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heaters for camping


  • camping is generally associated with cool to cold nights and in winter, these nights will be long and much colder
  • the traditional method of staying warm at night outside the tent is with the wood fire, but these impact the environment in many ways, risk bushfires and are banned in many camp areas such as most commercial camp grounds and National Parks
  • this page discusses various options, see also gas fittings for camping and keeping warm when camping or hiking
  • do NOT use fuel burning devices (including gas) inside your tent unless it is appropriately flued as there is a major risk of lethal carbon monoxide poisoning, let alone the tent rapidly catching of fire!

Personal wear heaters

chemical type "pocket warmers"

  • single use air activated iron and salt-based oxidising pocket warmers take 15-30minutes to start
    • Coghlans Disposable Hand Warmer last 6hrs, $AU1.50 each
    • Flexeze 10hr hand warmers $AU2 per pair
    • Hot Hands Hand Warmers (Chemist Warehouse) last 10hrs $AU2 for 2 pack
  • re-usable super-saturated solution crystallisation pocket warmers

USB rechargeable heat pad pocket warmers

  • multiple devices available with lithium batteries
  • eg. Thermacell Heat Pack
    • $AU63 200g; Lasts up to 6-hours of constant heat per charge and can recharge in approximately 4 hours

USB heat pads within clothing or scarves

  • just connect to a USB power bank
  • many options including DIY

Electrical heaters which can be used in tents with care

USB powered heat pads

  • these can be powered by a small USB power bank or via your auxiliary 12V battery
  • given the power output limitations of USB (around 5-10W), these are generally limited to smallish pads up to around 30cm square

USB rechargeable glove and boot dryers and sanitisers

  • wet gloves and boots will not be great when you have another cold day ahead
  • these devices insert into the gloves or boots and dries them out overnight by heating them plus uses UV to sanitise
  • Sidas Drywarmer Pro USB
    • pair packs to 19L x 10W x 7H cm; 200g; 10W USB power input required; 4hr timer; $AU43;

12V cigarette lighter socket devices

  • most cigarette sockets in cars are limited to 12V 10A 120W but you can get a 15A rated socket and connect it to an Anderson plug if you need more power output of up to 180W
  • 12V heat pads such as car seat heaters
    • these are often rated at 48W (4A) but this maximum output often is limited to around 2 minutes and then there is no output for some 5-6 minutes meaning the averaged heat output is around 12W (1A)
    • one to two such heat pads (~1A per hour) plus a person in a full fabric 2-man tent will raise the air temp from 9degC to 15degC within 1hr and keep it at around 6deg higher than outside if there is minimal airflow from the outside
  • 12V car / travel electric blankets
    • these tend to have max output of 48-65W and often have a timed automatic off as a safety measure
    • Kickass blanket 46A max.(plus half and 2/3rds output settings) with 45min safety cut off; 142x98cm;
      • 147x105cm, polar fleece, 30/45min timer; single heat setting of 2.6A 31W; $AU192
      • stepless variable 4.16A 50W 150x110cm version; $AU219 ;
  • 12V fanned air heaters
    • these are usually sold as car window demisters and often are rated output of 150-160W
    • most only have one heat setting and one fan setting (without heat)
    • provide rapid heating of a small tent (temp from 13 to 19deg in 10 minutes) but does use a lot of power so may be best used with a thermostat or just intermittently as needed
    • not useful for larger tents

Heat output and fuel usage

  • 1000W output = 3500 BTU = 3.7MJ/hr and requires 74g gas/hr or approx. 100mL/hr of diesel or kerosene
  • each 1MJ/hr requires 20g gas per hour

Gas heaters (not for use inside tents)

small gas canister heaters

  • there are a range of heating devices that can either attach:
    • directly onto a gas canister
      • Mr Heater Little Buddy Heater
        • 465g Disposable Propane Canister
        • 3,800 BTU;
        • 43.2 (H) x 25.4 (D) x 21 (W) cm (including propane cyclinder)
        • 2.26kg; $A89
        • doesn't heat your feet as it faces upwards, is prone to tipping over as top heavy but it does have a tip over auto-off but the hot element may still create a fire and there are quality issues 1)
    • onto the burner of a gas stove
      • Portable Mini Camping Heater
        • stainless steel stove heater 14.4×11.7cm plus handle
        • can be used on most small gas stoves or even an alcohol Trangia stove
        • risk of wind blowing the very hot can over, or the area nearby underneath getting too hot
        • high burns risk if not careful
        • $A27

larger heaters which use larger gas cartridges

  • there are a range of portable gas heaters which allow a gas cartridge to be attached, and often can also be used attached to a traditional gas cylinder
  • these use 450g BOC gas cartridges or optional adapter for gas cylinders
  • examples:
    • Mr Heater Portable Buddy Heater
    • Companion Portable Propane Heater
      • 7300BTU; Gas Consumption: Low: 5.24MJ/hr - 104g/Hr. High: 7.71MJ/hr - 153g/Hr
      • 33 x 40 x 20cm;
      • 4.2kg $AU135

heaters which attach directly onto Companion gas cylinders

  • Companion gas cylinders have a vertical 3/8“ LH BSP adapter and thus allow devices to attach directly above the cylinder
  • examples:
    • Companion LPG Radiator Reflect Heater
      • 5500 BTU with 206mm wide reflector; Gas Consumption: 5.8Mj/Hr or 116g/Hr; manual lighting only, no piezo;
      • 27 x 21 x 12 cm; 0.76kg;
      • $AU49

