While winter camping can be a fun outdoor adventure, it can also be difficult to stay warm. Don’t let the cold temperature hold you back from enjoying some fresh air, and instead implement all the different ways you can stay warm in a tent. During our research on the different methods of heating a tent, we found lots of questions about alternatives for propane tent heaters. We’ve already discussed solar heaters for camping (..do they even exist?), so let’s cover what it means to have a battery powered heater for camping.
To break down battery powered heater, you need a battery and a portable heater. For the battery, we highly recommend getting a high quality portable power bank like the Jackery below. It’s super highly rated, has a long warranty period, and provides plenty of power for all your electronics at camp. Pair that battery with a small electric heater, and you’ll have the perfect combination for a battery powered space heater for camping.
Watts vs. Heaters
In order to understand a portable battery operated heater, we need to look at how watts work. Simply put, a watt is a unit of power and is the common standard analysis of power consumption in the USA. One watt is a small amount of power, but put them together and they can power more. For example, a standard wall outlet is 1800 watts and you can plug in multiple things or even a power strip.
When talking about a space heater, most of them use upwards of 1,500W, which is a significant amount when a lot of portable power stations have a similar amount. If a power station was rated 1500W, that’s how much power it can provide on one charge. So a 1500W power bank could provide enough power for 1 hour of use of a 1500W space heater. That’s not that much when it comes to camping in the cold. That being said, there’s smaller electric heaters that would be perfect for tent camping, and their smaller wattage requirements means a portable battery could run them for several hours at a time.
All that being said, if you are running a small electric space heater on a battery we’d recommend at least a 1000W power station coupled with a heater around 100W to make sure that you can run your heater all night. If you’d like to have a bigger heater or run it multiple nights without recharging, you might go with a 1500 or 2000W power station.
Editor’s Picks for Best Battery Powered Heater for Camping
If you want to use a portable power station with an electric heater to create battery operated heaters, we’ve put together our favorite suggestions for power stations that would work perfectly for the situation. Simply pair your battery of choice with a small electric space heater and you have a battery powered space heater. Our top pick for a space heater is this one, or you can check out more options on our post best electric tent heaters.
Editor’s Choice – Jackery Explorer 1000
This battery from Jackery comes with everything you need to power your electric tent heater. It’s small, light, durable, and portable, making it great for camping. It recharges in less than two hours in a wall outlet, but provides hours of use and recharging for smaller devices like a car fridge, TV, coffee maker, phone, and laptop.
With this portable battery, you can run a small electric space heater for several hours, plus you can use it to recharge and run other electronics at your campsite. As a bonus, this unit comes with a 3 year warranty and has some of the best reviews of any portable battery on the market. When you buy direct from Jackery, you also get a free warranty extension of 2 years (for a total of 5 years).
If you want to take the plunge into clean energy and add on solar panels, you have the option on this Explorer 1000 and it will recharge no matter where you are. If you decide you want more watts, Jackery also offers this unit in 1500 and 2000 options, which would greatly increase the amount of runtime for an electric space heater.
- Capacity: 1002 Wh
- Cell Chemistry: Lithium-ion battery
- Recharge Time on AC Adapter: 1.8 hours
- Weight: 25.4 lbs.
- Highlight: Highest quality, highly rated, and extended warranty
EcoFlow DELTA Portable Power Station
EcoFlow is another high quality brand when it comes to portable power stations and their DELTA would be a great option to pair with a electric tent heater. It has a 1250 Wh capacity, which is slightly higher than the Jackery above, but it doe have a significantly shorter warranty period. That being said, one of the coolest features on this battery is that it can charge from 0% to 80% in only an hour, and can take on a full charge in only 1.6 hours. That’s a great recharge time, making it a good option for campers who aren’t spending a lot of time near an outlet.
Just like any of the other portable batteries on this list, the DELTA is ready for a wide variety of electronics, including space heaters, and can power them for hours on end depending on their required wattage. It would be a great addition to your camping gear!
- Capacity: 1250 Wh
- Cell Chemistry: Lithium-ion battery
- Recharge Time on AC Adapter: 1.6 hours
- Weight: 30 lbs. 14oz.
- Highlight: Super quick recharge time
Most Affordable – Grecell 1000W Power Station
This Grecell 1000W power station is a similar wattage to the options above, but is a more affordable price. The trade-off is that it charges much more slowly and it has only two AC outlets. However, one of the coolest parts of this battery is the wireless charging pad on the top surface, which allows you to wirelessly charge your smart phone and any other wireless compatible devices.
