The Best Tent Stoves: Fiery Warmth to Battle the Cold

The best tent stoves money can buy to warm your winter tent

There’s nothing better than feeling the warmth from one of the best tent stoves while camping in winter or other cold weather. A nice wood fire stove can transform your tent interior into a luxurious and comfortable setting. 

But some stoves are better than others. And the trick is making sure you get the right tent stove. You’ll have to balance the lightweight options that require more constant feeding of fuel against the heavier options that can keep heat throughout the night.

This comprehensive list of the best tent wood stoves includes everything from the most budget-friendly to the most extravagant around. I’ll walk you through what you should look for, the ones that are worth the money, and the products you should avoid.

After reading this, you’ll be able to get the best tent stove you need to stay warm and toasty no matter how much the temperatures drop.

We link to products and services we think are useful for our readers. We may earn a commission for purchases made through some of these links. There’s no extra cost for you and it helps support our work. We really appreciate your support!

The view looking up from the inside of a dense forest while snowshoeing

The Short List: The Best Tent Stoves

This table shows the short list of the best tent stoves money can buy.

Best OverallCamp Chef Alpine Heavy-Duty Stove Thick and heavy stove that will last many years and provide lasting warmth
Best LightweightDanchel Outdoor T6 Titanium Hot Tent StoveTitanium stove at an excellent price with incredible portability
Best BudgetLama Camping Stainless Steel StoveAmazingly affordable stainless steel stove with a lot of features
Most LuxuriousWinnerwell Nomad View Tent StoveMultiple windows, ultra portable, and well-made tent stove
Best Pellet StoveRiley Tent Pellet StovesOne of the only pellet stoves that doesn’t need electricity
Budget AlternativeGuide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning StoveNot recommended due to paint and airflow issues

You can also find a detailed buying guide for winter tent stoves below. If you want to know what tents to use, head over to the Best Canvas Tent and the Best Canvas Wall Tent posts. Both of these lists are packed with options that make excellent winter tents with stoves.

The Camp Chef Tent Stove set up for use

Best Overall: Camp Chef Alpine Heavy-Duty Stove 

With so many tent stoves available, it takes a lot to get to the top of the list. But the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Tent Stove does so with ease. It’s what a tent stove is supposed to be, through and through, from a company that knows what it takes to explore.

Two of the best features of the Camp Chef Alpine Tent Stove are that it holds heat for many hours and packs down to a small package.

This wood fire stove packs a powerful warming punch, thanks to the heavy-duty construction. 

Yet it’s also surprisingly portable if you can deal with the weight. The legs and side grates easily come off, and most impressively, the stove pipes are nesting, meaning they fit inside of one another. Everything fits inside of the stove itself for transportation.

The only catch is that it’s heavy. So it’s a portable package, as long as you don’t need to walk very far with it.

Other reasons this is the best tent stove for camping include:

  • Excellent price and value, with near-perfect customer feedback
  • Heavy-duty alloy steel construction retains heat well
  • Durable and versatile design made to transport easily and with many accessories

Ready to see how much this tent stove costs? Head over to the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove listing.

The Camp Chef Heavy Duty Tent Stove with a fire inside

Camp Chef Winter Tent Stove

This isn’t some lightweight tent stove that tries to be something it isn’t. It’s one of the best tent stoves because it’s a full-fledged winter tent stove that’s well-designed and does its job perfectly.

One way this shines apart from the crowd is in its thick steel construction. This is built like a tank, and that means the entire wood-fired stove gets hot and radiates heat well. Other products put weight savings ahead of heat retention.

This comes with a major benefit for keeping your tent warm. You don’t need to tend to the fire as often as you do with lighter options. Even if the fuel burns out, the stove itself will emanate heat for a long time.

It also comes with four stable legs, instead of the three found on some other models. Another way that the best tent stove ensures worry-free use instead of an overly minimalist design.

Excellent Customer Satisfaction

The most impressive thing is the customer feedback. All marketing materials can be twisted in ways that make a product seem ideal. The real test is in the field under the hands of people who threw down their hard-earned cash.

I’ve had Camp Chef products for literally years. After my Coleman stove gave up, my Camp Chef Everest propane stove for cooking won me over with its first use. Yet it’s also withstood the test of time extremely well. I am not exaggerating when I say I have made over a thousand meals on it. And counting.

Camp Chef has brought their expertise to the table again with this excellent tent stove.

People rave about the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove. It has some of the best customer feedback of nearly any product I have found, across many stones and all sorts of camping gear. This doesn’t happen by accident.

