Is It Safe To Have A Buddy Heater In Tent

Mr Buddy Heater Warming A Camping Tent

Unless you’re one of those people who love to test their survival skills in the outdoors, you probably prefer to stay warm during a fall or winter camping trip. Making sure you have the right kit for winter camping is essential, but what about taking a heater? Can you use your Buddy heater in a tent?

Using a Buddy heater in a tent is one of the fastest and most effective options for getting warm in winter. Mr. Heater makes various types suitable for camping that don’t require electricity. Your Buddy heater is an ingenious piece of camping equipment that can even double up as a cooker.

You may doubt if it’s safe to take a heater into a tent at all. Of course, there may be risks, but it’s quite safe with the right equipment and following the safety protocols. And so worth it!

You can pick up their heaters here:

Things To Know About Having A Buddy Heater In A Tent

If you’ve ever sat shivering in your tent during a winter camping trip in the snow or rain and a genie appeared out of your camping kettle, what would you wish for? A tent heater, of course!

Mr. Heater advertises their Buddy heater range as suitable for indoor and camping use. Get one going for a few minutes, and your tent will turn from a refrigerator into an oven in no time.

What Is A Buddy Heater?

A Buddy heater is a brand of portable heater made by Mr. Heater. It is propane-fueled, some designed especially for camping.

Buddy heaters come in different sizes and designs, including the Little Buddy, Portable Buddy, Big Buddy, and Hunting Buddy Portable Heater. The Little Buddy and Portable Buddy models were designed for use in tents.

Is It Safe To Have A Buddy Heater In A Tent?

Despite the naysaying of many old-school campers, there are some safe tent heaters. What makes them safe? Look for these standards when choosing a camping heater.

  • The heater must be labeled “indoor-safe.”
  • It must have an automatic tip-over shut-off.
  • The heater should have a low-oxygen sensor alarm or shut-off.

The Buddy heater range all have the tip-over shut-off system, so if you stumble over it, your tent won’t catch fire. These heaters also have a built-in oxygen depletion safety system (ODS) that switches the heater off if it detects a low oxygen level.

Buddy heaters are one of the safest to have inside your tent, but you should always follow some general precautions when using them.

Never use a heater in your tent while sleeping. Switch it on for a little while before you go to bed and off when you’re about to snuggle down. It should make your tent toasty enough to sleep well.

Admittedly, you might feel chilly in the morning again, but if you keep your Buddy heater within arm’s length, you can switch it on until the air is warm enough to get out of your sleeping bag.

It’s always good to use the Buddy heater in conjunction with a carbon monoxide monitor. Although manufacturers test their products, being OCD about safety is not a bad thing. Carbon monoxide poisoning is lethal.

Also, be sure to ventilate your tent properly when using the Buddy heater. If the Buddy heater gives off any carbon monoxide, there is less chance of health issues or death.

Stand your Buddy heater on a metal tray or table. Although it has the tip-over shut-off mechanism, at least there’s no chance of it melting your tent floor if it tips.

If you’re still not convinced about having a Buddy heater in your tent, there are umpteen alternative ways to keep warm in a tent. Setting up your tent correctly for winter weather will also make a huge difference in keeping warm.

How Does A Buddy Heater Work?

A Buddy heater uses a propane flame as its heat source. It works off a 1lb propane tank, and most models can be adapted to fit a 20lb tank.

It’s really straightforward to use because you control everything from one dial, including switching off, high, low, and the pilot light. To get your heater going, open the valve and press the little Piezo igniter to get a spark. This ignites the pilot light. Then you can select your heat intensity.

Which Buddy Heater Should I Buy?

If you’re purchasing a heater specifically for use in a tent, you should consider either the Little Buddy or the Portable Buddy. Both were designed with tents in mind.

The Little Buddy heats up to 95 square feet, the approximate size of a six-person tent. It puts out 3800 Btu (British thermal units).

The Little Buddy also doesn’t take up much room, as it has an 8-inch round stand. It weighs under 6 lbs and is about 12 inches x 9.75 inches size-wise. Your Little Buddy can run for up to 5.6 hours.

The Portable Buddy puts out 4000 or 9000 Btu and can heat a space of 225 square feet, big enough for the largest 12-person family tent. Its dimensions are 14.25 x 9 x 15 inches, and it weighs 10.6 lbs.

Mr. Buddy also has other propane heater models, but the Buddy Flex, Big Buddy, and Hunting Buddy are bigger and more powerful than is necessary for camping.

The Little Buddy is probably the most popular option for camping. It provides adequate heat, even for large tents, and is compact and easy to carry if you’re hiking.

Benefits Of A Portable Buddy

The Portable Buddy may be a bit bigger, but it has some secret benefits.

If you remove the protective grill and hook it curve side upwards into the holes at the top of the heater, and voila, you have a makeshift cooking surface! The flame is hot enough to boil water or cook food. It’s not specifically designed for this purpose, but great to know for emergencies.

If you want a sturdier surface to cook on, you can buy a cheap paint tray from a hardware store. The hooks will fit perfectly under the heater’s handle.

Another handy tip is that you can circulate the warm air inside your tent by placing a small heat fan above the Buddy heater. It will only take a short while to get the fan spinning and distributing the warm air further into the tent.


Taking a Buddy heater on a winter camping trip is an ideal and safe way to keep warm inside your tent. The Little Buddy provides ample heat, even for a family-size tent, but if you want your Buddy to play chef, the Portable Buddy can do the job. Happy camping, and keep warm!

Glossary: Tent heater, Winter camping

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