization of oxygen treatment in air, otherwise called a clog up in that area. A tent set up in a different sense can solve the problem often, for instance, by upholding at least 3ft from flammable places. But any device with its heating source poses a few or more sorts of risks, for instance, suffocation hazard, or fire set up. Even the given heat off from the purchased heater can cause a tent fly or sleeping bag to catch on fire. 

To avoid such changes, byproduct generating machines camper’s should avoid purchasing. Though this is not possible unless buying an electric heater, decide first where you are planning to set the camp tent and campfire as well and select an in-built automatic switch off the heater to sense the byproduct and overheating, as well intend to detect leakages fast. 

For further and better optimization, some basic acknowledgment can help the toxic management and these are,

Understand how electrical and gas heating units differentiate from each other, in particular advantages and disadvantages. 

Position your tent heaters safely.

Only use tent-safe heaters.

Ensure proper ventilation as long as possible that will not hamper your sleeping and further toxic attacks, for instance, Bronchitis and lung issues. 

After maintaining such obligations and throughout the basic knowledge applications, tent heaters with further no ado are safe for winter camping, as long as our crew members’ experiences ensure the subject. 

Are Tent Heaters Safe to Use in Enclosed Spaces?

No, tent heaters are not safe to use in enclosed spaces. They can produce carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas and can cause serious illness or death if inhaled in large concentrations. To ensure safety, always use a tent heater in a well-ventilated area and never leave it on while sleeping.

How to Stay Warm in Your Tent Without a Heater?

Without electricity, which means portable electric tent heaters, camping in nature is possible. Yes, perhaps some substitute technology can assist a lot without bringing hassle, yet safety first, right? Well, the procedure named Thermal Mass, is the capability of any material to boost heats by soaking from a natural warm source, for instance, sun, and a campfire. 

The chart above illustrates the enlisted materials which are very popular and hassle-free to free up gathered power sources at night from the day time. Let’s inspect the possibility of easy access without further ado happening on the campsite. 


The best and above all reduction of applications of electricity and others to make your tent hot and warm is the tent insulation process and very clear still now. In this approach, campers require hot air to blow inside and possess it back to them. In summer, accurate insulation level you can expect, but not in uncertain late winter camping time, even not in the car. 

Buying a 4 season tent is a solution. Either in terms of heat transfer, atoms, and similar molecular level which can reach the mentioned and expected temperature level that we have mentioned before, or do not waste any dense materials from the backpack. Consider available single-pane windows that can trap hot air inside. However, heavy-duty reflective foam can create a barrier on air surpassing outside. 

Insulating tent walls and rooftops are not bad ideas at all. Either air bubble reflective foils to stick the insulation fabric inside or the thermal mess method by folding this foil paper around the tent walls are too good. As well as followed to warm up tent floors.    

Heating with Hot Water

Hot water bottles are preserved to create warmth from down to the tent cot or air mattresses. Often we have seen the farmers had used it, as well as miles to miles greenhouses are being generated with the hot water barrels preservation. If you have already scaled down the camping requirements, add some hard plastic barrels or metal bottles. 

Heat the water to 100-degrees Celsius on a boiling pan. Remember this thumb rule, that the higher the bottle volume, the longer the water storage is possible. 

Hope your water has reached the highest temperature level. Now it is time to place it in the barrel at once. The heat will last for many hours, even till you wake up the next morning. 

Use Heated Stones

Same principles as preserving hot water into metal bottles. But in this approach, you should have placed a tent beside the river bank or close to a stream for available rocks. Half of an hour before sleeping preparation, throw or campfire slowly burnt stones you have to collect and cover these in clothes or non-heating materials. 

Now spread out all covered clothes inside your tent with rocks, especially to the corners. If your new tent is waterproof, then it will carry out not big issues, for instance, melting the tent canvas. 

Though the possibility to generate the longest warmth through this method is few, yet definite for diverting bears while camping in bear country.  

