The joys of camping! The beautiful views, the time away with loved ones… and the freezing cold temperatures.
So, how do you stay warm? Packing your hot water bottle and stocking up on thermals are two ways, but the quickest and most efficient way is probably a heater, such at the Outwell Hekla Camping Heater or the Kampa Oscillating Heater.
Now, a very common and completely understandable question we get is 'are camping heaters safe?', and our short answer is: yes! These heaters are all made and tested to be used in tents and other enclosed spaces and, likewise, tents are made with the foresight that people will likely be cooking in them, heating them, etc.
However, anything that generates energy can be a cause for concern, especially when you're in an enclosed space, so if you're still worried, let's look into it further to put everyone's mind at ease.
First: the basics that apply to all heaters.
- Choose the right size heater for your tent. Trust us, heaters get hot when in a small space so there's no need to overdo it. Aside from saving money, buying small if you have a smaller tent can also be a decent safety precaution to take.
- Keep the heater away from anything flammable. To be more specific; the sides of the tent. Most tents these days are "fire retardant", but none of them are completely fire-proof.
- Don't cover it while it's in use. That includes making sure that you don't accidentally throw your dirty clothes over it at night, or putting your bedding on it.
- Keep it out of the way. Now, your tent isn't going to spontaneously combust if your heater gets knocked over then picked back up 2 seconds later, but it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping wires out of the way - especially if you have kids and/or dogs running around.
- Make sure it doesn't get wet. This sounds like an obvious one, but it's important to remember that if you're in a tent and you're using an electric heater, your wires will likely have to run outside the tent. If it's raining, that could cause a problem. So keep an eye on the weather (and where you put your drinks).
- Keep your tent well ventilated. Tents will have their own ventilation and this may seem like you're just letting the warmth out, but it's important to do this in order to reduce overheating, and any carbon monoxide/dioxide that is produced, as well as helping to prevent condensation.
Fortunately, like most things these days, camping heaters are safer than ever. The Kampa Diddy Heater, for example, is hugely popular for its safety feature that automatically turns the heater off if it tips over. Similarly, the Handy Heater also has safety features such as overheating detection. One safety feature that we think can't be overstated is the timer, particularly if you want to leave your heater on while you sleep. The Handy Heater has this, too, as do many others, such as the Outwell Hekla Heater that was mentioned earlier.
Now, all of the ones mentioned above are electric - but what if you don't have electricity while you're out there in the wilderness? You may have heard of the concerns surrounding gas heaters and carbon monoxide, but some people prefer gas heaters to electric ones especially because there are no wires, and they generally tend to get a lot hotter and quicker.
Gas heaters, just like electric ones, have their own safety precautions. Many have Oxygen Depletion Sensors so that if they do consume too much oxygen and there's not enough in your tent, it will automatically turn off. However, with suitable ventilation this is very unlikely to happen. Others, like the Kampa Glow 2 Double Parabolic Heater, come with built-in burner guards to protect you from to how hot the fronts of gas heaters tend to get.
All in all, it's pretty safe to use camping heaters as long as you practice good health and safety. Just do your research, make sure you follow the precautionary steps we listed, and you're good to go!