Stove as a Tent Heater – is it a Good Idea?


I am wondering how I can adapt a stove into a tent heater. I do a mixture of 1-2 day tramps and car camping (with my wife, although I am trying to ease her into tramping/hiking). In many NZ national parks and camping ground there are fire bans imposed, usually when conditions are very dry. Therefore I am wondering how I can adapt a stove into a heater. Is this some kind of adaption I can buy or make, to turn my MSR Whisperlite stove into a little heater? Any advice appreciated.


Stove as a heater? I think all of the manufacturers have warnings about this

Stove as a Tent Heater?

Stove as a Tent Heater?

Coleman and the other manufacturers have portable catalytic heaters that attach to the small propane bottles as well as the larger tanks. One model the Cat or Black Cat is noted by them as very good for tents but you need to maintain a little ventilation.

I have only used a propane catalytic heater once in a cabin in north central Pennsylvania during the middle of October (gets cold). It was a wall mount unit and I needed to warm the place up in the mornings. Once the heater was warmed up, there was no odor or visable flame. I did keep carbon monoxide symptoms in mind but did not notice any.

If you have electric at your site you might try one of the ceramic electric heaters. I have a couple around the house but have not used them for camping. They are heavy for their size but do not have any parts that incandece so fire risk is much lower. They also have a built in fan and circulate the heat. Mine do have safety cut-off switches on the bottom so they need a solid surface to sit on. Another one I have at work does not have the safety switch so it may not be a requirement in the US.

The tent heater I bought last April on our first COLD trip was the Coleman Black Cat heater

We got lucky because the Wal-Mart in town was selling them for $20 the night we went to get warm sleeping stuff. I saw one at K-Mart (the same one we have) recently for $50. We bought a package of 3 propane canisters that same night, and still haven’t used up one full container. We got the tent heater mainly to heat up the tent enough so we can change for bed and be warm, and for in the mornings so we can wake up warm. We placed the heater in a corner near the head of where we were sleeping pointed towards the middle of the opposite wall. This also happened to be the corner closest to the corner of the zippered door, so we could open the bottom corner of the door without feeling much of a breeze, and opened up one of the windows about 6 inches. The warmth of the heater got rid of any draft we may have felt. It heated up our 10X10 cabin tent pretty darn well in about half an hour or less.

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