Electric Blankets

May the post is not about cocooning yourself with a blanket. In general, an electric blanket’s capacity to produce heat by operating at least 77°F (25°C) to the highest 118°F(48°C) at once. As if it includes thin wires, in-built within the fabric. They will never have a direct connection to your body, as these are safer than tent heaters through the automatic overheat stopping switch out there. 

If the campers are more than two in one mattress under a tent, search one large enough to wrap all. However, if you notice the drawbacks, power outlets needed on the campsite, perhaps a generator will be needed which is not good enough.  

Start a Campfire

In theoretical or practical warm making terms, digging a trench and starting a huge campfire works well for the warm-up around your tent. Match the distance with your tent, yet not too close, only remember to dig deep. And, burn as much firewood as possible from split kindles, as well as gather the substantial coals. 

When the night fun is over, if there exist any insulated sleeping pads on the floor under the tent mattress or cot, replace them with coals by wrapping up some non-heating materials from the trench. Even after setting up the fire, take the entire tent and raise it on the top to release heat overnight. 

Underfloor Heating Carpets

Much more similar to the electric blankets, but by following some other catches. The high-quality heating carpets, in general, execute with more than enough heating temperature, for instance, 110°F. You have to lay this either beneath a tent cot mattress, or a used sleeping bivvy bag. 

As a clever tip or pro tip about how to set it up, we have used a heat reflective mat down the warm vanity carpet. Even the arisen cold air from the underneath tent surface, will not get in, rather suits to get reflected on you.  

Portable Electric Radiators

Though it is a fake heat, only a portable camping generator is the solution to reflect the warmth. According to pros, look for an oil-filled radiator, as if we are not a big fan of such a machine which may instead of boosting up warmth rather consumes huge power.

Don’ts to Follow While Heating Your Tent

After using hundreds of tent heaters which were sometimes safe or not for winter camping, yet made temperatures high inside our camp tents. However, the highest danger as per the scientist and pros is the carbon Monoxide exit co-operator. Not only do they work like a dangerous gas filler in tents, but also a barrier in between a proper ventilation system. Including these, following other don’ts during camp tent heating procedure can keep it safe, as well as all campers. 

Purchase a heater that will not only freeze CO but also reduce overheating chances through an automatic shutdown switch. 

Ensure gases escape proper ventilation methods by applying Propane heaters. 

Notice the heater’s portability, even though it may require another camping generator, however, no accidents should get on.

Somebody finds out about the ridiculous candle lighting for the heating tent. Never do this, unless your insulated pads will not only get melted down but also can set up a fire by the air blow. 

Electric Heaters Split from Gas Heaters?

What to buy? Electric tent heaters or gas heaters? After summer to fall and fall turning to winter gives a chiller feeling as if the leaves also change colors by the temperature drops. At that time, camping in cold weather was popular because sitting in front of a campfire and enjoying natural cold beauty is another indescribable feeling. Since you want to get cozied up in the tent inside, applying space heaters is natural. 

In previous details, we have mentioned the best aftermarket tent heater types, such as electric or both gas types, as well as Propane and Butane. Now, the purchase depends on pinpointed factors, as well as portability, energy efficiency, heat transfer capability, and more. 

Electric Heaters Purchasing Pinpointed Factors

Perfect for indoor applications, and converts 1500W electrical energy to heat. Increase the focused warmth. However, it is available in 2 types, such as convection space heaters and radiant space heaters. 


The energetic, as in delivers lower heating bills everywhere even if you need a specific area to warm. 

The seam-sealed barrier to moving liquid oil and similar electrical heating without frequent refills.   

In-built fans will help in circulating air in the entire room, however, distribute more than you want. 

The heater engine part has a hot cover, but you will have to wait longer to heat the entire room properly. 


Comes with a central air conditioning thermostat to adjust the temperature, more often designed to warm objects rather than a convection model to heat an entire room. In particular, when you will feel a single draft, it is necessary then. 

