Mr heater buddy heaters in tents overnight

MattJ

Adventurer
OK - I did some more searching online, and I can't find a case where something went wrong with a propane heater as long as these two conditions were met:

1) The space where the heater is used is properly vented (technically not a requirement for propane heaters, but it helps manage the condensation build up)
2) The propane tank is kept outside the space being heated

The only cases I can find where accidents happened involved problems with how the propane tanks were placed and used, not malfunctions in the heaters. Is this why so many companies are still permitted to sell propane heaters for indoor use? Presumably, if there were cases where the products were used as intended but people still died, they'd be banned and off the market.

Obviously fires and burns are risks too, but I wasn't searching for those accidents.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
In a roof-top tent, you'd be surprised how much heat a single Uco candle lamp puts out.

Suspended safely and securely on a dedicated line, away from people, pets and the tent walls, the Uco beeswax candle will burn all night without smoke, and put off enough heat to heat the tent, and remove moisture from the air.

Indeed, on some nights that just aren't cold enough, you'll find yourself having to blow out the candle as the tent becomes too hot ... especially if you've got a warm sleeping bag.
What is the by-product of a burning candle? Isn't some amount of carbon monoxide produced? I would think a burning candle makes ventilation mandatory, whereas the propane heaters make venting optional, based upon how wet you are willing to get with condensation build up.
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
Anytime you burn oxygen with carbon, you get carbon monoxide.

So "yes" a candle is wax, and contains carbon, so will generate carbon monoxide through burning, although a single candle in a vented space isn't capable of creating an issue.
Personally, I vent my roof-top tent whenever I'm sleeping in it, warm weather or cold weather - heated or unheated.
I can't imagine sleeping in a sealed up tent, re-breathing exhaled air, so I'm always vented - anytime of year.

Remember too that carbon monoxide is only slightly less dense than air, and because of this, carbon monoxide mixes evenly in a given space. So your space needs to be ventilated top and bottom (which most roof top tents do very well).
 

Chris Boyd

Explorer
Here in the nanny-state of Massachusetts, even the buddy heater has to be relabeled for outdoor use only. Go across the line to NH and it doesn't have these statements on the box. And for the trouble, it's $15 more here... passing the "tax" of doing business MA's way down to the consumer.



I'm reasonably sure that any combustion generates some CO, but to varying levels. Some generate more Co2 than CO based on the level of complete combustion, but generally it's always a component of combustion.

How about solar, batteries and 12v electric blankets as an alternative. (I know that wasn't the OP's question).
 

carbon60

Explorer
I also wonder why I would want a heater running while sleeping. It's lovely to be tucked into a big pile of 950 fill-power goose down, breathing crisp cold air! Even better with the girlfriend. We sleep like babies.

She very much hates getting out of bed, when it's cold, so I will eventually get a heater for that purpose.

She also hates getting up to pee when it's cold, but I don't have a solution to that problem… :)
 

MANUCHAO

Aventurero
is it worth risking your life or the lives of others on this sensor functioning properly?
looks like it is to some....

It's lovely to be tucked into a big pile of 950 fill-power goose down, breathing crisp cold air!
^^^ Amen to this....... one of the MANY reasons to be out there.........

Being uncomfortably cold at night is alright I suppose (at worst it will make for some unforgettable & great memories) , but being stiff warm is not.....(& you'll be just a memory)...
 

peekay

Adventurer
for what it's worth, I have used a Buddy Heater a few times in my 20' travel trailer. On the last trip, it caused the CO detector to go off around 3am. Scared the crap out of me. No more Buddy Heater while we're asleep. Just not worth the risk.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
OK - as promised, more research on this today. Good news - I'm going to consider this case CLOSED for me. I downloaded the user manual and found this on page 2:



So yes, if not properly vented with sufficient combustion air, you will die.

Thanks everyone for sharing your input and experiences on this! That's what this community is for.
 

jk6661

Observer
OK - as promised, more research on this today. Good news - I'm going to consider this case CLOSED for me. I downloaded the user manual and found this on page 2:



So yes, if not properly vented with sufficient combustion air, you will die.

Thanks everyone for sharing your input and experiences on this! That's what this community is for.
So the question becomes, what is "proper" venting? A nylon tent with one window cracked? Two windows? A canvas tent with no windows cracked because cotton breathes on its own?
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Yeah - I wondered that too. And what happens if you have a couple tent windows open but a heavy fog rolls in? Crazy, I know. But atmospheric conditions can change dramatically (part of the reason we all love the outdoors). Maybe a small USB fan would make a huge difference?
 

trasko

Adventurer
My opinion: not worth it. Get more blankets. Buy a better sleeping bag. Only use the buddy heater while awake. Use a form of a heat which doesn't have the potential to kill you while you sleep. There are many options.

Adults can make their own decisions. Mine is not to use a heater than kill me while I sleep.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
In a roof-top tent, you'd be surprised how much heat a single Uco candle lamp puts out.

Suspended safely and securely on a dedicated line, away from people, pets and the tent walls, the Uco beeswax candle will burn all night without smoke, and put off enough heat to heat the tent, and remove moisture from the air.

Indeed, on some nights that just aren't cold enough, you'll find yourself having to blow out the candle as the tent becomes too hot ... especially if you've got a warm sleeping bag.
A candle under a poncho was an old trick for keeping warm in the desert at winter when we had to be up nights on perimeter guard duty.

Like several others have posted, I'm not a big fan at all of leaving the heat on while I am sleeping. We just turn it on in the morning when we get up. From a survival perspective it is probably better to have a good enough sleeping bag that you aren't dependent on a heat source to stay warm enough to sleep comfortably...
 

carbon60

Explorer
From a survival perspective it is probably better to have a good enough sleeping bag that you aren't dependent on a heat source to stay warm enough to sleep comfortably...
That's a very good point!

I'd add that I keep very warm sleeping bags in the truck, for each occupant, regardless of whether I expect to be out overnight. They can also mean the difference between life and death in the case of a traumatic injury.

A.
 

Model94

Member
Try a woodstove. There are some good lightweight options (much better than the uber heavy cylinder stove that cabella's sells). Kni-co makes nice sheet steel ones including a fold-down model. 4-dog makes titanium stoves that are fantastic but pricey. You will get much more heat from these and it will be convective and radiant in multiple directions as opposed to the buddy heater which is line-of sight radiation in one direction. The woodstove will help with condensation as well, not add to it. It will provide an order of magnitude more heat for you.

https://www.kni-co.com/

http://fourdog.com/ultra-light-ii/
 

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