How to Heat a Camper Without Electricity ( 4 Best Methods)


We live in the age of rapid technological growth, and many advancements are happening day by day. Electricity has become an essential element of our day to day life. How to heat a camper without electricity and maintain the required temperature inside the boondocking or dry camping areas?

I will show you the best possible methods in this post. You can quickly heat a camper without electricity and achieve required living and sleeping temperatures inside the camp tents and RV vehicles.

We go camping to escape the digital bustle and hustle of our daily lives. And it is always challenging to be comfortable where there is no electricity, and other resources are less even very limited to use. 

But we will see how to make things work for us even without having an electrical source.

Why do you need to heat a camping space?

Every camping space requires some form of heat to stay warm in the winter season and where the wind flows with cold temperatures. 

And if you are camping in the backcountry and don’t have access to the excellent campground you need to face temperature difficulties inside the camping tents and vehicles.

So you need to look out for heating sources or alternatives for electrical sources to generate warm temperatures in camping space. 

It will help you and your family to stay warm all the time and especially on sleeping nights.

Is it possible to get heat without using electricity?

Yes, it is possible to heat a camper without electricity, and you can get enough temperature levels by using these alternative sources other than electricity.

It would help if you carried the following equipment with your camping gear and follow the procedures mentioned in the following methods to get sufficient heat inside your camper.

Methods on how to heat a camper without electricity:

The following methods do not require any type of electrical source help many campers to solve their temperature problems.  

In most emergencies, these methods help people live without electricity and sleep according to the warm surrounding temperatures.

Campers who mostly prefer boondocking and dry camping choose these types of best methods to heat a camper without electricity to stay warm on winter nights.

I picked best and easy methods to heat your van or camping locations without using any electrical sources. They are:

  1. Using different types of heaters.
  2. Trapping heat inside the camper.
  3. Use warm bedding.
  4. Using your own vehicle’s heat.

Method #1: Using different heaters: 

External portable heaters are always the first choice for the alternative for electrical equipment. They have the efficiency to supply warm temperatures within the closed environment.

I have listed down the best heating equipment that we can use to make our campers heat without electricity: 

a. solar Heaters:

Solar energy is a great source to collect heat and use it for many heating with no electricity purposes. Most of the recreational vehicles(RVs) install solar panels along with their batteries.

If you are into boondocking and dry camping in your favourite locations, then these solar panels will be more useful to light up appliances in the car and other power equipment.

Solar energy is a free and natural resource which is reliable in most sunny days and even works for storing power than inverters and batteries.

Not only for power supply, but you can also make use of this solar energy by solar-powered heaters to boil water and to cook food.

So purchasing a solar-powered heater is an excellent option for campers which has an excellent heat-absorbing solar panel. 

Even in winter seasons, you can get unlimited power with limited solar panels and absorbing heat capacities. Solar-powered heaters do not require other types of power sources to work.

But in heavy snow winter seasons, it is always advisable to maintain a backup power source without entirely relying upon these solar-powered heaters.

b. Hydronic Heating Systems:

The hydronic heating system uses heated water or steam to supply heat through the camping location. The most common system used in this heater attains a maximum water temperature of 200°F (93°C).

This hydronic heating system replaces RV propane furnace arrangement with the help of a heated boiler. This heated boiler works with diesel fuel.

The fuel gets burnt, and the container’s water gets heated up, and this heated water used for hot water showering or cleaning purposes. 

This heating system solves your problem of how to heat a camper without electricity. And it is getting popular for its increasing choice by RV, boondocking, and dry campers.

This heating system is a little bit costly and can take up some space for your camping equipment but serves as the best alternative to electricity to provide heat.

These hydronic heating systems get used for multiple heating zones, and when there is any temperature drop occurs, the whole system gets activated and supplies heat to required places.

If you have a new RV van and plan to set up a heating system, this hydronic heating system is an excellent option for you.

c. Propane Radiant Heaters:

Propane radiant heaters are most commonly used backup heat sources for RVs. These heaters are very easy to use, install and operate and come with lower prices.

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Many campers find these propane heaters as their go-to source for heating purposes when they think about the question “how to heat a camper without electricity.”

At present, these radiant propane heaters are getting popular because they have become so safe to use as they don’t use any fire in their heating system.