  • Faster working activity that you have purchased for, like feeling chilly. 
  • Very focused and directed heat while you will go for short-term applications, like on nap time. 
  • Create no vibrations while operating compared to the previous electric heater model. 
  • As a drawback, ensuring safety is a mess.

Gas Heaters Purchasing Pinpointed Factors

Ideal for large outdoor space activities, for instance, in a garage. Not that good for enclosed spaces, because they emitting of enough gases, like CO2, CO, and more. Differentiating in 2 forms, such as unvented which is for outdoor use only, and is vented for indoor use. 

Natural Gas Space Heaters

In general, it seems to be compact with other features and provides heat in a small area. Comes with a general gas hookup to function which is the key difference from Propane gas heaters. 

  • Such a model is energy efficient and a good bet for investment.
  • If an unexpected power outage occurs, it is easy to operate without electricity.
  • No leakage is possible to detect at ease as if no strong odor. 
  • Propane Gas Space Heaters
  • Ideal for large areas or right near your outdoor purposes. 
  • Heat can get dispersed through the in-built fan.
  • Causes no temperature fluctuations.
  • Deplete a higher amount of Oxygen in outdoor places.

Electrical and Gas Tent Heaters’ Side-by-Side Comparison

 Electrical Gas
Forms 2 types- convection and radiant 2 types- natural gas and Propane 
Purpose Certainly for indoors, like tentsFor both indoor and outdoor activities 
Fans Convection models feature thatOnly in-built Propane gas units
Automatic Switch to Control Both forms Both forms 
Leakage Detection possibility Easy by the detective option Hard for natural gas tent heaters 
Heating Include focused and spreading heat-up capacity The same as electrical forms have

Can Using a Tent Heater Impact the Need for Making a Fire in the Wild?

When considering the option of using a tent heater, it can significantly impact the need for making a fire outdoors. A tent heater provides a safe and efficient alternative for keeping warm, reducing the necessity of making a fire outdoors. This can also minimize environmental impact and ensure a comfortable camping experience.

Can I Use the Tent Heating Ideas for Winter Camping?

Yes, you can use safe tent heating ideas for winter camping to stay warm during the cold nights. Portable heaters, hot water bottles, and insulating your tent are all effective ways to keep the chill at bay while camping in the winter.

Can Outdoor Cooling Fans Also Be Used for Winter Camping to Counteract Tent Heaters?

Yes, outdoor misting fans can also be used for winter camping to counteract tent heaters. While they are designed to cool outdoor spaces during hot weather, they can also help circulate warm air within the tent and provide a more comfortable camping experience in cold temperatures.

Final Words

At the bottom line, we can specify a heater which has augmented at present its different usage in both outdoor and indoor activities, for example, camping in bear country or house front spaces. Operating in similarity with the manufacturer’s indications can lose up the anxiety of tent heaters’ safety usage for winter camping and unnecessary accidents as well. 

Though one of the tent heaters you are aiming for in the camping sell items store, tent-safe propane heaters or electrical ones are going to be right for you. Not only staying warm inside but also measuring how much BTU is going to emit also the second and third duties before purchasing one.

However, the piezo ignition switch and portability, both work like a charm. And yes, with all other capabilities, remember to ensure safety while camping in winter with your tent fly heater and a portable power bank.

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About This Writer

camila avery author

Guys, I am Camila Avery and I love to help my mom to do indoor & outdoor activities. As a lady, I have passed my time on gardening, home improvement, and personal or self-care. I have acquired some degrees in outdoor recreation, beauty, and hair care. It is not easy to work with top-level professional beauty experts. But, I got that opportunity and experimented with different hair extensions, hair colors, and cuts.

Guys, I am Camila Avery and I love to help my mom to do indoor & outdoor activities. As a lady, I have passed my time on gardening, home improvement, and personal or self-care. I have acquired some degrees in outdoor recreation, beauty, and hair care. It is not easy to work with top-level professional beauty experts. But, I got that opportunity and experimented with different hair extensions, hair colors, and cuts.

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