How to keep a tent warm

First-time campers often ask how to keep a tent warm in snowy or rainy conditions, which can be the most difficult aspect of camping in cold weather. 

So if this question was deterring you from camping in the wilderness, then worry no more! 

In this article, we’ll walk you through 9 tips, tricks and products that you can use to set up your tent correctly and stay warm throughout the day and night. 

Let’s get right into it! 

9 Ways on How to Keep a Tent Warm in Cold Weather

Buy Yourself a Camping Heater

A camping or tent heater can be the perfect accessory to take on your winter camping trips. They provide the quickest and easiest solution to your problem and will especially be helpful in areas that have great ventilation. 

Now there are two possible routes you can go when buying a heater. You can either purchase an electric heater or a normal propane heater. Take special care to buy a portable heater that is purpose-built to keep inside a tent. 

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each one is created with different materials and has different fuel sources. Regardless, safety is the most important thing when buying an indoor heater. 

Hence why we prefer electric heaters over gas heaters because they’re less likely to catch fire and their carbon monoxide emissions are much lower. 

However, if you do decide to get a propane heater then there are a few things you need to be wary of. First of all, find a heater that is small enough to fit inside your tent and not take too much space. 

Secondly, make sure the heater you buy has a stable and wide base so that it doesn’t tip easily. Finally, look for additional features like cool outer housing and also make sure to buy a carbon monoxide alarm for your tent in case of emergencies. 

All in all, a heater is a great investment and one you’ll be thanking us for when you’re laying in your sleeping bag all warm and comfy. 

Insulate Your Tent with Mylar Blankets

Another smart accessory to take with you on those cold outdoor nights is a mylar blanket (also known as space blankets) or multiple mylar blankets. 

Insulating your tent with these will allow you to keep a tent warm without electricity. Why? Simply because its material and reflective surface allow it to reflect the heat inside your tent back at you. 

This could be your own body heat or the heat of a recently used camping heater. So, tape the blankets to the ceiling and walls of the tent or wrap your sleeping bag in it when you lay down to sleep. 

Whatever the use, these blankets will not allow the heat to leave your insulated tent. Just be careful to not seal your tent airtight because good ventilation is the only way for you to get rid of the moisture in your tent. 

Keep Your Tent Well Ventilated

Speaking of good ventilation, you may be thinking how does allowing cold air to pass help keeping warm in a tent? Well, there are two reasons for doing this. 

Firstly, if you decide to buy a tent heater, you’ll need air to constantly pass through your tent while you’re using the heater. 

That’s because the carbon monoxide that the heater gives off can be poisonous if it fills up your tent. And keeping your tent well ventilated won’t allow the gas to build up, ensuring that you can use the heater for long periods of time. 

Secondly, you need good ventilation to let the moisture out of your tent. Otherwise, the moisture will be trapped inside overnight and start condensing on the ceiling and walls of your tent. 

Come the morning, you and your tent will be extremely wet and cold. That’s how you’ll be forced to spend the rest of your day which surely ruins your outdoor experience. 

Take Smaller Tents

Choosing the size of your tent is detrimental when figuring out how to keep a tent warm without electricity and in cold weather. 

The larger your tent the more surface area it covers and hence heating up a giant tent will take longer. This is why, even if you have a huge family or a large party of people, taking multiple smaller winter tents is what we’d suggest. 

In addition to heating up quickly, a smaller tent will have less area for water to condense on and won’t radiate much heat. 

This is one of those rare cases in which bigger is not better so choose the size of your tents wisely, especially if you’re thinking of camping out in extremely cold or snowy weather. 

Use Heat Rocks

Still wondering how to keep your tent warmer? This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Basically, all you have to do is warm up some medium-sized rocks when you’re sitting by your campfire at night. 

After leaving them in the fire for some time, pick them up and quickly take them inside your tent and leave them. While inside they’ll radiate heat and keep your tent warm hopefully through the night. 

If the weather outside is extremely cold, then pairing the rocks up with Mylar blankets may be the move to keep the tent warm as long as possible. 

We do advise caution though when handling and heating the rocks because you need to make sure that they’re not so hot that they melt your tent or worse burn you. If all goes well then heating rocks to warm the tent can be a genius move. 

Wear Thermal Clothes

This should be a no-brainer in all honesty. Wearing warm clothes, especially thermal underwear and warm socks should be at the top of your list when you’re packing for your winter camping trip.

There are other things that you need to look for also when picking out your clothes. Look for clothes made of breathable and moisture-absorbing material. 

For example, if you decide on cotton clothes then you’re definitely going to wake up feeling wet, cold and soggy. 

But all in all, this is the first step of how to keep warm in a tent

Engage in Some Physical Activity Before Going to Bed

Going to sleep without walking around or doing some other physical activity is almost criminal when talking about how to stay warm in a tent

The more you walk around before eventually going to sleep, the more body heat will be generated which will heat up your sleeping bag and your tent at the start of the night. 

If you don’t feel like walking, there is an activity we’d suggest warming yourself up before your slumber. Instead of changing your clothes before getting into your sleeping bag, do it while you’re inside the sleeping bag. 

The wiggling and squirming will sufficiently warm up your sleeping bag for the rest of the night. 

Put Your Next Day’s Clothes to Warm Up With You

The one thing most people complain about is waking up and putting on wet or cold clothes in the morning. 

Well, we’ve come up with a solution to that which is pretty simple, take the clothes out that you’re going to wear in the morning and lay them inside the warm tent as well. 

If you’ve successfully managed to warm up your tent at night, then that heat will transfer into your morning clothes making them warm and comfy. 

In case you’re worried about them being wet due to the moisture, keep them in a sealed bag. 

Keep a Warm Bottle of Water with You at All Times

Last but not least, a water bottle is one of the most important parts of your camping checklist and should stay with you at all times to keep you hydrated. 

Most people don’t realize this, but dehydration is one of the leading reasons for feeling excessively cold. 

In extreme cases, hypothermia can also set in faster if you’re dehydrated. Hence, it becomes doubly important to drink lots of water in cold or snowy environments. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what precautions you take, you’re still going to feel a little cold if you do go out to camp in the winter. But that’s exactly what it means to enjoy the beauty of nature! 

Even if the cold is too much for you, when you wake up in the morning and look at the view outside your tent, we’re sure it’ll all be worth it. 

Nonetheless, we’ve listed down all the tips and tricks we knew on how to keep a tent warm above and we hope at least some of them come in handy when you go on your next winter expedition or camping festival

And if you’re planning to hit the great outdoors in the summers, then we’ve also covered how to cool a tent to prepare you for your camping expedition!


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