Some of my favorite comments include:

  • “Best stove I’ve ever owned.”
  • “… a stove engineered by an absolute demon.”
  • “… quality product and an extremely reasonable price.”

The negative reviews are extremely limited, much less than the usual 5% or so you can find on even the highest-quality products. The most common issue was a lack of pre-drilled holes where the legs insert, but it still works well as is or you can drill them out yourself. 

Some people didn’t understand that the nesting stove pipe means the pipe is a different width at the stove (5”) than at the top of the vent (6”). The pipes are made this way intentionally so they can fit inside one another to go in the stove for transportation. 

Make sure you cut your tent’s stove jack to fit the size of the pipe where it meets the tent.

Other than that, it’s nothing but rave reviews about how well-built and designed this Camp Chef Tent Stove for camping in cold weather is.

The Camp Chef Tent Stove broken down
Everything fits inside the portable tent stove by Camp Chef

Heavy-Duty Equals Heavy Weight

Some of the stoves on this list fit into the featherweight class like Manny Pacquiao. Not this Camp Chef. This is one of the best tent stoves made from solid steel, basically cast iron. It’s like the Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield of the wood fire tent stove world.

This uncompromising construction means it’s heavy-duty and can take a beating. Even though some people reported boxes arriving in rough shape, the stove within was still pristine. It should do the same in your storage or while camping.

But that heft comes with weight, a lot of it. The Camp Chef Tent Stove weighs 73 pounds (33 kg).

For most situations where you’re using a tent stove and can drive to the campsite or haul in stuff once and be done, this shouldn’t be a huge issue. After all, many of the best canvas tents also weigh about that much when you include the frame and footprint. 

But if this weight is a deal-breaker, you should go ahead and jump down to the next option because it’s the lightest of them all. 

Fair warning, there are some serious downsides to going with a lighter option. Besides longevity and toughness, lighter options also won’t hold the heat as well. It’s like comparing a cast iron skillet vs. a paper-thin titanium plate. There are pros and cons to each.

Other Features and Highlights

You supply the tent, and Camp Chef takes care of the rest. This wood-burning tent stove itself is the usual cylinder construction found in most of the best tent stoves for camping, but it has a nice flat top. 

You can put your pots and pans on top to use as a cook stove. Like all cast iron, remember that it’ll take a moment to warm up.

On each side of the cylinder, there are two accessory shelves made from wire grates. You can also purchase a Camp Chef Cylinder Stove Hot Water Tank that seamlessly fits on one side of the tent stove. Or you can just use any kettle on top.

It comes with a solid front door that opens wide for easy loading, and there’s a damper built in to control the airflow. This tent stove includes a spark arrestor and internal log grate, filling out everything you need.

If you’re using it inside a tent with a floor, then you’ll want to put down a hot blanket. This NEIKO Heavy Duty Fiberglass Fire Blanket for Welding works perfectly.

Camp Chef Alpine Heavy-Duty Cylinder Stove: Specifications

Brand:Camp Chef
Material:Alloy Steel
Weight:73 pounds (33 kg)
Dimensions:24″L x 20″W x 22.5″H
Stove pipe:Included 5” to 6” (nesting to fit inside stove for transportation)
Legs:4 removable
Cook top:Roomy flat surface
Other features:Everything packs inside for transit, includes damper, internal grate, and side shelves, extremely robust construction

You can’t go wrong adding the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove to your winter camping gear. It’s great for any time you want to add a bit of wood-fired heat to your tent, patio, or outdoor space.

The Danchel Outdoor Titanium Tent Stove

Best Lightweight: Danchel Outdoor T6 Titanium Hot Tent Stove

Now let’s switch gears entirely and go for the lightest and most portable option. For some people, the best tent stove is one that they can easily pack up and bring with them. The Danchel Outdoor T6 TSG Titanium Hot Tent Wood Stove is the one for this job.

Instead of the heavy steel other traditional stoves use, this Danchel features high-quality titanium, an extremely lightweight and durable material. 

On top of the lightweight stove material, this titanium tent stove breaks down completely flat. It packs into a small briefcase-like bag that you can grab with one hand and hit the road (stove pipe excluded).

Head over to the Danchel Outdoor T6 TSG Titanium Hot Tent Wood Stove listing to see pricing.

Titanium Tent Stove

When it comes to the ultimate camping and backpacking material, it’s hard to beat titanium. It is extremely lightweight but it’s also a strong metal alloy.

By using this material in this lightweight tent stove construction, Danchel Outdoor has created one of the lightest and strongest wood-fired stoves on the market. This is a breeze to bring along on any trip, even hiking to the campsite or backpacking.

Considering this premium material, the price point is still surprisingly reasonable. It is not a cheap tent stove, but it’s not the most expensive either.

