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Thread: Coleman Propane Heaters

  1. #1
    Flashaholic LarryC's Avatar
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    Default Coleman Propane Heaters

    Are the small Coleman Propane Heaters that claim that they can be used indoors really safe to use inside a tent overnight? Anybody have any experience using them?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* gorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    Back in the days when I tent camped we used a coleman propane heater. It worked great. Just make sure you have adequate ventilation so you don't end up suffocating becasue all the o2 gets burned off. That shouldn't be a real problem in most tents though.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Trashman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    They work great and can be real life savers! I've got two. The better one is the PowerCat, because it's fan forced and has electronic ignition. I got it NIB at the swapmeet for $20! The other one sits on top of a propane bottle and is ignited with a match or lighter. I've used that one up in the mountains, once, and it really saved us! It got so cold up there and the heat was just enough to make us comfortable. One night, the heater ran out of propane and I woke up freezing! The cold woke me up and I just stuck another bottle on the heater and I was able to go back to sleep comfortable and happy. The PowerCat, I've only used in the garage. I've got a laptop, now, so I can "compute" wirelessly indoors, but before, I had to use my dad's computer, which is located in the garage. It can get really cold out there, and the PowerCat made it a little more bearable. I think I tried the other one in the garage, too, but without a fan, it didn't do much. It was great in a tent, though.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    One warning, while the screen and other metal parts do not get hot enough to start a fire (I have tried holding a matchhead against the screen) it does get hot enough to give severe burns to anyone who brushes bare skin against it (something else I know from experience). I only use these in very large tents.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic LarryC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    Thanks for the replies. Supposed to go on a camping trip in January on Alabama Gulf Coast and I figure it is probably going to be cold. I am going to buy one of the Colemans. I had seen some other campers using them on a recent camping trip.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    What about the buddy? I was thinking the Mr Buddy small propane heater would make a good replacement to the old keroscene heater my folks use to use.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic LarryC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I was reading one of the Coleman owner manuals on-line and it says not to use the propane unit while sleeping. It seems that the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is more recommended on some of the other internet sites I found because it has a low oxygen sensor that will cut it off and it does not require ventilation. I might be leaning more towards it.

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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I was just going to say some of the newer units, including the buddy, include an O2 sensor so they shut themselves off if the O2 gets low. At work they ran one in a cube van and it shut off at like 16 on their O2 meter.
    Brock - Used to have some web sites

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    so is 16 survivable? or am I like dead at 16?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I bought 2 heaters to test them out.

    The first was one of those Buddy heaters. I put it in the bathroom and shut the door. I consistently checked the temp, which went up about 1 degree every 5 minutes. I'm sure it would have gone up quicker but I kept going in to take the temp. Each time I went in I stayed about 1 minute. I cut the test at 45 minutes. It was warm enough but I just didn't feel right. Too much carbon monoxide. The instructions do say to leave a window open, but in winter I felt this just wouldn't do. I would not use one at home while sleeping in a power outage, although I think in a tent would be ok.

    I also tried a Coleman 3,000 btu Catalytic heater. I used the same setup (closed door except to check the temp and to see if I could still breath). This increased the temp 1 degree between every 5-20 minutes, the time varied. I ran the test for 3 hrs and 20 minutes. I could breath much much better than with the Buddy heater. There is a light odd smell. It must have something to do with the platinum. The directions also say to have a source of fresh air. Put in a bedroom it would take longer to heat up, but I feel it would be safe enough to leave on while sleeping. Tent use should be ok, except that these seem to be easier to accidently knock over.
    I had a pb&j sandwich for dinner.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Tooner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I was looking at the "Buddy" just the last week in the store. I went there to buy it and had a coupon good for 20% off anything in the store. But it too states on the box that it shouldn't be used while sleeping. It didn't say why though. I decided against buying it.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic LarryC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I guess that means that none of the newer propane heaters are totally safe to use while sleeping in a tent?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I think the safest way to go is with a heat exchange unit. The propane and exhaust gasses stay outside the tent. The other benefit is that you don't get the water vapor build-up.

    Zodi Heater

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I lived through a winter on Long Island next to the Atlantic in a summer condo with an Alladin kerosene heater as the only source of heat. Kept in one room, roughly 20x20' it was always warm with the window kept open a couple inches..you had to have that window open or the place would get wet with condesation. Used it for cooking too with a pressure cooker on top, used about a gallon a day..

    Is that coleman buddy a catalytic heater? these seem to be the most effficient gas heaters, they warm you instantly if they're pointed at you.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    The Colemans are catalytic and produce quite a bit of water vapor. I don't know about the Mr. Heater Buddy. It's not certified for indoor use in Canada but it is in the United States. I think it produces small amounts of carbon monoxide. The Coleman supposedly produces none but that may depend on the level of oxygen available.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters


    this is exactly what my Aladdin looks like, only it's marked "Made in Iran" -- supposedly getting harder to find..Chichester used the same one while sailing across the Atlantic in the Gypsy Moth in 1960..

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    a perfect, clean burner with everything setup properly and the right airflow and fuel pressure and everything else perfect will produce no carbon monoxide. As soon as it gets dirty, or if it wasn't designed perfectly to start with, or when the airflow decreases or anything else, then it starts to produce CO. ANY of these things can produce CO if they are dirty or not kept up or damaged or just old. This is why people can live for 10 years after the flue disconnects from their water heater just fine, and then the next day they all die in their sleep. A pile of rust fell on the burner or something.

    The biggest danger with a catalytic heater is not CO (usually) but that they use up all the O2 in the tent and you die just as dead as with an older CO poisoning model... The ones with the sensor is a great idea, but then you're betting your life on a single O2 sensor. If the one in your car gets clogged you just fail your emissions test, if the one on your heater fails you die. I dont think I like single points of failure for things like that...

    That outside heater I like a lot!
    -James

    E=sqrt((mc^2)^2+(pc)^2)

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Thujone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    I like this one for my needs, thanks for the link!
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    00101100000011010000101001100001011011100110010000 10000001110100011010000110010100100000011101110110 1111011100100110110001100100
    00100000011010010111001100100000011101000110100001 11001001100101011000010111010001100101011011100110 1001011011100110011100101110


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    Thujone those tent heaters are cool..the showers too. even neater would be if you could place the exchange unit in the dying campfire for the heat source -- maybe get the thing to use convection instead of the electric fan (build fire downhill from tent?) -- or else have a heat-powered fan (like the Eco fan -- but they are $100 +..) built into it..

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Manzerick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coleman Propane Heaters

    any flame and tent = scared to me..

    I'm wicked scared of fire (and falls)

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