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This is a guide on the best ways to stay warm in a tent.
Camping is great fun, there’s no doubt about it; however, camping in cold weather can ruin the experience, especially if you don’t know how to stay warm.
We are a family of 4 who has had our fair share of Winter camping trips, so we know all the essential tips and tricks on how to stay warm.
In this article, we are going to look at 20 ways you can stay warm, even in the harshest weather.
Keep reading and you’ll be sure to learn something new!
18 Best Ways To Stay Warm In A Tent
1. Get A Tent Heater
If you hate feeling cold and enjoy instant gratification, getting a tent heater is your best bet. However, you need to make sure you select the right one. There are a lot of cheap tent heaters on the market that don’t work as described.
And the last thing you need is to pitch your tent in the snow and discover the heater isn’t working!
If you’re stuck for choice, we recommend Asterion Ceramic Space Heater. Not only does it keep your tent warm, but it doesn’t disperse a nasty smell, which can be quite common with cheaper brands.
It’s also great for people who suffer from asthma and allergies because it doesn’t make the room feel stuffy.
2. Start A Fire
Starting a fire is a great way to warm up on a cold night. You’ll also be able to share stories around the campfire with your camping buddies, filling two needs with one deed!
When starting a fire, make sure it’s at least 6 feet away from your tent at all times, otherwise, you run the risk of setting your tent on fire, which isn’t ideal, especially when Winter camping.
Where would you sleep!?
Anyhow, to start a fire, you’re going to need some basic tools and equipment, most of which can be found in the area your camping.
Here’s what you need…
Start by building a fire pit using the large rocks. This step isn’t essential; however, the rocks act as a barrier, protecting you from the wind.
Once you’ve designed the fire pit, place your sticks and leaves in the center. These will be used to get the fire started.
Next, place the logs in a pyramid shape over the stick and leaves.
Finally, place your fire starter in the middle and light it up. Once the sticks and leaves catch fire, it will spread to the logs, and you’ll have a blazing fire in no time.
Read Also: How To Make A Swedish Log Fire And Save Fuel
3. Choose The Right Spot To Camp In
Choosing the right camping spot goes a long way in determining how much you feel the cold. It’s important to remember that the wind plays a major part in how warm you feel.
If it’s cold outside, but not windy, you’re going to feel better than when it’s both cold and windy.
So how do you block out the wind!?
You need to pitch your tent in a place that’s well-protected and has structures surrounding it. Setting up your tent in an open area is a recipe for disaster when it’s cold outside.
At this point, you may be thinking that your tent is supposed to protect you from the wind.
And yes, you’re right!
However, if the winds are strong, they are going to affect you to some extent. Minimize the risk by camping in the right place.
4. Insulate Your Tent
Have you ever noticed that rooms with wooden flooring tend to be colder than rooms with carpet?
The same principle applies to tents.
Because tent flooring is super thin and doesn’t offer much space between the ground, your tent remains cold.
You can combat this by insulating your tent using rugs. Doing this creates extra distance between the ground, helping to keep you warm
If you can’t use rugs or carpet, you can use a sleeping pad to accomplish the same thing (more on this later).
5. Bring A Hot Water Bottle
Before the tent heaters and glamping days, people used hot water bottles to stay warm when camping.
Just because something is outdated, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
While it’s always worked for us, we wanted to see what other people had to say about using hot water bottles to stay warm.
After combing through Reddit, we found that a lot of people still use this method as their primary way of staying warm.
6. Double Up
A common way fellow campers keep warm in the Winter months is by using multiple sleeping bags. When you combine two sleeping bags, your body will be better protected and trap heat better.
The key is to make sure your sleeping bags are of a similar size, otherwise, the second bag may leave the top half of your body exposed.
Combine two sleeping bags with a wooly hat to keep your head protected, and you shouldn’t have any issues keeping warm, even in the harshest conditions.
7. Don’t Forget To Eat And Drink
An often overlooked, yet critical part of staying warm comes down to how much your eating and drinking.
Surprisingly, drinking water can actually help you stay warm when it’s cold outside. After drinking water, your bladder heats the water up, which is why urine is always hot.
On the flip side, eating causes your body to burn more calories. You can think of it like adding wood to the campfire; the more you eat, the harder your body has to work.
When it’s cold outside, we recommend eating foods that are high in fat, as they take longer to digest, keeping you warmer for longer periods.
