IF YOU live in a state thatís still not pretending XXXX counts as beer, then chances are winter has well and truly sunk its teeth into your camping adventures. There are plenty of ways to keep warm, but if your significant other is looking at you like you just kicked the dog and youíre fresh out of whiskey, you might need to go searching for alternative methods to keep warm.

I found myself in this exact predicament and, with more than a few cold nights spent chattering my teeth in a huge camper trailer, I figured it was about time I started eyeing off camping heaters.

Youíre generally left with one of two styles when it comes to gas heaters: a direct heat element that goes straight onto a gas bottle; or a fancier unit that does the same thing but with a few extra features.

The downside of both styles is they replace the oxygen in the air with carbon monoxide, which isnít exactly a good thing when it comes to living. If youíre going to use any gas heater, the most important step is to keep good air flow so oxygen levels donít get depleted Ė donít let yourself become a news article.

The Mr Heater unit has a low-oxygen cut-off, which is what sold it for me; although, Iím not too keen on seeing if it works so I mainly use the heater as a preheater Ė something to knock the edge off a tentís internal temps before turning it off and climbing in for the night. Itís also a great unit to keep under the camp table on cold, wintery mornings.

Despite being simple in design, the Mr Heater unit pumps out plenty of heat (up to 9000BTU on high). Which, in reality, is a little underpowered for large camper trailers. However, smaller units or standalone tents should find it packs plenty of punch. Just be aware and expect to burn through at least one canister of gas per night. Safety pundits will be relieved to know itíll switch itself off if it knocks over or takes a hit.

With a purchase price of just $179, it shouldnít be compared to diesel heaters which can cost 20 times the amount.

However, for a budget unit it packs plenty of punch to take the edge off on colder trips and keep the kids happy.


AVAILABLE FROM: www.bcf.com RRP: $179 WE SAY: Versatile heater, multiple fuel options, plenty of heat.