Can You Use A Propane Heater Inside A Tent?

Propane Tent Heater warming hands

Camping in a tent during low temperatures might make you wonder if your journey was worth it at all. But if you have a propane heater with you, then you might save the trip. The main concern comes from the potential risks of using the heating unit inside a tent. So, can you use a propane heater inside your tent?

You can safely use propane heaters inside a tent. If you set up the heater properly, use ventilation, and know when to turn it off, then you should have nothing to worry about. All you have to do is follow the instructions offered in the operating manual, and you’re good to go. 

Of course, using a propane heater inside a tent requires more attention and awareness on your part, but it’s better than not feeling your fingers or toes the entire night. If you made it to this part and you want to know more about safety precautions for propane heaters in a tent, we have everything you want to know. 

Why Propane Heaters Are Safe to Use in a Tent

For the most part, propane heaters are safe to use in a tent because modern units have been developed with safety features that can prevent a disaster from happening.

On top of that, the majority of the incidents that happened while using a propane heater in a tent occurred due to improper use. People who experience emergencies often misuse the heaters and use unsafe practices when heating their tents, leading to very dangerous situations that could have easily been avoided. If you use the unit accordingly and consider all safety options, a propane heater in a tent will represent no hazard. 

Propane heaters come with an instruction manual that clearly states how the device should be set up, turned on, and turned off. It also specifies the safe practices when using the propane heater in order to lower any risk. Instructions are usually clear to understand and setting up the unit is not difficult, adding to the safe features and utilization of the heater. 

It should also be noted that there are indoor-safe or tent-safe propane heaters that you can use. With an indoor-safe unit, you will be able to efficiently keep your space warm while having zero concerns about any dangers.  

Propane Heater Safety Features

Your indoor propane heater should come with different safety features to eliminate any risk. Before turning on the heater and enjoying the warmth, you should carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions as they reveal the safety features and how they work. 

Here are some of those safety features that you should keep in mind:

  • Auto Shut-Off when Tipped Over: With less space in your tent, you might make a mistake and tip the heater over, which could result in a disaster. In this situation, the auto shut-off feature will keep you safe. 
  • High-Temperature Coated Safety Guard: Propane heaters may come with high-temperature coated safety guards to help prevent anyone from burning themselves. 
  • Low Oxygen Sensor: A low-oxygen sensor will alert the users when oxygen levels are decreasing so they can take action before their lives are at risk. 

Our Favorite Propane Tent Heater – Mr. Heater Buddy Heaters

Our favorite propane tent heater is Mr. Buddy. The unit is able to heat spaces up to 225 square feet and has clean burning. It has a run time of 5-6 hours, and it comes with a swivel-out regulator and a fold-down handle to be easier to carry around. 

What impressed us was the fact that the heater is very safe to use thanks to the safety features incorporated. Basically, it shuts off automatically if tipped over, but also if low oxygen levels are detected or if the pilot goes out. If you want a propane heater for your tent that helps maintain safety, then you might like this model. 

Our Pick
Mr. Heater Big Buddy Indoor/Outdoor Portable Propane Heater
  • 4,000, 9,000, and 18,000 BTU/hr
  • Automatic low-oxygen shutoff system
  • Accidental tip-over safety shutoff
  • Heats up to 400 sq ft
  • Connects directly to two, 1-lb disposable cylinders or a 20-lb cylinder with an optional hose (cylinders not included)
Learn More


Mr. Buddy Heater is small and portable and can heat both small and large spaces, making it great for tents. On top of that, it comes with different features that ensure the user’s safety. 


The biggest disadvantage is the fact that the unit is a bit expensive. Also, it might consume the fuel very fast if you use it regularly, so you have to get ready to refill frequently. 

How to Set Up Your Propane Tent Heater Safely

Setting up your propane heater safely can prevent potential tragedies from ruining your adventure. So, before you put the heater inside your tent, you should learn how to install it, so you and your family or friends are safe at all times. 

Positioning your Tent Heater

If you’re not careful when placing your propane heater, it might still end up leading to an unwanted scenario. While modern heaters don’t create flames, they still have the potential to become fire starters if you don’t position them accordingly. 

Given the fact that they can reach high temperatures, coming in contact with any flammable object might cause a fire. Before you settle comfortably in your tent, position your heater in a spot where the likelihood of touching any flammable item is zero. Double-check just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. On top of keeping it away from flammable objects, it should also be placed somewhere nobody will be able to walk or touch it and knock it over by accident. 

Using Proper Ventilation

Propane heaters release carbon monoxide and other gases while they work, meaning that the air inside your tent can become toxic without you realizing it. Often, this is enough to cause illnesses or, in worst-case scenarios, even death. The gases don’t allow the oxygen to be absorbed properly into the bloodstream, and that can be fatal.

As such, ventilating your tent properly is mandatory. Set up your tent so that it provides enough ventilation to maintain air quality and safety. If you manage to create a place where toxic gases can leave your tent, that’s just perfect. While gases escape, fresh air should come in, allowing you to stay healthy. 

You can do so by leaving the zipper of the tent open. It should be around six inches open so there is enough air coming in when there are windless conditions. Also, you can help the ventilation process by ensuring the airflow into the body of the tent and under the tent. 

Use a Portable Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carrying an extra item with you on your journey may not be something you planned, but you’ll be happy to have one around. Carbon monoxide detectors are a great way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by detecting it and alarming you when things start becoming unsafe. If you want to make sure you stay safe even after you handle all the ventilation requirements, a carbon monoxide detector is the best option you have. 

Propane Tent Heater FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about propane tent heaters so you know what to expect from them:

Can You Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From A Propane Heater?

You can get carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater if you don’t provide the right ventilation in the tent. It can be prevented by ensuring the space is ventilated and that you have a carbon monoxide detector for extra safety. 

Is A Mr. Buddy Heater Safe Indoors?

Mr. Buddy Heater is made for outdoor use, but given it shuts off automatically if oxygen levels become too low, using a Mr. Buddy Heater in tent or indoor is safe as well. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, using a propane heater inside a tent is safe if you make sure to follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. With a combination of safety features and the right placement and ventilation, a propane heater will not pose a risk inside a tent.

James with daughter on the trails

About James...

Hi, I’m James. If I’m not working on this site, you can often find me outdoors roaming the trails. I’m an avid hiker, mountain biker, and overlander. I’m excited to share my passion for the outdoors with you.