So here are some great snacks to bring on your next camping trip…
- Beef jerky
- Granola bars
- Peanut butter
Before doing our research, we assumed that a high-carb meal would be more beneficial for keeping warm; however, that’s not the case.
A high-carb meal gets digested quickly; hence why you get a large spike in energy straight after. Once the meal has been disgested, your body has nothing left to burn, so you’ll feel colder.
So maybe you should skip the campfire nachos when camping in cold weather.
8. Heated Boots And Gloves
If you’ve ever camped in harsh conditions, you know how annoying it is when your feet and hands get cold.
For some reason, it’s much more irritating than if it were your legs for example.
Maybe that’s why people’s hands and feet are the most prone to frostbite!?
Anyhow, heated boots and gloves protect your feet and hands from the elements.
Most heated boots and gloves are powered by a rechargeable battery, so you won’t have to carry throw-away batteries around with you, which is great for camping.
In addition to being heated, they are typically designed with thick thermal material, giving you an extra layer of protection.
9. Choose The Right Clothing
Depending on what conditions you’re camping in, a sleeping bag by itself may not be enough to keep you warm. That’s why it’s important to wrap up in extra layers at night.
The areas most exposed to cold are your feet and head. To combat this, get yourself a wooly hat and multiple pairs of thick socks.
If multiple pairs of socks aren’t enough to keep you warm, you can buy heated socks as an alternative.
We recommend the XBUTY Heated Socks.
They are super warm before you even turn on the built-in heater. Once you do fire up the heater, it only takes a few minutes before your feet are feeling nice and toasty.
10. Share A Sleeping Bag
Did you know that when you sleep next to somebody, their body heat helps keep you warm?
That’s why when you see people on TV who have been stranded in cold weather, they cuddle each other to stay warm.
However, you don’t have to be stranded atop a mountain to benefit from this strategy.
If you’re camping with multiple people, you can huddle together to stay warm.
Alternatively, if you can use use the same strategy, but with your dog instead.
And who doesn’t like sharing a bed with your dog!?
11. Choose The Right Sleeping Bag
A cheap and tacky sleeping bag won’t keep you warm as stated on the product page. If you want to go camping in cold weather, then a high-quality sleeping bag is essential.
You can’t rely on your tent to keep you warm, as there is only a thin layer protecting you from the elements; therefore, your sleeping bag should be the primary heat source.
When choosing a sleeping bag, you have a few options to consider.
The most common types of sleeping bags are rectangle and mummy.
Rectangle sleeping bags offer the most space, allowing you to move around freely. For this reason, they are preferred by most campers.
On the flip side, mummy sleeping bags aren’t as wide, which restricts your movement. If you like feeling snug when sleeping, we recommend going for a mummy sleeping bag.
But how about cold weather protection!?
Mummy sleeping bags typically provide the most warmth; however, you also need to consider the material it’s made from.
Most sleeping bags are either made from down insulation or synthetic insulation.
When comparing the two, down insulation always beats synthetic in terms of warmth.
With that being said, there are other ways to keep warm in your tent.
12. Put A Tent Inside A Tent
Sometimes drastic temperatures call for drastic measures; hence why we recommend putting a tent inside a tent to keep warm.
Doing this provides you with an extra barrier, protecting you against the wild, rain, and freezing temperatures. Before you go out and purchase a second tent, we recommend choosing two tents that are similar in size.
That way, there won’t be as much cold air stored in the secondary tent, which will keep you warmer.
13. Mylar Blankets
Mylar blankets — also known as emergency blankets — are typically used in times of distress; however, they can also be great for people trying to stay warm when camping in the winter months.
What’s more, they are wind and waterproof.
They are designed to reflect heat, so placing your mylar blanket around your body will reflect your natural body heat, preventing it from escaping.
If you’re camping in hot weather, you can also place a mylar blanket over the top of your tent. This will reflect heat away, keeping you cool in the Summer months.
14. Rocks In A Bucket
Next time you set of on a camping trip, we recommend bringing a metal bucket with you, especially if you’re going in cold weather.
Using a metal bucket and hot rocks, you can create your own makeshift heater.
Once it’s time to sleep and your campfire is dying out, take some hot rocks and place them into a metal bucket. Put the bucket inside your tent and enjoy the benefits of a makeshift heater.
When using this method, you need to make sure the rocks you use aren’t wet, otherwise, they could explode.
And that’s the last thing you want when trying to enjoy a warm night’s sleep!
Avoid using rocks that are from a stream, or have been in harsh weather.
