Stay Cozy On The Road

Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Jess

As an adventurous person, I enjoy traveling the wide open road in my trusty RV in search of unknown landscapes and warm campfire experiences. I enjoy RV living, but also struggle to stay warm and cozy on chilly evenings. Thanks to the magic of effective RV wood stoves, I can create a warm haven on wheels in my RV.

Did you know that in 2018, an estimated 1 million Americans live in an RV? It’s not hard to guess why so many people choose to live in an RV. The freedom and adventure of traveling in an RV are unmatched.

There’s no doubt that the mobile lifestyle has a unique appeal, whether you’re traveling along wide highways or exploring winding mountain roads. But as any seasoned RV enthusiast knows, RV wood stoves can be very useful for keeping warm and cozy on chilly evenings during a nice road trip.

These simple, but very useful heating options are popular with RV enthusiasts because they can maintain a comfortable temperature in the RV without having to use traditional gas or electric heaters. Although your RV usually has a built-in heating system, there is something especially enticing about the warmth and ambiance that a wood-burning stove creates in your RV.

In this article, I go over the benefits of effective wood stoves for RVs, explaining how they work and why they are a real option for people looking for an off-grid or more sustainable heating option. I also provide tips for installing a wood stove in your RV, tricks for installation, and safety measures that will ensure a cozy, worry-free trip.

How does an RV wood stove work?

An RV wood burner uses the power of combustion to generate heat for your RV with a simple, yet efficient operating concept. Here is a detailed description of how it works:

Factors Details
Fuel source Wood is the main fuel for an RV wood stove. Depending on the stove model, you may need to fill it with small logs, kindling or wood pellets.
Ignition Light the wood inside the stove to start the heating process. This is usually done by lighting the kindling or pellets with a match or, on some models, with a built-in igniter.
Combustion chamber Once the wood begins to burn, it starts a fire in the combustion chamber of the stove. This chamber has the task of burning the wood and effectively generate heat.
Heat exchange A heat exchange system surrounds the combustion chamber. You can use metal pipes or ducts to carry the hot gases produced during wood combustion. These gases heat the metal as they pass through the heat exchange system.
Distribution The warm air generated by the stove is distributed throughout your RV by a fan or blower connected to the heat exchange system. Some models have ducts to direct the heat in specific directions.
Exhaust air The remaining combustion gases, which become cooler, leave the furnace through a chimney or exhaust pipe. This ensures that hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide are discharged outside.
Temperature control Many RV wood stoves have temperature control features, such as dampers or airflow controls, to control the intensity of the fire and the heat output.

In short, an RV wood stove burns wood as fuel to create a controlled fire that heats a heat exchange system that distributes warm air throughout your RV. If you’re traveling off the grid or looking for a sustainable heating option, this is a reliable and convenient way to stay warm while enjoying the comforts of your RV.

How to use an RV wood stove?

Motorhome wood stove

There are a few steps required to effectively operate an RV wood stove. Make sure your stove is properly installed and vented to avoid safety hazards. Obtain dry and seasoned wood or wood pellets to burn. Kindling wood can start a fire in the stove after the vents are opened.

To keep the fire burning evenly, gradually add larger logs. Regulate the heat output by adjusting the vents. Remember to remove ashes regularly to keep everything running smoothly. Never leave the stove unattended when it is in operation.

An RV wood stove can provide reliable warmth when you’re on the road if you take the necessary precautions.

What are the different types of RV wood stoves?

RV wood stoves come in a variety of styles with unique features and benefits. Here is a summary of three popular types:

Traditional wood stoves

A traditional wood stove for an RV is similar to the old wood stoves used in homes and cabins. It is sturdy, portable and suitable for confined spaces.

The Kimberly wood stove is an example of this. It is known for its effective combustion and small size, making it suitable for RVs. For good ventilation, these stoves require a chimney.

Pellet stove

Pellet stoves for RVs burn compressed wood pellets as a fuel source. They operate automatically; a hopper delivers the pellets to the combustion chamber as needed. A good example is the Dickinson Marine Newport P12000. This type is a clean and practical choice because it provides precise temperature control and lower ash output.

Dickinson Marine Newport Propane Gas Fireplace

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Mini wood stove

Mini wood stoves for mobile homes are known for their compact size and modern design. An example of this is the Huskfirm wood stove. Due to their small size, they fit comfortably in RVs with limited space and provide plenty of heat. They often require a special venting method.

Huskfirm wood stove

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Stove combination

Some RV wood stoves, like the Navigator Stove Works Sardine, have two different functions. They are suitable for people who want to be practical and space-saving in their RV, because they have a cooktop and a heater.

Hobbit stove

Hobbit stoves are aesthetically pleasing in design. They are more compact stoves that are known for their attractive design and effective heat output. I have used the Salamander Hobbit wood burning stove on a few of my trips. They are ideal for RV owners who want to add warmth and beauty to their living area.

