Over the past few weeks we’ve looked a vacuum purge and refill kit that helps ensure your cooling system is tip top; a crowfoot wrench, a tool that allows you to turn a fastener in a cramped space; and a huge battery that can provide power out in the field without emissions or noise. This week’s cool tool is a propane heater, a device to keep your butt and your hands warm this coming cold season.
This suggestion comes from deep inside my closet. I’ve used a few different propane heaters and I definitely recommend them for keeping warm in the cold.
This little guy is the Mr. Heater Sunrite. I find it good for some heat around camp or a quick car repair, so long as you stay somewhat close by. You can flip it over and use it to cook food, too. It comes with a grille for that purpose, but mine has disappeared.
I’ve been using it for about two years on various outdoor activities and it never ceases to do its job.
The Sunrite is nice and dirt cheap but it’s not really something that you want in a tent. If it tips over while running it’ll catch the tent on fire. Even if that doesn’t happen, carbon monoxide can build up in the tent and kill you.
The other small portable heater I’ve owned is the Mr. Heater Buddy. Unlike the Sunrite, it’s made for enclosed areas. I find these good at heating areas like campers and well-ventilated tents and they have lots of neat safety features.
They shut down if tipped over, the pilot light goes out or if oxygen levels are too low. Mine kept me comfortable on several cold camping nights before it was stolen. Who steals a propane heater?
Either of these heaters connect to camping gas or a big 20 lb cylinder.
If you’re working outside and want some extra horsepower, you can get a double-burner heater that mounts to a 20 lb propane cylinder. It’s great for cold weather wrenching. I helped a friend do a heater core job on a Honda in December and despite low Chicago temps, the heater had the work area hot—so hot that I had to take off my jacket and my hoodie.
Make sure you follow the safety instructions no matter which one you choose. Namely, you need good ventilation and to keep the heater far from flammable surfaces. These heaters produce a bunch of carbon monoxide, which I’ll stress a second time is deadly.
These heaters measure power in British Thermal Units (BTU). This is a measure of how much energy it takes to create an amount of heat. Most will have a knob for output adjustment.
Propane heaters are sold under a bunch of different brands and can be found just about anywhere camping gear is sold. Be careful with generic models, as I’ve had a few of those break over the years.
My small propane heater is the Mr. Heater Sunrite MHS15C, good for up to 15,000 BTU. Here’s one for about $27.
The Mr. Heater Buddy unit was a F232000, up to 9,000 BTU, 225 square feet and it currently runs about $90.
The big gun is a Mr. Heater double tank top F242655, up to 30,000 BTU and it runs as low as $80.
Do you know of a weird or unique tool that wrenchers can benefit from? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!