Going camping in the summer has its issues (mosquitoes, we mean you), but at least you don’t have to worry about trying to stay warm like you do when you hit the campsite in winter.
When you camp during the colder seasons, it can be difficult to enjoy camping activities or sleep comfortably because you feel the cold too much, which is why a portable heater can come to the rescue and prevent you from cutting your camping trip short.
Do you need a portable heater if you have a campfire? You can definitely still make good use of a portable heater if you have a lovely campfire because you’ll be able to move it around to wherever you need the warmth, even after the fire’s been put out.
With its safety features and quietness, Mr. Heater makes the best portable heater for camping: don’t let the cold get you down when you can stay warm with the use of this propane heater.
Here’s everything you need to know about it before we check out four alternative portable heater options to consider, depending on your specific heating needs.
- Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Indoor Propane Heater: Best Portable Propane Heater For Camping, Winner
- Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Indoor Propane Heater: Best Portable Propane Heater For Camping, Runner Up
- OPOLAR 1500W Ceramic Space Heater: Best Portable Electric Heater For Camping
- Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV: Best Portable Camping Heater For Tent, Winner
- Dura Heat LP10-360 Single Tank: Best Portable Camping Heater For Tent, Runner Up
Best Overall Portable Propane Heater For Camping: Mr. Heater F215100 Indoor Propane Heater
- Type: propane
- Heating space: 95 square feet
- Size: 11 x 11 x 11 inches (27 x 27 x 27 cm)
- Weight: 5 pounds (2267 g)
- You can use this portable heater for camping to heat up your tent quickly and effectively – in fact, it can heat up areas that are up to 95 square feet. Best of all, it won’t irritate you with strange odors when it’s working hard to keep you warm.
- It’s natural to be worried about heater safety and the idea of putting a hot, potentially dangerous item in your camping tent can make your knees wobble. But you don’t have to worry about that with this heater because it comes with an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system and an accidental tip-over switch that has an auto shut-off feature for your safety.
- It only weighs five pounds so it’s really easy to carry around your campsite. This makes it one of the most convenient portable heaters on our list. If you’re looking for a portable heater for camping that’s even smaller, stop reading this and move on to the OPOLAR 1500W Ceramic Space Heater with Adjustable Thermostat further down in our list.
- Linked to how it’s compact and easy to carry, this portable propane heater for camping can also be attached to the strap of your backpack by its handle. This means that you can still carry it conveniently if your backpack has run out of storage space. I love the attention to detail that the manufacturers paid when designing this heater.
- This portable heater has a 45-degree heating angle. This can prove problematic if you’re lying out of its reach as it can take longer to warm up your tent or other surroundings.
- Some people who have purchased this portable camping heater have reported that its start button is sometimes finicky.
- It runs really quietly, which further makes it great for use in your tent at night or when you’re trying to relax around the campsite and watch the stars. It also won’t disturb people who are nearby.
This small, compact, and portable heater is the most affordable heater for camping.
It’s easy to use and its safety features will make you feel confident to use it, even in a small tent. You’ll be able to enjoy all the warmth without any of the worries associated with using gas heaters.
Portable Propane Heater For Camping, Runner Up: Mr. Heater F232000 Indoor Propane Heater
- Type: propane
- Heating space: 225 square feet
- Size: 7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches (19 x 33 x 38 cm)
- Weight: 9 pounds (4,082 g)
- If you’re looking for a powerful camping heater, this one is worth considering. It has been approved for both outdoor and indoor use, so it’s versatile. It’s not reserved for use in your tent or around the campfire – you can even use it at home, which ensures that you’ll get lots of use out of it during the winter months. It can heat up areas that are up to 225 square feet.
- You can use the heater up to altitudes of 7,000 feet (2,133 m) above sea level and it’s safe – if you accidentally knock it over or it detects low oxygen levels, it will automatically shut off. If you take it to altitudes higher than 7,000 feet (2,133 m) it will also shut off automatically.
- It only has a running time of three hours. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll want to be able to spend many hours in a warm tent chattering away with people until the early hours, so this heater might get in the way of that during your camping holiday.
- Some people who have purchased this camping heater have reported that it tends to release a propane smell. This could be irritating if you’re sensitive to smells or if you’re using it in a really small tent.
- This is the best portable heater for camping with extra features: it has a fold-down handle to make it easier to store as well as carry in your bag when you’re ready to go back home after your adventures.
