Best Tent Stoves To Keep Your Shelter Toasty

Camping in the winter is great, but once the sun sets it can get rough out there. Your teeth are chattering, your toes are tingling, and icicles sprout from the tip of your nose. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Add a tent stove to your shelter to keep your body warm, your clothes dry, and your meals hot all winter.
Best Tent Stove - Intro
The Camp Chef Alpine: Our Best Choice Overall – Photo from manufacturer

If you’re ready for some toasty fireplace charm inside your outdoors shelter, you’re in the right place. Wood-burning tent stoves are a great addition to your winter gear, but you don’t want to go starting a fire inside your tent with just any old stove either.

We’ve researched dozens of stoves currently on the market and found the best options money can buy in terms of safety and performance. 

Our top pick is the Camp Chef Alpine Cylinder Stove: It does everything well from heating to cooking, packs a ton of features, and is built like an absolute tank. It can keep your water hot, dry your poor soggy socks, and sear a few steaks all at the same time without breaking a sweat.

The performance of the Camp Chef is fantastic, but we know this stove won’t be for everyone. Some folks need smaller stoves for smaller shelters, while others need something portable enough to hike into the backcountry with.

Whatever tent stove shelter you’re using, you’ll find the perfect stove to complement it somewhere in the list below. If you’re completely new to tent stoves, don’t sweat it: We’ve also put together an informative buyers guide down at the bottom to help you figure out how to get started on your hot-tenting journey.

StoveSummary
Camp Chef Alpine Cylinder Stove: Best OverallCamp Chef is known for their fantastic outdoor stoves, and this tent stove is no exception. Feature-rich and well built, this full-size steel stove is ready to heat everything from your tent to three-course meals. See Review
Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Ultralight: Best Ultra-LightMade entirely from titanium, the Winnerwell Fastfold is as tough as it is compact. Small and light enough to fit in your pack with a smart design and intuitive setup. See Review
Guide Gear Outdoor Stove: Best On A BudgetBuilt to last using heavy-duty steel, this old-school wood stove provides great burn times on a shoestring budget. Ventilation may require some tweaks, but Guide Gear delivers on the basics. See Review
Danchel Outdoor Ultralight StoveA budget-friendly titanium stove that delivers where it counts. Fast, light, and compact for a few hundred dollars less than the competition. See Review
Winnerwell Nomad Tent StoveA fantastic all-rounder with solid stainless steel construction. Surprisingly light and portable with excellent features at a fair price. See Review

Our Top Picks For The Best Tent Stoves

Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove – Best Overall

Specs:
Weight: 74 lbs (33.6 kg)
Size: 24” x 20” x 22” (51cm x 61cm x 56cm)
Stove type: Classic/non-foldable
Shape: Cylinder
Stove materials: Alloy steel
Best for: Full sized shelters
Price: $$$

Camp Chef is famous for making some of the best outdoor stoves money can buy. Typically when we think of Camp Chef, we think of their best-in-class propane camp stoves or their fantastic pellet grills, but lucky for us they’ve applied that same quality and know-how to a wood-burning tent stove.

The Camp Chef Alpine is their take on the tent wood stove, and it was an easy choice for the best tent stove overall. The Alpine comes with everything you need including a damper, a log grate, a five-piece set of nesting chimney pipes, and spacious accessory shelves for everything from cooking to drying out your hiking socks.

Everything is designed to fit easily inside the stove for transportation as well (including the legs), which further sweetens the deal. And, as you might expect from a brand that’s synonymous with cooking outdoors, special consideration has been paid to the cooking surface, which is large and flat enough to have two pans going at the same time.

Really the only downsides to the Camp Chef are its price and its chimney. As far as price goes, the Alpine is one of the most expensive stoves on our list. Still, if you want a well-designed unit that’s built to last a lifetime, you just can’t go wrong with Camp Chef quality.

Chimney-wise, we’ve got two complaints: First, the spark arrestor is a wire mesh unit that simply sits down over the top of the chimney. We haven’t heard any complaints of it blowing off and going missing, but would prefer something tightly fitted to the opening. The second gripe with the chimney is that it isn’t built to be guyed down. Again, we haven’t heard any complaints about the beefy 5” tube blowing around in the wind, but we would love to see three eyelets at the top for guying out and staking down the flue pipe.

We’ll also note that this is a big stove. That’ll be a perk for many campers, especially those using larger tents, but be warned: This isn’t a good option for smaller tents, and is nowhere near lightweight.

