Diesel heaters and permanent or portable installation set up

I’m looking at these diesel heaters for winter camping (all in one type solution in briefcase). I’ve seen some permanent installs with holes through the bed in the wheel well. I’m thinking that a portable solution might make more sense for me and would allow me to mount the heater outside the truck; safer and one less thing in the bed.Wondered how people route the air outflow pipe into the truck (assuming diesel heater is attached on the outside) or is it preferable to have the entire system inside to avoid problems with the diesel in cold temps? I don’t anticipate camping in temps lower than 10-15 F (-10 celsius). If you have pics you can share would be great.

I think there’s a good thread on this already that is worth a read but so far I’ve kept mine pretty simple, heater is on the ground outside the truck and I use flexible ducting to pipe the hot air into the tent. There is quite a bit of heat loss happening as the hot air travels through that ducting up to the tent but it still kept me warm in 10 F.

Thanks, do you leave a window open for the ducting I assume? Or did you create a more permanent installation to plug the pipe in?

Yup, kept it simple, screen window gets zipped open just enough to fit the ducting through, the outside tent window isn’t sealed at the bottom so nothing to do there (I do wish they were sealed though).

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It’s unsafe putting the portable one inside. The concern with any install is not to make an exhaust connection inside the vehicle.

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Do you find issues with the diesel starting to gel at extreme temperatures? And do you route power via the screen as well? Sorry for lots of follow questions but this is super useful!

Coldest I used it in was around 10F and I was concerned about gelling but I had no problems at all at that temp. I threw an old blanket over the heater for some insulation and so it wasn’t out in the snow (snowed quite a bit that night) but I’m not sure that was needed.

I just ran the wires through the side hatch, from my battery to the heater and then gently closed the hatch on them. The wires are really thin since the heater doesn’t require much power at all.

I have had a case style (not the cheap amazon version) for two years now and love it however the rig is going through a rebuild so the plan is to hardwire one in under the bed using the JD Fabrication box frame kit tacoma rear gas tank kit – JD Fabrication

The case style I set up on a Tailgater Table and slid the heat vent tube in the tent / no issues heating the space as low as the teens on some nights. Tried to find some photos of the set up no such luck but could be looking in the wrong place :rofl:

Hope this helps!

I have one of these, but haven’t installed it yet. Assuming you’re talking about this style?

This guy had some good ideas though about how he routed his exhaust with quick connects. Worth a watch.


Yep, this is the one. Interesting that this one is internally hardwired. Looks cleaner than making it portable.

Ya I agree. Friends got that one for me as a present but I haven’t set it up yet. For a tacoma, at least, I like how he did the exhaust and port thru the cubby which is replaceable vs drilling a hole in actual bed.

I might just use it with a power box. Looking at the Bluetti ev70s.

Some useful threads as well!


I’m planning on building another case for my external heater. Here’s what I got going on. If you go to my build page here you can see for yourself :smiley:

You can see I built a false tailgate, and pipe the heater in that way. It’s awesome!!!


That is smart! So you run the system on the outside mounted on the actual tailgate with the hot air pipe through a false tailgate which you use to cover the bottom? Did you find this set up works well rather than say, channeling the pipe through the tent?

I’m sure that’s way more efficient but I do wonder how much of a PITA it is to travel with the false tailgate, set it up and deal with it every time someone gets in or out? Maybe it’s not that bad but seems like it could be a little annoying?

Also the way @Dignon camps that tailgates gonna have 3’ (or a metre for you Canadians) of snow on it when you wake up

I went with a Propex propane heater and a wing extension that keeps it out of the bed for space.

The combustion exhaust and intake are piped to the outside. Internal air is recycled and output to the interior only.

I transport it in a case and then mount it for use.

A diesel heater is smaller and you can probably mount the case in the wing.


Yeah, because in the winter the family doesn’t really come winter camping. So I rock the GFC in bunk mode. It works great! Yeah I pipe it in from there. I do have a long enough hose to make it from the ground. I found in the winter the case gets too hot and it sinks in the snow.

I have piped it into both spots using a ‘T’ and that works great too. I do find you lose some heat through the long pipe compared to just piping it in on the lower. In the winter I don’t usually run the heater all night because it can be a hog on the battery. The low sun in our short days doesn’t restore the battery to full charge, so to capitalize on power I generally turn it off. I rock a -40 bag so even at —37 (which I did around last Christmas) was cozy.

For winter use in the north, I found it essential to add a DC to DC charger to help top up the house battery.

That’s true, that’s a thing that happens. I think the most amount of snow I’ve woken up to so far was about 8” on the tailgate. I was not complaining as it translated to about 18” in the alpine :wink:

Now I’m all horned up for some powder skiing :joy:


@ParWgn do you have any photos of what the bed portion looks like? Did you cut the mattress up?