Personally, I would much rather go with a thicker construction material that will help retain heat and provide a longer-lasting warmth inside your winter tent. I love titanium for select backpacking gear, like my titanium mug that I use for most camping purposes. But when it comes to tent stoves, I would rather save the money and go with stainless steel for a lightweight option or cast iron for the best warmth.

The accessories that come with the Danchel Outdoor Stove

Ultra Compact and Portable

If there’s one thing that this titanium tent stove does, it’s excel at portability. In addition to the titanium weight savings, it also uses a firebox that is hinged on all corners to fold down flat.

This means it can literally fit into a laptop-sized bag. Even if you’re heading up to your campsite in a small car, you can still bring a tent stove with. That’s a pretty incredible feat.

Danchel Outdoors isn’t the only one that has this type of portable tent stove that packs down flat. But the other I read through had many complaints about the way it sealed, including difficulties setting it up and a lack of overall confidence.

The feedback for the Danchel Outdoor T6 TSG Titanium Wood Tent Stove is much better. Of course it doesn’t quite have the same seal that you will get from a device without the hinges. But it is easy to put together and doesn’t have massive leaks that let out smoke or make it otherwise useless.

The only downside is that this comes with a DIY stove pipe. It comes with a rolled sheet that you need to cut to your preferred size and install rings on. This is nice because you can cut it precisely to your length, but you’ll need to use caution to make it. People had the most success when they used a rigid tube, like a large PVC pipe, to help roll it out.

It really is an excellent portable tent stove that hits the mark for being lightweight yet doing the job it’s designed to perform.

Danchel Outdoor Focus: Canvas Tents and Stoves

This may not be the best-known brand in the camping world. But Danchel Outdoor has a lot going for it if you’re considering a tent stove.

First, it was established in 2013 and has over ten years of experience. Many of the Danchel Outdoor products have a significant number of reviews. It’s not one of those companies that puts out a bunch of stuff and regularly rotates out what doesn’t do well. Instead, it is able to have products that it can keep selling because it keeps customers satisfied.

Second, Danchel Outdoors focuses mostly on canvas tents and tent stoves. It also has some car awnings, which are basically an offshoot of the canvas tent product line. It’s not trying to venture into every outdoor category.

By focusing on these two complementary products, the tent and the stove to go with it, Danchel Outdoors has shown that it can create a comfortable winter tent camping situation. I have reviewed the canvas tents and now I’ve gone through many of the tent stove options. This titanium one is an amazing choice, but they also have others that can do the trick.

You can see more about all Danchel Outdoor offers.

The Danchel Outdoor Tent Stove in use while camping in the winter snow

Danchel Outdoor T6 TSG Titanium Tent Stove: Specifications

Brand:Danchel Outdoor
Weight:4.4 pounds (<2 kg)
Dimensions:14″ L x 7.8″ W x 10.9″ H
Stove pipe:Included rolled sheet that you cut to size
Legs:Two stable side legs easily fold in
Cook top:Yes, although there are no side grates
Other features:Extremely lightweight yet durable titanium material, excellent folding design with sturdy clamps and no-burn rings for door and vents

Ge the lightweight Danchel Outdoor T6 TSG Titanium Hot Tent Wood Stove for your next winter camping adventure.

The Lama Stainless Steel Tent Stove

Best Budget: Lama Camping Stainless Steel Stove

If you’re looking for the best tent stove for the money, the Lama Camping Stove for Hot Tents is a budget-friendly option that is worth it.

What’s great about this cheap tent stove is that it’s made from stainless steel and it’s compact. It also comes with everything you need, including the chimney pipe and even a set of heat-resistant gloves. It doesn’t cost a lot but does exactly what it should.

Want to see just how much you can save? Check out the Lama Tent Stove listing.

The Best Cheap Tent Stove

I’ll be honest with you, the research for the low-end wood tent stoves uncovered some terrifying results. Improper paint, poor spark control, and downright dangerous situations were all too common. To be blunt, even though this option is fairly decent, I still recommend bumping up the budget for a better one.

But when it comes to budget-friendly options, this one does much better than most. Can you find a lower-priced one? You bet. The issues with many of the cheap tent stoves include:

  • Paint or other coatings that aren’t suitable for high temperatures
  • Fatal design flaws that don’t allow for smoke-free use inside tents
  • Extremely poor construction methods or materials

The paint issue seems to be very widespread. Even when people burned them for 4-8 hours at home before using them in the field, some still had unbearable levels of off-gassing. Shooting for under $100 almost guarantees you’ll get one of these. And you really shouldn’t use that in an enclosed tent.

