5 Best Heaters for Winter Car Camping


Wintertime car camping is a unique experience. Staying warm is the most important task for adventurous campers seeking to go out in the colder months. The best heaters for winter car camping are rather practical since they don’t need to be as powerful as those for vans and RVs.

Car camping heaters primarily run on electricity. However, even some small heaters can run on propane or diesel. Winter car-camping enthusiasts benefit from a wide selection of heaters depending on car size and estimated camping duration.

Best 5 Heaters for Winter Car Camping

Title
Best Budget
Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
Best Value
Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater
Editor's Choice
Selanto Portable Electric Heater
Preview
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium , Black/Red
Mr. Heater MH9BX-Massachusetts/Canada approved portable Propane Heater
Portable Electric Space Heater for indoor use,1500W Ceramic Portable Heater with 4 Modes, Safety & Fast - Quiet Heat, Small Mini Electric Heater for Indoor Office Room Desktop Home Use
Prime Status
-
Best Budget
Title
Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
Preview
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium , Black/Red
Prime Status
Check Price
Best Value
Title
Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater
Preview
Mr. Heater MH9BX-Massachusetts/Canada approved portable Propane Heater
Prime Status
-
Check Price
Editor's Choice
Title
Selanto Portable Electric Heater
Preview
Portable Electric Space Heater for indoor use,1500W Ceramic Portable Heater with 4 Modes, Safety & Fast - Quiet Heat, Small Mini Electric Heater for Indoor Office Room Desktop Home Use
Prime Status
Check Price

Car camping is very popular. Going in the winter with a car is easier when you know there are no tent setup issues to worry about. Furthermore, cars can stay warmer for longer compared to tents. Here are the top car camping heaters for your next cold-weather backcountry adventure.

1.       Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater

Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
6,432 Reviews
Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
  • Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED VEHICLES.
  • Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). Perfect solution for heating small enclosed spaces like tents up to 95 square feet
  • Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time at minimum btu and maximum btu is 5.6 hours. Do­ not­ operate­ heater­ in­ any ­moving­ vehicle. This ­heater ­requires ­a­ vent­ area­ of­ 4­ square­ inches­ minimum ­for­ adequate ventilation ­during­ operation

Mr. Heater is one of the most popular brands in camping. It makes various size heaters campers all over the world safely use in cars and tents.

The MH4B Propane Heater is their smallest heater. Fueled by propane gas, it’s a very good option if you don’t want to rely on your car’s battery to stay warm. Some campers prefer to have a heat source for hours and even through the night, it’s just not feasible to keep some cars running through the night.

This heater has a power output of over 3.000BTU which means it can heat up most types of cars, regardless of their size. From small 2-door cars to sedans, it can heat any type of car and keep it wark during the winter.

Propane car camping heaters are sometimes met by multiple questions. Campers are mainly interested in maximum running time. This small heater for winter car camping runs up to 7 hours on a single propane tank (sold separately).

It keeps you warm through the night which means it can be one of the solutions for all-night warmth. There’s a low oxygen sensor on the heater which automatically shuts it off when oxygen levels are dangerously low.

2.       Aiate Car Heater

Aiate Car Heater
68 Reviews
Aiate Car Heater
  • ❆【Fast Heating 】- The powerful car heater can quickly heat the air within one minute, warm your winter. This windshield defroster can help you solve the problem that fog and frost cover on your car's windshield Blocking your view effectively, so you can get on the road and get to your destination safely.
  • ❆【 2 IN 1 Modes】 - The car heater has dual functions, with two switches for natural air and hot air. It is ideal for defrosting/demisting window&windscreens in winter. It can also be used as a car fan to cool your car in summer.
  • ❆【Easy To Install】- Simply connect the portable car heater to the cigarette socket of the vehicle and switch to heat or fan(Make sure your car has a 12V lighter port). This defrost and defog car heatercomes with a 360° rotate supporting suction holder, follow control, more convenient and comfortable.

You might not need to most powerful BTU car heater, depending on where you camp during the winter. If you aren’t parked in a snow blizzard, you might only be looking for a small heater to prevent icy windows and high humidity on the windows in the morning.