Camper Wood Stove

Wood stoves designed exclusively for RVs are produced by several manufacturers. These stoves, such as the RV Grizzly Wood Stove, are designed with portability and safety in mind. They often have a small footprint and effective venting options for RV use.

You can choose the RV wood stove that best fits your heating needs, space limitations and personal preferences, because each type of RV wood stove has advantages and disadvantages.

What are the risks of RV wood stove?

Camper wood stove

Wood stoves for RVs offer effective heating options, but also pose some dangers that need to be considered:

  • The main problem is the potential fire hazard. If used and maintained improperly, wood stoves with their open flames and hot surfaces pose a fire hazard. Sparks or embers can fly, especially during loading and cleaning.
  • Inadequate ventilation or a defective wood stove can lead to the formation of carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless and colorless gas that can be fatal if ingested in large quantities. To prevent the formation of CO, installation and venting must be done correctly.
  • The outside of a wood stove can become very hot during operation, increasing the risk of burns, especially in small RV areas where accidental contact is more likely.
  • Inadequately sized or operated wood stoves can cause the interior of an RV to become too hot. This can damage the electronics and construction of the RV.
  • Poor combustion can cause creosote to build up in the chimney or stovepipe. Because of its high flammability, creosote can cause chimney fires if not cleaned regularly.
  • When traveling, the stove must be secured to prevent it from tipping over or being damaged. Stoves that are not properly secured can cause accidents.
  • Use of an RV wood stove may be restricted depending on location. Failure to comply may result in insurance or legal problems.

To reduce these hazards, it is important to follow installation instructions, perform routine maintenance, use appropriate safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, install and maintain CO detectors, and follow safety regulations when using an RV wood stove. Also, make sure your wood stove is approved for use in an RV and that you know and comply with all local and state laws regarding the use of wood stoves in RVs.

How to use an RV wood stove safely?

The hazards of an RV wood stove can be reduced through a combination of proper installation, routine maintenance, and careful operation. The following measures can help reduce these risks:

  • Make sure your RV wood stove has adequate ventilation to vent combustion gases and prevent the development of carbon monoxide. Use only chimney and stove pipe parts that are approved and tested for safety.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood or wood pellets that are suitable for your stove if you are using the proper fuel. Avoid using treated or painted wood as it can release hazardous gases.
  • Keep the stove and chimney clean to avoid creosote buildup. Inspect the chimney regularly and remove ash. Plan when to hire a professional chimney sweep.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use it. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your mobile home and test them regularly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when lighting, maintaining and extinguishing flames. Do not stack too much wood on the stove as this can cause overheating.
  • The wood stove should be secured while in motion to prevent movement that could cause damage or accidents.
  • Keep an eye on your children and pets and keep them away from the stove to avoid burns or accidental contact.
  • To change the heat output of the furnace as needed, use temperature controls, dampers and airflow settings.
  • Create an emergency plan that governs how to exit the home in the event of a fire or CO alarm. Explain this strategy to all mobile home occupants.
  • Make sure your wood stove and its installation comply with all regional, national and local laws governing RV heating systems.
  • Regularly inspect the chimney, venting system and stove for wear, damage or corrosion. Correct any problems immediately.
  • Find out how your stove model works and any special maintenance requirements.

You can reap the benefits of the warmth and comfort of an RV wood stove while reducing the associated risks by following these steps and paying attention to safety. Always put safety first and take all necessary steps to reduce risks.

Maintenance of your RV wood stove

Maintaining your RV wood stove is essential to its efficiency and safety. To prevent chimney fires, remove ash and creosote buildup regularly. Inspect the venting system, chimney and stovepipe for corrosion or damage. Replace gaskets when worn to ensure tightness. Also lubricate hinges and moving parts as needed. Look for cracks in the firebricks and close them if necessary to prevent sluggishness.

Check all safety measures, such as dampers and door locks. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly, and replace them if necessary. Keep an RV wood stove kit on hand for quick troubleshooting. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines and have the unit checked by an expert when necessary.


An RV wood stove can be a fantastic addition to your RV, providing warmth and coziness when you’re on the road. However, it is important that you are aware of the benefits and potential pitfalls.

These stoves are popular with RV enthusiasts because they heat efficiently, are independent of traditional fuel sources, and offer a wonderful rustic aesthetic. The key to using these benefits efficiently is to use them responsibly.

To feel safe, portable heating systems must be professionally installed by a competent professional and meet local codes. Carbon monoxide buildup can be minimized by using the proper fuel, such as dry, seasoned wood or pellets, and adequate ventilation. Regular maintenance is important to prevent creosote buildup, ensure safety, and extend the life of the stove. This includes routine maintenance, cleaning, chimney sweeping and checking for wear and damage.

Remember to follow fire safety regulations, keep an eye on children and dogs around the stove, and take emergency measures. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your RV to protect your health and test them regularly.

Your RV wood stove can provide reliable warmth and comfort during your travels if you use it responsibly, take good care of it and keep safety in mind. It is a convenient and effective way to turn your RV into a real home where you can enjoy the nomadic life and feel warm and comfortable during your adventure. Take advantage of the comfort, atmosphere and independence that a camper wood stove offers you during your travels, while staying safe on the road.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. what are the advantages of a wood stove for mobile homes?

