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How to Use a Wood Burning Stove in your Tent

by Olivia

Living in a tent requires the ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment. Tent living does not provide the comforts of a traditional home, but the option is viable in a variety of climates. Tent living is ideal for temperate climates, but customized tents allow you to live in cold environments.

Winter campers, especially those who are staying outside for a couple of days, will find that the best way to stay warm is to set up a wood burning stove inside their tent. And camping can be a wonderful experience.

We can image the tents will become cold at night but we can make ourselves comfortable, one solution is to install a wood burning stove to keep your tent toasty. Here I would like to share with you something about how to use a Wood Burning Stove.

To keep warm when camping at the cold times of the year, we typically rely on blankets, good clothing, and higher spec sleeping bags. But it is a viable option that your tent is designed to accommodate a wood burning stove. A good stove can keep a tent warm even in deep subzero temperatures and make us feel comfortably warm.

However, setting up and operating a wood burning stove inside a tent has a number of special considerations that need to be kept in mind at all times and can help to prevent the stove from becoming a fire hazard.

Wood Burning Stove


Step 1

Set up your tent so that the vent pipe opening in the roof is not underneath any dead branches or anything else that could catch fire. That means you need to be aware of overhanging dead trees when you are choosing your campsite. Wood burning stoves sometimes shoot sparks out the stovepipe and if the tent is close to the deadwood, you may risk your life and cause a fire hazard.

Step 2

Put 1 inch of sand in the bottom of your stove to help insulate the metal from direct contact with burning wood, which could weaken the metal. This is a standard recommendation for most wood burning tent stoves, and should not be overlooked. The metal on these stoves is very thin, and the hot coals that sit on the bottom will gradually weaken the metal without a layer of insulation provided by the sand.

Step 3

Fit a spark arrester into the top of your vent pipe as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not have a spark arrester, you can also use a knife or other sharp object to poke several holes into the upper part of the stovepipe itself. These holes will help to cool off any sparks before they get out of the pipe. Sparks are also a hazard to the tent itself. A spark arrester can simply be set into the stovepipe on tent stoves.

Step 4

Do not burn a lot of spruce, pine or larch as your primary source of fuel. Since these woods give off a lot of sparks and can cause fires even if your stove is equipped with a spark arrester. However, it is okay to use a little bit of these softwoods in the stove as tinder.

Step 5

Place the stove inside the tent in a corner near the door so it is convenient to wood stacking outside. Make sure the metal of the stove is at least 2 feet away from the fabric wall of the tent to avoid burning or scorching. The stove should sit close to the floor of the tent for proper heating.


Wood burning stove cannot be put in all kinds of tents. As you know some tent can easily get burned. The tent will typically need to be canvas or poly cotton because they are tough, well ventilated and not easily burned. It won’t matter that you have the door opened when the stove is hot.

Ideally, your tent should be designed to let the air flow through the tent so you have a supply of fresh air. I mean the ‘chimney’ which helps to exhaust toxic gas and helps to get more fresh air. If your tent stove has a hot surface, it’s a great place to put a kettle and even a skillet, griddle, or a pot.

You can make delicious food on the stove. You should pay attention to the stove if you put it in your tent since handling it sometimes is really dangerous. You need to be sensible. And here are things you need to treat seriously.

  1. You need to protect around the stove with a flame retardant mat in case hot embers and sparks will escape. Here I suggest you rolling back the groundsheet and placing the stove directly on the ground to avoid cause problems. You also need a spark arrester on the top of the flue to prevent hot sparks landing on the tent.
  2. Keep combustible items away from the stove as they do get very hot. You also need to keep at hand a way of extinguishing any fire. I recommend you should keep enough cold water in your tent.
  3. Don’t leave your stove on through the night. I know some campers like to do that without thinking, but I am serious to tell you that you must not do that. If you do want to leave your stove on through the night you’ll need someone to stay up on fire to watch the stove and make sure there’s still adequate ventilation. You should always keep in mind fire is dangerous and use it carefully.
  4. Cook on a gas grill can help minimize the need for local wood resources. Wood is ideal for warming and cooking in cold climates, but gas is much easier to manage and is used effectively outside of the tent.


  1. Store the emergency food supply for tent living in remote environments. Food, water, and warmth are the main parts of focus for surviving at a remote tent site.
  2. Never use a wood burning stove inside a tent without proper ventilation no matter what. If your tent is not equipped with a vent, do not heat the tent with a wood burning stove.

Whether you are camping 10 feet from your car or backpacking miles from civilization, you’ll have to sacrifice some creature comforts in the name of adventure. However, comfortably warming is not something to sacrifice. Staying warm not only helps prevent hypothermia, it is important for keeping your spirits high as well.

So next time when you are out for camp in a few cold days, you can not only bring thick clothes and sleep bag to keep warm, also can use a wood burning stove in your tent. If you are careful and correct to use the stove in your tent, your night on a chilly day maybe more comfortable than any other time.

Also, you can cook some kinds of food in your tent. But I should warn you again, fire is dangerous. Improperly using a heater can produce dangerous quantities of carbon monoxide, which can have fatal results. So be sure it is safe when using a wood burning stove in your tent, or don’t use it. Hope the above tips can help you.

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