Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent? Is Heater in Tent Safe




Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent - Buddy Heater being used in a tent while camping.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

So, you’re planning a camping trip and you want to make sure you stay warm during those chilly nights under the stars. One thing that comes to mind is using a Buddy Heater in your tent. But, before you go ahead and bring one along, it’s important to ask yourself – can you use a Buddy Heater in a tent safely? You need to know whether it’s safe and practical. Let’s dive into the details and find out if using a Buddy Heater in a tent is a good idea or not.

Key Takeaways and Action Points

This section is for those who want a quick understanding of whether a Buddy Heater can be used in a tent while sleeping and the safety aspects. Below is a concise table summarizing the main points from this article. Each point is designed to guide you towards a successful business launch. Along with each point, there’s a practical step you can take.:

Key TakeawaysAction Points
1. Buddy Heater SafetyEnsure your Buddy Heater has safety features like tip-over shut-off and oxygen depletion sensor.
2. Appropriate SizeChoose a Buddy Heater that suits your tent size: Little Buddy for up to 95 sq. ft., Portable Buddy for up to 225 sq. ft.
3. Proper VentilationAlways maintain good ventilation in the tent to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
4. Carbon Monoxide AwarenessUse a carbon monoxide detector in the tent when operating the heater.
5. Avoid Fire HazardsKeep the heater away from flammable materials and clear the surrounding area.
6. Never Leave UnattendedDo not leave the heater running unattended; turn it off when leaving the tent or sleeping.
7. Fuel Type and PortabilityChoose a portable propane heater for ease of use and transportability.
8. Tent Material CheckEnsure the tent material is compatible with heater use; avoid highly flammable materials.
9. Stable Heater BaseSet up the heater on a stable, non-flammable surface.
10. Heater SetupFollow the manufacturer’s instructions for heater assembly and fuel connection.
11. Temperature and Ventilation MonitoringMonitor tent temperature and adjust the heater’s output accordingly; keep vents open for air circulation.
12. Alternative Heating OptionsConsider using electric portable heaters, hot water bottles, heat packs, or improve tent insulation.

This table summarizes essential considerations on whether it is a good idea to use a Buddy Heater in a tent, emphasizing the importance of safety, proper setup, and alternative heating methods.

What is the Buddy Heater?


The Mr. Buddy Heater by Mr. Heater, Inc is a popular portable propane heater, widely used for heating enclosed spaces like tents during camping. It’s known for its safety and efficiency, making it a top choice for camping in the cold.

Fuel and Operation

  • Fuel Type: The Mr. Buddy Heater uses propane gas.
  • BTU Output: It emits 4,000 or 9,000 BTU per hour, making it capable of heating up to 225 sq. ft.
  • Propane Cylinder Connection: It connects directly to a 1 lb. propane cylinder, and can also be connected to a 20 lb. cylinder with an optional hose and filter.

Safety Features

Heaters, such as the Mr. Heater Buddy, are designed with safety in mind, making them a safe option for heating your tent. Key safety features include:

  • Tip-Over Safety Shut-Off: This feature ensures the heater turns off if it tips over, making it safe to use in a tent.
  • Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS): The ODS monitors oxygen levels, shutting off the heater if oxygen levels get too low, which is crucial for indoor use.
  • Piezo Igniter: For easy lighting without the need for external flame sources.
  • Built-In Safety Systems: Some models have a built-In Carbon Monoxide Monitor. This continuously monitors for carbon monoxide, ensuring safe indoor use.

Design and Usability

  • Portable Design: The heater has a fold-down handle and a compact size, making it easy to transport and store.
  • Swivel Regulator: This feature allows for easy adaptation from a disposable cylinder to a remote gas supply.
  • Single Control Start Knob: Simplifies operation with hi-low heat settings.

Ideal Use Cases

  • Tent Heating: Perfect for heating large tents up to 225 sq. ft., making it a great companion for winter camping or camping in the cold.
  • Safe Indoor Use: Its safety features make it one of the safest options for heating enclosed spaces like canvas tents.
  • Taking the Chill Off: Ideal for use in a season tent to take the chill off during colder nights.

Additional Considerations

  • Never Use Unauthorized Accessories: Using unapproved accessories with the heater is prohibited and may void the warranty.
  • Space Heater: While it’s a space heater, it’s important to keep it away from flammable materials and ensure proper ventilation to prevent condensation in the tent.
  • Safe to Sleep: When used correctly, it’s safe to sleep with the heater running in your tent, provided safety guidelines are followed.

The Mr. Buddy Heater is a versatile, portable propane heater that’s safe to use in a tent, making it an excellent choice for camping in the cold. Its safety features, like the tip-over shut-off and oxygen depletion sensor, ensure it’s one of the safest heaters for tent heating. When used with a good sleeping bag and proper camping gear, it can significantly enhance your camping experience by keeping you warm and comfortable.

What Size Buddy Heater Do I Need for My Tent?

When deciding to use a Buddy Heater in a tent, it’s crucial to consider the size of your tent and the heater’s capacity. The Little Buddy Heater, specifically designed for small spaces like tents, is ideal for areas up to 95 square feet. This size is typically sufficient for a family tent, which is about 10×10 feet. For larger tents, you might consider the Portable Buddy® Heater, which can cover up to 225 square feet, suitable for a more spacious camping tent.

