When overlanding through the Rockies or Alaska, especially if it is not during the peak summer months, you may need to think about effective, portable tent heaters for your rooftop or ground tent. That goes for the camping enthusiasts who don't want to stop camping only because winter arrived! More so, a reason to get the best tent heater for your needs is to actually experience winter while camping. It provides you with a whole set of new experiences!

A bitter cold is all it takes to ruin all your plans to spend the day camping at some of the most beautiful and remotest places ever.

Best Tent Heaters 2018

Power Source

BTU

Dimensions and Weight

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Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Propane Heater

4,000-9,000

9” x 14.25” x 14.25''

9.7 lbs

Comfort Zone Personal Heater Fan

5,120

8” x 6” x 6.8”

3.0 lbs

Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy

3,800

11.0'' x 11.0'' x 11.0''

5.0 lbs

Dyna-Glo Tank Top Heater

9,000-15,000

7.1’’ x 8.3’’ x 12’’

2.42 lbs

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater

5,120

8’’ x 8’’ x 11.5’’

3.0 lbs

Lasko #100 MyHeat Personal Ceramic Heater

682

3.8'' x 4.3'' x 6.1''

3.5 lbs

Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy

4,000-18,000

18.9’’ x 17.3’’ x 11.4’’

17.0 lbs

Types of Tent Heaters and their features

Before we get deep into tent heaters, we have to learn more about the different types of tent or camping heaters. It will give you an idea about which one to purchase in case you are planning to buy one. The most important attributes to look at, when deciding which one is the best tent heater for you, are:

  • Fuel type. You need to decide which fuel type fits you best. Most frequently propane or electric heaters are used. An alternative could be a butane heater but there aren't many available on the market. Depends on the cylinders used, but propane heaters are not supposed to be used above 7,000 ft elevation. Electric heaters do not have these limits, however, you will need a generator or other portable power supply with an inverter.

  • The area that it can heat or output of the heater. The type of tent heater needed will depend on the area of the tent. For example, a tent of area 32 square feet would require a smaller heater in comparison to a tent of area 80 square feet. The heating power is measured in BTU: British thermal unit is a traditional unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Please scroll down to 'How much heat do you need' on this Amazon page, where one of the best tent heater manufacturers, Mr Heater, explains the formula how to calculate the amount of BTUs required.
  • Size: The heat generated by the tent heater, therefore the area it can heat, would depend on the size of it. The heat generated is almost all the time directly proportional to the size of the tent heater.
  • Weight/portability: With an increase in weight the portability of the heater decreases. So, an ideal portable tent heater would have better portability, which means it should not weigh too much.
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Review of Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Propane Heater

Measuring 9 x 14 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches, The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is a beast of a tent heater. It has a 4,000 to 9,000 BTU radiant heater which means it is able to heat up a space of 200 square feet with ease. This power comes with a 3-5 hours run time if you run it on the 1 lb. propane cylinder it directly connects to. Alternatively you can connect it to a 20lb cylinder if you purchase the optional hose and filter. Weighing at 9.7 pounds, this is a tent heater which is both powerful and portable. It has a swivel-out regulator and foldable handle which makes it even more portable. It is equipped with an auto shut off feature which activates when it detects low oxygen levels, it tips over, or when the pilot light goes off.

The users have pointed out the reliability and low propane consumption of the Portable Buddy Heater. You can also purchase a dedicated carry bag so that it doesn't get damaged flying around in your overlanding rig. Customers are overwhelmingly happy with their product, but it is important to note that in elevations above 7,000 ft it is not supposed to be used.

Please check out all features and the picture gallery on Amazon.

Review of Comfort Zone Personal Heater Fan

Weighing at 3 lbs., this is one of the most portable heater in the list. The 8 x 6 x 6 4/5 inches dimension also helps the portability factor. This personal heater can also be used as a fan. The multi-setting feature allows you to switch between a fan only setting, and two heat setting. It is sturdy with an all metal construction and has a carry handle. It has a safety tip-over switch and a high limit safety fuse. As a further safety measure, it is equipped with an overheating protection system to prevent the electric wire from overheating.

The tiny comfort zone heater is a product packed with features, and the customers have expressed their satisfaction saying it is a heater which is powerful yet compact. The auto-adjusting thermostat can fizzle out from usage, but it can be fixed easily.

Although this device is a small personal heater, it might be just enough for your smaller tent. Of course, being electric, you will need an inverter and a portable power supply if you want to run it overnight.

Please check out all features and the picture gallery on Amazon.

Review of Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy

The Mr. Heater Little Buddy is a pocket-sized powerhouse, the most portable propane heater. With a dimension of 11 x 11 x 11 inches and weighing just five pounds, this is the one for you if you are in search of a powerful yet portable tent heater. With 3800 BTU, in our opinion, this is the best tent heater on the market right now. Contrary to its size, it can heat up a tent with a size of 95 square feet. It can be used continuously for a period of five and a half hours and has auto shut off switch for accidental tip over and an automatic low oxygen shut down, too.