ProsCons
– Camp Chef quality build throughout
– Excellent option for cooking
– Large and powerful enough for larger tents
– Would prefer a fitted spark arrestor with guy out points
– Expensive



Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Ultralight: Best Ultra-Light

Specs:
Weight: 4.5 lbs (2.0 kg)
Size: 15” x 9” x 7” (38cm x 23cm x 18cm)
Stove type: Ultra-light/packable
Shape: Box/square
Stove materials: Lightweight titanium
Best for: Ultralight hot tenting in smaller shelters
Price: $$$

Typically the words “ultralight” and “tent stove” don’t belong anywhere near each other, but the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium is an exception to the rule. Thanks to its full titanium construction and clever design, this little tent stove packs down to just 15” x 9” x 2”, and weighs just 4.5 pounds. What’s even more impressive is that weight includes the flue pipe and a compact spark arrestor, so you’ve got just about everything you need to heat your tent in the backcountry.  All things considered, this was a no-brainer for best ultra-light tent stove.

Other highlights of the Winnerwell Fastfold include its intuitive setup which uses attached hooks and brackets to secure the firebox in place, as well as the unique chimney design. Winterwell uses a single ultra-thin sheet of titanium for the entire chimney, which rolls up width-wise into a compact 12”x1” roll, but when unrolled and turned length-wise, transforms into a full nine-foot-tall flue pipe.

Now, this is an extremely compact unit, so you’ll be working with a smaller cook space than usual and won’t be able to attach all the convenient accessories available for the Nomad series. Still, if weight and space are your main concerns, this is an awesome little wood-burning stove that’ll keep your tent nice and toasty.

Aside from the size limitations of the Winnerwell Fastfold, we have one major complaint: The chimney takes some serious skill to properly set up, especially the first time. That’s because when you first get your Fastfold stove, the long titanium sheet hasn’t been heat-cured into its chimney shape yet. That means you’ll need to very carefully unroll it, and then gently roll it lengthwise into place, taking care not to dent it anywhere along its nine-foot length as you go. Once you’ve done the initial “seasoning” of the stove, the titanium will be much easier to handle, but we highly recommend tackling the initial setup with a pair of gloves (it’s pretty sharp) and a friend to help keep it under control.

ProsCons
– Lightest stove on our list
– Most compact stove on our list
– Intuitive setup for the firebox
– Expensive
– Titanium sheet chimney takes skill to set up initially



Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove: Best Tent Stove On A Budget

Specs:
Weight: 42.4 lbs (19.2 kg)
Size: 20” x 11” x 13” (51cm x 14cm x 33cm)
Stove type: Classic/non-foldable
Shape: Box/square
Stove materials: Steel & cast iron
Best for: Frontcountry camping/general outdoors heating
Price: $

If you’re looking for a tough steel tent stove on a budget, the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove is one of the most popular options available.

You will love the Guide Gear’s old-school charm, rugged steel/cast-iron construction, and long 3-5 hour burn times. Its thick steel construction makes it one of the heavier stoves on our list at 42 pounds, but it also makes for a fantastic cooking surface, especially when paired with Guide Gear’s accessory bundle, which includes two side racks that work great for warming/simmering duty.

As far as complaints go, the most common one with the Guide Gear stove is its ventilation. More than a few buyers complain that it’s difficult to find the right balance of airflow for this tent stove once you’ve got a fire going inside. That means dialing in a good draft requires a fair amount of monitoring/adjustment, and some smoke will make its way out the front door every time you go to refuel it. This is another area where the optional accessory bundle may come in handy, because it also includes a grate for the bottom of the stove to raise logs up off the stove bottom and increase airflow.

ProsCons
– Old school steel stove charm
– Inexpensive
– Long burn time
– Ventilation tough to dial in
– Accessory kit sold separately
– Heavy for its size



Danchel Outdoor Ultralight Titanium Camping Stove

Specs:
Weight: 5 lbs (2.2 kg)
Size: 15” x 8” x 11” (38cm x 20cm x 28cm)
Stove type: Ultra-light/packable
Shape: Box/square
Stove materials: Lightweight titanium
Best for: Ultralight hot tenting in smaller shelters
Price: $$

If you’re looking for a fast and light titanium stove but aren’t ready to commit to an investment like the Winnerwell above, check out the Danchel Ultralight Titanium Camping Stove.

It’s less expensive, includes many of the same features, and (most importantly) packs down small and is made entirely from lightweight titanium.

You’ll find the same titanium roll-up style chimney as well as the same “flat-pack” design that folds down neatly into a 14” x 11” x 3” tote bag. It’s a bit larger than the Winnerwell, and weighs an extra half pound as well, but for the price this one is tough to beat.

A few things you’ll be missing that we’ll point out here: First, rather than the simple “hook and bracket” construction of the Winnerwell, the Danchel Ultralight uses long titanium bolts secured by nuts to hold the box together. These bolts also double as the lets and feet of the Danchel, so it’s not quite as handsome or robust-looking as the Winnerwell it competes with.