It would be a great option for someone who wants to try having a power station while camping but doesn’t want to the oversized price tag.
- Capacity: 999 Wh
- Cell Chemistry: Lithium-ion battery
- Recharge Time on AC Adapter: 7-8 hours
- Highlight: Affordable and has a wireless charging pat on the top surface
Is an Electric Heater Safe for a Tent?
Of all the heater options for tent camping, the safest option is an electric heater because it does not produce any flame or carbon monoxide. That being said, you still should never sleep with a space heater on or leave it unattended. Instead, run it before bed, then turn it off when you go to bed. While it’s running, you can give it some ventilation by opening an upper flap or cracking a mesh window.
Because an electric heater isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to heat a tent, you could also consider using a propane heater. These will provide more warmth, and several are labeled safe for indoor use. Even if you are skeptical about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, you could opt to only run it while awake in a well ventilated space while using a carbon monoxide detector to decrease your changes of having any issues.
Best Battery Operated Heater Alternatives
If you want to go a different route, there are some options for a battery powered heater alternative. Overall, the safest method is using an electric heater with the portable battery from above, but there’s other options that are safe and effective as well.
As already mentioned above, one of the best alternatives for battery operated heaters is a propane tent heater. While they do run some additional risk, you can follow certain steps to minimize the chances of anything happening while still enjoying their hot air. There are also a few other options to consider for alternatives:
- Other Heating Methods: you could heat your tent with a candle, or use one of the other top portable heaters for a tent.
- Insulate your Tent: we’ve put together a 7-step guide on how to properly insulate your tent for cold weather camping. Most of the options are lightweight and all of them are quite affordable, while a couple just require some good ol’ hard work (like insulating the ground under your tent with natural materials). Do them all to maximize insulation or only do a few to still make large improvements.
- Winter sleep system: purchase and carry sleeping bags that are comfort rated for at least 10°F below the expected temperatures, and pair them with a sleeping bag liner that insulate the bag even more. Pair this with a high R-value sleeping pad or cot, and you’ll be golden!
- Warm Clothes: pack heavy and warm clothes such as jackets, head covers/beanies, gloves, winter boots, and heavy winter pants like ski pants or waterproof fleece lined hiking pants. You should always bring along or wear thermals under these layers, as a simple extra layer of clothing can make a huge difference.
- Heated Gear: you can combine your warm clothes with the top pieces of heated camping gear, which includes clothing, heated camping chairs, and even a heated blanket.
- Hot Water Bottle: a classic trick and personal favorite is the hot water bottle in your sleeping bag. Simply use a heavy duty plastic water bottle like a Nalgene, boil water right before bed, and store it in the bottle. Then, put the water bottle in or around your sleeping bag while you are getting ready for bed, then cuddle it for warmth while you fall asleep.
- Hand and Foot Warmers: hand and foot warmers are relatively inexpensive packets that are perfect for your pockets, gloves, and shoes to keep your digits warmer. Though less commonly found in stores, there are companies that make larger heat packs that are meant for your back and larger body parts. You should have these on hand anyways (especially in case of emergency), and you should use them when you feel the need. You can also stick a foot warmer to the back of your phone to help keep the battery warmer so it doesn’t die as quickly.
Is there such thing as a battery operated heater?
A battery operated heater does exist if you use a portable battery with a small electric heater, and they can work perfectly together to heat a smaller tent.
Is there a heater that runs on batteries?
In order to make a heater that runs on batteries, you have to pair a low watt electric heater (e.g., 200W or less) with a high quality portable power station that’s at least 1000W or more. This combination will let the heater run for several hours and the battery can also recharge your small electronic devices.
Can a portable battery power a heater?
A portable battery can power a heater quite easily if you have the right combination. You’ll need a low watt electric heater (200W or less) and pair it with a high watt power station that’s at least 1000W or more. Then, you could run the heater for several hours at a time on a single charge.
Using one of the battery powered heaters can provide warmth for a small tent for hours on end, plus it’s safer than other heater options. There’s no flame and no by-products (like carbon monoxide) to worry about, so you can heat your space worry free. Simply combine one of your favorite low watt space heaters with a portable power station and you can raise the temperature of your tent significantly.
About the Author
Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, hiking, wildflowers, and mushrooms. If she isn’t writing content for Know Nothing Nomads, she’s probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.