Best shelter heaters and where to buy?

  • norge
    Posts: 196

    Do you guys like the Big Buddy heaters or what else strikes your fancy for a portable? Where should I shop for one?
    Thanks for the input.

    Posts: 54

    The Big Buddy keeps my Otter Ice Lodge nice and comfortable even in extreme cold. I do 99% of my ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg and it gets pretty cold in January/February. Very quiet and I believe the fan moves the air just enough,

    Posts: 1471

    I have one of the smaller Buddy heaters and I fished a lot in my sweatshirt. I have 2 man frabil. Worked great. Got mine at Fleet Farm.

    Garnavillo Iowa
    Posts: 542

    Love my big buddy

    Posts: 4941

    I have an off market brand called A BB-K.. its full of hot air and it never runs out of gas.

    Moorhead, MN
    Posts: 1151

    I have a smaller buddy heater that I use if its not super cold or real windy. If I need alittle extra heat you cant beat the old school sunflower heaters, just be careful not to burn anything with it.

    Posts: 14200

    The regular buddy heater works great in a 1-2 man flip over, GanderMtn will have the Buddy Heater for $70 after $20 mail-in rebate as part of their black friday deals this year, so hold off purchashing for a few more weeks.

    Chequamegon Bay Apostle Islands, WI
    Posts: 222

    The small buddy heater has work great for me, even on the real cold days I did not have to keep it cranked up inside the Otter Pro Lodge. It all depends on your confort zone and the shelter that you are using.

    Posts: 1036

    I like the Big Buddy. Got mine at Fleet Farm. They always seem to go on sale at some point for $100, so don’t pay more than that. A nice feature, I think, of the Big Buddy is you can easily hook up a 20lb tank (with an additional hose).

    Joel Nelson
    Southeast MN
    Posts: 3123

    Call me old fashioned, cheap, or both, but I’m still a Mr. Heater sunflower guy. I fish very little inside a house, but when I do, I need to heat that baby up in a hurry due to impending frostbite.

    Downsides are: melts anything that looks at it funny, periodically explodes (never happened to me), and goes through thermocouple kits somewhat regularly.

    That said, it burns hotter, heats quicker, and keeps the big shacks toastier when it’s below -10 and you’re stuck inside.


    Paul Delaney
    Posts: 233

    The Buddy heaters are great and they do a fantastic job heating most if not all portable shelters on the market. I fish on the Bay of Green Bay and when the temps are in the teens or single digits and that wind is blowing it is down right cold and if you need to warm your hands or get warm fast nothing beets the Mr.Heater sunflower style heaters they provide instant fast heat right now. I have a Mr.Heater with a 20# propane tank in each one of my Otter Ice Lodge portables. I put the tanks in a square plastic milk crate to keep them more stable they fit in there perfect. Have a good ice fishing season and keep warm.

    Paul Delaney

    Cottage Grove
    Posts: 120

    I once heard that the safety shut off on the buddy heater is like a hair trigger. Bump it slightly or sneese on it and it shuts it down. Said it can be a pain at times.
    Any truth to that?

    Waconia MN
    Posts: 1646


    I have an off market brand called A BB-K.. its full of hot air and it never runs out of gas.

    Hastings, MN
    Posts: 132


    I once heard that the safety shut off on the buddy heater is like a hair trigger. Bump it slightly or sneese on it and it shuts it down. Said it can be a pain at times.
    Any truth to that?

    It is pretty sensitive, but imo that is a good thing. They are easy to re-light (unless you are outside in high winds).

    The Big Buddy rocks!

    Mahnomen County, Mn
    Posts: 52

    They are a touch on the sensitive side, but if you are posted up in your shack fishing a late night crappie bite, or whatever you may fish… It’s a safe steady source of heat and they won’t burn your darn shack down like a sunflower heater lol.

    But I’m with Joel on this one, you can’t beat a sunflower.. Mr. Heater for staying mobile in frigid cold weather. They light up quick and heat up quick. Just don’t look at them funny or else they will melt your line, your new bibs, and put a big hole in your shelter.

    Posts: 1766

    Reliable heat sunflower or mr cooker . I used a buddy for years but got tired of having it not run right because of a dirty pilot. Wasn’t a big deal when i was driving the truck i would leave alcohol and pipe cleaner to use but any other time i went with out heat. Some times it would go all winter and other times it would happen almost weekly. I rin my mr cooker as low as i can keep it running and never been cold in my frabil.

    Mayer, MN
    Posts: 314

    If it’s -10,-20,-30 and the north winds a howling neither the big buddy or the the Mr. heater cooker single is gonna keep you warm in a full two man shelter unless you have a thermal shack. I make trips to LOTW, Winnie, Lake Winnipeg which are 300-500 miles one way I’ll be darned if I not gonna get out fishing. That’s why I modded a mr heater double burner to sit on a stand down on the ice and added a heavy duty high pressure hose. It’s pretty nice to have 36,000 btu’s at your disposal if you need it. I see the perch patrol often runs a small convection heater.

    Nisswa, MN
    Posts: 1997

    x2 on the Mr. Heater sunflower. It does have drawbacks of melted line or jackets if you touch it. However the darn thing can never be called sensitive. It has gas, you have fire, then guarnteed you have heat.

    I’ve only been out once or twice where it wasn’t enough to keep my 2 man frabill XL twin toasty. My main issue is it kicks out too much heat so I have to yo-yo between hot and cold.

    My solution for that was getting a Coleman catalytic heater. Works great for those days that are cold enough to need a shelter but not truly cold.

    LaCrosse WI
    Posts: 2973

    I have 2 sunflowers(large and small) and a Little Buddy….
    It all depends on the conditions.

    West Central, MN
    Posts: 338

    What do most guys use for the new thermal houses; particularly Otter Lodge?

    I’ve always used a Sunflower cooker w/ 12′ hose. I’m worried it may cook me out of a thermal, or the fumes would be overwhelming/dangerous with less air movement through the fabric? Anyone use a Little Buddy in 0 degrees?

    Central Iowa
    Posts: 59

    I use a big buddy heater,you can always turn the heat down if you don’t need it on high,but if you need to heat the shack up fast you always have that option.

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