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Eric Wettschreck

Portable heaters

30 posts in this topic

I've used sunflowers, buddys, and big buddys.

The sunflower still works best to get things toasty quick, but i honestly get a propane hangover. My big buddy might end up the same fate as a clay pidgeon. I know some are good, some are bad, mines bad.

My question to yous guys is, besides a sunflower or buddy heater, what do you heat up your portable with??? I'm looking to replace my big buddy and I honestly don't know what the options are out there.

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What do you use to fuel your Buddy? The 1lbs or hose with a big tank? I know the 1 lbs get frosty and you can only get about hafl to 3/4ths of the bottle out before they sizzle out. I love my Big Buddy, personally

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I use my buddy heater to put in front of my boat trailer tire so it doesn't roll. It works better this way then it ever did as a heater for the fish house.

It sucks with the hangover but you don't really have a better reliable option in my opinion. Just make sure you leave the windows cracked.

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What do you use to fuel your Buddy? The 1lbs or hose with a big tank? I know the 1 lbs get frosty and you can only get about hafl to 3/4ths of the bottle out before they sizzle out. I love my Big Buddy, personally

I have a portable Buddy that works great. The 1 lb tanks do get frosty sometimes, but it burns the tanks completely. My only complaint is it seems to go out fairly easy when bumped.

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I never liked the buddies. Have buddies that have them and they don't keep it as toasty as my heater/cooker. Just open the vents on the top or crack the door, might help the hangover a little.

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Originally Posted By: zamboni
What do you use to fuel your Buddy? The 1lbs or hose with a big tank? I know the 1 lbs get frosty and you can only get about hafl to 3/4ths of the bottle out before they sizzle out. I love my Big Buddy, personally

I have a portable Buddy that works great. The 1 lb tanks do get frosty sometimes, but it burns the tanks completely. My only complaint is it seems to go out fairly easy when bumped.

That is the major complaint i have with it. A small bump or wind and it goes out.

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I haven't had any problems with my Mr. Buddy Heater. There were a few really cold days last winter that I opted for the sunflower because the Buddy Heater was struggling to keep the house warm enough. I like the Buddy Heater for the fact that it cools almost istantly and is a lot "safer" in my Pak Shak.

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Been using a sunflower for years...and love it. I still use the one that mounts on top of the 20 pounder. Takes up some room in the porty, but heats up nicely.

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Boy, I have to say that I have been 100% happy with my Buddy and I have never had a headache from it.

I also have a sunflower that has served me very well.

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I had no luck with the buddy heater also so it went back. Sunflower has never failed me. In my portable the mice have helped me with keeping fresh air in and out at all times so no headache there. In the perm I have two small vent holes one on each side and a small fan to move the air and do not get headaches any more. Fresh air is the key!

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He's not asking the question whether you love your buddy or not. He's already stated his is no good. What he's asking is there a better option out there to heat your fish house.

My answer, not really. A sunflower is probably the best/most reliable as stated before. Cracking the door or opening the vents should do you just fine.

I've heard some people using that catalytic type heaters, but they don't work all that well in large spaces.

Good luck.

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Eric, there was a recall on the first Big Buddies. Not sure if they'll honor that anymore, if so I'd get yours fixed.

I've been ice fishing(BP)Before Portables. When portables came onto the scene guys used what was available for portable heat. While being very portable, Coleman white gas one burner stoves were used. That is a poor choice for a few reasons but its all we had. Not too long after Sunflowers came along. No more open flame, no filling with white gas, more heat, and less carbon monoxide. 30 some years later sunflowers are still a popular option being low priced and throw off a lot of heat.

Disadvantage is on Low settings they are too hot sometimes. One trick guys will do to lower the temp is close the tank valve down to decrease the pressure. That is a dangerous thing to do.

The sunflowers Low setting is the minimal temp that it can be operated at to burn efficiently so to artificially go lower then that is putting out more carbon monoxide and more noxious gasses.

A dirty orifice is another common culprit with sunflower heaters, end result the heater is working below its optimal set heat range resulting in more carbon monoxide and noxious gasses.

Something else about sunflowers, the screen on the burner must be kept clean. Any rust or road dirt will make the heater burn dirty.

Buddy heaters. biggest advantage over the sunflower is its lower heat, smaller and less carbon monoxide, safety for tip overs, takes up less room. Disadvantage- not enough heat on cold days.