The small and practical Aaiate Car Heater is the ideal choice in such situations. It plugs in a regular 12V car socket which means it runs in all cars without any adapters.

Low power consumption allows it to run for a few hours without putting too much pressure on your vehicle’s battery. Its 360 heating mode means it distributes heat evenly through the car.

Sure, it doesn’t heat up the entire car so that you can sleep without a sleeping bag. But some of the most popular cars for camping such as the Subaru Crosstek don’t need a lot of heat to allow comfortable heating as they aren’t as large as camping vans.

3.       Selanto Portable Electric Heater

Selanto Portable Electric Heater
4,155 Reviews
Selanto Portable Electric Heater
  • 【Four Heat Settings With Fan】: 4 settings for desired comfort-High Heat (1500-watt), Low Heat (750-watt), ECO, Fan summer cooling use. The ECO heat setting provides comfortable heating using 30% less energy than a standard heater
  • 【Ceramic Technology】: Ceramic heating element that provides faster and more efficient heating than traditional heaters. With PTC ceramic heating tech and high speed fan, This space heaters maximize heat output , and are long lasting. Quiet operation
  • 【Safety Protection】: 1.Made of flame retardant material avoiding any fire hazard. 2. Automatic overheat system will shuts the unit off when the parts of the heater overheat. 3. TIP-OVER SWITCH will shut off unite when tipped forward or backward. 4. Power indicate light can lets you know at a glance that it’s plugged in. 5. ETL certified

Only 8.8 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide, the Selanto Portable Electric Heater is a potent car camping heater for the winter. Its reduced size still allows it to run on both 1.500 watts and 750 watts.

Furthermore, this ceramic heater comes with 4 running modes, ideal for those who don’t like loud heaters. The noise of a ceramic heater typically comes from the fan. Selanto has a fan-only mode as well as 2 other modes that don’t use the fan at all.

These quiet heating modes are ideal for winter car camping. Its quiet performance and overheating protection recommend this small heater for a comfortable night’s sleep.

A tip-over switch is also added to this small heater. It immediately shuts off when tipped or slightly tilted. Such features are a must with electric heaters used in cars as accidents can happen.

4.       Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater

Sale
Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater
1,616 Reviews
Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater
  • 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
  • Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels

A larger heater is recommended for larger cars and even SUVs. If you own a vehicle as large as a Toyota 4Runner, a Nissan Pathfinder, or a Jeep Grand Cherokee you need a potent healer.

Variable heat output allows this Mr. Heater to run anywhere between 4.000 and 9.000BTU. This considerable power output is recommended for large vehicles as well as a heater to use outside the vehicle.

You might consider this heater if you also want to stay warm outside of the car when eating breakfast or dinner since it has such a high heating capacity.

This high heating capacity comes from propane tanks (sold separately). You can expect a standard propane tank to provide up to 6 hours of constant heat at low heat settings and up to 3 hours at high warmth settings.

5.       Tseipoaoi Diesel 12V Diesel Heater

Tseipoaoi Diesel 12V Diesel Heater
10 Reviews
Tseipoaoi Diesel 12V Diesel Heater
  • 12V 5KW aluminum alloy diesel air heater with LCD control(Fahrenheit), remote control,10L tank,silencer and other necessary accessories(shown as the picture)
  • Diesel heater can be used for cab heating of lorries, van, battery cars ,trucks,boat,touring car,bus.
  • Remote control can preheating,oil quantity, temperature and wind speed can be adjusted,window's frost can be eliminated.There is a protective film on the LCD controller screen! Fuel pumps are tested during production and there will be a little fuel inside.

A 12V diesel car heater might be the ultimate energy-independence solution for winter car camping. This small heater runs on diesel, as its name suggests. It comes with full specifications of a modern car heater such as remote control use and LCD temperature display.

Most importantly, this heater is recommended for those camping in very cold weather. Any camper in Northern states such as Montana or Seattle might be thinking about buying a heater with a more powerful output than really needed to keep the car warm for the entire night.