Choosing the right size Buddy Heater for your tent involves considering the tent’s size and the heater’s capacity. The Little Buddy Heater is suitable for small tents up to 95 square feet, while the Portable Buddy® Heater can heat larger spaces. Always prioritize safety by following proper usage guidelines and ensuring the heater has safety features like tip-over shut-off and oxygen depletion sensors.

Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent?

Manufacturer’s Recommendations for Using the Buddy Heater in a Tent and While Sleeping

The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy® is designed with safety and versatility in mind, making it suitable for use in tents and during sleep. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure safety and optimal performance.

Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent

  • Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in the tent to prevent condensation and maintain air quality and oxygen levels.
  • Placement: Place the heater on a stable, non-flammable surface and away from any tent materials or other flammable objects.
  • Never Leave It Unattended: Always monitor the heater when it’s on, especially if you’re using it all night.
  • Space: The heater is effective in enclosed spaces like large tents up to 225 sq. ft., but ensure the tent size aligns with the heater’s capacity.

Using the Heater While Sleeping

  • Safety Features: The Buddy Heater comes with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and an accidental tip-over safety shut-off, making it safer for use while sleeping.
  • Monitoring: While the heater is designed for safety, it’s advisable to remain vigilant and check it periodically.
  • Proper Use: Follow all operational guidelines, such as using the correct propane cylinder and ensuring the heater is functioning correctly before sleeping.
  • Separate Carbon Monoxide Monitor: Although the heater is designed to be safe, using a separate carbon monoxide monitor in the tent is a good safety practice.

Additional Tips for Warmth and Safety

  • Sleeping Bag and Ground Pad: Use a quality sleeping bag and a ground pad to retain body heat.
  • Air Mattress: An air mattress can provide additional insulation from the cold ground.
  • Warm Sleeping Bags: Invest in warm sleeping bags suitable for winter camping.
  • Proper Clothing: Wear appropriate clothing to retain body heat.

The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy® is designed for safe use in tents and can be used while sleeping, provided the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety precautions are strictly followed. Its built-in safety features make it a reliable source of heat in cold camping conditions. However, always prioritize safety by ensuring proper ventilation, correct placement, and adherence to operational guidelines.

Safety Considerations to Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent

Safety Considerations to Use a Mr. Buddy Heater in a Tent
Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent – Safety Considerations to Use a Mr. Buddy Heater in a Tent


When you are going to use a Buddy Heater in a tent, proper ventilation is of utmost importance. Although your Mr Heater is equipped with safety features such as an oxygen sensor and automatic shut-off, it is still crucial to ensure that there is sufficient airflow in the tent to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and control condensation. This will prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. Keep windows or vents partially open to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the tent.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and is produced by the combustion process of the Buddy Heater. It is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in the tent whenever using the heater. This device will alert you if the levels of carbon monoxide become dangerously high, allowing you to take immediate action. It is also crucial never to use the heater inside a closed space without adequate ventilation, as this could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Always use a carbon monoxide detector in the tent when operating a Buddy Heater. A detector will alert you if the levels of carbon monoxide become dangerous, allowing you to take immediate action to protect yourself and others in the tent.

Fire Hazards

Fire hazards are a significant concern when using any kind of portable heater. It is essential to keep flammable items away from the heater and to maintain a clear and safe surrounding area. Avoid placing the heater near curtains, bedding, or any other combustible materials that could potentially catch fire. Always exercise caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent any fire accidents from occurring.

Never Leave the Heater Unattended

It is essential never to leave a running Buddy Heater unattended. Accidents can happen quickly, and leaving the heater unsupervised increases the risk of fire or other hazards. Always ensure that someone is present in the tent when the heater is in operation. When you need to leave the tent or go to sleep, turn off your little buddy heater and allow it to fully cool down before you leave to prevent any safety hazards.

Choosing the Right Heater Propane Heater

Size and BTU Output

When selecting a Buddy Heater for your tent, consider the size of the tent and the desired level of warmth. Buddy Heaters come in various sizes and have different BTU (British Thermal Units) outputs, which determine their heating capacity. Larger tents will require heaters with higher BTU output to effectively warm the space. By selecting the right size and BTU output, you will ensure that the heater can adequately heat your tent without being overworked or underperforming.

Fuel Type

Buddy Heaters are available in propane and natural gas options. For camping purposes, propane heaters like the little buddy are more commonly used due to their portability and ease of use. They are typically fueled by small propane canisters that can be easily attached to the heater. On the other hand, natural gas heaters require a connection to a natural gas source and may not be as suitable for camping scenarios. Consider your fuel availability and convenience when choosing the right fuel type for your Buddy Heater.


Portability is an important aspect to consider when choosing to use a Buddy Heater in a tent for camping. Look for heaters that are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. Some models may come with built-in handles or carrying cases, making them more convenient to carry during your camping trips. Ensure that the heater can be easily set up and taken down without much effort, allowing for a hassle-free camping experience.

