Wood Burning Stove in a Tent

In this article, you will see the dangers of Carbon Monoxide when using a tent stove, but do not worry; I will reach you How to use a Wood Burning Stove.

A good stove can keep a tent warm even in deep subzero temperatures. Winter campers will find that the best way to stay warm is to set up a wood burning stove inside their tent. However, burning a stove in a tent safely is not that easy. We need to keep many orders and try our best to avoid a fire hazard.


Isn’t using a stove in your tent dangerous? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You need to take sensible precautions. And there is more than one thing we need to pay attention to, the fire and the Carbon Monoxide.

Sensible fire precautions when using a stove in your tent

  1. Use a flame retardant mat to protect around the stove in case hot embers escape. Many manufacturers’ recommend rolling back the tent’s groundsheet and placing the stove directly on the ground.
  2. Install a spark arrester at the top of the flue to prevent hot sparks landing on the tent.
  3. Make sure that you keep combustible items away from the stove as they do get very hot.
  4. You need to master at least one fire fighting method.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas produced by incomplete combustion. When breathed in, carbon monoxide bonds with hemoglobin, displacing oxygen in the blood, inhibiting the amount of oxygen carried to muscles and vital organs. This can cause anything from shortness of breath to sickness and even death, which is why it is otherwise known as the ‘silent killer’.

To avoid this happening, we should:

  1. Your tent must be well ventilated. It better that you have the door open when the stove is hot. Ideally your tent should be designed to let the air flow through the tent so you can breathe the fresh air.
  2. Don’t leave your stove on through the night. If you’re an experienced camper you could do without any issues. But for most of us, we just go camping with my family very occasionally. So I never do that and advise you don’t too.

If you do want to leave your stove on through the night, you could let someone to stay up on fire watch to man the stove and make sure there’s still adequate ventilation.

In my opinion, your tent may still have some residual heat when you get into your sleeping bag anyway. So that, not having it on at night isn’t too much of a problem since you should still have good sleeping bags, clothes, and insulation.

With so many dangerous, why we still want use it?  

For the warmth, cosiness and ability to cook.

First, about the fire:

A stove can make your canvas or polycotton tent really warm and inviting. In fact, we found it too warm at times when we recently use it. It was the first time we’ve ever been really hot in the tent despite it being wet, windy, and cold outside.

Without doubt, the stove can generate a lot more heat than a little electric fan heater or oil filled radiator.

Then there’s the cooking:

If your tent stove has a hot surface, it’s a great place to put a kettle, and even a skillet, griddle, or Dutch oven. And yes it does get hot enough to boil water. So when the weather is not great outside, you may well say so, a stove can make your tent a refuge in the storm.

This is the killer part right here.

How to use a Wood Burning Stove?

Before you burning the stove, you need to prepare something, they are:


Some additional accessories, such as additional flue sections

Spark arrester or pocket knife Sand

Spark arrester or pocket knife


Step 1

Before heading into the field with a wood burning stove you should make sure your tent is properly configured. A variety of wall tents come with collars in their roofs that are ready to be fitted to the stovepipe. If yours does not, you will need to refit it with such a collar. These collars are usually sized as standard 4-, 5- or 6-inch openings, so your stovepipe should be sized to fit it.

Step 2

Choose the camping place.

Be aware of overhanging dead trees when choosing your camp site. Wood burning stoves sometimes shoot sparks out the stovepipe, so if there is a deadwood near the stovepipe it may constitutes a fire hazard.

Step 3

Set up the stove. The usual configuration is to place the stove in a corner near the door, so that wood can be conveniently stacked outside near it. It is also usually low to the ground, so convection will properly heat the tent. Leave about two or three feet of space between the stove and the tent walls to prevent the stove’s hot metal from burning the tent. Run the stovepipe up through the collar in the roof. Note that this arrangement requires a spacious tent. It is totally unsuitable for a small one. For example the two-man pup tents.

Step 4

Fit a spark arrester into the top end of your vent pipe as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not have a spark arrester, then use a knife or other sharp object to poke several holes in the vent pipe near the upper end. These holes will help cool off any sparks before they exit the pipe. Insert one end of the pipe into the vent on your stove and the other end of the pipe out through the collared vent hole in your tent’s roof.

Step 5

Pour about an inch of sand into the bottom of the stove. This is a standard recommendation for most wood burning tent stoves, and should not be overlooked, that’s important, you should obey it. 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 6

Avoid burning woods like larch, spruce or pine as your primary source of fuel. These are sparky woods, and have the potential to cause problems even if you have a spark arrester. It is okay to use a little bit of such woods in the stove, but never use them exclusively. It is really dangerous.

I hope it works for you,and I wish you a happy winter camping.