How To Keep Warm In A Tent – Everything You Need To Know

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Consider this scenario: You’ve just spent a beautiful day in the great outdoors, sitting around a warm fire, and it’s time to slip into your tent for a restful night’s sleep. Nothing beats the aroma of pine in the stillness of an alpine lake or a beautiful sky flecked with stars against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

You may enjoy the most breathtaking scenery but this will not compensate for a horrible night spent camping in the cold weather conditions. Hopefully, you’ve arrived prepared, and this article will give you a head start on how to keep warm in a tent.

How To Keep Warm In A Tent?

Stay Warm With Electricity (or Generator)

Using Tent Heaters

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This is arguably the simplest but most effective technique on how to stay warm camping in a tent. These heaters are designed for a camping trip on a cold night. However, we don’t recommend leaving the heater on all night. Instead, we suggest turning on the heater for a few minutes before going to bed, then turn it off before turning off the light.

What Kind of Tent Heater Is Safe to Use?

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater with Fan Forced Technology – Space Heater with Surround Heat Output and Two Heat Settings – Energy Efficient Portable Heater
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In theory, no tent heater is entirely safe to use in a tent. There is always the risk of fire, poisonous gas, or other catastrophic malfunctions when you use a heating device. However, most campers will simply say gas heaters, electric heaters, or portable propane heaters would be the best option. There are numerous options available, all of which provide spectacular ways to maintain the temperature comfortably while it is frigid outside. They also guarantee the protection of your tent’s interior.

Try an Electric Blanket and Thermal Blanket

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Although it depends on the heat output of the electric blanket and the volume of the tent, this type of heating solution will primarily heat you rather than the entire tent. On the other hand, an electric blanket may be unnecessary if you dress warmly and utilize a hot water bottle inside your sleeping bag. 

Electric blankets, in any event, require a power outlet. In comparison to the bigger heaters, they have a few advantages. They are less expensive and are simple to roll, store, and carry. Electric blankets are available in various sizes, and you can even charge some of them via USB!

Stay Warm Without Electricity

Well, you have all of the greatest quality gear, but the camping area has no electricity. Now you must consider how to keep a tent warm without electricity. Don’t worry, these options will provide you with enough heat sources for cold temperatures.

Use a Candle Heater

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A candle heater or warmer is meant to give just the right amount of heat to your tent without jeopardizing your safety or health. It is one of the safest ways to stay warm while staying outside. 

They’re healthier and more practical, and because they don’t have a flame, you won’t have to worry about black markings from candle flames when burnt. Traditional candles release toxic smoke to humans and your beautiful pets, which you may not be aware of. 

If you get a scented one, you’ll be able to enjoy a pleasant perfume while staying toasty outside. For you, the adventurer, it’s a double win!

Keep Your Tent Well Insulated

And, there’s tent insulation. You should consider this one as an option along with other approaches. So, how does it work? Warmth is trapped inside an insulated tent and directed back at you. Tent insulation is sufficient on its own if a summer night is not too cold. Simply said, it will trap your body heat inside. Tent insulation may work well with one of the best camping air conditioners if you need your tent to cool down.

Heat Rocks

This procedure is similar to the one used with the bottles. Using hot stones have an advantage over the bottles because they will quickly warm your tent. On the other hand, they do not hold heat for an extended period. 

Polish military tent heated with rocks / Wool blanket at -3C / Overnight

Look around your campsite for a few suitable stones. They’re also common near water sources. Place the rocks as close as possible to the campfire. Do not put them near the fire! You don’t want the stones to become so hot that they burn you or cause your tent to melt. After heating the rocks, wrap them in towels to make them easier to handle.

Keep your Tent Ventilated

Most people are unaware that you must ventilate your tent at night. It may appear odd at first, but there’s an excellent purpose behind it! During the night, heat from your body and air within your tent can cause condensation to form, making everything in your tent somewhat damp. 

You can prevent dampness and condensation by keeping your tent aired, keeping you and the interior of your tent dryer – which keeps you warmer throughout the night.

Set Up Your Tent in a Good Spot

The way you set up your tent can have a significant impact on how warm it is. It is something that many tent campers, particularly newcomers, ignore. 

If possible, avoid pitching your tent on a hill, slope, or any other spot that rises above the region where you’ll be camping. You want something to buffer the wind, yet setting up your tent on higher ground invites frigid wind gusts to smash your tent. Avoid putting your tent in an open field, as this will have the same effect as pitching it on the side of a mountain, with nothing to block the wind.

Try a Hot Water Bottle

Using water bottles made of metal or strong plastic is one of the most common ways to keep a tent warm without electricity. The water should be nearly boiling, and a typical plastic bottle from the shop will not withstand this. More water equals more heat stored, so get the biggest bottles you can find.

Backpacking Tip - Nalgene Hot Water Bottle

Fill the bottles with hot water that has been heated over an open flame in a skillet or pot. Place the bottles in various locations throughout the tent. During the night, the heat will slowly dissipate, and the indoor temperature will climb. This method is a low-cost, low-tech way to keep your tent warm. In the morning, the water may still be warm. Another option is to take a couple of those bottles and keep them close to you. As you wake up, this will provide you with a surge of warmth, making your overnight camping experience much more comfortable.

Purchase a High-Quality Sleeping Bag

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If you’re only going camping in cold weather, any sleeping bag, together with these tips, should keep you warm enough for the night. However, if you plan on camping in severely cold temps, you’ll need a sleeping bag developed expressly for this purpose. 

