Can You Put a Heater In a Tent: How to use safely?

The heater is a great way to warm yourselves on a cold night of winter camping. However, there are some safety precautions you should maintain while using it. Many beginners are not even sure whether it is safe or not.

So, in this article, we are going to talk in detail about “Can you put a heater in a tent while camping”?

You will be happy to know that you can put a heater in a tent while camping as long as it is marked as “indoor safe.” With proper safety precautions, you can use both gas/fuel-powered and electric heater inside a tent.

You might have more questions about it. But do not worry, as we are here to answer all your questions regarding the safety and precautions of putting a heater in a tent. And also, we will be discussing a few types of “indoor safe” heaters. 

Is it Safe to Put a Heater in a Tent?

Keeping a heater inside your tent might seem a little risky and scary. But, as mentioned before, you can put an indoor safe heater inside your tent. What kind of heater you choose and how you use it will determine how safe the tent heater is.

Nevertheless, not all heaters are indeed safe to use. Some heaters produce carbon monoxide, which is very harmful to people. 

Make sure to use electric heaters as they are usually very safe. They have the feature of turning off themselves if they overheat. A catalytic heater with the CSA 4.98 or the ANSI Z21.103 certification is also very safe.

How to Determine the Safety of a Heater?

Among gas heaters and electric heaters, it is best to use an electric heater. Gas heaters leave the risk of spilling carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. So, these types of heaters need proper ventilation. If you can not ensure that, it can become dangerous for you. On the other hand, an electric heater-

  • Does not produce carbon monoxide.
  • Does not need a fuel tank or refills.
  • Very low maintenance.
  • Does not have any risk of leaking propane gas and causing a fire.
  • Consumes a very low amount or no oxygen.
  • It does not require storing a bottle of propane.

Can You Put a Patio Heater Under a Tent?

Patio heaters are typically used outdoors, but you can still use them under a tent to heat them. However, to avoid the tent catching fire when using the heaters, ensure they are placed away from the tent’s sides and roof.

There are some safety measures that you should maintain for putting the patio heater under the tent, as it is specialized for outdoor use or use under the patio. The safety measure includes-

  • Make sure the heater is firmly anchored so it will not slip out or fall over.
  • Protecting the patio heater from the heavy wind.
  • Make sure children do not touch it or go near the patio heater.
  • Placing it somewhere from where the heat can reach up to every corner of the tent.
  • For large tents, you can have more than one heater ensuring all the safety procedures.

Related: Do I Need to Put a Tarp Under My Tent?

Can You Put a Space Heater in a Tent?

Many campers choose a space heater as an option to heat their tent in winter camping. It can keep you warm and safe in cold weather if you choose one rated with indoor use feature. A space heater that is used indoors can radiate heat. 

Space heaters can be powered by gas or by electricity. However, it is better not to choose the gas-powered space heater. Gas-powered space heaters are the least ecologically friendly and most hazardous because they use combustion and can cause fires.

You can, however, use space heaters that are radiant or infrared heaters. They are very safe to use in a tent. These heaters operate by radiating infrared energy in the direction the heater points. 

So, they are smart gadgets with safety features that guard against overheating and include automatic tip-over turn-off functions to protect against fire.

Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent?

Buddy heaters or Heater Buddy are propane heaters that are known for their different sizes and portability. They are ideal for many campers as they do not produce carbon monoxide.

Buddy heaters are radiant heaters that can swiftly and effectively supply heat in cold weather. One factor contributing to this heater’s appeal is its mobility, which also has a financial benefit. 

This type of heater also includes a built-in automatic safety shut-off system that engages when the oxygen level drops too low. Its special features include a timer. So, it can turn off itself when you are asleep to avoid unwanted accidents.

Additionally, it has an overheating safety function that will switch off if it gets too hot. This makes it safe to use indoors. So, you can use a buddy heater inside a tent to keep your tent warm.

Related: Do You Need to Ground a Camping Generator?

Can You Use an Electric Heater in a Tent?

You can certainly use an electric heater in a tent while camping. It is a popular choice for many campers and backpackers as it is a portable heater. However, you should consider the security and the type of power source the campsite offers before bringing an electric heater on your winter camping trip.

You must reserve a pitch at a campground with electric hookups if you want to use an electric heater inside your tent (EHU). EHUs may only be able to use 5 amps of power and call for a particular electrical fitting.

To prevent melting or, even worse, an unintentional fire, there must be at least two feet of free space in front of it. Put your heater in a spot that will not be pushed or jostled throughout the night. Put the heater on a platform that is on a bit higher ground for safety.

Although electric heaters have a few drawbacks, many campers still prefer electric heaters due to-. 

  • Reasonable in price.
  • Portable and very lightweight.
  • Can heat the tent very quickly.
  • Reduces the condensation inside the tent.

So, electric heaters can be an excellent choice to keep your tent warm while camping. 

Related: Where Can I Pitch A Tent On The Beach?

Can You Use a Propane Heater in a Tent?

You can use propane heaters in your tent. However, you need to follow the instruction manual before using it safely as they are gas heaters requiring extra safety.

The largest concern of propane heaters is not associated with the fact that they use gas as fuel but rather with the carbon monoxide byproduct created when that gas is burned.

Propane gas is relatively easy to find when leaks occur because of its potent odor. However, even at high lethal levels, the byproduct, Carbon Monoxide (CO), is not discernible since it has no taste or smell.

Eventually, the carbon monoxide levels build up to the point that you can become unconscious due to the poisoning. So, it is better not to use it inside a tent unless you can maintain safety.

Using Propane Heater Safely

When you are going to a campsite where there is no electricity, in the winter, gas heaters are the only option. Although you can use a wood stove, hot water bottles, and hot rocks, they do not stay warm for long. In this situation, a propane gas heater is the best option you get. 

So, if you are going to camp in the wilderness in the cold weather, then these tips might help:

  • Because propane heaters tend to grow extremely hot and have the potential to ignite and create fires, you should always install your heater in a spacious area with at least three feet of space. 
  • Under no circumstances should they be kept in confined locations without a vent for the carbon monoxide to escape. Always set up your gas heaters on flat, level surfaces to prevent tip-over accidents.
  • Use a stand-alone carbon monoxide detector when using the gas propane heater. This will help you to detect if the carbon monoxide starts to get heavy in your tent.
  • Use a ventilated tent or keep your tent’s window slightly open while using a propane gas heater.


Using Gas Heaters Inside a Tent- What Are the Risks?

Most gas heaters use neutral for the heating process, and while it does, carbon monoxide is released. You can not see or smell the carbon monoxide, so you will not be able to tell when it gets heavy in the air. So, it is hazardous to use gas heaters inside a tent. Other risks of gas heaters are- 

  • The heating process creates carbon monoxide 
  • When too much carbon monoxide piles up in a small place like a tent without a proper ventilation system, it can cause breathing problems for people
  • People can get very sick and even die from the carbon monoxide
  •  If it spills or leaks, it can also cause a fire besides producing carbon monoxide

So, if you use gas heaters to heat your tent, ensure proper ventilation. And it is better to use the 3-man tent for gas heaters. Also, it is recommended by experts that you should service your gas heater every two years by a certified and qualified gasfitter. 

Having a qualified gasfitter inspect your heater will ensure its installation is correct and tested for carbon monoxide leaks so that you can identify any problems with the gas heater and repair them quickly.

Final Words

It is essential to check with the campsite whether heaters are permitted before you decide to bring one on your camping trip. Several locations have restrictions from the local government regarding bringing heaters on the camping grounds. In addition, no matter what type of heater you use, be sure to ensure proper ventilation.


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