There are no dangerous consequences of getting inside air polluted or any other air problems caused due to the usage of these heaters. So you can choose these heaters happily.

No harmful gases get released in this heater as there is no flame produced. These heaters radiate heat, and it is entirely safe to use.

d. Kerosene Heaters:

Another type of camping heating equipment is kerosene heaters. These will popularly get used in cabins and other outdoor places.

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The kerosene fuel used in these heaters is cheap, and it gets heated very quickly, but it has some disadvantages.

By burning kerosene, an oil film layer gets formed on the electrical equipment which is not desirable, so many campers avoid using this type of heater.

The smell released by burning kerosene is also a strong one, and it is more undesirable inside the camping areas. 

And it would help if you used these heaters by always opening windows with proper maintenance of oxygen level inside the room.

Carbon monoxide gas is released by burning kerosene in this heater, so you need to take care of this gas.

By considering all these disadvantages and maintenance requirements, I don’t advice you to use ṭhese type of heaters inside a room but it is ok to use in the open areas and gardens.

e. Wood Stove:

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A simple wood stove can be prepared as a heat source for the whole camping location. Many types of specially designed wood stoves available for use in camping locations.

You can choose a wall mount or floor mount wood stoves according to your size requirement. 

You can use these wood stoves as a heater and for cooking purposes, by saving money on cooking equipment and cooking fuel.

I have used this type of wood stove to heat water and then used this heated water for washing and cleaning purposes. 

You need to consider these heaters’ safety aspect as they can cause fire hazards if not managed properly. And maintain a proper window system and vents to flush out smoke and other fire from the heating source.

Out of all heating systems, this wood stove is the most eco-friendly heating method with no electricity. And you also need a continuous supply of wood to burn, so store enough wood along your camping journey.

With all these heating equipment methods now, you can choose a solution to the question “how to heat a camper without electricity.”

Method #2: Trapping heat inside the camper:

We can equip our camper with the required heating source, and the proper heating is achieved by simply following one of the processes mentioned above.

But after you generate this heat you need to store in your van or room for more extended periods otherwise it will get leaked from the RV walls, windows or by flooring.

To trap the generated heat inside the camper, you need to provide insulation for the whole camping system.

Insulation keeps your inside area warm enough throughout the camping time, and it also keeps you cold during the summer season.

By following some of the essential insulation methods, you can easily trap the heat inside the camper, and it sets as one of the central answers to the question that we are discussing in this whole article. I.e., how to heat a camper without electricity.

a. Insulation:

Insulation is always required for the retention of generated heat inside the camping van or RV van. Without insulation, there is no use of producing enough heating temperatures.

Some of the highly equipped RVs don’t have a good draft and heat retention surfaces, so poor insulation makes the camper location lose heat faster. 

By insulation, you need to keep your internal temperature well above the nominal exterior temperature to have warm temperature throughout the night.

And there are many other ways of doing insulation in places like windows, doors, floors and hatches and we will discuss these insulation processes one by one.

b. Windows:

Windows are the primary sources or paths for losing heat inside the camping home. So if you correctly manage to insulate windows, the maximum heat can be obtained within the closed chambers.

To minimise the heat loss from windows, you need to tape window-opening edges that are not necessarily in opening conditions.

Use perfect insulation tape to prevent heat from getting out of the room. And for windowpane rolls of reflective insulation works like a gem.

Make pieces of insulation according to each section of the window’s sizes and insert this insulation material between the blinds and pane.

These window insulation methods will keep warm inside the room for more extended periods on winter nights, and you can remove this insulation whenever you want.

c. Doors:

Along with windows, doors are also responsible for a lot of heat loss from camping rooms. These doors need to be adequately insulated to retain maximum heat.

You can use fitting shrink plastic kits to insulate doors in proper condition. These plastic kits are easy to fit the screen doors, and it is an excellent option, and it is also inexpensive compared to many other insulation procedures.

You can easily fit these in winter seasons and can be taken down quickly in summers.

d. Floors:

Cold grounds often extract more heat from your warm camping rooms, and they need to get separated from the actual sleeping bed.

So for floors, you can winter skirt the surfaces to provide insulation, and it is more effective to work for winter camping for many days.

