There are lots of different ways to stay warm while camping whether you’re trying to warm yourself or the space around you. Heating yourself involves wearing warm clothes, packing the right gear like a cold weather sleeping bag, and using some tricks to stay warm like cuddling a Nalgene filled with hot water. The simplest way to heat the space around you is using a campfire, or even a propane heater. But once you get into your chilly tent, what options do you have that are indoor safe?
Where other methods of heating fall short in safety and the accessibility of electricity, solar powered heaters is environmentally friendly and doesn’t emit any dangerous gasses. When we went on the hunt for the best solar powered heater for camping, we were surprised to find a lot of suggestions for products that weren’t even related to heating a tent. Or if they were intended for tent heating, they didn’t use solar power to do so. This got us thinking and researching, so let’s talk about what we found.
Pros of a Solar Powered Tent Heater
There are several pros of using solar powered tent heaters over electric or propane, the main one being the clean energy it provides. Electric heaters aren’t always accessible or usable, especially if you don’t camp with electrical hookups or generators. Propane heaters have a bad rep with their risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, even though there are many options labeled as “safe for indoor use” like the Mr. Buddy Heater. If you’re not looking to make either of those work, the idea of a solar powered tent heater looks even better.
A Solar Heater For Camping
While actual ‘solar heaters’ don’t exist, we can create our own using a solar panel and a portable power station paired with an electric tent heater. The solar panel can draw power from the sun during the day, while storing the energy in a battery station with plugs. You could even charge the power station ahead of time to give yourself a head start, and this will allow you to use the power any time of day for things like an electric tent heater, heated blanket, or even just charging your phone. This will essential take a battery powered heater and charge your battery with a solar panel.
That being said, you do have to consider the watts of the space heater compared to the watts stored by the battery and the solar panel. If a battery is called the “Battery 500” that means it’s maximum wattage or power output is 500W. That means it could run a 500W heater for one hour at it’s maximum. Since most space heaters require a large amount of watts, you have to decrease your space heater size and increase your battery size. For our top pick below, we’ve selected a low watt space heater that’s perfect for a tent, and we have paired it with the best combination of portable battery and solar panel for optimal use.
Our Top Pick
We’ve made your life simple by picking the best combination of a portable solar panel and portable power station for use with an electric heater so you can create your clean energy “solar tent heater.”
Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
This solar generator kit from Jackery comes with everything you need to power your solar tent heater all night long, which includes the portable power station and compatible solar panel. With this configuration, you can run a small electric space heater (like this one) for a full 8 hours.
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro is the best solar heater because it comes with not only the solar panels and battery bank, but it also come with everything you need to make setup and operation super easy. Using the 2 panel kit you can fully charge the battery pack in as little as nine hours. Simply leave your solar panels out while you are enjoying your day outside, and when you come back your solar generator will have stored enough energy to keep you warm and cozy in your tent all night.
Other Uses for a Portable Battery
If you find that the battery and portable solar panel setup from above is a little pricey, you’re not alone. But know that it’s actually a great price for the quality you’re getting, and you wouldn’t be over paying (based on current market prices for similar products). Jackery is consistently rated as the top manufacturer of units like the one above, so you can be sure you’re getting a product that’s worth your time and money.
In order to make the most of your solar panels and portable battery, it’s worth knowing what else you can use it for. The obvious ideas are charging small electronics like phones, tablets, and laptops, but there’s so much more.
The particular Jackery battery above can also be used to power a car fridge, TV, blender, coffee maker, and/or more electronics that you could use while camping.
You can also have it charged at all times in your home, and use it as a backup in case you lose power. It can provide enough energy for run things like your fridge, a CPAP, TV, microwave, or a coffee maker.
A Field Test
Adventures with Spackmann on YouTube brought us a field test from the Adirondacks where he entertained the idea of using a solar panel set up with a battery paired with an electric heater. While he ran into a couple of issues, he was able to work things out and get his tent to a whopping 72°F while it was only 13°F outside!
Related Post: How to Insulate a Tent – 7 Steps for a Warm Night
A solar heater setup could be a great addition to your camping gear, especially if you’re looking for ways to use clean energy while heating the inside of your tent and running other electronics. Pair your new Jackery setup with quality gear and warm clothes, and you’ll be golden. If you’re interested in more ways to stay warm in cold camping weather, you could also read up on candles, battery operated heated blankets, heated camping gear, and more!
Related Post: How to Heat a Tent
Our #1 Recommendation: Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 is the best way to heat your tent with solar power. The solar panels charge fast so you can keep you tent warm and cozy all night long.
With more than 6,000 5-star reviews across the internet, this unit is easily the best solar heater for camping!
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.