For adventurous travelers, using a wood stove in an RV has several advantages:

  • Wood stoves are a heating source independent of electricity or gas, perfect for living off the grid. Even in remote areas, you can stay warm.
  • Once installed, wood stoves can be economical, as pellets or firewood are often less expensive than other heating fuels. Over time, this can lead to big savings.
  • Wood is an environmentally friendly heating solution because it is a renewable resource. Many campers appreciate the environmental friendliness of wood stoves.
  • With the soothing crackle of the fire and the sight of dancing flames, wood stoves create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your RV. The overall camping experience is enhanced.
  • When properly maintained, wood stoves are known for their sturdiness and durability, providing reliable warmth year after year.
  • Some RV wood stoves have cooktops that you can use for cooking, so no additional cooking equipment is required.
  • Wood burners can reduce condensation inside your RV in cold and humid climates.
  • Adding a wood burner to your RV can help you create lasting memories while enjoying the great outdoors. It adds warmth, charm and self-sufficiency to your adventure.

2. How is a mini wood stove for an RV different from traditional wood stoves?

As the name suggests, a mini wood stove for RVs is specifically designed for the small size and portability of RVs. It differs from conventional wood stoves in the following ways:

  • Mini wood stoves for RVs are much more compact and smaller than conventional wood stoves. They are designed to fit as much as possible in the limited space of the RV without sacrificing heating performance.
  • RV wood stoves are lightweight so as not to exceed the weight limit of the RV and guarantee that they are suitable for RV set-up and transportation.
  • Mini wood stoves provide a lot of heat relative to their size, but they often produce less heat than conventional stoves. This is because they are designed for more compact living spaces in RVs.
  • RV wood stoves must meet certain ventilation and clearance requirements designed for the cramped conditions in RVs to operate safely and avoid overheating or internal damage.
  • Because mini wood stoves are easy to assemble and disassemble, RV owners can move them outside during warm weather or when they need more space.

In summary, mini wood stoves for RVs are compact, lightweight and designed to meet the unique needs of mobile living, which sets them apart from traditional wood stoves for stationary homes. They provide efficient heating while taking into account the limited space, weight and ventilation requirements of RVs, offering travelers a cozy and space-saving heating solution.

3. What factors should be considered when choosing a pellet stove for RVs?

When choosing the ideal pellet burner for your RV, there are some important considerations you should make to ensure a cozy and safe heating option. Consider the following points:

  • RVs have a small interior space; choose a compact pellet stove that will fit in the available space. Before buying, measure the available space thoroughly.
  • Determine the stove’s heating capacity, which is usually expressed in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Make sure the output is sufficient to heat your RV efficiently, but not too high to avoid overheating.
  • Check the power requirements of the pellet stove. Some models require electricity to operate, which can be problematic if you live without power. If necessary, check the possibility of a battery backup.
  • Analyze the stove’s pellet consumption. More efficient burners use fewer pellets during long trips or when the supply is low.
  • The storage bin holds the pellets. Larger storage tanks allow for longer burn intervals between refills. Consider your heating needs as well as the frequency of refilling the container.
  • Make sure your RV’s pellet burner is properly vented. There must be adequate venting for safe and effective operation.
  • RV pellet stoves can be noisy in some cases. To keep the peace in your RV, look for models that operate quietly.
  • Find out about the manufacturer’s reputation for product quality and customer service. Reading reviews from other RV owners can provide insightful information.
  • Consider the initial investment and ongoing maintenance needs. High-quality pellet stoves are more expensive to purchase, but often offer better long-term reliability and efficiency.

By carefully considering these criteria, you can select a pellet stove for your RV that not only meets your RV’s heating needs, but also creates a safe and comfortable environment for your trip.

4. Can an RV wood stove kit be easily installed in an RV without professional help?

Installing an RV wood stove kit in a mobile home is possible without professional help, but it is not always easy, and there are several important factors to consider. Consider the following points:

  • Safety regulations, clearances and proper venting are required to install a wood stove. If you lack experience, it is best to consult a professional to ensure your safety.
  • Installing a chimney in a mobile home can be challenging, as strict regulations must be followed to avoid carbon monoxide and fire problems. Often a hole must be cut in the roof, which can lead to water leaks if not done properly.
  • RVs can only hold so much weight and space. Consider how the installation of an RV wood stove and chimney will affect the balance and overall weight of your RV.
  • Some insurance companies require professional installation to cover events related to wood stoves. In addition, local and state laws may require professional installation for safety reasons.

Do-it-yourself installation may be feasible for those who have the appropriate skills, but safety must come first. If you decide to do it, be thoroughly informed about the procedure, use approved components, and be prepared for any difficulties that may arise. Ensure a safe and legal installation by hiring a trained technician so you don’t have to worry about anything during your RV wood stove excursion.

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