A safe, portable propane camping heater for use in camper vans, RVs, and other small spaces
- Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet
- Continuous odor-free heat for up to 5-1/2 hours; 45-degree heating angle
- Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included)
- Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety
- Built-in piezo ignition
Assembled Dimensions, including propane cylinder: 18” H x 9” DIA (46cm H x 23cm DIA)
Weight, without propane cylinder: 5.85 lbs. (2.65 Kg)
The Mr. Heater “Little Buddy” is an easy, portable propane heater that works well in the small space of the Westfalia or other camper vans. Its safety shutoff features helps keep you and your family safe.
Maybe you enjoy the cooler weather of the shoulder seasons, with no stiflingly hot days, no bugs, and no crowds. Or perhaps you simply haven’t yet got the camping jones out of your system for the year …
In any case, even the most pleasantly cool days of autumn or early winter can come with cold nights. If your campsite has 120V AC shore power you can employ a small electric space heater to keep warm. If not, a small portable propane heater like the Mr. Heater “Little Buddy” can be just the ticket when Jack Frost nips at your nose.
The “Little Buddy” is a relatively compact and portable heater fueled by common disposable 1-lb. liquid propane (LP) cylinders. It consists of the upper head unit, a propane cylinder (not included), and a base to stabilize the entire unit upright on the floor of your camper or RV.
The heater’s head unit includes an integrated carry handle plus two large control buttons: ON and OFF.
On The Road or In Camp
To assemble the Mr. Heater “Little Buddy” simply thread a propane cylinder into the bottom of the head unit and set the whole thing firmly into the base. NOTE: Some brands of propane cylinders have a thin plastic ‘foot’ glued to the bottom of the tank; you may need to remove this in order to fit the tank into the heater’s base.
Once assembled, the “Little Buddy” is easily lit be simply pressing and holding the red ON button to light the pilot flame and then the main burner. The honeycomb burner matrix soon turns orange as it heats up, and the heater can then be set somewhere safe on the floor.
The “Little Buddy” soon heats up the Westfalia interior comfortably, even on very chilly nights. For especially cold or windy conditions, keep the Westfalia popup roof down to prevent heat loss. The Little Buddy has no temperature control, so is either On or Off.
If you need more heat, Mr. Heater also offers the “Buddy”, a larger 4,000-9,000-BTU portable heater.
The “Little Buddy” includes a built-in tipover shutoff device, which kills the fuel supply in case the heater is knocked over, as well as an oxygen-depletion sensor which shuts the unit off in a low-oxygen situation. We’ve found the tipover device to be quite sensitive, sometimes shutting the heater off even when only moving the unit, and we still use a common household carbon monoxide detector whenever operating the heater in the van, if only as a backup alert.
The heater requires a bit of fresh air (the manual specifies 4 square inches), so be sure to crack a window a couple of inches. The rim and wire guard of the burner assembly gets quite hot during operation, so always be mindful of it, and teach kids and pets to avoid getting too close to it. Allow the heater to cool down after use before touching or storing.
Like all propane heaters without external venting, the “Little Buddy” produces water vapor during operation; burning an entire 1-lb. propane fuel cylinder will produce about 26 ounces of water. Though invisible and harmless, this vapor will condense on cold interior surfaces such as walls and windows, so just be prepared to towel off your windows before driving in the morning.
In The Long Run
We’ve been using the Mr. Heater “Little Buddy” model in our Westfalia for a few years now, mostly to take the edge off those chilly temps before bedtime or when arising in the morning. I can even turn the heater on from the comfort of my sleeping bag.
It’s a safe, easy, and economical heater that doesn’t require us to find a campsite with shore power. After use, the “Little Buddy” easily disassembles for storage, and quickly stows beneath the Vanagon bench seat. The heater does not include a carry bag, but I added a simple stuff sack to keep the parts clean and together.
A 1-lb. propane tank lasts 4 or 5.5 hours in the “Little Buddy”; about a week’s worth of 30-minute daily warmups, or about 70 cents per hour of operation. Extra cylinders are cheap, compact, and easily purchased at sporting goods or hardware stores while travelling.
Hits: high heat output, quiet, large control buttons easily used even with gloves
Misses: no temperature adjustment, 5.5-hour max time, produces condensation