How to use a wood-burning stove in a tent

Updated February 21, 2017

A wood-burning stove will keep a tent warm and comfortable during winter or late fall camping trips. While there are some risks associated with using a wood-burning stove in a tent, these can be eliminated or reduced by using the right accessories and setting up the stove correctly. Wood-burning stoves should only be used in canvas or duck cloth tents. Nylon or polyester tents cannot handle the heat put out by a stove -- the tent will melt around the stove pipe.

Install a fibreglass collar if the tent does not already have one. A fibreglass collar allows the stove pipe to exit through the tent wall or ceiling. It protects the fabric of the tent from the heat.

Position the stove correctly. There should be at least 60 cm (2 feet) of clearance on all sides. All flammable items should also be kept at least 60 cm (2 feet) from the stove.

Install a spark arrester at the end of the stove pipe. A spark arrester traps the sparks escaping up the stove pipe and prevents them from falling back onto the tent and burning it. Falling sparks can also ignite a dead tree or leaves around the tent.

Control the heat produced by the stove. An overly hot tent can cause serious health damage and may cause the walls of the tent to catch on fire despite the distance. If the tent gets too hot, shovel out some of the hot coals or burning wood into the snow or a safe fire pit outside of the tent.

Ventilate the tent. Leaving a small section of the door flap unzipped will allow carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes to escape and fresh oxygen to enter. Without ventilation, a fully sealed winter tent can suffocate its inhabitants when a fire is burning.


Consider placing a metal plate or fire resistant Kevlar blanket under the stove. This will protect the tent floor from hot ash or sparks. Avoid burning softwoods, such as pine, as they release creosote that will clog up the stove pipe.


Limit movement around the stove. If anyone bumps into the stove, it could dislodge the stove pipe and catch the tent on fire instantly.

Things You'll Need

  • Fibreglass stove pipe collar
  • Spark arrester
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About the Author

Jessica Kolifrath is a competent copywriter who has been writing professionally since 2008. She is based in the Atlanta area but travels around the Southeastern United States regularly. She currently holds an associate degree in psychology and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in the field.