5 Best Heaters For Car Camping

The end of the year brings colder weather, but that doesn't mean your camping dreams are done for the season. We've searched near and far to find all the best heaters for your next camping trip.

When deciding on a heater for camping, you need one that's powerful enough to work outside and safe enough to work in an enclosed space. These are the top heaters on the web:

  1. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy
  2. Mr. Heater Little Buddy
  3. Campy Gear Chubby 2 in 1
  4. Amazon Basics 500W Ceramic Heater
  5. Stanley Electric Heater

Picking a heater that's safe for your tent is an essential task. Keep reading to learn more about these heaters and some great information on staying warm on your next camping trip!

An electric heater radiating on gray wooden background, 5 Best Heaters For Car Camping

Car Camping and Keeping Warm

Car camping can be a confusing term. There are two accepted definitions for it. The more widely accepted meaning for car camping is to pack your gear, drive to the campsite, and then camp there outside of the vehicle. The second definition for car camping is sleeping in your car.

No matter which car camping you decide on, you're going to want to stay warm. When used safely, a space heater is an excellent way to keep warm in your tent. Before purchasing a heater, consider the size of the tent you need to heat. Getting a heater that's too big is a hazard. It can cause fires or take too much oxygen out of the tent. If you go too small, you won't heat your space.

An eight-person tent will typically have between 120 and 130 square feet. A four-person tent usually has square footage between 60 and 70. A six-person tent sits in the middle with 90 to 100 square feet. These are averages. It will be essential to check your specific tent for accurate information and see how your rooms are divided.

5 Best Heaters for Tents

When looking for tents, you should keep safety in mind. Automatic shut-offs, tip-over protection, and low oxygen shut-offs are important safety features to be on the lookout for. You'll also need to be aware of your heater's power source. Gas and electricity are popular options for powering tent heaters.

1. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy

The Mr. Heater brand has been providing heating products since 1984. There are several varieties of the Buddy heater in the line-up. The Portable Buddy connects to a one-pound propane cylinder and can heat an area to 200 square feet. You can run this heater for five and a half hours on the low setting.

The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy heater is also safe. It has an emergency low oxygen system, an apex 50-degree tip-switch, and a thermal shut down system.

Check out the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy on Amazon.

2. Mr. Heater Little Buddy

Another Mr. Heater product, the Little Buddy, can heat rooms to 95 square feet. It can run for up to 5.6 hours and has a BTU output of 3,800. The Little Buddy runs off of a one-pound propane cylinder. Unlike the Portable Buddy, there is no option to hook up to a 20-pound tank.

The Little Buddy system is safe for indoor use. It has low oxygen shut-off, tip-over shut-off, and will shut down if overheated. While this system is safe for indoor use, experts don't recommend it for any motorized vehicle.

Check out the Mr. Heater Little Buddy on Amazon.

3. Campy Gear Chubby 2 in 1

The Campy Gear Chubby 2-in-1 portable stove and heater has several different operating modes. You can use it in heat-only mode, cook-only mode, or a combination cook and heat mode. The Campy Gear has a maximum output of 9,000 BTU and is safe for indoor use.

However, you will need to be cautious while using it, as this heater doesn't come with extra security measures. Make sure your tent is well ventilated, and consider purchasing a carbon monoxide monitor, like the model listed below. Most importantly, do not sleep with this heater running in your tent.

Check out this 2 in 1 heater and grill combo on Amazon.

Check out this portable carbon monoxide monitor on Amazon.

4. Amazon Basics 500W Ceramic Heater

The Amazon Basics heater uses ceramic coils to heat the area around it. Its small design makes it easy to take with you on the go. The Amazon heater will need electricity to run, so you'll have to ensure your campsite will have that. Something this size doesn't put out too much heat, but reviewers note that it quickly warmed up their smaller-sized tents. This Amazon Basics heater also comes with tip-over protection.

Check out this Amazon brand ceramic heater on Amazon.