Big Buddy Heaters. all the advantages of the Buddy plus the btu output of the sunflower. Disadvantages with anything, the more safety features you have the more that can go wrong. Note, just like the screen on the sunflowers you still need to keep the ceramic clean on the buddies.

Having had both a sunflower and BB fail on the ice in temps -10 and lower I'll never be without a backup.

If its cold enough to use a sunflower I'll have my cooker with remote hose with the tank outside and a buddy for backup. Or I'll bring two buddies.

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Having had both a sunflower and BB fail on the ice in temps -10 and lower I'll never be without a backup.

Good tip, I have both as well and will bring both each trip just in case.

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boilerguy,

I'm with you on the buddy and sunflower heaters, no thanks. I prefer a good old open flame heater. I've never had a propane hang-over or any other problems with this type of heater. The heater in the picture is home-made. It heats the Otter den very well. I have a similar manufactured stove in my Otter lodge. The first picture is my uncles Clam, the second picture is my den. In both cases the heater is on, the sides of the heater do not get hot enough the burn the canvas (you can't see the flame in the picture). I've used this heater in my den for about 6 years. My uncle has used his for about 10 years.

Heater3.jpg

Heater8.jpg

Heater6.jpg

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That's an interesting heater. What do you make it out of and what do you use for a flame?

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ST, I'm with you. I've been ice fishing since I was but a wee little lad, and I'm not so wee and little anymore. My version of a portable when I started was a five gallon bucket. I then advanced to a makeshift tarp held up with sticks to keep the wind off.

The open flame heater is interesting. What's it made of? The burner assembly looks different than anything I've seen.

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Cabela's sells a heater/cooker with a ceramic ceramic screen, rated for 11,000 btu. It looks like it would compete with a regular Buddy heater.

I saw bigger version of this same kind of heater at Edwards Oil in Virginia, MN last summer. They had one that looked about the same size as a Big Buddy. Cost was about the same. I can't rememember the brand name or much else, sorry.

I'd love to hear of any other alternatives too. Right now I'm saving my pennies to get a Big Buddy for this winter. Hopefully, I get a good one.

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The only thing I dont like about my BB heater is that if your in any wind the thing blows out, or it just flames up instead of heating, but out of the wind, I have never had problems with it. Good luck, hope you dont have problems, I havent.

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DSCF28082.jpg

this is the heater that i have used for a long time. Its awesome becuase you can change the heat so well, and you dont have the flames from a sunflower, and not get a head ace.

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Sandmannd/boilerguy,

My uncle made a few dozen of those heaters for friends and family a few years back. It's just a small cast iron burner like those found on a cast iron camp stove (similar to those that many have mounted over the heaters in their fish houses for cooking). The sheetmetal is 8" round duct with a duct cap for the bottom. The top is a replacement grill for a sunflower.

My other heater is similar to the beauty that Bass N Spear is showing off, only mine is the "anvil" style. I believe Bass N Spear's gem first came to life as a milkhouse heater.

Back in high school I spent many nights sleeping in my fish house with a milkhouse heater keeping me warm with no problems (wait a minute, maybe that explains a few things!). I did have a few air vents in the house.

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just bought my first big buddy so i will see how that goes... have always had a sunflower heater.

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No matter what kind of heater you use, if it burns fuel, buy a carbon monoxide detector! They are cheap and well worth the money. Any type of heater that combusts fuel can "malfunction" and produce enough CO to make you ill or kill you.

Last year me and another guy got sick and were vomiting in my portable. I had a propane lantern and a Mr Buddy heater going at the same time. We had the vents open on the portable but that obviously wasn't enough. Don't rely on the claims of safe heat. The heater never went out, even with the "low oxygen protection" that they claim. Probably because there was plenty of oxygen.

Anyhow, next day I setup the portable in my garage with the heater and put my CO detector from the house in at same time. LED readout on the CO detector was 0. Put the propane lantern in and CO detector pegged out at 1000 ppm in less than two minutes.

I have used the same lantern for years without problem. There was no noticeable difference in the way it burned or the light it produced. It even produced the same amount of CO after changing the mantles. I no longer use a propane lantern but instead use LED's and I bought a CO detector.

Please be careful. I don't want to hear on the news how this happened to someone.

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Good advice. I just picked one up the other day. Great reassurance when cranking out the heat.

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Fishinguy40,

Great advice, you can never be too careful!

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Always very important to keep an eye on the CO levels in any fish house. There were a few people that died on LOW last year due to CO poisoning. They enacted an emergency bill to have all resorts install CO detectors in their houses as I recall.

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