What Heaters Can I Use In My Icehouse Tent?
Winter is upon us, and soon the lakes in the North will be frozen. Yes, it's that time of year for ice fishing. This winter activity puts you out on a frozen lake, hoping for the perfect catch of the day. You are armed with your ice fishing gear, warm clothes, and your Ice House Tent. But what else can you do to stay warm? May different methods and types of heaters are used during the ice fishing season.
What Icehouse Tent Heaters Will Keep Me Warm? The best method for heat while ice fishing is a propane style heater. These can be directly connected on top of a 20-pound propane tank or be a stand-alone model with a 10'hose. These heaters can be used with electric or no electric depending on the model. These heaters can produce from 7K BTU to 100k BTU, depending on size and style. Please be aware. These heaters are not necessarily meant for overnight sleeping use as they will produce CO2 and have limited safety options.
The basic icehouse heater will run off liquid propane, typically a 20-pound tank that you bring with the heater. This heater will offer you a radiant style heater element or a burner style element, depending on your chosen model.
The radiant style heaters can offer you some additional safety items that you most likely won't find on your burner style heater. The radiant heater will usually provide you tip-over protection, where the unit shuts off if the heater is knocked over. Some models will also offer you an oxygen sensor so that if the oxygen level in your icehouse drops too low levels, the unit will be turned off automatically.
These radiant heaters will offer you from 3.5k BTU to 18k BTU of heat output, whether they are stand-alone models or tank mounts. It is also good to know that radiant heat is designed to heat specific items, including yourself, whereas burner heaters heat the air. The radiant heater is easy to recognize with its orange glowing heating element.
The second style of heater for your icehouse is the burner style heater. This heater looks similar to a barrel but smaller. The burner element is at the bottom and heats the air inside the container. The hot air is then circulated by cold air at the bottom and hot air at the top.
These heaters will offer you little in the way of overnight safety. No oxygen sensors or tip over sensors. You will get a pilot sensor, so the gas valve will close and not release unburned propane if the flame should go out.
These burner heaters will produce more heat than the radiant model, up to 100K BTU in some models. These can heat spaces in extreme cold and keep them toasty warm. You will see these on construction sites and the lake.
Another drawback to the burner style is they are awkward to carry as they are larger than most portable radiant style heaters. These do an excellent job heating the icehouse but can be a pain to get them on location. I would suggest a sled.
While both styles operate on Liquid Propane, LP, the portable radiant heaters will also allow you to use the 1-pound propane camping cylinders. While these may not last more than a couple of hours depending on usage, they are much easier to carry to your icehouse tent than a 20-pound tank. Most portable radiant heaters allow for installing these 1-pound cylinders inside the unit, or the heater mounts to the top of the cylinder. If the latter is the method of connection, then the heater will typically supply you with a base for the cylinder to sit in to keep it from tipping over.
Both heaters' styles will do an excellent job of warming your icehouse, but keep in mind the heater's size ratings. The manufacturer will disclose the estimated size that it will heat. Please note you are in a tent, so you will not get efficient results.
One last style convenient for you in your icehouse is a camp heater that also doubles as a single burner stove. This style heater is designed for the 1-pound cylinders but is a burner style heater. You can use only the heater or the burner or both.
These dual heaters are small and portable. They are lightweight and easy to carry to your icehouse tent. They are a great choice if you are just hiking out to your favorite spot and not bringing a week's worth of supplies with you. These heaters might not offer you a sauna style hot house, but they will take the edge off and also allow you to make tea, coffee, or hot chocolate while on location.
What is the best portable propane heater for my icehouse tent?
I believe there at two heaters that will be an excellent choice for your day on the lake. The first unit is the Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater & Stove. This unit is a great choice, especially if you want to take the chill out of the tent and make yourself some hot chocolate at the same time.
This small, portable heater can be used to heat or cook or both. It used the 110g & 230g butane/isobutane/propane fuel canisters, and they can be nested inside the heater, making it very handy to move around. It will also use the 1-pound propane cylinders. However, you will need to purchase the connecting hose separately.
This little heater will put out up to 9000 BTU of heat in a 360-degree pattern—no need to face this unit directly at you. You can place it in the middle of the icehouse tent and warm yourself from the lake's winds. Not bad for just under $70.00
My other choice for the best portable icehouse tent heater is the Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater. This heater offers you twice the heat, up to 18k. This radiant heater will cost you just under $130.
You can use 1-pound propane cylinders to store in the unit for portability or purchase the extension hose and use it with your 20# tank. Either way, it will offer you three different heat settings that will be sure to warm the inside of your icehouse tent.
Additionally, this model is advanced and offers you several safety items. These items include a tip-over switch, low oxygen sensor, and flame sensor. With all this safety, you can let it run in the icehouse tent unsupervised for periods while still feeling confident and safe.
This heater is also portable ad stands just under 17" and weighs around 16 pounds. These dimensions and weight make this unit easy to get to the lake and move around the icehouse. It is a radiant-style heater, so you will want to set it up pointing at what you want to heat, mainly yourself.
What heater should I use in my large icehouse to keep everyone warm?
While Mr. Heater will offer you up to 18k BTU, this may not be enough in some instances. If you need additional heat, I would suggest the barrel style burner heater. The Mr. Heater Corporation Convection Heater provides you from 75k to 200k BTU/HR. The cost of this convection heater is $140.
The advantage of this heater is that it is capable of supply you with lots of heat. You can run this unit wide open for up to 6 hours on a 20# propane tank. At 200k BTU, you will be walking around in your shorts in your icehouse.
Another advantage to this heater is that it uses no electricity, and the heat is moved through the unit by convection. This circulation will warm your entire icehouse tent by turning the unit on.
However, please be aware while this convection heat puts out massive amounts of heat, it offers you no safety equipment other than a pilot-flame sensor that will shut the gas off if the flame goes out. This unit does not offer an oxygen sensor and no tip-over control. You will need to set this in a safe location, most likely the center of your icehouse tent. It comes with a 10' gas hose so that you can locate the propane tank out of the way.
In the end, your choice for your heater really should be based on your needs. If you're going out alone with your gear and Icehouse Tent, I will lean towards the Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater & Stove or the Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater. Both of these heaters are very portable and will keep warm in almost any tent, keeping the icehouse tent's mind size.
If you have a large icehouse tent and are enjoying time with friends and family, I would choose the Mr. Heater Corporation Convection Heater. With up to 200k BTU, you can heat just about any size tent. The only drawback is that you will have to bring a 20# propane tank to fire it up. If your loading all your supplies on sleds or snowmobiles, then this doesn't matter.
I've owned all three of these styles and have found them all very useful depending on the demand. Just keep in mind what you will be using them for and your expectations for the heater.
We are Family Tents Pro, and we're trying to keep you warm while you are out on the ice enjoying nature. We've offered you some choices to keep you warm, so you need to look closely at your needs so that you can pick the best option for you.
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