5 Best Portable and Safe Propane tent Heaters for Camping
If you’re like me, then you think that camping is a four-season activity. What’s more, I like to camp in any environment. From a snowy field to the desert, I appreciate the freedom to roam.
I don’t mind roughing it, but when I’ve got other people with me or when conditions are particularly tough, a little luxury goes a long way. That’s why I like the idea of a portable propane heater.
Purists are going to mock me, but there is something wonderful about being able to retire to a toasty, warm tent after a wet, cold day. That’s right. I’m actually advocating for heaters being used inside tents.
Technology has come a long way. It’s now possible to use a propane heater inside a tent without risking your life. Of course, it’s imperative to follow safety protocols. Be sure that you read your heater’s instruction manual before leaving home.
Perhaps the most important safety procedure you can use is to ensure adequate ventilation. This may mean leaving a small opening in the door or window of the tent.
Once again, read the instructions to make certain that you aren’t putting your life in danger.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Comparison: 5 Best Portable and Safe Propane tent Heaters for Camping
- 2 Choosing the Best Portable Propane Tent Heater
- 3 1. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater
- 4 2. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
- 5 3. Camco 57341 Olympian Wave-6 6,000 TBU LP Gas Catalytic Heater
- 6 4. Zodi Outback Gear X-40 Hot Vent Tent Heater
- 7 5. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800 BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
- 8 My Favorite Portable Propane Heater
Quick Comparison: 5 Best Portable and Safe Propane tent Heaters for Camping
|F232000 MH9BX Buddy|
Our Best Pick
|4,000-9,000||225 sq. ft.||1. 5 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
|Texsport Portable||2,890||100 sq. ft.||3 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
|Camco 57341 Olympian Wave-6||3,200-6,000||230 sq. ft.||14 pounds||3 years||Check Price|
|Zodi Outback Gear X-40||40,000||1,000 sq. ft.||34 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
|F215100 MH4B Little Buddy||3,800||95 sq. ft.||5 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
Choosing the Best Portable Propane Tent Heater
Now that I’ve taken a stance in favor of using a portable propane heater for camping, it’s time to share my thoughts on what makes a great tent heater.
Safety is a primary concern for me, as it should be for anyone. Accordingly, all of the models here have safety features like automatic turn off if the heater is tipped over.
Weight also matters in this list. The products I’ve reviewed range from lightweight to heavy duty. You might be comfortable taking the lightest models on long treks.
However, the larger ones should be reserved for car camping that borders on the luxurious.
I have similarly taken a close look at how powerful each heater is, and how much space they are capable of heating. Common sense says that campers with smaller tents won’t need an incredibly powerful heater.
Let’s take a look at the five best portable propane heaters for tents.
1. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater
Fully approved for indoor use, this clean burning propane heater is ideal for use inside tents. It features 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs of heat. This enables it to heat an area of up to 225 square feet.
The designers have built this unit with safety in mind. It automatically shuts off if tipped over, and it does the same if the flame goes out. Similarly, the heater is capable of detecting low-oxygen conditions, in which case it automatically ceases operation.
The fold-down handle provides the perfect place to grip this heater. Transportation is definitely not a problem. However, it does weigh nine and a half pounds, so carrying it over long distances may not be ideal.
You are in charge with this portable heater because you can choose between two settings: 4,000 BTUs and 9,000 BTUs. The regulator is on a swivel so that you’ll have no problem connecting the propane tank.
2. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
If you’re looking for a heater that pretty much defines “portable,” then you’ll be pleased with this offering from Texsport. It provides a maximum of 2,890 BTUs and weighs just one pound.
This Texsport model is suitable for use with 14.1 ounce and 16.4 ounce propane cylinders. With its durable stainless steel burner, it is built to last.
Safety is a prime consideration with any tent heater, and the designers have not failed consumers with this item. It features a sturdy base with four oversized paddle feet. Accordingly, it’s not likely to tip over.
If the flame goes out, then the unit automatically shuts off. A metal safety grid protects people from accidentally burning themselves.
You’re likely to get between four and six hours of operation on a single, one-pound propane tank. That’s enough for most of the night, and propane tanks are small enough to make it easy to pack several.
Compared to some of the other products on this list, the Texsport is underpowered. Accordingly, it is most appropriate for small tents. If you’re looking to heat a larger tent, you’ll need something much more powerful.
3. Camco 57341 Olympian Wave-6 6,000 TBU LP Gas Catalytic Heater
A small heater that packs a powerful punch, this Camco model is perfect for large tents. It’s also relatively expensive compared to many of the other items on this list, so only dedicated campers will probably want to make this investment.
