A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting Camping Tent Heaters

Man Heating a Tent

Whether it is a chilly summer night or a cold winter evening, there are numerous ways of keeping yourself warm on a cold night. Wearing heavy socks, keeping a good insulated padding between you and the cold ground are all great ways to keep yourself warm.

None of these methods are as effective as using a camping heater.

When investing in a camping heater, safety and quality should be your number one priority. Using a faulty device or not following the safety guidelines can result in a dangerous accident that can threaten the safety of your family.

Why Invest In A Camping Heater

When it comes to camping, proper preparation can prove the difference between a lousy trip and an exciting adventure that will leave you with several happy memories. Most people who camp in the summer find it unnecessary to invest in a heater.

Man in Tent Adjusting Fishing Rods

While the purchase might seem like a waste, we forget that no matter how warm it is during the day, it tends to get chilly at night, especially during the winter season. Apart from summer days, a heater is exceptionally important for colder seasons, such as spring and winter. A camping heater is thus a must if you are planning on camping during the off-season.

Types of Camping Heaters

With today’s fast advancing technology, there are several camping heaters to choose from in the market. With so many options to choose from, one may find it difficult to make the right decision.

Electric Heaters

Electric camp heaters are widely popular because they are quite easy to use. If you are lucky enough to have an electrical outlet on your campground, you can invest in an electrical heater. Similar to miniature space heaters, these devices offer fast heat at just the touch of a button.

Man Heating in Tent with Electric Tent Heater

Most electric heaters also have a thermostat so you can conveniently control the temperature inside your tent. One downside of this heater is it cannot be used by hikers and backpackers who do not have access to electricity. However, it is quite popular among campers.

Electric heaters are a great option if:

  • You have access to electricity from your campsite or RV.
  • You have a portable generator. However, this is a rather complicated setup and is only necessary for serious campers who are camping out in harsh conditions.
  • You wish to conserve battery power and are not comfortable with the other alternatives.

Hot Vent Camping Heaters

This is probably the safest way to keep your tent warm during cold winter nights. These heaters also use propane but the heater part remains outside. It incorporates a fan that runs on a 12-volt battery. The fan blows dry, hot air through the tubes that run through the opening of the tent.

Hot Vent Camping Heater

You can invest in smaller versions of this heater for your tent, whereas larger ones come in handy if you are using an RV. Since the gas container is not inside the tent, it does not pose a dangerous threat to campers. Plus, there is no possibility of toxic and deadly fumes getting trapped inside the tent when you are asleep.

Most manufactures claim it is safe to keep these heaters running all night long even when you are asleep. However, we advise you use the device sensibly and according to safety guidelines. One major downside of this option is the hefty price.

Hot vent camping heaters are more expensive than other types of heaters in the market today. However, if you are an avid camper who is highly concerned about the safety of your family, this heater is worth every penny.

Electric heaters are a great option if:

  • You are willing to pay the extra price for safety
  • You often go out camping with your family and friends
  • You are a serious camper who is tired of sleeping out in the cold every night

Propane Catalytic Heaters

As the name suggests, propane catalytic heaters run on propane to heat your space. There are several types available in the market. Most models use one pound propane canisters that are sufficient to provide 8 hours of heat. Propane catalytic heaters are flameless and thus are considered safe for campers.

Propane Catalytic Heater on Rock

The heat is generated through a chemical reaction between oxygen, platinum and propane, hence there is no need to ignite propane catalytic heaters. Additionally, the byproducts of this heater include water vapor and carbon dioxide which are not life-threatening or detrimental to your health.

These heaters are genuinely considered safe as they are flameless. This means there is a lower risk of accidentally causing a fire with a catalytic heater. Catalytic heaters are also quite easy to use and are generally low-priced. Unlike electric heaters, you do not need an electrical outlet as the appliance runs completely on a couple of batteries.

One downside of these heaters is they produce a minute amount of carbon monoxide. While many brands claim their models produce little to no amount of the dangerous gas, there is always a slight chance. Additionally, despite being flameless, campers may still be susceptible to accidents as the heater surface gets hot and can thus cause nasty burns.

Fire Burning in Tent

Propane catalytic heaters are a great choice if:

  • You are in search of a portable camping heater that won’t cost a small fortune.
  • You have kids and do not want to invest in a heater that generates flame.
  • You are looking for low-priced, safer alternatives for hot vent camping heaters


These are just a couple of things you should keep in mind before investing in a camping tent heater. With the right purchase, you can drastically improve your camping experience.

Two Boys Heating Hands on Fire

Contrary to popular belief, a heater is likely to come in handy even during the summers, hence make sure you make the right purchase. Good luck!

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