The customers have voiced their happiness over the heater's ability to carry on for longer periods of time and its compactness in general. It connects directly to a 1 lb. cylinder.

Please read hundreds of customer reviews and full gallery on Amazon.

Review of Dyna-Glo Tank Top Heater 

9,000-15,000 BTU

Using infrared burners, the Dyno-Glo heater is safe to use indoors, even though its power of 9,000-15,000 BTU is more than enough to use it in an open area as well. Weighing at 2.42 pounds and having dimensions of 7.1 x 8.3 x 12 inches, it is heater you can take with you for overlanding easily. However, as it is a high-output heater, we would only advise this to be used in a really large tent or outside, under your awning or similar camp setups.

The adjustable heat angle feature associated with the product enables you to provide heat in multiple directions at the same time. The runtime of the heater is said to vary from 48 hours to 25 hours when it is adjusted from high to low. That is, while heating a radius range of 15 square feet to 25 square feet. The radiators disperse heat in a concentrated area providing more heat in that particular area.

It is equipped with standard POL tank connection so you can use it with most 20 lb. propane tanks.

Customers have approved the product for being a powerful heater at such small size, most users simply saying "it just works great". It is fair to say though, that there were a number of customers to whom the heater did not prove to be reliable.

If you need a camping heater that you will use outside or in a very large tent, Dyna-Glo Tank Top Heater is a good choice. However, if you only need a heater for your rooftop tent, go with Mr Heater Little Buddy instead.

Review of Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater

Weighing three pounds and having a dimension of 8 x 8 x 11.5 inches definitely puts this Honeywell heater as one of the most portable electric heaters available on the market. It has an adjustable thermostat which keeps the heat in the tent constant, and you can choose from the two heat settings depending on your needs. The cool touch carry handle is a plus as you get to pick it up without worrying about the heat. It also comes with overheat protection and 360-degree tip over switch for extra protection. The 1500W power translates to 5,120 BTUs, making it a very capable camping heater.

The heater has been well received by customers for heating spaces which are not so large in area. The high level helps the area get pretty warm, and the low setting delivers sub heat level warmth to the area. As we mentioned it for the Comfort Zone model, being electric, you will need an inverter and a portable power supply if you want to run it overnight.

Please see more details on its features such as the tilt switch function on Amazon.

Review of Lasko #100 MyHeat Personal Ceramic Heater

The Lasko MyHeat Personal Ceramic Heater is known for its low power usage of 200 watts. The use of low power is beneficial if you want to use more than one heater in a specific tent. With an appropriate size inverter and camping power supply this is an ideal unit in a small thent. It is by far the most popular little portable heater. There are thousands of grateful customers who are very happy with the product. Don't expect more than what the name suggests, it is only heating up a very small space, however, you may find that it is excellent when used in a small rooftop tent on your overlanding vehicle.

Measuring 3.8 x 4.3 x 6.1 inches in dimensions and weighing 3.5 pounds, it is simply tiny. It has cool touch housing and overheat protection which makes it easy to carry around and keep you safe from short circuits. The product is ETL listed for safety.

Customers have unanimously chosen it to be a personal camping heater which is able to heat up the immediate surroundings and help you beat the cold.

Please see the thousands of satisfied customer reviews and color options on Amazon.

Review of Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy Portable Heater

4,000-18,000 BTU

The MH18BRV is the third Mr. Heater to make the Best Camping Heaters list, which in itself is a testimonial for the quality of their products. The high power heater can deliver anywhere from 4000 to 18000 BTU. It can easily heat a place around the size of 450 square feet both indoors and outdoors. It has three settings of low, medium, and high heat levels to adjust the heat according to the needs. Like the other Mr. Heater products in the list, the MH18BRV also has auto shut off features that turns off the pilot light when it detects low oxygen (Oxygen Depletion Sensor). Compared to the rest, it is on the heavier side weighing 17 pounds and measuring 18.9 x 17.3 x 11.8 inches  in dimensions.

The users have lauded the product for its durability and the safety features incorporated into the product. The only downside they have mentioned is the weight, but you have to compromise something for quality and heating power.

If you need a powerhouse, this is your unit, although bear in mind that for a small overlanding tent it is not suitable. At an open campsite, the big brother of the other two Mr Heater products can be your best bet. Please see its amazing features for yourself on Amazon.

best tent heaters

Conclusion - Best Portable Tent Heaters

The heaters mentioned in this article are some of the best tent heaters you can get for yourself when you are going for your next overlanding adventure. Depending on your budget and feature requirement, you can find one which suits you from this list. The brands are trusted, the quality of the products is top notch, and most of it comes with affordable price tag. One stand up feature of the portable camping heaters mentioned here is that they all come with safety features allowing you to use them with peace of mind. So, go ahead and get your hands on one of these great products to help you have a warm trip.


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