Since this Lama Camping Tent Stove for winter uses stainless steel, it avoids that paint issue entirely. No low-quality paint or coatings to deal with, but it is still an affordable price.

The different fuel sources you can use in the Lama Portable Tent Stove

Another problem is proper airflow through the stove. To function well and provide long-lasting heat, the tent stove needs to function with the door closed. Allowing air to flow into the controlled inlets and out through the exhaust pipe.

This is essential to use a wood fire stove in a tent. If you can’t close it securely with it still running well, it will fill your tent with smoke and fumes. And this happened to people.

My research for a low-priced stove first led me to a different model (listed below) because it has more reviews and is slightly cheaper. However, upon closer inspection, most satisfied customers were using it with the door open because it would suffocate and extinguish itself with the door closed. This might work for outdoor use on your patio, but not for winter tent heating purposes.

This is a safety issue. Not only would that fill your tent with smoke, but it would also be much more likely to let out hot embers.

And once again, the Lama Stove for Camping doesn’t have this problem. Many people report that it works perfectly well with the stove’s door secured and closed, thanks to its well-designed vents and exhaust flue.

Why Do People Go Camping?

Upscale Features and Design

Even though the Lama Tent Stove isn’t the most expensive, it has the looks and features of higher-end models. It’s not a cheap one that sacrifices every creature comfort.

My favorite element is the window made of heat-resistant glass, giving you a nice view of the roaring fire within. It’s like bringing the bonfire to your sleeping quarters.

This portable tent stove also folds down and is fairly compact. The four legs fold up nicely and the side grates that usually act as accessory tables fold up to double as carrying handles. It’s a pretty neat look both in the tent and on the road.

Stainless steel isn’t as robust as cast iron. But it still is a durable material that isn’t going to quickly waste away on you. And since it’s a solid box design, not foldable, it has a nice sturdy construction of the main firebox. This is another area where other cheap tent stoves falter. They’re made with weak hinges and parts that fail.

The other thing to note is that this is on the smaller side of a tent stove. It’s likely better for a tent size up to about 10’x12’ but not for oversized large canvas tents such as 12’x16’ models. It is important to get a stove that is appropriately sized for your tent or else you’ll just waste fuel.

A couple of other nice features for this camping tent stove include:

  • 6” chimney stove pipe with built-in damper
  • Included ash scraper to help manage the fire
  • Large door opening makes for easy loading and adjustments

Lama Camping Stainless Steel Tent Stove: Specifications

Material:304 Stainless Steel
Weight:12.5 pounds (5.7 kg)
Dimensions:13″L x 11″W x 12” H
Stove pipe:6” included in segments (82″ H)
Legs:4 folding
Cook top:Yes, 7.5” x ~10”
Other features:Large front window, portable folding legs and side shelves, great value with quality materials made for high heat and tent usage

Buy the budget-friendly Lama Tent Stove so you can start camping in comfort no matter how much the temperatures drop.

The premium Winnerwell Nomad Tent Stove

Most Luxurious: Winnerwell Nomad View Tent Stove

If you want the best stainless steel tent stove around, then Winnerwell Nomad Large Tent Stove needs to be on your shortlist. The company is dedicated to camping tent stoves and accessories and stands behind its products with a lifetime warranty.

The Nomad View Large Tent Stove features two different viewing windows, a spacious interior for a roaring fire, and an extremely well-designed fire box with all the desired features, including:

  • Four stable folding legs and a tall stove vent pipe
  • Spacious flat cook surface with a dedicated pot area
  • Dual dampers, large front door, and included interior log grate

The only downside is that the price matches the premium qualities. Head over to the listing to see how much the Winnerwell Nomad Large Tent Stove will set you back. You can also go with the more compact Nomad Medium if you want to save a little cash.

Winnerwell Tent Stove: Dedicated Expertise

Some camping brands can produce a variety of products with respectable quality. But many of the best products, including the best tent stoves, come from companies who are dedicated to that specific area.

Winnerwell is all about wood-fired tent stoves and fire pits. It focuses on stainless steel construction and puts out products it can support with a lifetime warranty. 

In the few reviews where problems came up, the company was responsive and handled them professionally, making sure to provide a high level of customer satisfaction.

This also means that they simply create a superior product from the start. Every detail from the stainless steel construction to the adjustment of the legs, stove pipe, and grates is done with care. Where you see complaints in other products about the fitment, welds, and other design or construction issues, the Winnerwell tent stoves receive praise.

Take advantage of their expertise and focus on camping tent stoves by getting on from a brand that knows what they’re doing and does it well.