But if you stay in a camper and get confused about how to heat a camper without electricity and flooring insulation, you can use rugs and other sleeping gear to lose heat from the room.

These rugs will work correctly as temporary insulation for the floor and the cold ground surfaces.

e. Hatches:

Upon heating the temperature inside the room increases to a specific hot temperature, and it is also essential to insulate the hatches.

Styrofoam materials work best for insulating hatching surfaces, and they are very cheap and easy to use materials.

Cut these styrofoam materials in perfect sizes and squeeze them into hatching locations to be adequately fit. These materials are also used efficiently in summer seasons to block the sun’s heat to enter the camping cabins or RV vehicles.

Method #3: Use warm bedding: 

The third method for how to heat a camper without electricity is to keep warm bedding methods and steps.

While you are in sleep, you need to have the ability to maintain warm temperatures. Otherwise, heat generation is of no use, and you need to look out for other heating equipment to get a good sleep.

So for keeping your camper warm at night times, you need to prepare a warm bedding method so that you get a sound sleep.

You cannot run a heater throughout the night while your whole camping family is in sleep. So it would be best if you found other ways of keeping you warm other than these heating and electricity methods.

The following methods can help you to maintain warm bedding to stay warm the whole sleeping night:

  • Thermal sleeping bags: Thermal sleeping bags also work very efficiently to keep you warm all night. The trap releases body heat from you and holds inside for more time to keep you warm. So choose a perfect sleeping bag which can hold more heat inside it.
  • Hot water bottles: Maintaining hot water bottles at your pillow and bed sheet locations helps you stay warm the whole and get a good sleep. So fill a water bottle with hot water and keep it under the edge of your sleeping cabin so that the warm temperature generated by this hot water bottle remains for more extended periods. So it is the best method to trap heat inside your bedding.
  • Disposable heating pads: These are the materials which provide heat to your bedding area. These heating pads get used to heat your bedsheets fifteen minutes before you go to sleep. So along with thermal sleeping bags using these heating pads is a great option. 
  • Flannel sheets: Finally, using good bed sheets like flannel sheets is also recommended to hold heat in the bed during camping in tents. These sheets will mostly absorb generated heat from your body and sleeping bag and act as insulation to hold heat.

Take a look at the following video on how to use a propane heater:

Method #4: Using your own vehicle’s heat: 

Using a vehicle’s heat is the final method for heating a camper without electricity. This method gets used when you have no other option to generate heat without electricity.

You can use your camping vehicle or RV van to generate heat for your camper, and it gets done in simple steps.

Before you’re preparing, you will sleep, start your vehicle and crank the heater to its maximum capacity.

And let the vehicle run for fifteen to twenty minutes to get the camping area hotter and free from any cold temperatures.

And then turn off the vehicle, and this accumulated heat will help your camper maintain warm temperatures throughout the night. 

This method is useful if you have proper insulation settings. So choose this method as a last chance of creating warmth in your camper.


There are more different methods to heat a camper without electricity. And each method cannot be applied to every camper because of their surrounding warm and cold temperatures and the type of campsites they choose. So you need to decide which method best suits according to your needs and proceed further.

Which method are you going to implement from this guide of “how to heat a camper without electricity” in your camper? I would love to hear your comments on this topic.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How can I heat my RV vehicle without electricity?

Yes, it is possible to heat your RV without electricity. And this can be done by following simple methods. They are:
1. Using different types of heaters.
2. Trapping heat inside the camper.
3. Use warm bedding.
4. Using your own vehicle’s heat.

What is the cheapest way to heat a room?

The cheapest way to heat a room is to use an energy-efficient space heater. It is the cheapest of all heaters and provides warm temperatures within the room for more extended winter seasons.

How much propane is required to heat an RV in winter?

The average capacity propane RV furnace will burn ⅓ rd of a gallon of propane. So each gallon of propane will be sufficient to run the furnace for 3 hours.

Can you insulate a camper?

Yes, it is possible to insulate a camper. By providing proper insulation materials for windows, doors, hatches and floors, you can efficiently insulate a camper to retain heat inside the room.

What is the best insulation material for a camper?

The standard insulation to use in a camper is Fibreglass insulation. Most RVs use this insulation right from the beginning of its manufacturing, and this system maintains the consistent temperature inside the camper. 

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