It is difficult to imagine a winter hike without any kind of heating device. No journey is complete without a fire outside and inside the tent. Heating the tent is a very topical issue. Having solved it, it will open up the possibility of an extended stay on winter fishing and add comfort in the camp while spending time in nature. Progress does not stand still, and its results provide a lot of choice of heating sources in the tent.
Reliable heating of the tent is an indispensable condition for a comfortable night in the field or fishing on the ice. For this, there are several heating methods — from elementary improvised means to specialized heaters. However, when using any tent safe heater, it is worth remembering all possible risks and dangers.
Risks and dangers of using tent heaters
To ensure safe heating of the tent with devices, it is necessary to follow the safety rules:
- Before installing any, even the simplest-looking heating device, you must carefully study the instructions from the manufacturer.
- At least light ventilation is the key to the rapid removal of combustion products and excluding their harmful effects on health.
- The heating surfaces of the heater must not come into direct contact with surrounding things in order to avoid ignition and fire.
- The stand under the heater must be made exclusively of non-combustible material.
- In order to prevent accidents, it is not recommended to leave heating appliances working during sleep.
Safety is the first and most important condition for heating a tent:
- The device should not create hazardous factors for humans.
- It should be fireproof (subject to the rules of use).
- Do not spill fuel used.
Camping in winter always means being away from centralized emergency services and medical facilities.
The safest electric application requires power management and is single-function. All others are capable of causing a fire. The degree of most likely hazards while camping varies from the medium for catalytic systems to high for liquid systems (overturning, fuel spillage). Therefore, each type of device must be handled carefully, and be sure to follow the safety instructions, the rules for placing the device in a tent.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the biggest dangers of using tent heaters. Carbon monoxide can poison the body slowly over 7 hours, even in low concentrations. The most sensitive organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, suffer the most from a lack of oxygen.
Unfortunately, poisoning symptoms can be easily confused with the manifestation of other diseases, and poisoning with a low concentration of CO is generally almost impossible to determine.
Symptoms of inhalation of low concentrations of carbon monoxide:
- flu-like symptoms;
- symptoms similar to food poisoning;
- excessive nausea.
The long-term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning at any concentration can be severe. As a result, CO can affect memory, brain performance, behavior, and consciousness. It can also cause permanent damage to major organs (such as the heart).
Lack of oxygen is an often overlooked hazard. It is very relevant for those hikers who chose propane heaters for heating.
A sufficient amount of oxygen is required to heat a tent room, and these devices, which operate on fire, can absorb large amounts of oxygen inside an almost sealed tent. Thus, it is possible to experience a lack of oxygen. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the air situation to keep everything safe.
Burns and scalding injuries
Heating the tent with an inside tent heater with a nozzle is quite dangerous, as a hot surface is formed. In case of careless handling, you can get burned or even ignite the material. Consequently, it is highly undesirable to operate it unattended at night.
To be on the safe side, it is essential to place heaters at a safe distance from people. The device should not come into contact with the tent, but it should not interfere with the person’s movement inside.
Tips for using a tent heater
The traditional method to keep warm on a hike is by a bonfire. But experienced hikers and anglers know that it is often not enough, for example, during a cold season or an overnight stay in a tent. A modern gas or electric tent heater will help ensure comfort in any condition. It is compact, self-contained, and safe when used correctly.
Any equipment and sources of open fire require careful handling, as they are potentially dangerous. It is necessary to use the heater strictly for its intended purpose. If the device does not provide a cooking function, then this cannot be done. Violation of safety rules is a threat to human life and health.
Only buy purpose-built tent heaters
Before using any heating device, you should carefully read the instructions. In addition to assembling and connecting fuel tanks, it is indicated whether the heater can be used inside the tent or outdoors. It is also worth remembering the following conditions:
- Use the battery powered heaters for tents for their intended purpose, such as heating your tent.
- Do not cook on the protective metal grill of the appliance.
- Do not dry your belongings and travel equipment directly on it.
Always keep your tent well-ventilated
Every time the tent heats up, you need to ventilate it well. This applies regardless of whether it is a gas tool or an electric one. Built-in overheating protection and splash protection are essential for every heater.
For electric tent heaters, ceramic heaters are a better option than traditional fan ones. Devices even accumulate heat to some extent. The risk of fire is very high when using fan heaters. Thus, always keep the tent heater in a safe position.
If you turn on such a heater in a tent, make sure it is well ventilated. Do not attach the tarp to the end, and do not open the window. Ventilation is necessary if you do not want to be poisoned by carbon monoxide, which is inevitable when burning propane.
Be strategic with your heater placement
It is necessary to install the heater at a safe distance from things and the sides of the awning, and of course, not to leave it unattended for a long time. Turn off the heater before going to bed.
A heater that is not installed correctly may topple over. This, in turn, can cause a fire, or severe burns, if there is a person nearby.
Therefore, proper placement is critical:
- Do not place the heater near flammable objects. Do not place the device near the sides of the awning.
- At a tent heater safe distance from sleeping places. The heater should not be placed close to the sleeping area, as it can be easily touched at night.
- Place the device only on a level surface. The heater must be placed on a firm and flat ground. Otherwise, a rollover can be expected.
Bring a carbon monoxide and smoke detector
Most innovative heaters have an auto power-off feature. However, you cannot always be sure that they will work well. The technique can also break, and this function may not work. Therefore, the best advice is to remember to take a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm and smoke detector with you on your camping trip for use in your tent at night.
These devices can be placed in a tent, but near to the heater. It is also essential to keep some distance so that the device does not work falsely. Also, when using detectors, do not forget to change the batteries regularly. You must always be sure that your equipment is in good working order and is fully charged.
Only use your tent heater when you’re awake
Last but not least, use heaters before you go to bed. Of course, after a warm, cozy home environment where everyone is used to sleeping warm, a cold night in a tent seems inconceivable, and using tent heaters for camping at night seems like a rational idea. However, it is not. Leaving the active heater overnight may pose a fire hazard.
One reason is that the devices are not designed to last eight hours or more. Therefore, it is best to let them cool down and start using again in the morning. The best solution for those who hardly want to sleep in a cold patch is to turn on the heater before going to bed and warm up the sleeping area as much as possible. Then you can turn off the equipment at night and fall asleep in a warm atmosphere.
Overall, a tent heater is an essential heat source, although it does not offer a long-term heating solution. When using such devices, remember the primary safety rules, and then any journey will become a comfortable, cozy experience.