If you want a convenient heater you can easily transport and one that will warm up a larger area, this one is worth purchasing.
It’s currently unavailable on Amazon but you can purchase it from the Mr. Heater. Although it’s quite a bit more expensive than the previous Mr. Heater portable heater we featured on our list, it’s perfect if you have a really big tent.
Best Portable Electric Heater For Camping: OPOLAR 1500W Ceramic Space Heater
- Type: Ceramic space heater
- Heating space: 107-161 square feet
- Size: 7.1 x 5.9 x 11.1 inches (18 x 14 x 27 cm)
- Weight: 3.5 pounds (1,587 g)
- This camping heater comes in three modes: high heat (150w), low heat (1000w) and fan, and it also has an adjustable thermostat. This enables you to choose the amount of heat you want and then the heater will maintain it throughout the day or night.
- One of the best things about this heater is that it’s really quiet. It only makes 50db of sound so it won’t irritate you while you’re trying to relax on your camping holiday.
- It’s got safety features like many other quality heaters, such as an automatic shut-off system if it overheats or you tip it over. Some people who have purchased this heater have stated that it shuts off when they pick it up to move it to another room. This, again, can be seen as a safety feature to prevent accidents.
- The handle and controls on this tent heater for camping are reversed – the handle is in the front of the heater and this is problematic because it blocks convenient access to the heater’s controls.
- While it’s said to be useful for heating up a small-to-medium room, the actual specs of this heater when it comes to the space it can heat up are listed as a maximum of 161 square feet. That’s quite a bit less than other products we’ve reviewed in this buying guide.
- To make it really easy to carry around with you during your camping holiday, this portable heater contains a convenient top carry handle.
This heater is the best compact portable heater for camping, so it’s perfect for taking along with you to your outdoor adventures. You can choose it in one of two colors: blue or yellow, and they’re both nice and bright so you’ll never lose sight of them.
Best Portable Camping Heater For Tent, Winner: Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV
- Type: propane
- Heating space: 450 square feet
- Size: 19 x 12 x 17.75 inches (48 x 30 x 45 cm)
- Weight: 16.66 pounds (7,257 g)
- Sometimes your tent can become hot, even if it’s cold outside, so you want to be sure that you can easily control the amount of heat generated by your portable heater. You can easily control the temperature of this heater so that you always get exactly the amount of warmth that you want because it comes with low, medium, and high heat levels to choose from.
- It’s the best portable heater for camping to purchase if you’re looking for a heater that’s versatile. You can connect not just one by two 1-pound (453 g) cylinders to this heater. In addition to that, you can also connect it to a 20-pound (9,071 g) cylinder with an extra hose.
- It’s really easy to start this heater. You just have to push and turn its knob. It’s got a Piezo sparking mechanism that’s built into its design that takes care of your heating requirements – and it can heat an area that’s up to 450 square feet in size.
- The fan makes use of 4D batteries or an AC adapter, but both are sold separately.
- Some people who have purchased this portable heater have reported that it’s quite loud. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re going to be using it in an established campsite.
- As with other quality portable heaters for camping, this one has safety measures in place: these include an accidental tip-over safety shut-off and an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system, so you don’t have to worry about heater dangers while you’re on vacation.
This propane heater for tent camping might be a bit loud, it does have many good features to offer, such as how easy it is to use and how versatile it is when you want to produce more warmth for yourself and your family.
- For rooms up to 450 square feet (41.8m2)
- Low oxygen levels auto shut-off
- Heat level control knob
Portable Camping Heater For Tent, Runner Up: Dura Heat LP10-360 Single Tank
- Type: propane
- Heating space: 10-feet radius
- Size: 10.75 x 10.75 x 19 inches (27 x 27 x 48 cm)
- Weight: 6.4 pounds (2,902 g)
- This camping heater makes use of a one-pound propane cylinder, so it’s easy to carry around with you.
- However, you can upgrade it to a more powerful heating option just by hooking it up to a 20-pound refillable tank, and this is a useful feature because it makes the heater much more versatile and practical.
- This heater is the best portable heater for camping because of how it’s been designed with an easy carry handle that’s built into it on the side so you can carry around in the same way you’d carry your mug or camping thermos.
- This heater comes with two heat settings that can provide you a maximum of 10,000 BTUs per hour, so you’re always guaranteed of being warm. It can also warm up a space that’s within a 10-feet radius.
