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Cooking In A Tent: Here’s What You Need To Know

Before you read on our advice is and always will be to NEVER EVER cook in your tent. 

You never know when you might be left with no choice but to cook within your tent. In this article, we go through everything you need to know about cooking in a tent. 

Long periods of rain, strong winds or incredibly cold weather might call for you to have to cook inside of your tent. This could possibly prove dangerous as we know that cooking involves fire and when that is in close proximity to fabrics, this might cause a large fire to break out.

What Does Cooking Inside A Tent Mean?

There is a large variety of tents available out there, depending on the type of tent that you have, cooking in a tent can mean very different things. Before we go any further discussing things you need to know about cooking in a tent, we should define what cooking in a tent means. 

Depending on the layout and design of your tent, there is a possibility that cooking in your tent could mean cooking in the floored area inside of your tent. 

For tents with simple structures and no extra space, you will probably be cooking in an inner floored area within the confines of the tent floor, walls, and roof. Some tents have screen rooms in which you can cook. These tents are basically your usual tents with an additional screen room which is usually characterised by panels and a roof. It can also come with no floor, a removable floor, or a fixed floor. 

Tents also may come with vestibules which are protected areas from rains and winds that have removable floors. However, these vestibules may be small in surface area and can have a low-hanging roof so you might have less space to work with as compared to the inner tent area. 

Finally, some tents have porches without floors. However, choosing to cook at porches will leave you exposed to harsh weather which might not be the most ideal situation.

Stove Options Available For You

When cooking in a tent, there are two types of stove options that are at your disposal. Firstly, you can choose to cook by using alcohol, or a gas canister that corresponds to your burner. Alternatively, you can opt for a wood-burning tent stove or even a stove that makes use of solid fuel. Wood-burning tent stoves are ideal for bigger tents as large tents can accommodate these stoves as the walls will be far away from the stove. 

Using a wood-burning stove in your tent requires some extra care. Remember to always keep the stove in the middle part of the tent so that they are far away from the walls of your tent. You also will need to protect the floor around your stove with an anti-flammable mat as hot embers can burn holes onto your tent’s groundsheet. If you want to completely avoid any holes, you can roll back the tent’s groundsheet. Make sure that your stove has a pipe such that the spark arrester is on top of it. This will prevent hot sparks from making holes in the roof. 

So what if you have a small tent? Then gas burners are ideal. They are small enough to fit in your pocket and will come in handy on hikes. 

But our main advice would be and always will be NEVER cook in your tent, cold beans wont hurt you.

Dangers Of Cooking In A Tent

#1: Your tent may catch fire

Some tents actually come prepared with safety regulations as they are required to satisfy these requirements. While other tents might come with warnings that they are made of flammable materials. If your tent indicates that it satisfies safety regulations you can be assured that the fabric it is made of supports continued combustion and thus will melt instead of burn when exposed to fire. 

#2: Burns!

If there is spilt white gas or a sudden fireball when you turn on your cooking equipment, you might get burnt. Hence, as much as possible try to prepare your cooking equipment outside your tent before installing it within the tent for cooking. 

#3: Carbon Monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is odourless and it is a product of burning fuels. Although it might be cold outside, if you keep your tent completely sealed, you not only prevent ventilation but the gas will diffuse and spread in the tent air. This leads to carbon monoxide poisoning if your tent is left unventilated while cooking for too long. Always make sure to leave a few vents open during your cooking session so that you allow for a crossflow of air. 

How do you know that you might be poisoned by carbon monoxide? You might experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and stomach pains. Your first telltale sign during carbon monoxide poisoning is a headache, which is the most common symptom. 

However, remember that the symptoms above are similar to the symptoms you would face when experiencing altitude sickness. Be aware and do not get carbon monoxide poisoning mixed up with altitude sickness, especially when camping at high altitudes!

#4: Unstable canister and burner

Depending on the equipment you are using, the cooking set-up you have might be too tall and hence unstable. Your set-up might work fine on a stable and flat surface but the floors of tentages are much too unpredictable and are definitely far from flat and stable. The ground you are camping on might also be overly soft this means when you move around the tent, the floor of your tent might move along with you, leaving you with a very unstable cooking set-up. It is thus advised that you use objects around you to stabilise your structure such as large stones that you might locate at your campsite to prop it all up.


In a nutshell, you might not willingly choose to cook within the confines of your tent. However, nature is unpredictable and when you are in the wilderness camping, cooking within your tent might prove to become a necessity. It is always important to prepare for the possibility that this might happen.

Do not fret as there is an entire market of endless choices of stoves to choose from that are suitable for cooking within tents.


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