Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

  • RECEIVE THE GIFTS MEMBERS SHARE WITH YOU HERE...THEN...CREATE SOMETHING TO ENCHANT OTHERS THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE

    You know what we all love...

    When you enchant people, you fill them with delight and yourself in return. Have Fun!!!

Sign in to follow this  
Eric Wettschreck

Portable heaters

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishinguy40,

Great advice, you can never be too careful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • I picked up that double bag deal about a month ago at Home Depot here in Sioux Falls. Ironically it was the same weekend we had the big April snow storm.
    • I see Home Depot advertising for Memorial day but no Kingsford double bag on sale. Has anyone seen any on sale anywhere? I am down to my last bag and need to stock up, Memorial weekend is usually the time to do it.
    • Found a cardinal nest in one of my shrub bushes. Cute little gray fuzzy things. I tried to take a picture, but my camera phone sucks, and I didn’t want to bother them. I’m so glad I spent $20 on a cardinal nest box, only to have it sit empty.
    • 20180519_060302.mp4 20180519_060302.mp4
    • Wisconsin's turkeys have survived my visit this year.  One is surely deaf after I managed to miss at 18 paces as he walked past me...  Not sure how that happened...   I feel like I rushed the shot when he started to get nervous.  Passed one jake the first morning that I could have taken at 40yd.   Came very close on two other mature gobblers.   One picked me off as he came around a hay pile at 20yd and immediately turned and ran, very smart bird.   The other came in hot, but decided to do a circle around me.  Appeared at 30yd wide open to my side while I was aiming down the sights towards his last gobble, and I had no chance to turn and shoot...  
    • Mentored for the Mn DNR women's Turkey hunt on Fri night and Sat morning. Friday was quiet but the birds flew up within 40 yards af the blind so we were hopefull for what the morning would bring. Sat morning was quiet and I waited till shooting hours to make my first yelps which were immediately cut off by 4 different birds. My lady was excited to say the least. She had never seen a turkey in the wild growing up and living in iron range.  Two of the toms gobbled a little after fly down but I could tell the were going north. The other 2 that were to our east gobbled a bit but shut up but sounded like the were coming down the road towards us. After about 20 minutes they rolled a big triple gobble within 60 yards wondering where this hen was at. I gave them a few purrs and set the call down getting her ready and calming her down for the shot. We still had not seen them put I could hear that unmistakable sound,pfffft boooom. Now I'm getting excited because I know they are danger close but they are on the side we can not see. Like always they proved me a fool and instead of coming right up the little road the cut through a high spot in the swamp and pop out in the field at 30 yards. They immediately hit full strut and throw a huge gobble right in our face and directly at my decoy that is set up at 8 yards. Then instead of coming right in they circle the decoy and blind at 25 yards and go to the side of the blind that is closed and gobble and strut for 15 min finally working into 8 to 10 yards bit still won't come towards the decoy. So I shut the one blind window and get her moved for a shot. The birds are now at 18 yards but getting skittish and moving away. As soon as I get the window open I hear her string drop and whay sounded like a hollow feathery smack and she says she got it. I look up and the birds are still there and look just a little nervous so I hit the call and they gobble back so I know it was a miss. So close but it was so much fun. Those 2 birds hung out for a few hours after strutting and gobbling at everything. 
    • Great bird, way to keep at it.
    • Nice bird, good job!
    • I assuming you are putting on the 5/16 T & G? I pushed mine tight and face nailed. Two nails per stud
    • Awesome!  Congrats and great work!!!