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Best Tent Heater (Reviews & Camping Heater Buyer’s Guide)

tent heater

Tent heater is one of a camper’s best friend when it’s too cold in the campsite. We’ve listed here some of the best camping heater today.

Winter is not a favorite camping season, but for some, there is a certain charm found only when camping during winter.  Winter camping provides tranquil moments and scenic settings only winter season can provide – fewer crowds, untouched snow-covered landscapes, early nights and early mornings, and a warm fire.

Although you can keep warm in a quality winter camping tent and sleeping bag, sometimes they are not enough, especially during very low temperatures. If you are struggling to stay warm during winter, a tent heater can help.

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Camping Heater Buying Guide

Heater Type

There are three different types of tent heaters: electric, propane, and butane. The heater type you will need depends on the camping weather conditions and elevation. A popular choice for winter campers is the propane type as it is reliable, burns faster, and works on higher and colder elevations.

Heat Output

The heat output of a camping heater is measured in BTU (British Thermal Unit). For small-sized camping tents, 1,000 to 5,000 BTUs is more than enough. For large-sized ones, a 7000 BTUs and above will work well enough. Look for a camping heater that is temperature adjustable so that you can either increase or decrease the heat depending on your preferences.

Safety Features

As camping heaters are to be used in closed and small space (inside the tent), the safety of the heater should always be a priority. Choose a tent heater that has automatic tip-over safety shutoff and an automatic shutoff.

Due to the limited space inside the tent, there is a possibility for the heater to be accidentally knocked down during sleep. This is when the automatic tip-over safety shutoff comes handy. The automatic shutoff, on the other hand, will turn off the heater after a certain amount of time or when it reaches a specific temperature.

Another safety issue is carbon monoxide poisoning from gas-type heaters. If you have a gas-type heater, make sure it also has a carbon monoxide safety feature.

Size and Weight

As with all backpacking and camping equipment, every size and weight matters. Some tent heaters only weigh a few pounds and come in a compact size, making them great for backpacking. Large-sized camping heaters are great for RV camping or when there’s no long hiking required. Keep in mind though that the smaller the heater, the smaller BTUs or thermal output it will produce.

Tent heaters or camping heaters are designed specifically for camping and will keep your tent warm throughout the night. But which camping heater should you choose? To help you decide, we have listed five of the best tent heaters for winter camping.

Top Five Tent Heaters for Winter Camping

Portable Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater


  • 4,000 and 9,000 BTUs
  • High and low heat settings
  • Oxygen depletion sensor
  • Tip-over safety shutoff
  • Durable and efficient


  • No high-limit safety shutoff

Another great product from the Mr. Heater brand is the Portable Buddy Heater. This portable heater connects directly to a one pound cylinder and can quickly heat up to 225 square foot space with no problem. Most importantly, it has an accidental tip-over safety shutoff and an oxygen depletion sensor that would shut off the heater when the oxygen quality in your tent dips below a reasonable level.

This heater is also reasonably lightweight at just over 10 pounds with a fold-down handle for easy transport.  Overall, this is a great and affordable option that will keep you warm up to a maximum elevation of 7,000 ft.

Portable Outdoor Propane Heater by Texsport


  • Inexpensive
  • 3,000 BTUs
  • Simple design
  • Auto shut off valve if the flame goes out


  • Not safe to use inside the tent

This portable heater from Texsport is the perfect tool to keep you warm around the campsite. Its simple design is very straightforward. It has a large paddle foot base that attaches to the bottom of a 16 oz propane canister (not included) and the heating element that connects to the top of the canister. An aluminum reflector with safety grid is used to redirect the heat in any direction you want.

Safety features include an auto shutoff safety valve that will shut off the fuel when the flame goes out. This heater is perfect for camping, hunting, and cold weather outdoor activities.

Little Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Oxygen depletion sensor
  • Accidental tip-over safety shutoff
  • Operates up to 7,000 feet elevation


  • Does not have a high-limit safety shutoff

The Little Buddy Heater wins in portability weighing only at just 5.85 pounds and a size of 12 x 10 inches – it surely will not take much of your sleeping space inside your tent. The heater attaches to a one pound cylinder and radiates 3,800 BTUs per hour to heat up to 95 square feet area. Just like the Portable Buddy Heater, it has an oxygen depletion sensor and accidental tip-over safety shutoff.

Zodi Outback Gear X-40 Hot Vent Tent Heater

Moreover, this heater doesn’t have the white noise that most heaters have. It operates quietly, cleanly and odor-free. One of the best and affordable camping heaters, this heater is perfect for solo backpackers.


  • 40,000 BTUs
  • Keeps carbon monoxide out
  • Safe around kids
  • Perfect for family camping
  • Can heat a large tent


  • Expensive

If you are looking for a heater that will heat a large tent for your family or your group, then this camping heater will surely do the job.  The construction and design make it a safe heater around kids – two metal pipes connected to the central heating element, one pipe provides the heat while the other pipe stays outside to keep the carbon monoxide outside the tent. To produce 40,000 BTUs of heat, it needs a 12-volt power source and a propane tank. It sounds complicated, but this heater sets up in seconds.

The whole set up stores compactly in a gear bag for easy transport. Although expensive, the Outback Gear X-40 is perfect for those who camp regularly, for car camping and heating both inside and outside the tent.

Big Buddy Grey from Mr. Heater


  • 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs
  • Can run on battery or gas
  • Oxygen depletion sensor
  • Accidental tip-over safety shutoff


  • Expensive

Another favorite from Mr. Heater is its Big Buddy outdoor or indoor portable heater. This heater easily produces 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs to heat up above 225 square feet of space. A great feature of the Big Buddy heater is that it can be powered up using a battery, an AC power supply, propane or central gas line.

Safety features of this heater include an oxygen depletion sensor to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and an accidental tip-over safety shutoff. Big Buddy Grey is by no means affordable, but with its heat control settings and ability to run on battery or propane, and heat large spaces, you might not mind paying a little extra.

That’s it folks for the best tent heaters for winter camping. Have you tried any of these tent heaters? How did it go for you? Are there other winter camping tricks that you worked for you besides tent heaters?

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