Can I Use A Little Buddy Heater In A Tent?

When it comes to going camping in cold seasons, a propane heater can keep you warm. However, can you use a little buddy heater in a tent? 

In addition, is it safe and effective?

The answer is yes. Buddy heaters can be used inside your tent to heat up.

Nevertheless, operating a heater incorrectly can lead to some serious risks.

In this article, we will provide you some tips so that you can sleep warmer and safer on the next camping trip.

What Is A Propane Heater?

The primary function of portable propane warmer for camping is to provide comfortable warmth for everyone in the same space.

These warmers use one of two traditional heating methods: Convection and radiant heat.

Convection refers to how a fire heats the air in a room.

Heat rises quickly, so you will need to be close to the machine to feel it.

Warm air rises as cold air falls.

As a result of this movement, the warmth moves throughout the room or other enclosed space.

On the other hand, radiant heat transfers heat to objects rather than the air.

This type of warmer can provide immediate warmth, which you can feel via the warmed objects.

How Many Types Of Heater?

There are 3 common types of heat machines you can find on the market nowadays.

1. Electric

These modern products are entirely powered by electricity.

Almost all of these need you to plug them in to get them to work.

Electric tent warmers are not the ideal choice for some campers because of this feature.

On the other hand, this kind does not emit any harmful gases.

As a result, they are the safer option and an excellent choice for campers who value the energy economy.

2. Gas

This is the most popular type of heater.

Because almost all most all models are completely portable, you do not have to worry about running out of power.

Furthermore, a typical gas one will produce more heat than an electric one.

This is a great option for campers who want to go camping in cold weather.

However, the disadvantage is that you will have to notice the fuel supply.

Besides, that fuel burning is also bad for the environment.

Proper ventilation is required for safe use, while some power sources are less harmful than others.

3. Battery power

Battery-powered heaters are the smallest and most portable ones.

Nevertheless, they do not offer much heat as the others.

This makes them a suitable choice if the weather at the campsite is only quite chilly.

Battery-powered heaters are worth considering if all you need is a light, portable heating source.

Just make sure you have enough extra batteries with you.

 How To Choose A Safe Heater To Use Inside A Tent?

Generally, if a heater is safe to use inside a tent, it labeled as “designed for indoor use”.

This type contains safety features like tip overdetection, which prevents it from working when it is tilted.

Low oxygen sensors are also included, which automatically turn off the heater if the oxygen level in a room falls below a certain point.

Nearly all heat machines may be used outdoors or in very big places, but when looking for one to heat your tent, only consider ones that are specifically designed for small inside spaces.

When using a little Buddy heater for camping, you do not have to worry because it is “safe for inside use”.

A proper way to place your heater inside a tent (Source:

Can I Use A Little Buddy Heater In A Tent: Safety Guideline

To avoid fire accidents, you should follow the safety guideline from the manufacturer and our tips below:

1. Right Ventilation

The airflow in your tent will have a big impact on how safely you can use the heater inside.

Airflow is important for both ensuring that the heater works properly and reducing carbon monoxide levels.

One vent should be located at the bottom of your tent, and one at the top.

The top vent will not only allow air to circulate continually but will also prevent moisture and condensation from building up in the tent.

Humidity, while not a safety threat, but will make you colder.

This is against the aim of using buddy heater intent.

2. Built-In Safety

Buddy heaters use propane as the source of heat.

While they have many built-in features that make them safe to operate, carbon monoxide and other risks are still a concern.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that has no flavor or taste.

It can cause you to die before you realize you have inhaled it.

While buddy heaters have an oxygen sensor that turns them off in low oxygen cases, if that sensor fails, your machine may start emitting out carbon monoxide instead of CO2.

The vent at the bottom of the tent allows oxygen to flow back into it as it is used up, preventing a low oxygen situation.

However, if you plan on camping over 7000 or 8000 feet, you should have a safety backup plan because the heater’s low oxygen sensor tends to turn off at high altitudes.

3. Stable Base

Somebody thinks it would be fine to just put the heater down and turn it on as soon as they open up the tent.

Nonetheless, we recommend you to make a strong base for it or it could tip over.

Can I use a little buddy heater in a tent?

Yes, but a sturdy rigid cooler or camp chair might give a much more stable base than your tent’s floor.

Lifting your machine off the ground will also decrease the chances of it being accidentally knocked over.

Buddy warmers with a square shape have a wide base and a low center of gravity to assist them to stay upright.