- Some people who have purchased this heater have reported that it only seems to have a high setting and this results in it burning through the propane very quickly.
- Other people who have purchased this heater for tent camping have also expressed frustration with battling to light it.
- This heater has convenient features in place to make it user-friendly. These include how it has a swivel valve to make loading the tank easy as well as safety features such as an oxygen depletion sensor and a tip-over shut-off mechanism.
This propane heater is ideal for you if you want to heat up a small space very quickly and with a lot of heat.
It’s also said to be useful for emergency situations in which you would require heat ASAP. However, it is a bit tricky to use, so it’s probably not the best choice if you’re a beginner when it comes to dealing with portable heaters.
- 360 Degree Indoor/Outdoor propane heater
- Two heat settings
- Safety tip-over shut-off
Portable Heater for Camping FAQ
After reading the reviews of the best portable camping heaters on the market, you might still have some questions about using heaters when you’re camping.
We’ve provided you with some frequently asked questions so that you can get all the important information you need before your next camping trip in a cold location.
What kind of heater can I use in a tent?
If you want to use a portable heater in your camping tent, you’ll obviously want to ensure safety. To do this, it’s best to choose a gas heater for your tent.
This is because it comes with safety features, such as automatic shut-off mechanisms if the heater is tipped over, that will prevent accidents from happening. These are also safe and useful in small tents because they will turn off automatically if they sense low oxygen levels.
However, it’s important to note that some heaters will not be suitable for use at high altitudes, so always check that your one is safe and compatible with the altitude where you’ll be camping.
How much does propane or kerosene cost for a camping heater?
Propane heaters can be cheaper than kerosene camping heaters, but it depends on where you purchase the fuel. For example, the New York State Energy and Development Authority has reported that in NY kerosene will cost approximately $4.20 per gallon while propane will be $3.10 per gallon.
Do battery powered heaters exist?
While you might love the idea of using a heater that runs on batteries, these don’t exist.
You can find small battery powered heaters for items such as gloves, blankets, and boots, but you won’t find a larger and portable battery heater for camping.
Hopefully that will change in the future, since battery technology is always improving.
What temperature is too cold for camping?
While having a portable heater can help you a lot when you want to stay warm during a camping trip, it’s important to bear in mind that some temperatures are way too cold for camping.
When you’re in night-time temperatures of between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, this is most comfortable. Anything between 30 and 40 degrees is considered too cold.
Of course, this is mainly a guide for campers who are inexperienced with dealing with cold temperatures and/or who don’t have the right clothing and gear with them. If you’re used to camping in extremely cold conditions, then you can ignore this question and move on to the next one!
Can you insulate a tent?
While it might sound like too much of a task, insulating your camping tent can be done – and it can help you stay cool in the summer as well as warmer in the winter.
It doesn’t have to be a big job. Here are some tips to help you stay warmer during the wintertime.
- Cover the floor of the tent with rugs or blankets. This will prevent the cold from entering from the ground and getting into your bones while you sleep. It’s also a good idea to cover the ground underneath your winter sleeping bag. You can do this with blankets or rugs, or you can make use of a sleeping pad. This will create a barrier between the cold ground and your bed.
- Place tarp or other waterproof covering over your tent. This will help to prevent the rain from getting in and causing a drop in temperature. It’s a good idea to test it out before you use it on your tent to be sure that it works well.
- Purchase a thermal blanket. To stay warm in your tent at night, you might purchase heat packs and heated socks. These are useful but go one step further by fastening a thermal blanket to your tent with duct tape so that it will send your body heat back down into the tent and keep you warm.
- Consider the wind where you’re setting up your tent. Avoid setting up camp in a large, open area. The wind will be cold and harsh, so you want to avoid it by setting up your tent in an area where a natural windbreak occurs – such as near large structures like rocks or a line of trees. This will prevent the wind from reaching your tent.
You don’t want to feel the cold when you’re on a camping trip, and sometimes the campfire just isn’t enough to keep you warm. This is why you need to get your hands on the best portable heater for camping: don’t let the cold get you down!
One of the best portable camping heaters is the Mr. Heater Little Buddy because it’s safe, has enough power to warm a large area, and can be attached to your backpack for the greatest convenience.
By ensuring you have packed it for your next camping trip, you’ll be able to make the most of your time outdoors without feeling like the cold or wet conditions are getting in the way of your fun. Now you can have more energy for other camping tasks and adventures.