How To Heat A Tent Without Electricity
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People want to be able to camp all year round, but in late fall through early spring the nights can be cold. So you might be wondering how to heat your tent without electricity. There are three common ways. The first way is to use a propane heater like a Mr. Heater. You can invest in a canvas tent with a smokestack which allows you to use a wood-burning stove. Metal bottles filled with boiling water and placed around your tent will also heat your tent as the heat dissipates from the bottles.
We will now look at the these options in detail.
The Best Option Is A Propane Heater
Tents are not designed to be warm. They only have a couple of inches of fabric which isn’t great insulation. The purpose of your tent is to keep you dry and away from bugs and other critters.
What’s really expected to keep you warm is your sleep system and your clothing. We will cover that later in this article.
When people plan to go camping in the cold, every Facebook group is flooded with questions on “how do I stay warm”. And the most popular answer is to bring along a propane heater. My buddy Scott has one.
I currently don’t but I am so hot-blooded (literally I often sweat in my bed at home even in the middle of winter) it doesn’t take much to keep me warm here in Texas. But I am losing weight so we’ll see what happens if I hit my goal of losing 60 pounds. In particular, since I know of a backpacker on YouTube who lost 80 pounds and said he has a hard time keeping warm on trail.
The most popular model is the Mr. Heater - Buddy model. However, you will hear most people refer to it as the “Mr. Buddy Heater”.
The Mr. Heater uses propane and has many safety features for use in a tent. Including a tip-over and low oxygen sensor. And can be used at home in case of power outage during the winter.
If you are nervous sleeping with a propane heater in your tent because of carbon monoxide poisoning you can purchase a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.
Here’s a short review of the Mr. Heater.
When it comes to finding the right heater, it’s essential to find the right balance between power, durability, and general quality.
This is where the Mr. Heater F232000 promises to offer a slew of high-value features making it a must-have for modern users.
Here are some of the key details associated with Mr. Heater F232000 and whether or not it is a good fit for your long-term needs.
Key features include:
- Covers Up To 225 Square Feet
- Fold-Down Handle
- Auto Shut-Off
- Swivel-Out Regulator
- Made of Steel, Plastic, and Nickel
Pros of Mr. Heater F232000
- Consistent Coverage
The coverage you are going to get with a solution such as this is empowering and something that will blow you away when it comes to overall performance.
Within 225 square feet, the coverage will be pinpoint perfect.
It will cover the entire space and is going to consistently keep you as warm as you need to be. Having something as effective as this provides peace of mind for the average user.
- Easy to Use
Simplicity is always going to play a role in finding a high-quality heater for your needs.
In this regard, the Mr. Heater F232000 is a winner. It is a heater that is made with your requirements in mind and takes no more than a few minutes to get running. Just have the propane ready and you are going to be good to go.
Having something as straightforward as this is a real plus point and something that is going to impress.
- Auto Shut-Off for Safety
Safety is a serious concern with heaters and you will want to choose something that won’t let you down when it is time to settle in.
With the help of this particular heater, you are getting a solution that is efficient, easy to set up, and is going to have a built-in safety mechanism to turn off under duress. This is key when things are not as stable as the heater needs them to be.
A good example of this would be setting the heater at great heights (above 7000 feet) as that might cause it to become a safety risk due to the propane.
- Uses a Good Amount of Propane
If you are looking to go for a propane-efficient solution, this might not be the ideal fit. It takes up quite a bit of propane in comparison to other options on the open market.
However, you are also getting something that performs well in different conditions and that’s something with considerable weight when it comes to long-term results.
The Mr. Heater F232000 is world-class and offers a plethora of high-grade features that are well worth your time. This heater provides exceptional coverage, durability, and is the perfect addition for those wanting to see consistent results.
The right heating solution will always be something that’s efficient in different situations and that’s where this particular heater stands out.
It is a must-buy for those who want a comprehensive addition to their heating needs.
Canvas Tents With Chimneys For The Worst Winter Weather
Canvas was the original material used for tents. Canvas is made from cotton and is extremely strong. Canvas breathes so you don’t have to worry about condensation. However, they are heavy and can be harder to put up than modern tents.
But the reason why we are discussing canvas tents is that some canvas tents come with a chimney so that you can attach a tent stove to them. A tent stove can be used to cook and heat your tent.
What Is A Tent Stove
If you are wondering what a tent stove is, you have come to the right place. With a modern tent stove, no more cold nights inside the camping tent. Just include a tent stove in your camping gear, and you and your family will be comfortable during the colder nights. A tent stove converts wood fuel into heat energy using the method of combustion. It then radiates the heat to enhance the comfort of your family inside the tent. The stove would concentrate fuel, air, and heat to produce more heat without wasting resources. It’s quite efficient and safe compared to open fires on the campsite. This article provides information on what really is a tent stove.
Tent stoves share similar basic components while some modern products come with additional features to improve their efficiency and ease of use. The unit had a combustion chamber where wood fuel is burnt to generate heat energy. The combustion chamber or firebox forms the body of the stove. It varies by shape, size, and material. Large chambers help burn more wood and generate more heat energy in the process. Traditional cylinder stoves are easy to clean and they heat evenly. The box shape stove has a flat surface all around and is the preferred design for high-end tent stoves. They come with tempered glass or firebrick lining.
