Although commonly associated with cold weather camping and winter expeditions, tent stoves have become increasingly popular for glamping, basecamps, tiny houses, #vanlife, off-grid living, hunting, and everyday recreational camping. The demand for a variety of use cases has resulted in a wide variety of stoves, with characteristics and features that favor some applications over others.
Types of Tent Stoves
The most efficient, convenient, and enjoyable type of tent stoves. Glamping Tent Stoves are high end wood burning camping stoves with all the features of a full-size wood burning stove you would find in a home: heavy-duty heat retaining materials, fire brick lining, baffle plates for more complete combustion, sealed gaskets on doors, and air-intake controls to regulate burn rate. Generally larger and heavier than traditional tent stoves, glamping stoves are still portable and packable. Although the term ‘glamping’ may border on pretentious, it describes a luxury or comfort above and beyond what is typically expected when camping. Improved efficiency and ease of use may be preferable for luxury camping applications – but it’s a necessity for long term use and extreme environments. Burning less wood, longer, while producing more usable heat frees up time to dedicate to what brought you into the wild in the first place, be it hunting elk or spending time with loved ones.
Portable Tent Stoves
The most popular, practical, and affordable wood burning tent stoves. Portable wood stoves occupy the sweet spot between size, weight, and performance. Tent stoves in this class are typically just large enough to burn standard 16” lengths of firewood which reduces the need for excess sawing, although having a splitter handy to reduce girth is recommended. Weight is reduced by omitting firebrick, sealed gaskets, and baffle plates while employing light(er) yet durable material like stainless steel in the firebox construction. Small diameter flue pipes on many portable tent stoves are designed to fit in the firebox when disassembled for transport, or nest snuggly in a purpose built carry bag. Portable tent stoves are more than capable of heating even a large canvas tent to comfortably cozy temperatures in freezing conditions. Most models include basic air intake adjustors that influence burn rate, fire grates, drying racks, and even small glass windows so you can monitor your fire without opening the fuel door. The compromises in efficiency for the sake of portability means you will have to feed the stove more frequently -- although most good portable tent stoves are plenty to satisfy the needs of the majority of campers.
Ultralight Wood Stoves
Most outdoor gear these days have super lightweight versions designed to cater to backpackers – even wood burning stoves. Minimalist wood stoves are typically can-shaped or folding. Although gas stoves for cooking are generally lighter, smaller, cleaner, and much more efficient; they do require you to carry and ration the propane that fuels them. Ultralight wood stoves provide a theoretically limitless burn time provided there is wood to burn around camp. Keep in mind that wood must be dry, plentiful, and small enough to fit in the combustion chamber. An armload of sticks may be sufficient to boil water, but sawing and splitting trees into kindling sized portions in sufficient quantity to heat even a small tent for an extended period of time may not be the best use of energy.
Cheap Tent Stoves
Cheap tent stoves come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The unifying characteristic is that they are almost never worth it. In the age of Amazon a great design can be copied and sold at a lower price point by skimping on material, construction, research/development, and marketing. The warm fuzzy feeling you might feel saving some money on the purchase of a cheap tent stove will quickly fade when you’re out in the field. Corrosion preventing paints, oils, and coatings can be toxic when burnt. Improperly tempered metals can melt or even explode. Buying counterfeit, knock-off, or generic products can be worthwhile when the risk of failure is low consequence – which is not the case with tent stoves. If you have the time, tools, and knowledge – constructing your own DIY tent stove out of salvaged materials is a better option than buying a cheap tent stove from an obscure and unproven manufacturer.
The Best Tent Stoves
Searching for ‘The Best Tent Stove’ is like searching for ‘The Best Shoes’ – ‘best’ is subjective. Narrow your search by exploring our short list of the best tent stoves for the most common applications:
Best Overall Tent Stove
Winnerwell Woodlander Tent Stove
The Winnerwell Woodlander is a mid-size stainless steel tent stove that does everything well. Every component is thoughtfully designed to deliver equally on performance and convenience. The Winnerwell competes with tent stoves twice the price.
The Orland Camp Stove checks all the boxes for performance, efficiency, and ease of use. Hand made in Denmark to the highest standards of craftsmanship, every detail of the Orland is thoughtfully designed and meticulously executed. Ideal for no-fuss functionality, generous heat output, and unmatched aesthetics.
The Orland Tent Stove is a slightly smaller version of the Orland Camp Stove, providing exceptional heating efficiency and ease of use. Both Orlands provide ample heat and light, precision airflow controls, and firebrick lining.
The Frontier Plus Portable Stove is a large bodied cylinder stove with excellent combustion efficiency. The large cooking surface on the Frontier is equipped with a removable plate for direct access to flame. Ideal for extended adventures in cold temperatures and hot meals for your camp family.
Ready to start hot tenting? Apply your tent stove expertise and shop for the best tent stove for you. Learn more about wood burning tent stoves by exploring our Tent Stove Buyers Guide – the complete guide to buying, owning, and operating a tent stove.
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