The propane cylinder serves as the base of the smaller ones, which are more likely to tip over if not put on a solid surface.

Most buddy products have safety features that shut it off if it tips over.

But please do not depend on this feature because it could fail as the previous.

4. Non-flammable Base

Metal is the greatest choice for your base because it can heat up without being damaged and is non-flammable.

If lugging a metal foundation around is not an option, you may also place the warmer machine on the tent’s floor (but be careful).

Because it is hard to find a perfectly flat area to camp on, using the floor is not ideal.

But it still can be used if the ground is level enough.

In this situation, a sheet of aluminum foil should be placed between the buddy heater and the floor. The foil is not flammable, and it is also a poor heat conductor.

Thus, it will not melt the tent floor.

It should go without saying, but you should never place the machine directly on flammable materials.

Even though its safety switch should shut it off if it tips over, you do not want to take any chances with fire.

5. Before Using The Burner, Check It Out

Portable gas heaters are convenient because they are lightweight and compact.

It is important to check the burner area before using it to make sure there is no flammable material on it by accident.

When you go on camping, natural debris such as leaves, sticks, or grass may stick to the protective grill.

Dust, bugs, webs, and sawdust can get on the heater depending on where it is stored when not in use.

Wipe out the element, cover, and body before turning the machine on to ensure safe use and decrease odors, especially if it has not been used for a while.

Besides, you can keep it in a case.

6. Do Not Use While You Are Sleeping

Can I use a little buddy heater in a tent while sleeping?

No, you should not use your heater while sleeping because many things can go wrong, such as tipping over, low oxygen, or other burn issues.

If you have a well-insulated sleeping bag, you can still sleep without using the heater overnight.

When the sun goes down, turn on the heater until you are ready to go to sleep.

Then turn it on the back when you wake up until it gets warmer before getting out of your sleeping bag.

In some certain cases that you have to use a heater overnight, you can bring a small carbon monoxide detector to put in the tent.

So, if the worst happens, you will know what to do before it is too late.

When you wake up, turn off the warmer, open all of the ventilation in your tent, and try to breathe as much as possible from the outside air.

7. Choose The Right Heater Size

Buddy warmers come in a variety of sizes, from small to large enough to be used in a warehouse.

Choosing the correct size for your camping tent will not only help you to warm up faster but will also help you stay safe.

8. Heat Supply

If you want to have a strong heater for a family-sized tent, you may have to consider how you will power it.

The greater the machine, the more fuel it will need.

On the other side, those small products will quickly run out.

You could bring a few of the small tanks and replace them if needed, or you could bring a larger tank.

Can I Use A Little Buddy Heater In A Tent: Frequently Asked Question

1. How Difference Is The Temperature Inside And Outside A Tent?

Unless you are camping under direct sunshine or in extremely hot weather, your tent can be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside most of the time.

However, if the weather conditions make the tent absorb additional heat, this number might rise easily.

2. Which Temperature Is Too Cold For Camping?

The answer ranges from 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 4 degrees Celsius).

This range is told to be too cold for those who do not have experience or have amateur camping gear.

If you are not an expert, do not go camping when the temperature falls down under 0 degrees Celsius.

3. Are Mr. Buddy Heaters Safe For Tents?

The manufacturer has a special focus on safety, therefore most products from Mr. Buddy are safe for tents.

They are light and safe and probably the most suitable ones for camping.

It can automatically shut off when being knocked over and even can detect the low oxygen level inside.

4. Are Heaters Bad For My Health?

Although you can use a little buddy heater in a tent, they produce a certain level of some pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Low-level exposure to these gases can be dangerous, especially for people who have bad respiratory or breath health problems.

5. Any Tips For Winter Camping?

We have 5 tips for your winter camping:

  • Have a heat source that is effective and reliable.
  • Ensure you have a good source of water in the camping area or bring enough water.
  • Pitch your tent in a location with bare ground rather than snow. Stay away from hills that could result in an crashing on your tent. In addition, choose areas where the sun rises.
  • In case of a snowstorm, look for landmarks that will help you to locate your camp.

Watch this video from BackpackingTV:  Top 5 Tips for Winter Backpacking and Camping


There is no tent heater that is ideal for everyone in every situation, so consider your options carefully before making a decision.

To sum up, if you still wonder “can I use a little buddy heater in a tent?”, the answer is yes.

However, you have to follow the proper safety guidelines and select the right machine that fits your location. Thus, it will ensure you do not run into any problems.

Further Reading: 

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