The second complaint we have (as do several buyers) are the Danchels edges. So pointy! They’re not exactly razor-sharp or jagged, but the edges on the top and bottom of the firebox (as well as the roll-up chimney) are sharp enough that Danchel includes gloves with every purchase for handling. Speaking of the chimney, note that due to the small size of the Danchel Ultralight, the weight of the chimney can topple the stove itself if not secured correctly. Danchel includes a spark arrestor with guy-out points (similar to the Winnerwell) for this purpose, but it takes a little extra time and skill to set up correctly.

ProsCons
– Ultralight tent wood stove at an affordable price
– Complete package with flue, damper, and spark arrestor
– Setup is more involved than the competition
– We don’t love the legs
– Titanium sheet-style chimney = Steep learning curve



Winnerwell Nomad Tent Stove

Specs:
Weight: 20 lbs (9.1 kg)
Size: 15” x 20” x 12” (38cm x 51cm x 30cm)
Stove type: Classic/non-foldable
Shape: Box/square
Stove materials: Stainless steel
Best for: Small/medium shelters
Price: $$

Built from tough 304 stainless steel, The Winnerwell Nomad is made to last, and is completely rust/corrosion proof according to Winnerwell.

Our pick is their medium size Nomad (it also comes in small and large sizes) because it’s still surprisingly light at just 20 lbs, and strikes a good balance between overall size/heat output and portability. Speaking of portability, you don’t even need a separate carrying case for the Nomad: Just fold the legs up underneath the stove, place all 90” of chimney pipe inside the firebox (yes, it fits), and pick the stove up by its integrated side racks that double as carrying handles.

We like that the Nomad is a true “one-stop-shop” kind of stove, but we’re also fans of these stoves because Winnerwell offers a line of optional accessories to go along with them. You can pick up classic extras like hot water tanks, cleaning elements,  or fireproof mats, or you can step it up with unique add-ons like a chimney pipe oven, or even a sauna conversion kit.

On the safety side, the Winnerwell is also… Well… A winner. Their chimney pipes are made from the same stainless steel as the body, so you don’t have to worry about the meltdowns associated with aluminum fittings or the finicky nature of a titanium sheet chimney. You’ll also find a pre-installed damper in the flue which works well with the rest of the layout to provide ample draw and keep smoke outside the tent where it belongs. Nomad also includes a nice tall spark arrestor for the top of the flue as well, which is well ventilated to resist the buildup of ash and creosote that more compact models are prone to. 

Downsides to this tent wood stove are few and far between, but the one common issue we’ve heard is with the glass viewing window. There’s nothing wrong with the window itself, but several customers have broken it by closing it on oversized logs, so you’ll need to be mindful of that. The glass is replaceable, but you might be waiting awhile for parts to ship if you happen to break it.

ProsCons
– Well-built stove at a reasonable price
– Surprisingly light and portable
– Sweet accessory options
– Glass viewing window is breakable if you’re not paying attention



Tent Stove Buyer’s Guide

So you’ve decided to venture into the world of tent stoves. This is a fun and unique way to heat up an outdoors shelter, but there are a few things you’ll need to know to enjoy any stove you buy while staying safe in the process.

Remember, even the best tent stoves on the market are dangerous if used incorrectly. Selecting the right size and type of stove for your shelter is half the battle, but following stove safety best practices is even more important.

The Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium: Our Best Ultralight Choice – Photo from manufacturer

What is a tent stove and why should you want one?

A tent stove is essentially the exact same thing as the classic wood-burning stoves you see in some homes. These are scaled-down versions, of course, but the appeal is the same. Rather than bundling up with heavy layers and extra bulky winter gear, a tent stove lets you safely burn wood inside your shelter to keep it nice and toasty, even when temperatures outside are well below freezing.

As an added bonus, most tent stoves also double as cooking stoves. Just let the flat top get nice and hot, then throw down your favorite cast iron pan or cook pot. No gas required.

Types Of Stoves

Tent stoves comes in two basic types: You’ve got your classic stoves (which are typically made from rugged steel and cast iron), and then you’ve got the ultralight/packable variety (which are almost always made from lightweight titanium and pack down flat for easy storage).

Classic stoves come in a variety of sizes ranging from smaller portable designs that anyone can carry one-handed, to larger heavyweight versions that sacrifice portability for added warmth and space for cooking. Even the smallest stoves of this type use fixed/welded firebox designs however, so carrying them long distances or fitting them into a backpack is generally out of the question.

A classic/non foldable stove: The Camp Chef Alpine – Photo from manufacturer

If you’re interested in carrying your stove with you into the backcountry, however, you’ll want to look at ultralight tent stoves. These units weigh less than your average tent (typically under five pounds), and easily fit into larger hiking packs. Their smaller size limits their heat output and cooking utility, but they’re still one of the coolest pieces of gear you can add to your collection for their outright versatility.

