Keeping Your Tent Toasty on your Next Trek
We all love a sing-song around a campfire for keeping our temperature and spirits up when we’re on an adventure in the wilderness, but what happens when we want to hunker down for the night? It’s not like we can light a fire in our tents, and shivering ourselves to sleep doesn’t sound like such an enticing option.
Sure, sleeping bags have come a long way, but if you really want to enjoy your camping trip, sometimes they aren’t enough, especially during the cold seasons. Plus, what if we want to hang out in our tents without cocooning ourselves into an airtight bundle? There has to be a better option.
Well, friends, we’re happy to report that there is indeed a solution to this chilly conundrum. We’ve spent the last few weeks painstakingly researching battery powered (electric) tent heaters, and these are the best five on the market.
Battery Powered Tent Heaters for Camping - Reviews
Let’s not beat around the bush here, folks. We know you need something as soon as possible, so let’s jump right into some reviews. Say goodbye to cold toes!
OUR TOP PICK
Safety is paramount when it comes to heating your tent, and Opolar understands that. This awesome ceramic space heater is an anti-topple design, and if it doesn’t topple, it’s almost impossible for it to cause a fire.
Say the worst does happen, and you kick it over in your sleep, the jolt triggers an internal sensor that automatically shuts the heater down, allowing you to dream on safely.
In addition, it features integrated sensors that monitor thermal components in real time. If any aspect of the unit begins to overheat, this Opolar masterpiece switches itself off, saving you and itself from catastrophe...perfect!
As it’s a ceramic plate heater, it’s not only safer than traditional units, but way more efficient too, providing instantaneous relief for numb fingers, toes, and...other bits.
The quiet running volume is the icing on the cozy cake here. Even as it powers on and off to correctly adjust the ambient temperature, it won’t wake you, ensuring you get the rest you need to wake up and throw yourself into the next phase of your adventure.
- Rugged, Anti-Topple Design - Road-ready and won’t topple in your tent.
- Auto-Cut-Off - Prevents fires by switching off in dangerous situations.
- Quiet - Sleep the night through.
- Ceramic Plate - Safer and more efficient than standard heaters.
- Price - Amazing quality for the price.
- There Are None - This is a great heater.
This innovative and compact heater is non-directional, by which we mean it has a circular output that heats an entire 360° area...pretty neat, right? Set this little fella off in the middle of your tent five minutes before you hit the hay, and there won’t be a single cold zone left.
Much like Opolar, Honeywell has put a huge emphasis on the safety of the 360’s design, making it the perfect solution to take with you on your wilderness expedition.
Firstly, we have the 360° tip-over switch that shuts the heater off no matter which direction it falls. Secondly, it’s loaded with two levels of overheat protection, ensuring there are no internal fire hazards. Lastly, an auto-off timer allows you to dial in a custom heating period, so it’s not running all night.
It also features a full cool-touch enclosure, so if you graze it with your knee or toe while you’re sleeping, you won’t wake up to the smell of a cooked breakfast.
Our only issues with this heater are that it doesn’t give you the option of a directional output, meaning it can’t be placed near the edge or corner of a tent, and it’s a little on the noisy side too.
- 360° Heat - Warms a whole tent very quickly.
- Topple Switch - Keeps you safe if it falls over.
- Overheat Protection - Shuts off if a component overheats.
- Timer - Shuts off when you want it to.
- Cool-Touch - Can be handled when heating.
- Non-Directional - Can’t be placed near the tent wall.
- Running Volume - Quite loud.
Keeping our extremities snug at number three, we have another miraculous Opolar heater, and although it’s designed specifically for use in bathrooms, we see a lot of crossover camping potential.
We all know that condensation can be an issue when you’re staking out in the great outdoors, and moisture and electronics simply don’t get on. Well, this space heater has an integrated condensation protector to keep its electronics safe and sound.
It also offers peace of mind in the form of overheat protection, ensuring that as soon as any component becomes too hot, the heater switches off.
We see a lot of practical and safety potential in the 80° auto-oscillation feature too. The moving output eliminates cold zones while ensuring no one area receives too much heat.
Our one caveat is that it doesn’t seem to feature topple shut down, so you’ll need to give it a clear and secure space of its own overnight.
- Ceramic Plate - Super efficient heating.
- 80° Oscillation - Warms a wider area.
- Condensation Protection - Safe from tent dew.
- Overheat Protection - No internal fire hazards here, folks.
- No Topple Shutdown - Will keep heating if it falls over.
- Price - A little more expensive than our other picks.
It may not look as flashy as our other picks, but this little silver heater has all you could need to warm your cockles after a hard day exposed to the elements.
Crafted from entirely flame-retardant materials, it provides a very safe heat source for your tent, and should it fall over, it automatically shuts down until righted. Much like our other picks, it also features overheat protection, ensuring a long and safe service life.
Running at a very tolerable 45dBA, not only is it one of the smallest heaters on our list, it’s also one of the quietest, so if you’re a light sleeper, this heater should be a serious consideration.
- Topple Protection - No fires if it falls.
- Overheat Protection - Switches off before components are compromised.
- Running Volume - 45dBA isn’t bad at all.
- Price - Very affordable unit.
- Controls - Only 2 heating options.
This Lasko Space Heater is perfect for those embarking on a solo camping mission in a small tent. 200 watts won’t heat a large area, but it won’t break a sweat warming your little living quarters.