5. Stanley Electric Heater

The Stanley electric heater has a maximum output of 5,100 BTUs and can heat an area to 165 square feet. The ST-222A-120 model weighs approximately 3.8 pounds and has an easy-to-life handle. This portable heater has an adjustable thermostat and tip-over safety technology.

Check out this Stanley electric heater on Amazon.

Can a Portable Heater be used in a Car?

There are portable heaters that are safe for use in motorized vehicles. The higher-quality ones will need to be hooked directly to your car's battery. You can see an example of a direct hook-up heater below. Additionally, there are smaller heaters that are used for defrosting your windows.

While many gas-powered heaters are safe for indoor spaces, you should never use them in vehicles. There are too many potential hazards that can occur. All in all, if you do decide to use a heater in your car, opt for a low-wattage electric heater.

Check out this RoadPro direct hook-up heater on Amazon.

How Long Can a Car Battery Power a Heater?

Car battery charging

If you connect a standard space heater to your car, the battery will last for around 3.5 hours before needing to be recharged. Hooking a heater to your vehicle isn't simple. You'll need an inverter because car batteries output a DC, but your household heater needs an AC. You'll also need a transformer to boost your battery's power.

Using your car battery in this manner can put a lot of stress on it. If you're not careful, you can overheat and damage your battery. This can also cause your battery to drain completely. You'll have to be cautious not to get stranded if you use a space heater in your car.

Can I leave my car heater on all night?

Room heater in winter season

You can technically leave your car running and use the heater all night. You will be able to run your heater until your run out of gas in your vehicle.

However, it isn't safe to sleep with your engine running. The constant heat pumping through the vents will also dry out your skin and eyes. If you do find yourself sleeping in your car, it's best to run your heater for small bits at a time to keep warm. This, combined with blankets, will help you stay heated throughout the night.

How long can you stay in your car with the heater on?

Heated seats button in a car

You can sit in your car with the heater on for as long as you can handle the heat or until your car runs out of gas, whichever comes first. As long as you're in an open area, there's minimal concern for carbon monoxide poisoning. Although, it can still be a concern. Be on the lookout for common signs like headache or dizziness.

How can I keep my car warm at night?

If you're going to be spending the night in your vehicle, you'll need to bring some extra supplies to keep warm! Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

Warm Blankets

A few extra sets of warm blankets will help you combat the cold! Look for waterproof blankets that are made specifically for cold weather. Wool and sherpa, aka faux-sheepskin, are excellent options for cold temperatures. You can also purchase electric blankets that are safe for car use! Just remember not to fall asleep while using the electric blankets.

Check out this sherpa blanket on Amazon.

Check out this electric car blanket on Amazon.

Hand Warmers

Another option is to purchase reusable and disposable hand warmers. Hot Hands brand hand warmers are air-activated. They will gradually heat after 30 minutes and will remain warm for up to 8 hours.

There are also rechargeable hand warmers. These need to be charged before use but can provide heat for more extended amounts of time. Many different brands of warmers have different heat levels as well.

Check out these Hot Hands brand instant heat packs on Amazon.

Check out this rechargeable hand warmer on Amazon.

Seat Warmers

There are many options for heated seat covers for your car. Heated blankets can both keep you warm and add in a layer of cushion while you sleep. Only use your heated cover in small bursts. As with most heating electronics, t won't be safe to sleep with it running.

Check out this backseat heating cover on Amazon.

Heated Mugs

A warm drink is a perfect way to combat the cold on long nights. For sleeping in a car, you should buy a heated mug to keep your drinks warm. Look for cups that don't require external electricity during use. Make sure to double-check how long your cup will keep beverages warm. You'll want your drink warm for at least eight hours, but longer is often better.

Check out this temperature control mug on Amazon.

In Closing

If you want to camp during the winter months, you're going to want to stay warm. Make sure you pick a heater that is safe for indoor tent use and stock up on cold-weather gear!

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