Portable Tent Heater




Introduction: Portable Tent Heater

About: about what?

still doing the finishing touches on the heater but it works!

Step 1: First Up You Need a Donor Propane Furnace

Luckily I had a friend who was dismantling a rotted camper so he gave me the furnace and inverter as well as all the plumbing

Step 2: First Step Was the Hardest. Ripping It Out of the Camper Was a Task of Its Own!

now that its out the next step was making sure it worked after ripping it out

Step 3: I Had a Problem With the Igniter and Thermocouple.

luckily I found a new spare in the camper in one of the drawers when taring it apart so i replaced them and presto it fired right up!

Step 4: Cutting the Top and Bottom

I wanted the heater to be one unit so I arranged the heater and inverter to be as small as possible but keep the inverter and wires safe from the heat.

I'd like to add that the heaters outer shell gets hot but you can still touch it but with that being said I still wanted to follow the old saying. "better safe than sorry"

Step 5: Cutting and Installing

measure twice cut once. the box I am building is 23 1/2 "long x 15 1/2" tall x 22" wide
the inverter is (120v ac to 12v dc) it came with 2 separate wall outlets one piggybacked off of the other. I figured I didn't need both of them so I only used the one that was GFCI since it will be outside with a slight chance of it getting wet I wanted no part in the possibility of getting shocked

Step 6: Wiring

this part was easy because I labeled everything before I took it from the camper plus the factory used wire splicing clips so i didn't have to cut the wires all I had to do was re connect and tuck the wires away from the heater

Step 7: Installing the Heat Shroud

sorry I didn't take any pictures of that part other than this one. the shroud is the gray portion on the bottom of the picture. its only purpose is a heat shield to protect the wires and inverter. there is a 2 inch gap from the shroud to the heater and another inch in a half space between the inverter and the shroud.

also fresh air is forced between the heater and shroud through the fan in the heater so the heat shield has constant fresh air keeping it cool

Step 8: Little Things Here and There

the black and white twisted wires are 12v for a light. I figured it would be nice to be able to see the panel at night. I'm going to put a license plate light there so its directed toward the panel

2nd picture. I had plenty of space left inside the box to fit the extra long 20 ft cord the inverter came with so I cut a slot to be able to stuff it inside

the thermostat is removable and is attached to a 10ft cord stuffed inside the empty space in the box so you can pull it out and put it in the tent to regulate the temperature

also I installed the entire exhaust system that the camper came with because it was double walled and the best part was it was already made so I didn't have to fabricate anything! that was a plus!!!! also I figured it was safe for the camper so why wouldn't it work in a box!

Step 9: I Know I Skipped a Lot But If You Can't Cut, Measure, Plan and Execute Bring It Over I'll Do It for You.

there still is a lot more to go. like the light for the panel, the outlet cover, paint or stain.

I'm thinking of making a cover to replace the brown metal grate so I can connect multiple dryer hoses that way I can heat more than one tent

and I saved the best for last because I'm sure I would get some messages about the hose clamp attaching the propane to the heater and how its not safe. I have to flare the copper pipe and attach a coupler and take the hose to the local pipe and hydraulic shop to have an end crimped on...so before I get hit with safety questions its going to be taken care of I promise!

I did this to test it and I figured since there is only 1 psi flowing through the line a hose clamp will do

Step 10: NOTE:

this is a forced air propane furnace with a sealed combustion chamber that expels carbon monoxide out of the exhaust....with that being said the unit should not be completely enclosed inside the tent..only the first quarter of the heater should be inserted inside the tent

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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I was thinking about a very similar project for an ice-fishing hut. But the BTU output of these heaters is very high, about 500% higher than a small "Mr. Heater" which i what i use today. I was concerned that the heater would be too hot for the tent and would end up just cycling on and off leaving you hot then cold then hot then cold... how did you find it?


    Reply 4 years ago

    The heater dosnt run constantly there is a thermostat that shuts it off at whatevet desired temperature you set it at


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Just to cover all base because I can't see it mentioned in your text - When propane burns it creates carbon monoxide.

    You are using the hot flame to heat the air blowing through in a sealed heat exchanger so that Carbon monoxide isn't blown into the text aren't you?


    Reply 5 years ago

    Yes Rickharris it does. and you are right I didn't covet that, thank you for bringing this to my attention. the way it is set up at the moment you would zip the front of the heater in the door leaving the back half sticking out. or in my case the tent I have has a small doggy door that the heater would fit snugly into.


    Reply 5 years ago

    it is a sealed combustion chamber and works exactly the same as a forced air gas furnace in a house. all expelled gases "carbon monoxide ext" are separate and are exhausted outside of the tent


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That's good! Such a great idea! To be on the safe side, I'd probably include a CO detector to go along with this, more so if you are going to be using it while asleep. That being said, I still think this is an awesome instructable and a great idea to be used in those winter camping months!