heaters which only connect via hose to a gas cylinder

  • Companion Portable LPG Gas Heater
    • 10,800 BTU; Gas Consumption: 13MJ/hr-260g/hr; supplied with a POL gas hose and regulator
    • 41(L) x 19(D) x 33(H) cm;
    • 4.21kg; $AU140
  • Industrial high output air heaters for large areas:
    • DETROIT 20KW LPG Heater HLPG20
      • 9kg; 52 x 27 x 48cm;
      • 20kW – 70,000 BTU; 1.40kg/hr Gas consumption
      • 500m3/hr Air flow and should heat a 200m2 space with 2.5m ceilings
      • requires 80W 0.5A 240V input for fan
      • $AU269 include hose and regulator

Diesel heaters

  • these are larger units which run on diesel, have exhaust pipes and tend to be noisy hence many have silencers to reduce noise
  • maXpeedingrods 12V 5KW Air Diesel caravan Heater
    • 49 x 49 x 21 cm; 9.78 Kilograms
    • $A149
  • 1 INCHHOME 2KW/5KW/8KW Air Diesel caravan heater 12V
    • $AU149-199
  • industrial heaters for large areas:
    • DETROIT 20KW Radiant Diesel Heater
      • uses 1.9 l/hr (10.5L Steel fuel tank) to give 20Kw output radiant heat; no fan; no electricity needed;
      • 61 x 58 x 38cm;
      • $AU799
    • DETROIT 20KW Diesel Indirect Fired Air Heater
      • uses 1.94 l/hr (38L Steel fuel tank - 12hr Max Run Time) to give 20Kw output heat
      • Air Output 750m3/hr
      • 83x53x36cm wheel trolley mounted;
      • $AU799

Kerosene heaters

  • Charmate Portable Kerosene Heater
    • 9000 BTU; 0.25L/Hour;
    • 4.6L fuel tank capacity
    • Removable top with trivet for cooking
    • 4.2kg
    • $AU119

Wood fireplaces and stoves

  • unless you BYO wood, you will probably need a chain saw and an axe to split the wood - assuming you can find dry wood and you are not decimating the local wildlife's homes
  • a fire pit or stove reduces risk of fire burn scars on the ground but can kill grass nearby due to the heat
  • an enclosed stove is safer than a fire pit for spark generation especially if the chimney has a spark arrester, but neither will be allowed on fire ban days or in some National Parks

portable fire pits

  • these are usually around 6-15kg
  • Slot Me In The Wedge Fire Pit & Camp Cooker - Ultimate Combo Kit
    • flat pack 4mm thick Australian BlueScope Xlerplate® steel 14.2kg; $AU589
    • packs to 660mm L x 460mm W x 25mm H packed in the canvas storage bag
  • Kamoto Open Fire Pit Large
    • 9.6kg folding powder-coated steel and stainless steel cooking grid
    • W 550 x D 470 x H 380 mm
    • $AU419
  • Kamoto Open Fire Pit
    • 6.3kg folding powder-coated steel and stainless steel cooking grid
    • 53 x 39 x 6cm folded; 46 x 39 x 33 cm unfolded;
    • $AU379
  • Darche Stainless Steel BBQ 450 Firepit
    • stainless steel flat pack foldable design, packs to 56 x 56 x 8cm
    • 11.5kg $AU299
  • Winnerwell Large Flat Firepit
    • flat packed to 657(L) x 348(W) x 30(H) mm
    • 4.1kg $AU120
  • Supa Peg Frontier Portable Folding Fire Pit
    • 2.5mm Heavy Duty Steel; flat packs to 400mm x 310mm x 40mm
    • 6.8kg $AU180

battery powered fan "smokeless" fire pits

  • adjustable air flow can allow the fire to rapidly become relatively smoke free but you will need to charge it up and use more wood, plus there is a risk the fan system will fail leaving it as a not so good fire pit
    • incorporates a 12,800mAh lithium battery which lasts 30hrs of fire on low fan (7hrs on hire fan - fan output controllable by smartphone app via Bluetooth) and can be used as a USB power bank as well as being USB rechargeable
    • enamel coating with “Xray” mesh for high visibility fire;
    • fan can be noisy, mesh tends to rust rapidly and it is fairly bulky as it packs to 70L x 30D x 28H cm 9kg;
    • uses wood up to 40cm long and Heat Beads; smallish fire pit and if you put wood in above the air pipes it will smoke; needs constant feeding with small wood
    • can cook on it via the removable grill grate; opt. grill lid $AU89 and fire poker $AU33
    • $AU329

portable wood fire enclosed stoves with chimneys

  • as these have chimneys, some of these may be able to be used inside tents with chimney ducted externally with care - see supplied instructions to ascertain if this is safe!
  • some of these can be used under the edge of a tarp for shelter from the rain while cooking with the chimney having an angled insert to allow it to pass the tarp (preferably with a cooling pipe cover so contact with the tarp does not cause issues)

wood fire tent air heater

  • using a wood fire in the snow to heat a pipe which passes hot air into the tent
  • see for some ideas just make sure the intake of the pipe does not entrain carbon monoxide!
australia/heaters.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/21 10:46 by gary1