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. We also list the best cars to sleep in for camping separately. For more information, see our section on frequently asked questions below.

Best 5 heaters for winter car camping

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 9,000 BTU. 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

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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.

Car Camping Heater FAQs


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

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Selanto portable electric heater is a smart choice for comfortable sleeping as well.

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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.