How to Use a Wood Burning Stove in a Tent

How to Use a Wood Burning Stove in a TentWinter campers, especially those who are staying put for a while, will find that the best way to stay warm is to set up a wood burning stove inside their tent. A good stove can keep a tent warm even in deep subzero temperatures. 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 to prevent that stove from becoming a fire hazard.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Spark arrester or pocket knife
  • Sand
Step 1
Make sure your tent is properly configured before heading into the field with a wood burning stove. 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
Be aware of overhanging dead trees when choosing your camp site. Wood burning stoves sometimes shoot sparks out the stovepipe, so deadwood near the stovepipe constitutes a fire hazard.
Step 3
Set up the stove. The usual configuration is to have 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 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 two-men pup tents, for example.
Step 4
Fit a spark arrester to the stovepipe, or use a pocket knife to punch a series of holes into the upper part of the stovepipe itself. The holes in the stove pipe will cool off sparks before they can get out of the pipe. Sparks are also a hazard to the tent itself. On tent stoves, a spark arrester can simply be set into the stovepipe.
Step 5
Pour 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. 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.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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