The Winnerwell Nomad Tent Stove with its pipes and grates

Lightweight and Portable, But Still Large

Weighing just 38 pounds (17.4 kg), this tent stove is portable enough to go along for nearly any adventure. Sure, it’s not the super lightweight titanium, but it’s a great balance that uses quality stainless steel to get the job done.

The legs are another way that it ensures portability. They easily fold down and are stored on the underside of the firebox. The side grates also fold up over the top side of the box. Throw the stove pipes inside along with the internal grate and you have a nice compact package that’s ready to roll.

It also finds a great balance between a large enough size for a warm fire and still portable enough to get packed in with gear. The large model measures 18” L x 9.8” W. And if that’s too big, you can drop down to the medium’s 15” L x 8” W.

The only downside is that stainless steel has a similar issue as titanium. It’s relatively thin and rapidly transfers heat. On one hand, the fire’s warmth goes right through the box and into your tent.

But on the other hand, this thin metal doesn’t retain heat like the thicker cast iron or steel. Instead, it gets red hot and will quickly cool when the fire dies down. This means you will likely need to constantly feed the fire throughout the night if the fire is necessary for your sleeping comfort.

For this reason, I suggest going with one of the best tent stoves from cast iron or thicker steel, like the Camp Chef Tent Stove, if temperatures are going to drop. But for more moderate climates, this is a great way to bring heat and visible flame into your tent.

A portrait view of the massive Black Canyon and Painted Wall

Feedback and Accessories

This Winnerwell Tent Stove keeps customers happy, plain and simple. I’ve made sure that every choice on this short list of the best tent stoves is high quality, but the lack of negative reviews on this product is remarkable.

And these aren’t paid-for reviews. People have gone back after using it for multiple seasons to pass along the good word. They understand that it is priced high, but reassure others that the value is there. 

At the end of the day, that’s really what matters most. It’s alright to spend money as long as you’re going to get a long-lasting product. Much better to buy it once and have a reliable product than save money and get junk you have to replace each year. This one is worth the price tag.

Another great aspect is that Winnerwell has a variety of accessories for their winter tent stoves. You can get:

Winnerwell Nomad View Tent Stove: Specifications

Material:304 stainless steel
Weight:38 pounds (17.4 kg) (large)
Dimensions:18” x 25” x 18” (large); 8” x 15” x 8” (medium)
Stove pipe:108” total height, included in segments
Legs:Four stable folding legs
Cook top:Spacious 18” x 9.8” with available water tank
Other features:High-quality construction, lifetime warranty, company dedicated to fire tent stoves and fire pits

Get ready for camping in the winter with this tent stove. Head over to the Winnerwell Nomad Large listing or check out the Nomad Medium Tent Stove.

The Riley Pellet Stove lineup

Best Pellet Stove: Riley Tent Pellet Stoves

Wood pellets have become an excellent way to turn a wood processing byproduct into an amazing fuel source. Pellet barbecue grills are now common, and pellets can also be used as a heat source.

If you are in the market for a pellet stove for camping, the Riley Tent Pellet Stoves are one of the best solutions around. Not only do these make excellent camping stoves because they don’t rely on electricity like other pellet stoves, but they also have designs that can be used with either wood logs or pellets.

Convenience and Portability

One of the main reasons why it’s uncommon to see pellet tent stoves is that many pellet-fueled grills and stoves require electricity. They often feature advanced temperature monitoring systems and automatic pellet feeders. This is great because they feed the pellets as needed to maintain a constant temperature, perfect for grilling or heating.

But that doesn’t make a lot of sense for camping. Even if you have some electricity, you likely don’t want to keep it plugged in all the time.

Riley understands this limitation and created these tent pellet stoves to run without electricity. It does this by using a gravity-fed system that is carefully designed to allow the pellets to flow at a natural burn rate. Even without the electricity, you still don’t have to manually feed the pellets. It’s quite an incredible system.

These pellet-fueled stoves also feature a patented jet air system with an air-cooled bottom. This ensures that there is sufficient oxygen flowing in to fuel the fire, allowing for heat to emanate off the stove without creating an excessive burn risk underneath.

It produces 8 hours of heat with a 40-pound sack of pellets.

This system does a great job of creating a clean-burning stove that has little maintenance. Simply dump the pellets into the feeder, then let it roar. It also produces minimal soot.

The only downside is that these meticulously designed systems require a specific balance of air and oxygen. Riley states that these are NOT designed to be used at elevations over 8,000 feet. So if you’re thinking of a high alpine adventure, you’ll want to check out the other options on this list of the best tent stoves.

