Can You Use a Camping Stove in a Tent?

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Can you use a camping stove in a tent? This is a question that many campers ask themselves.

The answer, unfortunately, is not always black and white.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a camping stove in a tent, find out the best tent stove setup, and highlight some important tips to do it safely.

Is It Safe to Use a Camping Stove Inside a Tent?

It is safe to use a camping stove inside a tent as long as it is designed for indoor use, properly ventilated, and set up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Of course, there are some risks – mainly carbon monoxide poisoning and fire. Not to mention the smell of food produced when cooking can lure animals to your tent.

But, most of these risks can be mitigated by using a stove designed for use in a properly ventilated tent.

What Camping Stoves Can I Use in a Tent?

There are many different types and brands of camping stoves on the market today. More popular options include the MSR Windburner, MSR Reactor, and the Jetboil gas stove.

While these are great camping stoves that definitely have their place (I love them for backpacking trips), I would not recommend using them in your tent (contrary to what some others might say). While their design may reduce the risk of starting your tent on fire, they still emit carbon monoxide. So, it’s best to use them outdoors or under a vestibule tarp if it’s raining.

With that said, there are better options out there.

The best option for using a stove inside your tent requires two main things:

  1. A camping tent stove designed for indoor use that comes with a chimney or flue pipe
  2. A tent with a stove jack that provides an exit point for the flue pipe of the stove

The Winnerwell Nomad Wood-Burning Tent Stove is an excellent camping stove option designed for use in small indoor spaces (like a tent, yurt, teepee, etc.) that comes with the necessary hardware for proper ventilation.

Combine that stove with a tent with a stove jack, and you have a safe(r) way to use a camping stove in your tent for heating and cooking purposes.

But, even with the best setup, there are some important safety tips you’ll want to follow.

Tent Stove Safety Tips

As mentioned above, you can use a stove in a tent if you have the right setup.

With that said, there are still some important safety tips that will ensure the safest experience possible.

  1. Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions: This bears repeating. Read your camping stove owner’s manual. And read it again. There may be specific safety tips for your model of stove that need to be taken into account.
  2. Ensure proper clearance around the stove: The last thing you want is anything, or anyone, coming in contact with the stove while it’s in operation. So, ensure there is enough clearance around the stove to prevent a fire or burn risk.
  3. Keep a door or window cracked during use: Even if your tent stove is properly ventilated, it will still burn ambient oxygen. Ensure you have safe oxygen levels in your tent by keeping it ventilated whenever a stove is in use.
  4. Use a CO detector: No matter what type of fuel the stove uses (propane gas, butane, alcohol, wood, etc.), you’ll want to ensure that CO levels in the tent never get too high. Carbon monoxide is a gas that is odorless, colorless, and potentially lethal. Using a CO detector and learning about the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can aid in the prevention of carbon monoxide-related problems. A battery-powered CO detector is a must.
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher handy: Always have a fire extinguisher on hand when using a stove in your tent. It could mean the difference between a small burn and losing all your camping gear in seconds.
  6. Keep children away from the stove when in use: This goes for pets, as well.
  7. Be mindful of local wildlife: An often overlooked aspect of using a camping stove in your tent is the possibility that the smell will attract wild animals. When camping in bear country, it’s a good idea to separate your food prep and storage areas from your sleeping area.

Just remember, camping stoves are safe when used properly. Be sure to use them according to the manufacturer’s directions, in a well-ventilated tent (preferably with a stove jack), and heed any local warnings about cooking in areas with dangerous animals.

1 thought on “Can You Use a Camping Stove in a Tent?”

  1. It is no fun trying to cook outside a tent in Alberta wind. It is impossible in winter wind. There are 102 posts on the internet advising backpackers, “no cooking in your tent.” Therefore most backpackers are at home waiting for good enough weather so they could endure cooking outside. This cooking outside the shelter idea must have come from California, not from the indigenous people of Alberta who cooked inside their tipi for 1000’s of years. It is easy to carry a 12oz chimney . Burning a tiny bit of wood in a tiny stove. With a chimney backpacking is enjoyable any day of the year. For a trial, those who forbid brewing coffee in a tent should brew it outside the tent everyday for a few weeks In winter, even summer. They maybe think some days, chimney inside.
    If a bear comes to visit while you are cooking and eating, the safest place to be is inside your tent watching the bear through a peek vent you have on each side. It is best if your shelter sides are not connected to a floor so you can raise any side to cool off or spray a bear.
    While he sleeps a backpacker should have a trip string surrounding his camp connected to a tiny very loud battery powered alarm.
    To keep a packers bedding on his sleep pad and dry and free from invading rodents he could use a waterproof tarp 5’x9.5’. Gather each end and hang it from something above. This gives him a bag with 20” sides. He may want to reduce the side height.


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