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Can I use a camping stove in a tent? All questions answered.

dangers of cooking inside a tent with a camping stove

Can you use a camping stove in a tent?

Luckily the weather in Tuscany is generally great in spring, summer and autumn making it pleasant to cook outside. However, just like anywhere in the world, there are days with rain showers and occasional thunderstorms. During these kind of days, that occur very sporadically, some people ask themselves: can I use a camping stove inside my tent? The answer often is a full mouthed: NO! Let me explain why it’s often risky to cook inside with a camping stove, what you should be aware about, and what are the best camping stoves to safely cook in a tent. Let’s start out with the hazards.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One of the biggest dangers when it comes to cooking inside your tent, is the release of Carbon Monoxide by your camping stove. This gas is odorless and invisible to the eye, making it super dangerous. It’s a by-product that is generated when one burns carbon-based fuels such as white gas, alcohol, canister fuel, solid fuel cubes, and even wood. When cooking with a camping stove it is therefore always advised to do so in a well ventilated place, preferably outside. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • A headache, this usually is one of the first and most common symptoms

  • Dizziness or nausea

  • Disorientation

  • Feeling short of breath

  • Stomach pains

  • Feeling tired or weak

Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to severe brain damage and even death: it’s something that unfortunately still happens worldwide as people are not aware of the dangers. That’s why we always suggest our guests to leave the camping stove for what it is when it rains: come and eat some quality italian food in our restaurant, or go out for dinner in the region. 

Setting your tent on fire

Another common risk of cooking inside your tent with a camping stove is setting your tent on fire. Most tents are made of flammable and non breathable fabric, making the chances of setting your tent on fire high. You can seriously burn and injure yourself or put family members and friends at risk. Without talking about the risk of setting your surroundings on fire. We can assure you that no one is happy if you set your tent on fire! Major manufacturers nowadays treat their tents with fire retardants, that slow down or stop the spread of flames. Even if you have a tent like that though, I wouldn’t take the risk myself. 

Get severe burns

Certain fuels are hard to see, such as white gas or alcohol, making it dangerous to cook with them. When you can’t clearly see a fuel it’s hard to keep track of eventual spillings. Moreover, when priming a white gas stove it’s normal to set it on fire in a huge fire ball in case you pumped excess fuel from a pressurized fuel bottle. It’s obvious that not only you will get serious burns in case a fireball forms, it’s also very likely your tent will set on fire as explained above.

Stay safe: don’t use a camping stove inside your tent.

All in all, I believe you should never use a camping stove inside your tent, unless you truly don’t have any other option. In case you really have to, which is something that will never happen when staying at our campsite, we advise you to get a good camping stove. The best ones on the market are those that come in an all-in-one canister stoves that come with an integrated pot and camp stove combination: think about the MSR Reactor, MSR WindBurner, or the Jetboil Joule. The MSR camping stoves are nearly flameless, making it a little safer to use.  

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