The gravity-fed pellet system of the Riley Pellet Stove

Three Pellet Stove Choices

Riley Stove Company offers three different choices for tent pellet stoves:

  1. The City Slicker Pellet Stove: Exclusively pellets, medium-size
  2. Wrangler Stove with Pellet Burner: Wood or pellet fueled, the largest size
  3. Bullet Stove with Pellet Burner: Wood or pellet fueled, the smallest size

The pricing is all in the same ballpark, so it’s really up to the size you want and whether you want the added convenience of being able to use wood logs in addition to the pellets for fuel. 

For outdoorsmen venturing far into the wilderness, it’s probably a good idea to go with the dual-fuel options. That way if you do happen to run out of pellets, you can still get heat from local lumber.

For those that have immediate access to pellets or know they only want to use it with pellets (maybe you have a different wood fire stove), then you can get the City Slicker Pellet Stove. And don’t worry. You don’t have to tell anyone that’s the name. 

Riley mentions in the FAQs on the website that the galvanized steel comes with a coating. It will liquefy in the first 5 to 7 minutes of operation, then it will become a protective coat over the steel. Like most of the tent stoves, we recommend performing the first burn in a well-ventilated area before you use it in an enclosed space.

Riley Tent Pellet Stoves: Specifications

Brand:Riley Stove Company
Material:Galvanized Steel
Weight:42 pounds (19 kg) (City Slicker)
Dimensions:15″ x 27½” x 13½”
Stove pipe:Need to purchase extension and damper separately
Legs:4 rigid legs (do not fold or remove)
Cook top:Yes, flat area on top designed for cooking
Other features:Pellet fueled tent stove with optional wood log capability

Click here to see the price of the Riley Tent Pellet Stove.

Guide Gear's cheap tent stove

Budget Alternative: Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove

Not everyone needs one of the fanciest or best tent stoves. If you’re looking for a wood fire stove that is extremely affordable, the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove could be the right choice.

It’s a relatively portable stove with detachable legs that weighs just over 40 pounds. It has a flat cooktop and comes with a long vent pipe with an included damper to control airflow. And best of all, it’s reasonably priced.

Ready to see how much this tent stove will set you back? Head over to the Amazon listing for the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove. But keep reading to find out what the catch is.

The Catch: Fumes and Air Flow

Before you buy this wood-burning stove, there are two things you need to know. First, many reports indicate that it doesn’t use a paint that’s suitable for high-temperature burning. This means you likely don’t want to breathe in the fumes coming off of it, especially the first few times you use it.

To get around this problem, I suggest burning it at an extremely high temperature for many hours in a well-ventilated space. But even with that, it’s likely to continue leeching some fumes, so it’s going to be a personal choice on how to use it.

But there’s a more serious problem, especially if you need a stove to use inside a tent for heating.

Most people say that the Guide Gear Stove does not function if you close the door securely. Even with the damper and vents fully opened, it simply doesn’t allow for adequate airflow. It suffocates and extinguishes itself.

The way that most people get around this is by leaving the door cracked open. This is probably fine if you only want to use the stove outside and while monitoring it. 

But since embers can escape from the door, it isn’t going to do well for tent heating purposes. These embers present a serious fire risk inside of a tent and having the door open will allow smoke to escape into your tent, rather than flow out the pipe flue.

If you’re looking for a winter tent stove, I suggest heading back up to the other budget option on this list. It doesn’t have either of these issues.

The problematic door of the Guide Gear Tent Stove

Cast Iron Construction

I’m a big fan of cast iron. I cook with it almost exclusively and it works great for tent stoves because it holds heat well. Guide Gear uses this cast iron construction material and still comes in at a rock-bottom price.

The problem is that since the door doesn’t close that well, a lot of the benefits of cast iron don’t exist. For example, it’s usually ideal because you can fill it with fuel, then let it burn slowly over many hours with the door closed for constant heat.

If you fill this up, you still have to leave the door open. That means the fire will likely rage much faster since you can’t control the airflow very well, and you’ll be left feeding it more often.

In that case, I think it’s better to go with a thinner steel option that you can still close the door to. Even if it doesn’t retain heat like cast iron, it’s better than having the door open and too much airflow (or smoke in your tent).

One notable feature is that even though this is cast iron, the legs are removable. This mimics the best overall tent stove on this list, the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove

Both have heavy-duty cast iron construction with rigid legs, but you can take off the legs for transportation. The Camp Chef also has a nesting stove pipe, so that makes it even more portable. Camp Chef uses removable side grates for more surface area for cooking or drying items.  

Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove: Specifications

Brand:Guide Gear Outdoor
Material:Cast iron
Weight:42.4 pounds (19.2 kg)
Dimensions:20″ x 11″ x 13″
Stove pipe:Yes, 5 interlocking pipes with damper included
Legs:4 rigid but removable legs
Cook top:Yes, nice flat cooktop designed for cooking
Other features:Extremely affordable, but uses inappropriate paint and lacks adequate air flow with door closed

Due to the paint and airflow problems, I strongly encourage you to check out the other options. But you can click here to see more information about the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove.

A photo of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, one of our must-have stops on your road trip itinerary

Expert Buying Guide: The Best Tent Stoves

When you want to get one of the best tent stoves, you need to match your budget and needs with the options on the market. Thankfully, most of the best wood fire tent stoves are fairly affordable. However, there are some major differences in quality, features, and other critical factors.

Let’s go through what separates the best hot tent stoves from the rest.

An interesting alternative to these wood burning tent stoves are battery powered camping heaters. They require a decent amount of electricity and don’t provide the same level of heat, but they’re a nice portable option to keep warm.

Construction Material

First and foremost, the material that the stove is made out of is the most important feature. This not only has a strong correlation to the price of the tent camp stove, but it also has a lot to say about how it will function in the field.

On one hand, you have heavy-duty cast iron or thick steel options. These have many benefits, such as:

  • Durability: They aren’t going to easily flex, dent, or get damaged
  • Heat retention: They will continue to give off warmth after the fire goes out
  • Affordable: Even though it’s thick, these are usually more affordable than specialty alloy options

I love cast iron and recommend them as a tent stove and for cooking purposes. They’ll not only last longer, but they also don’t have to be fed logs as constantly. If you’re looking for overnight heat, it’s really hard to beat a cast iron option.

But there are downsides. And that’s where the other options excel.

Galvanized steel, stainless steel, and titanium are the other main options for tent wood stove construction materials. The biggest advantage over cast iron is weight savings. These are much lighter. The titanium ones offer an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, but even the other thin steels are incredibly light in comparison to cast iron.

But there are two problems with these. First, the titanium ones are usually significantly more expensive. It’s a premium product. I love titanium for some of my backpacking gear, including coffee mugs and utensils. But I find it a little overkill for a wood fire tent stove. Maybe you need to pack one in on a long hike and it’s worth it, but for other people, it’s just a lot of expense for little payoff.

The second and more common problem with thin steel is that they don’t hold much heat. As soon as the fire goes out, it gets as cold as the ambient temperature. This means you need to feed it logs all night or else it won’t provide any heat. That can be a real issue.

What’s the right call for you? I’d recommend going with thick steel like cast iron unless you need it to be lightweight and ultra-portable. If that’s the case, go with a collapsible lightweight option to bring easily anywhere. 

Kristina and Michael from Off Path Travels enjoying a beautiful mountain pass in Colorado on their road trip

Portability: Weight, Pipes, and Legs

Speaking of portability, that’s another major characteristic to look for when shopping for the best wood-burning tent stove. The ability to bring your stove anywhere is a higher priority for some, but it’s usually an important consideration no matter where you’re using it.

The construction material typically dictates the weight, with thick cast iron or steel weighing the most, stainless or galvanized steel being much lighter, and titanium being the featherweight champion.

But another part of portability is how it packs down.

For a lot of winter canvas tents, the stove pipe needs to be fairly long to exit the stove jack and emit the hot exhaust away from the canvas fabric.

Does this mean you have to travel with 5 or 6 different pieces of 5” pipe rolling around in your car or truck bed for camping?

Absolutely not. The best tent stoves like the Camp Chef option have nesting pipes, meaning they fit inside one another. Many don’t though. So you’ll have to pay attention to what you’re getting if you need room for other gear.

The other parts of how the winter tent stove packs down are the legs. Some are removable but the most portable tent wood stoves have legs that quickly fold in. The titanium and stainless options usually have folding legs, while the cast iron ones are removable.

If you are capable of carrying over 50 pounds and can drive right up to your tent (or close enough), then you don’t need to be too worried about how light or portable your stove is. I recommend getting a heavy one because it’s more durable and will hold heat better.

But if you need to hike a good distance or don’t want to have to lug around a heavy stove in your hands or vehicle, then a lightweight tent stove is a better choice. Look for the titanium for the premium option, or go with stainless steel to save some cash. Just be careful to avoid bending it and understand that you’ll have to constantly feed it logs to maintain heat.

Overall Design

A wood-burning tent stove isn’t too complex. When it comes down to brass tacks, it’s a metal box with a door, some inlet air vents, and a large pipe to serve as a flue with a damper to help control the air.

Yet this seemingly simple task does require some engineering. The amount of wood, oxygen, ventilation, and exhaust all need to be well balanced.