This diesel heater comes with a 10L tank (2.6 gallons). This tank allows it to offer constant heat for up to 12 hours. Unlike others in its class, it can be used for days when winter camping as long as you bring extra diesel.

Diesel winter car camping heaters are an alternative to ceramic heaters. Running on diesel means you can camp in some of the most remote spots without being affected by cold weather. Car batteries are often affected by temperatures below the freezing line. Diesel heaters are a safe alternative for very cold wintertime camping conditions.

FAQs

Can you use a portable heater in the car?

A portable heater can be used in a car given it has safety features such as overheating protection and tipping protection. Portable heaters are often small which means they’re perfectly suitable for in-car use.

Is it colder to sleep in a car or in a tent?

It’s colder to sleep in a tent than in a car. Thin tent walls can’t retain heat as efficiently as the metal chassis of the car. Tents are prone to quick heat dissipation as most are made from nylon or canvas. Cars can be better to sleep in when it comes to warmth as they have an insulation role.

If you decide to sleep in a tent, then my article on winterizing your tent will be useful.

Are 12V car heaters enough?

12V car heaters are enough for wintertime camping. Most can be used to heat up the temperature inside by a few degrees, sufficient for comfortable sleeping. 12V car heaters are also practical as they connect directly to the car.

Do you need to crack a window when sleeping in a car?

In theory, you don’t need to lower the window of a car when sleeping. However, sleeping in a car with all windows up creates high moisture and humidity which settles on the windows. Humidity can even freeze windows and make them unusable in wintertime camping.

Can you run out of oxygen sleeping in a car?

You can’t run out of oxygen when sleeping in a car. Good heaters for winter car camping come with oxygen level sensors. They automatically shut off whenever they detect low oxygen levels.

Do I need a heater for winter car camping?

Campers need a heater for winter car camping. Temperatures fall quickly in the winter and a car does not provide sufficient thermal protection without a heat source. Heaters offer an alternative to keeping the car running to generate heat.

How cold is too cold to sleep in your car?

It’s generally assumed temperatures lower than 30 Fahrenheit degrees are considered too low to comfortably sleep in a car. It’s below this point that you need to use a heater in your car while camping in the wintertime.

Do diesel heaters need electricity?

Diesel heaters don’t necessarily need electricity. However, most modern diesel heaters that can be used in cars use thermostats that require electricity. They can be plugged into a car’s 12V charger for electricity which controls the desired in-car temperature. Electricity also powers any sensors these heaters come with such as low oxygen sensors.

Verdict

Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater is the ideal budget heater for winter car camping.

Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
6,432 Reviews
Mr. Heater MH4B Propane Heater
  • Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED VEHICLES.
  • Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). Perfect solution for heating small enclosed spaces like tents up to 95 square feet
  • Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time at minimum btu and maximum btu is 5.6 hours. Do­ not­ operate­ heater­ in­ any ­moving­ vehicle. This ­heater ­requires ­a­ vent­ area­ of­ 4­ square­ inches­ minimum ­for­ adequate ventilation ­during­ operation

Selanto Portable Electric Heater is a smart choice for comfortable sleeping as well.

Selanto Portable Electric Heater
4,155 Reviews
Selanto Portable Electric Heater
  • 【Four Heat Settings With Fan】: 4 settings for desired comfort-High Heat (1500-watt), Low Heat (750-watt), ECO, Fan summer cooling use. The ECO heat setting provides comfortable heating using 30% less energy than a standard heater
  • 【Ceramic Technology】: Ceramic heating element that provides faster and more efficient heating than traditional heaters. With PTC ceramic heating tech and high speed fan, This space heaters maximize heat output , and are long lasting. Quiet operation
  • 【Safety Protection】: 1.Made of flame retardant material avoiding any fire hazard. 2. Automatic overheat system will shuts the unit off when the parts of the heater overheat. 3. TIP-OVER SWITCH will shut off unite when tipped forward or backward. 4. Power indicate light can lets you know at a glance that it’s plugged in. 5. ETL certified

A compact alternative mainly suitable for a warm breeze that prevents frost on windows can be considered with the Aiate Car Heater. Its practical design recommends it for camping and traveling.

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