Those of us who love the outdoors know that it can be an occasional headache when a nice camping weekend outdoors turns sour because of sudden bad weather. Every camper has at least one story about how they booked a weekend off in the late summer to get out to nature only to have been shivering in their sleeping bags. Campsites now often can be a little more sophisticated, offering outlets in some sites for people to use plug-in electric tent heater to keep them warm.
Users of tent heaters should always be wary and keep in mind that heaters can easily cause disasters, and being in a remote place could mean a lot of trouble if something goes wrong. Electric tent heaters, however, can always be used safely, and a little vigilance can mean the difference between freezing toes and sound sleep.
Things to Keep In Mind For Using an Electric Tent Heater Safely
#1: Purchase the Right One.
Always make sure the electric tent heater you are purchasing is certified by a regulating safety standards authority. Often, you can see this information on the box, but you can always ask the store clerk or browse the heater maker’s website to find out.
#2: Mind the Size of Your Tent
Every electric tent heater has a BTU rating, which specifies how fast it will heat a specified space and by how many degrees. If you only have a small one- or two-person tent, it’s best not to overdo it. Check out the range of BTUs available for electric tent heaters and match the right electric tent heater to the inner area of your tent, if possible.
Another good reason to be economical with your electric tent heater is that they draw a lot of power, and there’s a chance your site may not have ample supply for your heater if it’s too large.
#3: Give it Space.
Unlike propane and kerosene heaters, there is no risk of harmful exhaust buildup using an electric tent heater, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk. Even for heaters specifically made to be used in tents, some important measures have to be followed.
Because your electric tent heater will be on the same level as your sleeping bags and camping gear, and is likely going to be close to the tent material, there is great potential for fire hazard. Being aware of this is key to preventing accidental fires. Because all heaters have elements and exude heat, there’s always the possibility of material catching flame.
You can account for this if your tent has a lot of space by simply leaving nothing where it can come in contact with the electric tent heater. You can also try bringing a small stool or platform between six inches and a foot off the ground if you’re still afraid your sleeping bags could come in contact.
#4: Keep It Maintained
Even if you’re not necessarily an avid outdoorsperson, there are good reasons to keep your electric tent heater in good shape that go beyond sheer longevity. Any impact or dent has the potential to bend metal parts inside the heater, possibly causing contact shocks. You should always closely inspect your electric tent heater prior to every trip. Listen for unusual sounds or note unusual smells. It’s better to not take a chance bringing it if it’s not functioning well.
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