When buying a cold-weather sleeping bag, look for one that is best for the temps you’ll be camping in. Regrettably, these scores aren’t very accurate!  If the sleeping bag you’re considering has a temperature rating of 20-25 degrees, you’ll want to go with one in the 10-15 degree range.

Also, if you can afford it, invest in a down sleeping bag. When compared to its synthetic competitors, they are well worth the extra money.

Use a Self-Inflating Mat

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To protect oneself from the ground, use foam or an inflatable sleeping mat. Use foam cushions or thin inflatable mats like SIM (Self Inflating Mats) for the best results. An air mattress that is 6 inches thick will not work. You’ll lose body heat trying to heat the air gap because the air cushion is too thick. The air gap will cool quicker than your body can warm it, stealing warmth from your body.

Insulate From the Ground Up

An insulated sleeping pad is fantastic, but it may require some assistance from time to time. The heat from your body might be sucked away by the cold ground. To improve the heat retention in your tent, try putting a foam exercise mat under your sleeping pad. 

Alternatively, instead of bringing another pad, arrange a layer of leaves and pine branches beneath your sleeping surface. It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate these in the woods! If that’s the case, you’re most likely camping in the wrong place!

Purchase the Appropriate Tent

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Like your sleeping bag, you’ll want to be sure your tent can withstand the rigors of cold-weather camping, especially if you don’t have access to electricity. The majority of tents are either three seasons or four seasons. The 4 season tent is made for all types of weather, including cold. However, if you plan on camping in freezing weather, your regular four-season tent from Walmart may not be sufficient.

Place your tent atop a campfire (after the fire dies)

We’ve never done this, but some campers swear by it. This is how they would go about doing it. They’d make a trench and build a fire in it. The trench should not be too deep, but it should fit the width of the tent as precisely as possible. Burn as much firewood to get as many coals as possible. When the party ends and you’re ready to set up camp, fill the trench with dirt and top up the tent. 

Remember: Don’t use an insulated sleeping mat on the tent floor if you do this. They function by reflecting heat to their source, so instead of heating your tent, you’ll be heating the ground.

Simple Ways on How to Stay Warm

Wear Warmers for the hands and feet

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Chemical hand and foot warmers keep your hands and feet toasty warm. They can last up to 10 hours, allowing you to sleep for an entire night. If you suffer from cold hands or feet frequently, put on a pair an hour before going to bed. It will have them warmed up in time, and you’ll have a chance to check that they won’t be too hot when you fall asleep. You can also put on a doubled pair of socks if you do not have warmers available.

Put on a Hat

Now, this one may seem obvious, but it isn’t. We may not realize it, but one place where you can lose body heat is your head. Wearing a hat is also preferable compared to burying your head in your sleeping bag. Breathing causes condensation in your sleeping bag, which leads to, you guessed it, moisture! And I’m sure you already know what moisture means!! (Hint: it’s cold.)

Wear a balaclava or a scarf

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A balaclava is a type of textile headgear that wraps around your head and neck while leaving your face exposed. Wrap one of these or an essential scarf around your head and neck before going to bed. Using one of these keeps your mouth and nose out of your sleeping bag while still providing coverage when needed.

Snuggle! 

We couldn’t end this list of techniques for staying warm in a tent without mentioning one of the simplest (and personal favorites) of them all! Camping with a special someone? To generate body heat, snuggle up and spoon. It’s both valuable and enjoyable, which is exactly what camping is all about.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How cold is too cold for tent camping?

It is a difficult question to respond to. People have camped in the Arctic and Antarctic, after all. As a result, you can theoretically camp in temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees.

The comfort level of the majority of people will be their limit. When you don’t have to, you don’t want to spend your weekends shivering yourself to sleep.  People can feel comfortable in colder temperatures with the necessary equipment, such as winterized tents, four-season sleeping bags, and appropriate outerwear and base layers.

If you’re seeking a specific number, ‘cold weather camping’ is commonly defined as temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared for the hard climate and haven’t done it before. As a result, 40 degrees could be considered the lower limit for casual camping.

Can you heat a tent with a candle?

Believe it or not, using a candle (and a little ingenuity) is an effective way to keep warm in a tent.

A candle won’t give the same amount of heat as an electric tent heater, but it can help keep you warm if you don’t have access to electricity. But first and foremost, we must address the most important issue: safety. Most of your camping gear, including your tent, is made of 100% flammable fabric. Because specific candle lanterns, such as the UCO Candlelier, have made lighting and warming the inside of your tent relatively safe, some mountaineers and campers have begun to consider them necessary. Just remember to use extreme caution while using a candle (or another flammable source) to heat your tent, and never leave a candle heater unattended.

Does Body-to-Body Warming Work?

The “standard of care” of two individuals in a sleeping bag to cure hypothermia doesn’t have a lot of scientific support. Although it doesn’t seem to help much, it also doesn’t seem to hurt. Share body heat with someone else if it’s safe (and comfortable). The warmth of another person’s breath or the warmth of another person within arm’s reach can assist keep your core body temperature from going too low.

Final Word

As you can see, there are various options on how to stay warm camping in a tent. Feel free to pick the one that best fits your needs. Never compromise because heat is an extremely important commodity outdoors.

Make sure you use the right tents for cold weather and you know how to use your heater, what safety features it has, and how to keep yourself even warmer using the recommendations we’ve included at the end. Perhaps you’ll come up with some of your ideas for how to keep a tent warm without electricity. Stay safe (and warm)!

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