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Heating in a tent

July 25, 2019 — BarryK

The grey nomads follow the seasons. Here in the southern hemisphere, they go north in winter and south in summer. Here in the south-west of Western Australia, there are lots of lovely camping sites, especially on the coast, and many of these can get crowded in the summer, even more so during school holidays.

Off-season camping has its attractions, one being that will only have to share a campsite with a few other hardy souls. However, sitting in my tent at night with butt freezing, is a challenge. Of course, wear lots of clothes, but even so. Also, I am a "cold sleeper" and liable to find the sleeping bag inadequate.

There are various solutions for heating in a RV or tent. Gas and diesel heaters are the options. Electric heat if at a caravan park and powered site, however, not viable at an un-powered site.

Then there are wood stoves. There are wood stoves especially designed to use inside an RV or tent. Yes, even a tent. I did some research and especially like the Gstove:


The Gstove is made in Norway. Here is a video:

Most of the videos show usage in a tent with earth floor, which is understandable, however, there are some videos showing usage in a tent with floor, and a fire-proof mat under the stove.

Very interesting, but I already own a wood stove, a cheapy, that I bought fron 4wdsupacentre for only AU$79, Kings camp oven:


That's great for use outside the tent, people can sit around it on a cold night. It could even be organised to be underneath an awning.

I don't fancy putting the Kings camp oven inside my tent. Would be an interesting project though.

Thinking about sitting inside the tent at night, or in bed, with extremities chilled. I don't want a gas or diesel heater, so what is left? A 12 volt electric blanket!

12 volt electric blankets draw very little power, low enough to run from a solar-charged battery. This option intrigued me so much, that I bought two tiny ones from eBay, to compare:

"Snoopy" AU$7.21 450x450mm 22W Actual: 425x415mm 15.5W (at 12.42V)

"Flowers" AU$10.19 420x420mm 20W Actual: 450x435mm 15.2W (at 12.42V)

"Snoopy" and "Flowers" are the patterns on the ones I received. I like "Snoopy" best, it has rounded corners, like this one:


Both of these state on eBay that the item location is HongKong, however, they actually came from Thailand. Same place, just different PO boxes.

I have used these, they are great. Sitting in my lounge chair, tried them in different positions. The back, under the bum, inside front of jacket. They have a three-position switch, and this is where their cheapness becomes apparent, as the two on-positions are the same. The switch is probably designed for two heat levels, however that is not how they are wired. It is just on, 15W, or off.

The only complaint that I have is that they get too hot. This is a winter night, but inside the house, so not really testing them in conditions of a cold winter night in a tent.

I reckon that two of them wired in series, on a mattress, would be great while sleeping. 7.5W is tiny, yet from my limited testing I think it would make for a pleasant sleep.

Will do some more research on this. I wonder if there are any available in which the switch does actually have two heat levels? 

Tags: nomad