The combustion chamber is made of different materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and titanium. The material of the unit influences the efficiency, durability, price, and weight of the tent stove. Each material has its own pros and cons and can be advantageous for different applications. Aluminum heats quickly because the material has a high thermal conductivity. In fact, aluminum stoves heat unevenly, quickly, and doesn’t retain heat in the process. Titanium stoves are quite lightweight and durable. They are portable and are great for backpacking applications. Titanium is great for even heating and heat retention.
On the other hand, stainless steel stoves are the most popular with avid campers and backpackers because they are durable, affordable, and not that heavy. Stainless steel stoves strike a great balance between weight, price, and durability. Cast iron stoves retain the most heat. But they are the heaviest out of them all. These stoves have a very low thermal conductivity and take a long time to heat.
The safety provided by a tent stove is one of the most important advantages of the product. Tent stoves are easy to manage compared to traditional campfires. In fact, all the fuel, heat, and flames are in one combustion box or chamber. The handy exhaust tube will let smoke and carbon monoxide exit your tent safely. Using a tent stove is the most effective way to keep that warmth in your tent contained. Because the unit is set up inside the tent, you can seal the warm air inside the tent.
If you wish to camp in frigid snowy temperatures, in particular, for several days, consider investing in canvas tents.
DIY Tent Heater Using Steel Water Bottles
If you want to heat your tent without worrying about having a propane heater in your tent, you can use steel water bottles. These need to be single-walled such as the Nalgene steel water bottle. This is because we need a bottle we can heat the water up directly.
You will want 4-6 bottles. And a campfire. And the same number of bandanas as you have water bottles.
Fill the bottles full of water and place them next to the campfire. Wait for the water to come to a gentle boil. Carefully remove the bottles from the fire. Put their lid on so that if they tip over, you don’t flood your tent.
Place the bottles in the corners of your tent. Put a bandana under them to prevent them from melting your tent floor. The water bottles will give off heat as the water cools off. They will last 3-5 hours.
You can also place a bottle in the footbox of your sleeping bag to warm it up before you get in.
Don't Forget To Dress Properly, Blankets, And Hand Warmers
Even if you can heat your tent, this doesn’t eliminate the need to make sure that you dress properly with a proper sleep system. And augment with hand warmers.
We have a complete article about camping in the cold and another one on choosing your sleeping bag.
But in short, you want to dress in layers. With your base layer being a synthetic layer that will allow sweat to evaporate. In cold weather, I will sleep with two pairs of wool socks. I often keep my mid-layer on a well. Which is cargo pants (it’s Texas not Minnesota where my buddy Joseph used to camp in -20 F) and a fleece wool shirt.
I also keep a hand warmer with me. I’m a side sleeper so I will place it under my side near my armpit. This maximizes it’s ability to warm the blood and keeps me warm.
I use a Big Agnes sleeping pad because it’s comfortable and warm. I use a zero-degree down quilt instead of a sleeping bag. I prefer a quilt over a sleeping bag because I’m 6’4” and I have a hard-time fitting in a sleeping bag.
When car camping, I bring along an extra sleeping bag in case I need it. And backpacking I will bring along a space blanket which I place under me with the shiny side up. This adds a lot of warmth to my sleeping system.
Battery Powered Tent Heater
I can understand the reluctance of wanting to use a propane-based heater in your tent. However, electric heaters require too much electricity to run off batteries. The best way to stay warm in your tent is to bundle up and stay in your sleeping bag.
Nothing is going to heat up a tent with the exception of a wood stove in a tent designed to hold a wood stove.
Campers and hikers in cold climates know that a lot of the warmth in their campsite comes from the amount of insulation in their clothing, gear, tents, and sleeping bags.
If you need a quick fix for a short period of time, use hot water bottles or boil water in steel water bottles.
Solar Powered Tent Heater
Unfortunately, there are not yet any good solar-powered tent heaters.
The closest, I could recommend would be to get something like a Jackery portable power generator and use it to power an electric blanket. You could also use the Jackery to charge the batteries for a Coleman battery-powered electric blanket.
Jackery power-banks can then be recharged using their own solar panels.
But if you want a tent heater, then you need to purchase a Mr. Heater or similar model.
How To Heat A Tent With A Candle
Never try to heat your tent with a candle unless it’s a life or death situation. An open flame in a tent is very dangerous and can easily lead to a tent fire which can kill you.
Yes, you can heat a tent with a candle.
UCO makes a candle-powered lantern that can be used to heat a tent.
You can also build a DIY candle heater using a couple of flower pots.
But instead of trying to heat a tent with a candle, bundle up and insulate your tent which we will show you next.
How To Insulate A Tent
To insulate a tent, start with the smallest tent possible. The less space in a tent, the easier it is to use your body heat to warm up the tent.
Next, put a thick tarp under the tent to act as a footprint. We typically use a footprint to keep moisture out and to protect our tent floor. But a footprint can be used to insulate your tent.
Assuming you are car camping, bring along rugs with you. If you can get a good deal with rugs on clearance then you can use home rugs because they will look and feel nicer on your feet.
However, many people will buy moving rugs and use these to insulate the floor bottom.
Another option is to use children’s puzzle foam floor tiles because they are cheap, they are soft, and pack small.
You can hang rugs and other tarps over the outside of the tent as well.
If you follow these tips you should find that you can heat up your tent without electricity. And by keeping your tent warm, you will sleep better and have a more enjoyable camping trip.