Are tent heaters safe? How to keep warm in a tent

I love the outdoors but hate the cold. Once you have stopped from a day of activities and the sun goes down so can the temperature.

If you’re reading this article you are probably like me who have suffered waking up in the middle of the night shivering from the cold.

Being warm is a basic need, it can also determine your enjoyment of time away.

There are a number of ways to keep your tent warm at night. One of the easiest ways is to grab a heater and place it inside the tent for heating. But before you do there are safety considerations.

Have you written this article in two parts, answering Are tent heaters safe? How to keep warm in a tent

Are Tent heaters safe?

Electric tents are the safest method of warming up a tent or inclosed area because they don’t emit fumes. Modern gas heaters still use gas to fuel combustion to produce heat. There is still a risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning?

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Carbon monoxide poisoning can be particularly dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. Carbon monoxide poising can lead to irreversible brain damage or even die before anyone realizes there’s a problem”.

Are camping Gas heaters safe?

Using a gas heater in a closed space like a tent is not safe. Even for simply preheating the tent before going to sleep. The risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning is too great.

We do however recommend using a camping heater outdoors. We have used them on a number of occasions at night or in the morning in a well-ventilated area.

Is there a safe way to heat a tent?

Is there a safe way to heat a tent? The good news is yes, the not so good news is you will need a power source to plug into. On numerous occasions, I have placed an electric heater inside the tent.  

You can also place an electric heater inside an RV or Campervan. Overall, electric heaters are the safest option.

How To Stay Warm In Your Tent Camping

Thermal Clothing

Wearing thermal clothing will help you warm. If comfortable wear layers of clothing. Recommend wearing a beanie to prevent body heat escaping and also woolen socks. 

Hot water bottle

Hot water bottles are an inexpensive way to keep yourself warm. If you don’t have a hot water bottle fill up a normal water bottle with hot water.

Test the bottle for any leaks before going to bed. If the bottle is too hot, wrap layers of clothing around it. Hot water bottles should keep you warm for many hours.  

Disposable heat warmers

Place disposable heat warmers in your pockets or at your feet. These little packets can keep you warm and cozy for many hours. 

Get the right sleeping bag

Sleeping bags are rated for different temperatures. The ratings are confusing and we have found they cannot be relied upon to keep warm. 

However, choosing a sleeping bag to protect you from cold weather is very important. For further information check out our blog on how to choose the perfect sleeping bag

Get off the ground

Cold ground can transfer its cold to yourself. Placing a sleeping mat between you and the cold ground will prevent the transfer. If you sleep on a stretcher, place the mat on the top of the stretcher.

If you sleep on an inflatable mattress, place a mat under the mattress. This should provide additional protection from the cold. 

Take extra blankets

Once you’re tucked away in your sleeping bag, place an extra blanket or two over your body.

This will provide your extra protection from the cold air whilst retaining body heat. Blankets also provide a sense of comfort and protection, which is good especially for kids.

The great thing about blankets is they can be partially or fully taken off depending on how warm you become throughout the night. Blankets also take up minimal space in your vehicle and can be stuff in between gear if necessary.

Insulate tent with carpet or blankets

Before you place your gear down, throw out a rug or two on the floor of the tent. Floor rugs provide insulation from the cold earth.

If you have a light rug or blanket try and hang down from the ceiling down to the floor. This will add additional insulation and retain the heat within the tent.

Final Thoughts

Whilst it’s tempting to use a gas heater in a tent there are safer options. These include using an electric heater (do require power supply) or taking extra blankets etc.

If you are wanting to buy an electric heater, there are many outdoor electric heaters on the marketplace it’s a matter of whittling down to a list of heaters that suits your heating needs.

Like me, you’ve probably learned the hard way and purchased a heater that didn’t really provide the heat required and froze.

Choosing an outdoor gas heater comes down to how warm you want to be, the range, space you want heated, electric vs gas and the activities you’re performing,

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this article on Are tent heaters safe? How to keep warm in a tent you will enjoy our other reviews. Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads

How to choose Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Best Women’s Backpacking Backpacks

Leave a Comment