Finding safe heaters for tents is always a problem with the amount of flammable pieces of clothing and camping equipment involved when spending the night under the stars. With some careful choices it is possible to have an effective heater that can be used safely.
In the article we are going to look at some of the different options for warming a tent along with their safety factor and ease of use.
Choosing a Heater
These are the safest type because there is never an open flame to worry about but powering them is a problem unless you have the a large enough 12 Volt battery to run it off. Many heaters of this type come with connections for use in a vehicle that can easily be extended by adding the extra wire needed to reach inside a tent.
One thing to note when using a vehicles battery as a power source is that a heater can eat up a lot of amps very quickly. Save yourself from getting stranded by starting the engine every so often to keep the battery topped up especially if the heater gets lots of use.
Not everybody who enjoys camping takes a vehicle along and even though there are many small heaters that can be powered by disposable batteries they are largely pointless as the batteries can never be large enough to supply the amount of energy needed to make a heating element function properly and are best avoided.
More care is needed when using a gas heater because of the obvious fire risk but even among all the different models available there are some that are a lot safer than others.
Bare minimum safety feature should be a tilt switch that will turn off the gas as soon as the heater falls over or it leans passed a certain angle.
One other important feature built into quality units is a sensor that constantly measures the amount of oxygen in the air and shuts down the heater if there is too little, this is a very useful tool to stop the possibility of carbon dioxide poisoning.
Its very cheap for manufactures to produce units with a few low quality elements that will accept a gas canister but its the extra features that will keep you safe that these very budget models are missing.
The one advantage of wood stoves is that fuel can be source locally unless you choose to camp in some very desolate areas. Wood burning stoves are very inefficient at delivering heat with their output very dependable on how big they are.
Taking a fair amount of work and time to get going properly with a high fire/health risk makes the wood stove the very last thing we would recommended trying to heat a tent with.
Tent Heater Safety
The absolute safest way to stay warm in a tent is to not use a heater at all and rely on layers of clothes and some of the value for money excellent cold weather gear on the market at the moment but if you want to enjoy the comfort that a heater brings here our tips for keeping safe.
1. The combination of the enclosed space and the many types of flammable items make heating a tent a real problem from a safety point of view. Give the heater a space of its own away from all your other belongings and get in the habit of checking it every now and then to make sure everything is OK.
2. Make sure it is completely off before you go to sleep or if your out of the tent for long periods.
3. If running the heater for long periods allow at least some ventilation in the tent and maybe consider buying a separate carbon dioxide alarm to get a early warning of any build up of dangerous fumes.
4. Read all the instructions that come with any model you use familiarizing yourself with its safety features before use.
Carbon Dioxide Build Up
Poisoning for carbon dioxide is known as the “silent killer” because it can quickly overwhelm even full grown adults. Tasteless and odorless it can be a real problem especially when your asleep but thankfully due to the changes made to many types of portable heaters it isn’t as common now as in recent years but always worth keeping in mind.
The Problem with Heating Tents
Tents are good at keeping things dry and stopping all the creepy crawly’s from taken chunks out of you during the night but are less then prefect at retaining heat. Getting and keeping a tent warm requires consent heat because so much will be seeping out through the tent meaning you will lose any benefit very quickly after turning it off.