Preparation Before Using the Heater

Check the Tent Material

Before deciding to use a Buddy Heater in a tent, inspect the tent material to ensure it is compatible with the heater. Some tents may have specific warnings or instructions regarding the use of heaters. Avoid using the heater in tents made of highly flammable materials, such as nylon or polyester. Instead, opt for tents made of fire-resistant materials that can withstand the heat emitted by the heater.

Create a Stable Base

To ensure the safety and stability of the heater, it is essential to create a stable base for it. Place the heater on a flat, non-flammable surface, such as a heat-resistant mat or a solid piece of plywood. This will prevent the heater from tipping over and reduce the risk of fire or burns. When using a heater buddy, avoid placing it directly on the tent floor or any other flammable surface.

Clear the Surrounding Area

Before setting up the heater, clear the surrounding area of any potential fire hazards. Remove any flammable materials, such as debris, clothing, or sleeping bags, from the vicinity of the heater. Ensure that there is ample space around the big buddy heater to facilitate proper airflow and ventilation, and to control condensation. By keeping the area clear around your heater buddy, you reduce the risk of accidental fires and allow the heater to function safely.

How to Set Up to Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent

How to Set Up the Buddy Heater in a Tent
Can You Use a Buddy Heater in a Tent – How to Set Up the Buddy Heater in a Tent

Selecting a Location

Choose a suitable location within the tent to set up the Buddy Heater. Place it away from tent walls and any flammable objects to minimize fire risks. Ensure that the heater is easily accessible and does not obstruct your movement within the tent. To maximize the efficiency and heat distribution of your little buddy heater, consider the direction of its airflow.

Assembling the Heater

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the Buddy Heater correctly. This typically involves attaching the necessary components, such as the propane canister or natural gas connection. Ensure that all connections are secure and tight to prevent gas leaks. Familiarize yourself with the various controls and settings on the heater for safe and efficient operation.

Connecting the Fuel Source

If using a heater buddy that uses propane, securely attach the propane tank to the heater based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the connection is tight and the propane canister valve is closed before attaching it. Once connected, open the propane canister valve gradually to allow gas to flow to the heater. Perform a leak check by applying a soapy water solution to the connections and observing for bubbles. If there are bubbles, close the valve immediately and check for any loose connections.

Operating the Buddy Heater in a Tent

Ignition and Flame Control

To ignite the Buddy Heater, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. This typically involves turning the heater’s control knob to the pilot position, pressing the ignition button, and holding it down until the pilot flame ignites. Once the pilot flame is established, continue holding the ignition button for a few seconds before releasing it. Adjust the control knob to the desired heat level, and the main burner will ignite.

Monitoring Temperature and Ventilation

While operating the Buddy Heater, it is essential to monitor the temperature inside the tent and the ventilation. Avoid overheating the tent by adjusting the heat output accordingly. Pay attention to any signs of discomfort, such as excessive dryness or sweating, which may indicate inadequate ventilation or excessive heat. Remember to keep windows or vents partially open to allow fresh air to circulate.

Routine Maintenance

To ensure safe operation, regularly inspect and maintain your heater buddy. Clean the heater’s components, such as the burner and heat reflector, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Regularly check for any signs of damage, such as rust or corrosion, on your Mr Heater and replace any worn-out parts for safe use. Store the heater properly when not in use, protecting it from moisture and extreme temperatures. Following these maintenance practices will prolong the lifespan of the heater and ensure its continued safety.

Alternative Heating Options

Electric Portable Heaters

If using a propane Buddy Heater is not a viable option for your camping needs, consider using electric portable heaters. These heaters are powered by electricity and are suitable for camping scenarios where a power source is available. When using a camper heater like a heater buddy, make sure you have access to a reliable electrical supply and take necessary precautions to prevent electrical hazards.

Hot Water Bottles or Heat Packs

For a more low-tech heating option, hot water bottles or heat packs can provide localized warmth inside the sleeping bag or around the body. These items can be filled with hot water or heated in a microwave before use. Place them inside the sleeping bag or hold them close to keep warm during cold nights. Exercise caution to prevent burns and ensure that the water bottles or heat packs are securely sealed to avoid leaks.

Insulating the Tent

Another option to increase warmth inside the tent is to improve the tent’s insulation. When using a big buddy heater, consider using thermal blankets, sleeping bag liners, or insulating foam pads to provide extra insulation against the cold. These materials trap body heat and prevent it from escaping, keeping you warm throughout the night. Additionally, consider investing in a tent designed for cold weather camping, as they often come with enhanced insulation features.


Using a Mr Heater in a tent can provide much-needed warmth during camping trips, but it is essential to prioritize safety to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Proper ventilation, carbon monoxide detection, and fire hazard prevention are crucial considerations. Choosing the right heater, preparing the tent, and following proper setup and operating procedures are essential steps to ensure safe and comfortable camping experiences. As a camper, always prioritize safety when you decide to use a Buddy Heater in a tent to make the most out of your camping adventures.


The information provided in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. Please do your own due diligence before relying on it- You are solely responsible for how you use the shared information. Please read our full Legal Disclaimer.

About the author

Latest posts