Spend too much time watching survival-oriented TV shows, and you’ll realize that there are certain gear picks (like the best tent heaters in the freezing cold) that you certainly wouldn’t want to go without. In fact, that’s probably an understatement. Any well-curated list of camping gear needs to cover all the basics and all your bases. That means you should take care of everything from packing the right socks to wearing the proper lace-up boots, right on through to a final dimension of your outdoor experience: Your tent itself.
While we can’t necessarily give you anything for your mental fortitude in tough conditions, we can provide you with the tips and gear to make your camping experience all the more enjoyable.
It’s not something you should take lightly (anyone who’s ever camped in a shoddy tent can tell you that much). Skimp on your sleeping bag or your long underwear in frigid conditions, or even in any climate where the temperature plummets at night, and you’ll know it right away. The best tent heaters are but one line of defense in putting up a good fight against Mother Nature. The elements might try and thwart you, be it excessive wind or driving rain, but the right tent heater can aid in making your camping experience all the more comfortable.
Think of it like this: You wouldn’t want to throw in the towel too early on a camping trip, slinking back to the city with shoulders hunched. While we can’t necessarily give you anything for your mental fortitude in tough conditions, we can provide you with the tips and gear to make your camping experience all the more enjoyable. And believe it or not, a tent heater can offer up some welcome relief and a bit of reinforcement, a way of saying that “Yes, you can make it through this.”
Heck, who are we kidding though? Camping should be fun and enjoyable, a pursuit that enlivens the spirit and soul, adverse weather conditions be damned. You’ll be keeping your spirits up while staying dry and warm when equipped with a tent heater.
Naturally, we know it’s not the first thing on your packing list. That list might include the best tactical gloves or a durable bandana for your everyday carry, to name but a few items close at hand and easy to toss in your backpack. But dig a little deeper, check the forecast and then consider buying yourself one of the best tent heaters.
The best tent heaters can function in both open and closed spaces, but you’ll want to consider a larger and more durable option for outdoor use in winter especially (don’t worry, we’ve got you covered).
It’ll need to be hauled alongside, say, one of the best portable camping showers, so consider these picks the right way to go if you’ll be doing overland camping. But if you pack lightly and tread just as carefully, you can find a tent heater that’s just about perfect for your camping gear packing list. It’s all in the preparation and the process, after all.
Before you go dashing off into the great unknown, get a few of the basics right when shopping for a camping heater. Here’s what we’d suggest you keep in mind.
How to Choose the Best Tent Heater for Your Next Trip
- Choose the proper size: As in, the best tent heater is the one that moves with you and doesn’t slow you down, packs up with relative ease and remains durable all the while. Tent heaters are ideal to bring along if you have a bit more space to pack up and stow gear (again, overland camping comes to mind), then you can afford to go just a bit bigger in terms of the size of your tent heater. And on top of that, if your tent is slightly larger (say, designed for 2-4 people instead of just a solo camper), then you’ll naturally want to bring along a camping heater that’s not quite as compact. One key to keep in mind: Don’t overdo it. Just find a tent heater that gets the job done.
- Evaluate the conditions: Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but what we’re not suggesting is that you check the weather where you currently are when shopping for a camping heater. Consider where you’re going to be, in what conditions you’ll be camping and how likely you are to run into tricky weather in your preferred camping area. And if said area is top-secret, known only to a select few? That’s even better, but that makes it all the more important to pick up a tent heater: You’ll need all your gear with you in tip-top form, and we’re willing to bet you definitely don’t want your camping heater taking a dive on an unexpectedly cold night.
- Opt for durability over affordability: In much the same way you’re willing to spend more on durable outerwear or tough hiking pants, the same mindset can apply to a camping heater. Investing in the best is a great way to ensure your gear lasts through plenty of trips in inclement conditions, and focusing on durability versus saving a few bucks is a wise choice. The tent heaters you’ll see today don’t break the bank, but they’re certainly not the kind of small heater you’d find on the cheap at a discount store. Believe us: When it gets cold, you’ll be glad you went above and beyond in your search for a tent heater.
Now, who’s ready to get back into the great outdoors? First, patience: Before you can plan out an adventure off-grid, you’ve got to get the right tent heater packed up. These are the best ones to buy at the moment.
The Best Tent Heaters for Camping Anywhere, Anytime
Mr. Heater Big Buddy
This portable propane heater is a little more involved at first than other options on this list, and it works especially well outside or in scenarios that aren’t quite just one man in a tent (say, a rustic hunting cabin, for instance). It’s propane, so consider this a campsite heater or, as Ace Hardware so accurately says, consider it like the “the perfect solution for heating enclosed spaces like cabins.” We said before that you’d be glad you invested in a heater that can take a beating and cover a surprising amount of ground, and this is that heater for outdoor use. We’ll get into other options meant for your tent, so fear not. Heck, you could go the extra mile and get not only this heater, but another tent-ready option. We say go for it, folks.
Honeywell HHF 360V Gray Heater
Perhaps you’ll want to consider this portable, powerful space heater if your surroundings lean a little more “glamping” and a little less Bear Grylls, but the compact size is exactly what you need in a tent heater. Comfort and warmth are the name of the game with this surround-style heater, which “is designed to circulate warm air in all directions at once, heating up work areas quickly and evenly.” Two settings give you control and the ability to customize how hot you need it to get, and you can’t beat the simple, no-fuss design and sub-$50 price tag. And as Honeywell says, it also features “overheat protection, and a cool-touch handle” for the right blend of functionality and safety. Those two keys are as important as any when hitting the trail, after all.
Dewalt Cordless Heavy Duty Radiant Heater
Think back to, well, just a few moments ago. Remember how we mentioned that it’s sometimes best to splurge a little as far as your camping trip purchases are concerned? That certainly rings true when it comes to camping heaters: It’s like we’ve been saying, after all: You won’t realize your gear isn’t up to snuff until it fails you, but the Dewalt Cordless Heavy Duty Radiant Heater certainly won’t give out on you. You’ll have to pony up about $209 for this durable, cordless heater, which really lives up to that “heavy duty” name — as nearly every piece of equipment from Dewalt tends to do. It even includes USB charging ports and an LED work light. Dewalt thought of everything with this tough-as-nails heater, and now, you’ve done the very same thing.
Comfort Zone Compact Utility Personal Heater
Head to a store like The Warming Store (as you can do at the link below), and the main objective is bound to be getting and keeping you warm in blustery conditions. That makes the Comfort Zone Compact Utility Personal Heater a fine and durable choice as far as the best personal heaters are concerned, especially when going a bit off-grid. It clocks in at 8 inches x 6 inches x 7 inches, a nice size that’ll give you bang for your buck without compromising performance and that sweet, sweet (and much needed) heat. Plus, helpful added features abound throughout this durable model, including a “safety tip-over switch & overheat protection system,” as Comfort Zone points out. Everything has been covered off, right down to the portable handle. Carry this one with you the next time warmth is of the essence in the great outdoors.
SENGOKU HeatMate Portable Space Heater
Step right up and be prepared to be blown away by this remarkable space heater, one that offers up 23,500 BTU (or British Thermal Units). That power gives it the capacity to heat areas up to 1,000 square feet, but it’ll do just fine in spaces smaller than that, too. The kicker here is the remarkable way in which SENGOKU built this heater (which just so happens to be well worth the investment). You need only fill the 1.9-gallon tank once, then you’ve automatically got 12 hours of heating power. It’s ingenious and yet, it makes perfect sense to add this to highly portable, highly effective packing list for your next excursion into the great outdoors. The best tent heaters are the perfect camping upgrade, to say the least.