At only 6” tall, it won’t hog space, giving you plenty of room to stretch out, and the ceramic element ensures the most efficient and safest possible heating.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature topple protection, so it’s best not to fall asleep with it on, but it does have a cool-touch enclosure and overheat protection, keeping you safe should you forget to switch it off.
- Form Factor - This will fit nicely in a backpack.
- Overheat Protection - Shuts down when necessary.
- Cool-Touch - Won’t burn to touch it.
- Price - Mega affordable.
- Low Power - It’s for people rather than rooms.
Battery Powered Tent Heaters for Camping Buying Guide
Buying a battery powered heater for your tent sounds like a simple process, but it’s actually quite complicated.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which one is right for you, have a peek at this easy-to-follow buyer’s guide.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a battery powered tent heater would have an onboard battery bay, but this sort of heater simply doesn’t exist.
You’ll have far more luck searching for a heater that will plug into a separate power bank, but of course, this means you’re going to have to buy the power bank too.
Portable power banks are a whole different kettle of fish, so we won’t bore you with the details now. What we will say is that this Goal-Zero-Portable-Generator is the best of the best.
With the ability to power up to seven different devices simultaneously, whilst emitting absolutely zero toxic gases, it’s the perfect on-the-go power solution. It can run a small tent heater without breaking a sweat!
Ceramic Plate vs Standard
Most battery powered heaters have ceramic plates these days, which is great. They’re safer, self-regulating, and more efficient than traditional heaters.
You have to be tough to take on the wilderness, and the same is true of your tent heater. The last thing you need is a broken heat source on a freezing night in the middle of nowhere.
A rugged design ensures a heater will be able to handle anything the trip throws at it and keep you warm until you make it back home.
Safety is of utmost importance when heating a tent with an electrical device, so picking a heater with at least some of these features is essential.
- Anti-Toppling - A sturdy design with a low center of gravity that prevents a heater from toppling.
- Topple-Switch - Built-in sensors that switch a heater off when toppled.
- Overheat Protection - Shuts heater down if components reach thermal capacity.
- Timers - Dial in customized heating periods.
- Cool-Touch - Enclosure can be touched during the heating process.
Directional vs Oscillation vs 360 Output
Directional heaters are fine, but oscillation heaters are best for camping as they don’t concentrate their output in one area. 360° heaters are great for heating large tents before bedtime, but can’t be placed near any of the walls.
A compact form factor is one of the most important aspects of a battery powered camping heater. Lugging around a full-blown monolith just isn’t practical.
In an ideal world, your tent heater is going to be able to reach the desired temperature as quickly as possible.
The more efficient it is, the more power you can save for things like laptops, mobile phones, and toothbrushes.
Most heaters will have a built-in thermostat allowing you to set your desired ambient temperature, but some will give you multiple heating options and timers too. How much control you need depends on the nature of your camping trip.
Propane vs Battery Powered (Electric)
Propane heaters are an extremely effective way to heat your tent on those Baltic 30 °F nights, but they emit a lot of carbon dioxide, which can kill, so they must be used with extreme care.
Many modern propane heater designs are fitted with safety appointments such as oxygen sensors that trigger an automatic shutdown once oxygen levels drop in the environment. It’s also a good idea to find one with an automatic timer that powers the heater down after an allotted duration has elapsed.
To be honest, we don’t recommend ever using a propane heater for camping in a tent. It’s just not worth the risk.
If you’re camping out on a site with electrical facilities, you can simply bring that electric heater from your home along with an extension lead and hook it up to the site’s power grid.
Electric heaters are much safer than their propane counterparts but aren’t without their dangers. They need to have an incredibly stable base, auto shutdown protocols, and a clear position in the tent. Should they topple, they can easily start a fire.
Battery Powered Tent Heaters for Camping - FAQ's
Are There Any Heaters That Run on Batteries?
Unfortunately, standard batteries just aren’t powerful enough to run a space heater, which is why you’ll need a dedicated power bank when you’re out on your next camping expedition.
Will a Candle Lantern Heat a Tent?
Provided there isn't too much wind, yes, a candle lantern can raise the temperature in a tent by a few degrees, but having a live flame inside your tent is incredibly dangerous.
One of our listed electric heaters will be a safer and much more effective alternative.
Can You Put an Electric Heater in a Tent?
Yes, you can put an electric heater in a tent, but we highly recommend choosing one with adequate safety measures such as overheat and topple protection.
How Cold is Too Cold For Camping?
30° - 40 °F is generally considered too cold for inexperienced campers with basic equipment. If the temperature starts to drop into this frigid territory, it’s best to pack up shop, and head for home or shelter.
One of these heaters will help you get through a brutally cold night, but we can’t condone trying it. It’s just not worth it, friends.
How Can I Keep My Tent Warm Without Electricity
Should your power bank run out of juice, you can use these backups to keep your tent nice and cozy…
- Hot Water Bottles
- Heated Stones in a Cloth
- Insulating Your Tent
Is There a USB Powered Heater?
There are a couple of USB powered heaters currently on the market, but these are very weak devices designed to warm up localized areas of your body such as your hands. They won’t heat a full tent.
Don’t just shiver away thinking warm thoughts. In this day and age, there’s simply no reason to put yourself through it.
Sure, some hardcore camping purists may poo poo your portable home comforts, to which we say...who cares.
You’re toasty, you’re cozy, and you’re going to have a great night’s rest, meaning you can adventure even harder tomorrow!