If you’re looking for a tent camping stove, there’s a good chance that you want it to burn for long periods without much attention. And it needs to burn inside your tent safely.

To make this happen, it must function well with the stove’s door entirely closed. And believe it or not, some of the budget stoves don’t work so well with the door closed. The air doesn’t flow well enough and it suffocates itself.

I’ve carefully selected the options on this list to avoid these problematic wood stoves. But one budget option does have the problem, the Guide Gear Outdoor Stove. I’ve made it clear in the description and think this one is not worth the money.

Another part of the overall design is about the top area of the stove. Not only do these portable tent stoves create heat, most also double a cooking surface. The top needs to be flat to do this.

Some go a step further by including side shelves. This gives you a nice place to put a hot pan once you’re done cooking. 

Others can have accompanying accessories such as a water tank that mounts on the side. They have a little spigot so you can have hot water on top whenever the fire is burning. That’s a pretty neat feature.

Warning: If you get a hot water tank, avoid keeping it full constantly. Boiling water creates steam and condensation, something you don’t want in your tent. Fill up the tank when you’re likely to use it, then move it when you’re done. It’s fine to keep water warm for a few hours, just not 24/7.

The snow-packed roads on our drive back west to California

Company Reputation

Being choosy about the companies you buy from is a great way to ensure your money is used wisely. The reality is that there are quite a few products made by companies that have no business producing the item. And even worse, it can be quite challenging to determine which has the expertise and which does not.

That’s where you can lean on my research. Here are a few of the things I look for whenever I’m looking for the best outdoor gear:

  • Expertise: Does the company make everything under the sun or do they focus on this product line?
  • Experience: How many years has the company been around? Do they truly understand camping and outdoor adventure in North America?
  • Feedback: Is there a solid track record for this product with many positive field reports?

By combining these three factors, you can have a much better idea of how likely the product is to live up to its marketing materials. 

I place a giant emphasis on the expertise and feedback categories. By focusing production efforts on specific product lines, companies have a much better chance of creating a high-quality product. 

And this either shows up in the customer feedback or the field tests show the problems. By letting hundreds or thousands serve as your test users, you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect. 

This does come with a major caveat though. You have to carefully inspect the feedback and reviews to see why people like or don’t like a product. For example, one on this list has a lot of great reviews, but then I found out that most tent users had major problems with it. This is the Guide Gear budget option where the door can’t be closed.

If you check out a lot of our gear posts, you’ll find that there are many different brands. That’s because they focus on that area. This is something I’ve done my entire life because I’m a little obsessed with making sure to spend my hard-earned cash to its fullest. But go ahead and check out these posts for some great examples of companies that are dedicated to their specific product line: camping air conditioners, camping fridges, and canvas wall tents.

Fuel Source

Nearly every tent stove runs on wood logs. That’s basically what they are designed to use. It’s also what most of us have accessible while we’re camping. And if it’s not local lumber, you can still get small bundles to bring with you from many different stores.

But there is an alternative. Wood pellets aren’t just for advanced barbecues. There are pellet tent stoves that use this incredible fuel source. 

A pellet tent stove needs to be well-designed so that you don’t have to use electricity. This is the usual problem because many pellet grills have temperature monitoring and automatic feeding systems that require electricity.

But Riley Stove Company has made some impressive pellet tent stoves. Two options of the three they make can also run on wood logs, giving you the best of both worlds.

Riley says that a 40-pound bag of pellets can provide up to 8 hours of heat. So it’s not exactly the longest burning and you’ll need to have a lot of pellets around to provide constant heat for an entire camping trip, even if it’s just a long weekend.

Most people are better off going with a cast iron tent stove that burns wood logs. But for those who want to use pellets or have them easily accessible, you do have a pellet tent stove option.

Frequently Asked Questions: The Best Tent Stoves

A powdery trail after a decent snowstorm

Wrap-Up: The Best Tent Stoves

Getting one of the best tent stoves starts by understanding your needs and getting a stove that matches. For most people where portability comes down to driving it to the tent site, the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove will give you many years of long-lasting warmth with an excellent cooktop. And it packs down into a small package to fit in your car or truck.

Others who want one with window can go with the premium Winnerwell Woodlander Canvas Tent Stove available in medium and large sizes.

And for those looking for the best lightweight tent stove around, the Danchel Outdoors T6/TSG Titanium Hot Tent Wood Stove is a great choice.

Do you have a tent to go with your stove? Check out the latest and best canvas tents to see if yours stacks up to the current market. You can also get a canvas wall tent if you want to step up in size and be ready for a long winter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.