Tent Small Candle Stove KP




There is a rumor going about that you can heat a tent with a candle..

A: http://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/3389/...

I have experienced bitter cold at 4 o'clock in my tent and it would be perfect if I could heat it enough for winter camping.

  1. Wood stove, rocket or classic stove needs a new log every 15-25 mins and if you are alone (as I am) you won't get much sleep
  1. Greenhouse petrol heater can burn all night but you have to carry the stinky fuel with you, hoping not to spill it in your backpack. Also maintaining wicks and glass is not a pleasure. On the plus side you have light all night. On the downside - no chimney.
  2. B:http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/heat-calc.shtml
  3. So wax it is. As a fuel - it is almost perfect. Easy to transport.

Here is some data about wax:

According to Wikipedia and my own test, (see the file "Energija voska"), a tea candle can produce avg. 30 W/h.
On several sites you can find articles which explicitly state that one candle is not enough to raise the temperature in a tent - heat losses through fabric are too extreme.

C: http://www.quora.com/How-much-energy-heat-does-on...

What if I take more candles (e.g. 10 -15) i,e, 300-450 Wats ?

If I add a chimney, would that eliminate the CO/CO2 problems?

D: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15138958 Carbon monoxide poisoning while using a small cooking stove in a tent.

E. http://kobalenko.com/images/expeditions/CO.pdf

Leigh-Smith . Carbon monoxide poisoning in tents--a review. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 2004 Fall;15(3):157-63. and other sources

A tea light candle can burn 8 hours,.. Is it safe to go a sleep near burning candles?

Let's try and find it out....

First, I tested a possible chimney. It has to be cool enough at the top to go through a hole in the tent fabric with a temp as high as 40-50 Celsius. I took a can, cut out door for tea-light and made a 20 mm diameter chimney from metal broomstick handle. Light a candle and measured the temp on tube 120 cm above the can. The can top reached a temp of 80C and the tube/chimney at 120 cm had 40 C.

Sounds promising...


Step 1: Assembling the Stove

I decide to made a stove for 16pc 35mm diameter tea light.

In the store I found a metal bread baskets which is the perfect dimension for the candles. Why baskets? It will serve as protection from direct contact heat transfer from the stove surface (up to 160 C) with the tent, sleeping bag, blankets, fabric etc.

For the stove I took a big can from the scrap yard, and cut out a metal sheet 0,35mm thickness. Bent it into two equal boxes - bottom and top. Inserted a tube (chimney tube adapter).

The idea was to have a central chimney which can eventually serve as the central tent pole in my (KP teepee) (Tipi tent) - later I abandoned this idea.

Step 2: Assembling the Stove... Continued

Idea was to fasten it to the central pole. The stove lower box is fixated 8 cm above the floor and the upper box can slide up and down to load the candles (or extinguish flames).

Chimney tube has 6x8mm holes serving as candle smoke intake inside the boxes.

Testing time ...

I filled it with candles, lighted them and watched. Everything was perfect, the top box reached temps of 240C and the chimney at 120cm measured 55 C. The outside temp was 15C - no wind. Test run time was 3.5 hours.

Candles went out unevenly - in the last hour only 6 flames were burning. All the other wicks drowned in melted wax.

There was too much heat inside the box for wax (i.e. over 75C), which liquified in the bottom of candle pot.

OK. Let's go further

Step 3: Testing the Final Design

Satisfied with previous test run, I finalized the stove.

The chimney was shortened, and only attached to the top box. Now the exhaust is 20 mm in diameter. I should get a better draw because of this.

I mounted 4 wooden legs on each side of the lower basket and built a door for sliding a small plate (drawer) of candles made out of perforated metal sheet. The chimney was attached to my hiking pole which serves also as central tent pole.

Looks very nice....

Fully loaded the test started perfectly.

For 2 hours I left it unattended. And suddenly smoke - the wax start burning!

The flame was very difficult to extinguish - what happened?!?!

As a fireman after a disaster, I collected facts:

  1. Temperature in a box was so high that IR rays reflected down and ignited the wooden leg which started an open fire under the candles! You can see the result in the pictures. Imagine that in the tent ... back to the beginning !
  2. No more wood near/on stove

As shown on the last picture, I inserted 4 long 16 cm screws, divided with nuts, through the box which serve as legs making the distance from the ground 8 cm. They also connect two halves of the stove together...

More to come...




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    18 Discussions


    8 months ago

    Something I have found useful when camping especially when raining,is to buy a reasonably cheap Tarpoling. Assemble you're tent,then with a tape measure over-measure the rough sizes so that when you lay the tarp over the outside of tent there will be a space all around between the two layers.You may need some extra tent poles or suitable tree branches to support the tarp & of course extra tent pegs.As you assemble this outer-layer,it will become apparent quite what adjustments are needed to make it fit nicely.I used this method when spending 5 rainy days at a music festival & it was invaluable,I had a totally dry tent throughout the heavy rains whilst others tents were collapsing saturated with rainwater.Also I believe it may of provided an extra layer of insulation,against the chilly evenings.It cost me less than a tenner for this small improvement,an was worth every penny.


    2 years ago

    Neat concept, but I can't recommend putting a flame in a tent!!! Even if the tent is flame proof, it's still not a good idea to put a bunch of candles in an enclosed area, that could burn and/or melt. That would DEFINITELY be a camping trip to remember (assuming you didn't burn up with the tent).


    2 years ago

    How interesting. I wonder if you put pebbles in the oven, would they hold onto the heat from the candles for longer and make a sort of storage heater


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Bravo! I too am working on candle power and a load carrier so watching your video and reading your instructable has inspired me many thanks KresimirPregernik.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    What type of pipe did you use for the single candle version?

    Please try this.

    Measure weight of tea candle. Precise.
    burn it 1 hour - measure weight loss ... ans so on,

    then multiply weight loss with fuel data number....

    Will try that when I get a new bag, I find them the cheapest source of wax to make larger candles. I've been wondering since I read your instructable if you could make a 2 stage burner, using one candle to melt and vaporise the wax of a second in a semi sealed container burning the resulting vapours as jets to heat food/ water

    My idea had a purpose to sleep safe few hour in tent which is few degree warmer then outside air. Not for cooking. You can develop your idea for your purpose.

    My idea had a purpose to sleep safe few hour in tent which is few degree warmer then outside air. Not for cooking. You can develop your idea for your purpose.


    4 years ago

    I have made an oil burning tea light candle by soldering a tube to the bottom of an empty tea light hole with a hole at the bottom for the wick to go through. you could probably do the same thing even with a wax candle to keep the wicks from drowning in their own wax. Then just refill them by pulling the wick up and trimming it, then adding some paraffin or other kind of wax.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    i think u need to mount the stove,.. the weight of the long chimney might tip it over,...

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    I do mountaineering and winter camp quite a bit. It is highly unsafe to have a lot flame in your tent. Eats up all the oxygen. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.

    1 reply

    Please do read all what I wrote and study links enclosed..
    Tent MUST have a open air flow. The biggest concern is a tent fire and not CO poisoning,


    4 years ago

    never mind


    4 years ago

    Actually lighted is proper