4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

IF YOU live in a state that’s 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 you’re 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. You’re 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 isn’t ex­actly a good thing when it comes to living. If you’re go­ing to use any gas heater, the most im­por­tant step is to keep good air flow so oxy­gen lev­els don’t get de­pleted – don’t let your­self be­come a news ar­ti­cle.

The Mr Heater unit has a low-oxy­gen cut-off, which is what sold it for me; al­though, I’m not too keen on see­ing if it works so I mainly use the heater as a pre­heater – some­thing to knock the edge off a tent’s in­ter­nal temps be­fore turn­ing it off and climb­ing in for the night. It’s 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 it’ll switch it­self off if it knocks over or takes a hit.

With a pur­chase price of just $179, it shouldn’t 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.

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