An ultralight/foldable stove: The Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium – Photo from manufacturer

Materials

Tent stoves are available in three different materials: Heavy-duty steel, lightweight stainless steel, and titanium.

Heavy-duty steel construction adds considerable weight to a stove, but it also tends to hold heat better and makes for an ideal cooking surface. These stoves are also typically treated with high-temperature paint or enamel to resist rust and corrosion from rain and moisture.

Lightweight stainless steel, on the other hand, is naturally corrosion-resistant, so it doesn’t require the extra high-heat paint treatment to keep rust at bay. That typically makes them both considerably lighter and lower maintenance than comparable heavy steel stoves. They don’t hold heat quite as well as their heavier cousins, but they’re still warm, reliable, and up to the task of some basic cooking duty.

Lastly we’ve got titanium: Titanium is strong, lightweight, and naturally rust-resistant, so as you might expect, it’s much more expensive than steel. Naturally, this is the material of choice for lightweight backpacking tent stoves. It doesn’t hold heat nearly as well as steel (low thermal conductivity), and because these stoves focus on being as small and compact as possible, your cooking options are limited to the basics. Still, if you want a stove you can carry around all day, titanium is the only serious choice.

Tent Stove Safety

Anytime you use a wood-burning stove inside a shelter, safety is your first priority. Before you ever put a stove in your tent, there are a few things you need to know.

Photo by Yao Qi

Seasoning Your Stove

All wood stoves need to be “seasoned” before use. That means you need to get a controlled fire going inside them for a few hours to properly “bake in” the factory paint/enamel and to burn off any oils used in the manufacturing process. This is always done in an open/outdoors area prior to ever using your stove in your shelter.

When seasoning your stove, start small. Just get a few smaller logs going (two or three), and let them burn slowly, just as you would inside a tent. If you start with an intense fire and let the stove overheat, you run the risk of burning off your paint entirely rather than “sealing it in” for a lasting finish. Stainless steel and titanium don’t use these coatings, but it’s always best to season them regardless.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen if your stove isn’t properly vented. Running a stove with the door open, the damper closed, or with a dirty flue can all raise the CO levels inside your tent to dangerous or deadly levels.

For that reason, you need to (a) clean your stove daily when in use and (b) keep a carbon monoxide detector in your tent at all times. There’s no need to buy an expensive or fancy CO detector here: A simple battery-powered detector will do the trick just fine. Keep it beside your sleeping area close to the level of your head.

The Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector

Fire Safety

You’ll also need to take some basic precautions to prevent a fire from starting or spreading in your tent. Stove placement, chimney setup, and a reliable fire extinguisher are the core essentials for safe tent stove use.

In terms of placement, your stove should always be at least one foot from any surface in your tent, whether that’s the walls, the floor, or the roof. The chimney flue itself is the only portion of a tent stove that should be on or near your tent or any surrounding gear. Regardless of where you place your stove, we always recommend putting a fire-proof mat underneath it to protect the floor from heat or any cinders that may escape when loading/lighting the stove.

For chimney setup, there are a couple things to note. First, you should always run your chimney through a heat-resistant stove jack rather than simply “cutting a hole” in your tent. We highly recommend either purchasing a reliable tent with a stove jack already installed, or sticking to canvas tents and installing a high-quality aftermarket stove jack for this purpose. Second, you should always use a spark arrestor inside or on top of your chimney. Spark arrestors catch any sparks that find their way out of your stove and into the flue, and prevent them from landing on unprotected portions of your tent. A single spark is all it takes to start a fire either on your tent on in the surrounding wilderness, so don’t ever light your stove without an arrestor in place.

Finally, you need a fire extinguisher inside the tent. Should your stove malfunction or your tent or gear begin to catch fire, a fire extinguisher can save your life. Feel free to bring a full-sized extinguisher along if you want, but personally, we recommend a simple compact one you can leave beside your sleeping area like the Smoke Doctor Fire Dog.

The Smoke Doctor Fire Dog

Conclusion

Pound for pound, the Camp Chef Alpine wood stove won our pick for the best camp stove due to its quality construction, useful features, and excellent cooking potential. Ultimately its large size is its only limitation, but if you’ve got the space this stove will last a lifetime.

If you’re looking for something more compact, you just can’t go wrong with the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium, or its more budget-minded counterpart, the Danchel Titanium Ultralight.

The Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium – Photo from manufacturer

And while every stove on our list is a great pick, tent stove beginners or those looking to get started for the least money possible will have a great time getting to know the Guide Gear Outdoor Stove.

Want more information on hot tenting? Check out our article on the best tents with stove jacks for more information on safety, setup, and selection.

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