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The Best Heater for Tent Camping

 photo by Bondariev via iStock

We all know that summer is, by far, the best season for camping. And most campers spend the other three seasons longing for summer to come around again. But why? 

The answer is simple – most campers don’t know about the existence of a heater for tent camping. 

A heater for tent camping will keep you toasty and warm all night long. In this article, we explore their benefits and their downsides. And, of course, we have selected what we think is the best heater for camping for you. 

We use these heaters ourselves and cannot wait to tell you about them. That means you have no more excuses to wait for summer, so why not start your camping season early this year with a heater for tent camping?

Table of Contents

Types of Heaters for Tent Camping

winter campfire

 photo by Naftizin via iStock

When you’re looking for a portable camping heater for tents, it’s good to know that there is a wide variety of camping tent heaters available. We made a shortlist of the types of heaters for tent camping that are available.

Combustion Heaters

Combustion means that the engine generates heat by running on some sort of fuel. This can be either propane, butane gas, diesel, or petrol.

Electric Heaters

Electric tent heaters do not require fuel but work by drawing power from either a battery or a portable generator for camping

Wood-Burning Stoves

Obviously, this isn’t for your average weekend camping trip tool as these boys are heavy! But a wood-burning stove is a great choice when you want a trustworthy off-grid fuel-free heat source for an extended period of time.

Dangers of Heaters in Tents

tent next to a fire

 photo by undefined undefined via iStock

When considering a heater for tent camping, you should always be aware that irresponsible use of these devices can result in serious injuries.

These heaters are specifically designed for camping, and they are safe to use if you take the appropriate precautions. First, however, we want to point out a couple of dangers of using a heater for tent camping. 

As you can easily guess, using a heater that is not specifically designed for tent camping can cause your tent to catch fire. We don’t think anyone needs an explanation why sleeping in a burning tent can be a bit life-threatening.

two tents in the forest

 photo by LeonU via iStock

Also, ventilation is a crucial feature of safely using a heater for tent camping. While proper ventilation also means an amount of cold air is going to get in, so will oxygen. The heater is there to keep your tent nice and toasty without you risking low levels of oxygen in your bloodstream. 

During the combustion process, both water and carbon monoxide are produced. Without proper ventilation, the condensation will get into your sleeping bag and gear, causing it to lose its insulating properties. As a result, you might risk hypothermia depending on the outside temperatures. 

Ventilation becomes even more critical when using a propane heater for tent camping because carbon monoxide buildup is highly toxic. Carbon monoxide stops oxygen from entering the bloodstream and will cause you to suffocate in your sleep. In addition, it is odorless and can only be detected with a CO sensor.

What are BTUs, and Why are They Important?

What are BTUs, and Why are They Important

 photo by Digiphoto via iStock

BTU is the amount of heat that is needed per hour to keep your tent nice and toasty. BTUs are calculated by multiplying the cubic volume of your tent or RV with the required temperature rise and the insulation factor of a tent. The latter is usually around 0.25 if your tent is suitable for the weather you are camping in. So don’t take a simple summer festival tent to go winter camping. 

For example, if your tent is 6.5 feet by 10 feet with a ceiling height of 6.5 feet, the volume of your tent is 422.5 cubic feet. If the outdoor temperature is 40 degrees and you want to keep the inside of the tent at 65 degrees, you want a 25-degree rise: 422 x 25 x 0.25 = 2,640,6 BTU/hour.

When looking at the example above, you might be tempted to think, “oh well, 2,500 BTU will be enough in this case”. But, unfortunately, purchasing a 2,500BTU heater for tent camping in those cases means you buy a heater that can’t keep your tent 65 degrees to begin with.

The Best Heater for Camping

diesel heater

As always, we won’t leave you without giving our two cents on what we think is the best camping heater for tents. And it comes with a high recommendation from our team here—the Planar 44D-12V portable diesel air heater

At first sight, this heater for tent camping from Planar might be a tad on the large side, but that little yellow case it comes in is just about all you will need to run it (you just need a 12V power source).

So it’s more portable than you would expect at first glance. The exhaust, fuel tank, and air intake are located right on the outside of the self-contained and crush-proof container. 

diesel heater contents

This heater for tent camping has the power you need to keep your entire tent comfortable and warm all night long, no matter the size. So if you want to be the go-to camping friend that makes sure everyone stays warm, this is the heater you need.

We even tested it in a 10-person camping tent, and it worked like a charm.

The Planar 44D-12V, 4KW, 12V runs on both diesel or kerosene and 12v DC. The device is also equipped with a silencer and a remote wired controller, so you don’t even have to get out of your sleeping bag to turn it up or down. 

Heater Thermostat

Because the Planar heater for tent camping also provides dry heat, the chance of condensation is much lower. And since the unit sits outside the tent, there’s much less of a chance of carbon monoxide levels rising inside the tent.

Apart from that 10 person tents we just mentioned, this heater is also powerful enough to be used in campers, motorhomes, vans, boats up to 30 feet, or your bedroom during power outages. Therefore, we consider the Planar 44D to be the best camping heater for tent camping available on the market right now. 

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