If you do, you’ll be pleased with the output from this appliance. It adjusts from 3,200 up to 6,000 BTUs. Despite being that powerful, it operates with utter silence because it’s a wave heater. That means that there is no fan or blower making a distracting racket.
This heater weighs 14 pounds, so if you’re going on an extended back country trek, it’s not the model for you. However, if you have a large tent that you want to keep toasty warm all night long, then it would be hard to beat the Camco 57341.
The manufacturers certainly considered your safety when they designed this heater as it has an automatic shut-off feature in case it tips over. It features a Piezo electric sparker which the company says is good for 20,000 starts. That’s a lot of camping trips.
I also like this model because it can be mounted on feet to be used as a portable heater. Alternatively, it can be mounted to the wall of an RV, cabin or other structure. This makes it extremely versatile. Because it can heat up to 230 square feet, it is suitable for even the largest camping tent.
I love the radiant heat technology used by the Olympian Wave-6. That’s because it sends heat directly to people and objects in its path instead of heating the air first. This means that you’ll feel warmer faster with this model.
The manufacturer provides a three-year limited warranty, an excellent deal in this market.
4. Zodi Outback Gear X-40 Hot Vent Tent Heater
Admittedly, this is by far the most expensive item on my list, but for the dedicated camper and outdoorsperson, it may be the perfect solution. It has to be connected to both a 12-volt power source and a propane tank. This means that it may not be the right answer for every situation.
The camper will appreciate the power that this heater offers. It’s incredibly easy to set up, but you’ll find that it’s a bit bulky and heavy. Accordingly, you won’t be taking this appliance with you on a multi-day trek through the wilderness.
What you can expect from Zodi Outback is ruggedness and dependability. It features a shocking 40,000 BTUs, which means that if you crank it up, you could easily end up with a sweat lodge. The heater also has two metal hoses.
One pumps heat into the tent while the other sends potentially harmful gasses outdoors. That makes this an incredibly safe option.
With so many BTUs at its disposal, it comes as no surprise that this unit is capable of heating tents of up to 1,000 square feet.
Few of us have tents that are this large, which means that you may not want to choose this model. However, it also may be the safest portable propane heater on the market today.
The Zodi Outback needs to be hooked up to at least a five-pound tank of propane, another drawback if you’re used to traveling light. That tank will run for a good seven to eight hours, ensuring a full night of comfortable sleep.
5. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800 BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
A cheaper, much smaller and more portable option is the Little Buddy. It is capable of heating up a space as large as 95 square feet, which is perfect for the typical tent.
It can be run on a one-pound tank of propane for approximately five and a half hours. The on and off buttons are clearly labeled and easy to use.
Despite its small size, the Little Buddy has all of the necessary safety features. It can detect low oxygen levels, and tipping the heater over will automatically turn it off.
The fold-down handle provides an easy way to carry this heater from place to place. Weighing in at just under six pounds, you could easily take the Little Buddy with you into the back country.
Its size is compact. Nonetheless, the Little Buddy Boasts 3,800 BTUs, an impressive rating for such an easy-to-carry heater. Some users find that it can be a bit hard to light, so keep this in mind if you are dealing with arthritis.
My Favorite Portable Propane Heater
Any of the items that are reviewed here have the potential to be a welcome addition to any camping adventure. Some of them, like the Zodi Outback and the Camco, are pretty expensive while others seem to be designed for the budget-minded camper.
For my own excursions, I prefer something that is a little more middle-of-the-road. That’s why the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy is tops on my list. I’m like Goldilocks looking for those features that are “just right,” and that’s what I see with the Buddy.
At just over nine pounds, it certainly is not the lightest heater on my review. Still, it weighs far less than some of the other models, which makes it easier to pack along if you’re going to have to do some hiking to get to your campsite.
What I really like is that this heater ranges from 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs. That’s more than enough to heat 225 square feet. My tents are nowhere near that big. The upshot is that I am going to stay toasty all night long, even if the temperature dips below freezing.
I also appreciate the numerous safety features, which are a key component if you camp with kids or are prone to moments of clumsiness. The high-temperature wire guard is ideal for keeping away curious fingers, and the handle is a convenient feature that helps to ensure safety and portability.
Depending on how hard-core of a camper you are, any of these models could be ideal for you. My favorite is the Buddy, but I can certainly see reasons to use the Little Buddy or the Texsport if you’re looking for something that is designed to be carried over a long trek.
Even the more expensive models in our survey could be an excellent deal if you camp a lot or are really serious about your comfort in the wild. With this guide, you should easily be able to decide which portable propane heater is right for you.