Wood Stove VS Propane Heater

Wood Stove VS Propane Heater

Anton Shupletsov January 06, 2021

There are many discussions on different camping forums about how to heat tents in the winter.

The most dangerous devices for heating tents are those that use gas- gas infrared burners, portable gas stoves, or gas burners. Let's try to understand why.

No matter which gas heater you use- ceramic, convectional, or infrared- they all emit combustion products. Burning 1 liter of liquefied gas will burn 10 liters of air.

During the burning process, significant emissions of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide occur, but when there’s a lack of oxygen, it causes the burning process to emit carbon monoxide, which is an extremely toxic gas even in small quantities.

This is a potentially dangerous or even deadly situation.  If you use this type of gas heater in the tent and go to sleep, you may be overcome by carbon monoxide even with ventilation and the burner positioned 10” above the floor level as recommended by manufacturers.

Fishing all day in a tent with a gas heater is also dangerous. You may suffer carbon monoxide poisoning, fall unconscious, or even die. Unfortunately, accidents caused by carbon monoxide poisoning inside tents aren’t uncommon in Russia.


Carbon monoxide is a colorless, poisonous gas with no taste or smell. It fills the air space inside the tent when combustion occurs.  Poisoning by carbon monoxide is an acute pathological condition resulting from the inhalation of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide in the body interacts with hemoglobin and prevents oxygen from being absorbed by the tissues in body, resulting in hypoxia, which may lead to death without qualified medical help.

However, properly used gas devices can be quite safe. For example, if you plan to ice fish, install the tent and turn on the gas heater for several minutes to warm up the tent. When the tent is warm, turn off the gas heater. This is enough to prepare fishing tackle and warm up after walking and installing the tent. After a while time, ventilate the tent and turn on the heater again for a short period. The same applies to overnight stays in the tent. The most important rule is that you never leave the heater on for a long time. For example, if you need to change into dry clothes after walking and installing the tent, turn on the gas heater, warm-up, change your clothes, and turn off the heater.  

So, the most important rule is to only use the gas heater for short periods. Never leave it running all the time.

The official site of the Russian rescue Service recommends that you use caution at all times. If you use a heater, never seal a room tightly and ventilate regularly.

Wood stoves have been used for centuries and are safer comparing to gas heaters. All by-products of burning are carried out through the stove’s pipe. Smoke is hot and rises, so you don’t need to worry about it staying in the tent. Wood stoves can be used continuously, even throughout the night. You simply add wood as necessary.

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