If you don’t mind the extra weight, you could even purchase them from a hardware store and bring them along on your camping trip.
15. Invest In A Sleeping Pad
When sleeping in a tent, most of the cold air comes through the floor. This is why using a sleeping bag by itself isn’t enough to keep you warm (In most cases).
A sleeping pad is a large platform that you put between your sleeping bag and the floor. The sleeping pad helps absorb the cold air from the ground, providing you with an extra layer of protection.
However, not all sleeping pads are built equal!
So how do you choose a great sleeping pad!?
It depends on your preference. Some sleeping pads are too short, whereas others can be too long.
If you want your body to stay warm, then it’s important to get a sleeping pad that’s the same size as your sleeping bag. This way, your feet won’t be exposed, which keeps your whole body warm.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind cold feet, you can choose a smaller sleeping pad to save weight.
Ideally, you should stick with a sleeping pad that’s either the same size or longer than your sleeping bag if you want to stay warm.
You also need to consider your sleeping position.
If you’re a side sleeper, you can get away with a narrower sleeping pad; however, if you’re a back sleeper, we recommend a wider sleeping pad so you don’t have to worry about your arms hanging off.
16. Open A Window
Contrary to popular belief, leaving a window open when sleeping can actually keep you warmer. One of the reasons for becoming cold during the night is because of condensation.
When you breathe in and out, it causes condensation, making your tent damp in the morning.
Leaving a window open allows the condensation to escape, keeping your tent warmer. There’s no need to open all of your windows; just open one slightly, and see if you feel a difference.
17. Pump The Blood
Dropping to the floor and doing 10 pushups is a great way to get the blood flowing before bed. The faster your heart is beating, the harder your body has to work, which produces more energy and body heat as a result.
If you were to jump into bed after excising at home, you’re probably going to be too hot; however, camping in cold weather turns the whole theory on its head.
You need to be careful though because exercising before bed could result in difficulties sleeping — so choose your pain wisely.
18. Enjoy A Hot Coffee
Setting aside 10 minutes to enjoy a hot coffee can be a blessing when it’s cold outside. Of course, we don’t recommend doing this before bed, unless you want to be up all night!
However, if it’s cold during the day, coffee can help!
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only the coffee that warms up your body. Studies have shown that caffeine plays a major part in warming you up.
This is because caffeine increases blood flow to the skin, which raises your internal thermometer. Time to invest in a new campfire coffee pot, huh!?
Addition Tips For Camping In The Winter
Now you know the best ways to stay warm in a tent, let’s talk about some additional camping tips for the Winter months.
Choose The Right Tent
Your tent is where you’re going to be spending most of your time, so you need to make sure you get a good one.
Not every tent is built equal, and some perform better in Winter, whereas others work better in the summer months. Ideally, you should aim for a 4-season tent that can perform regardless of the weather conditions.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that 4-season tents tend to be heavier, which isn’t ideal when camping.
If you decide against a 4-season tent for this reason, here are some things to consider when buying an alternative.
Choosing a strong tent is essential because with cold weather comes strong winds. If you get a tent that isn’t strong enough, it could blow over in strong winds, ruining your camping trip.
When camping in the Summer, a smaller tent is more suitable; however, you’re going to be spending more time inside with Winter camping, so you need space to move around.
We recommend choosing a tent that has a high enough center height that allows you to stand up fully.
While cold weather tents are going to weigh more, it’s still important to choose one that is lightweight enough. Of course, if you’re traveling in your car, it isn’t as important.
Let People Know Where You’re Going
If you’re going to be survival camping, it’s important to let people know where you’re going. Winter camping tends to be a little more dangerous due to the unpredictable weather.
What’s more, you’re going to struggle to get a phone signal in some places.
This becomes even more important if you’re solo camping. Telling people where you’re going means they will sign the alarm if you don’t return, which will help you get rescued.
We’re sure it’s not going to come to that though!
But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bring A Stove (For The Survival Campers)
If survival camping in the Winter is your thing, here’s a trick you may not have thought of.
Rather than carrying bottles of water around with you, boil some snow on the stove and it will melt into water.
If you’re camping in a snow-filled area, you now have access to unlimited water.
Thank us later!
Before We Go
Staying warm in a tent doesn’t need to be difficult. If you follow the tips and tricks in this article, then you’ll have no problem warming up.
Before we go, we would love to hear your thoughts on keeping warm in a tent.
What steps do you take to stay warm when it’s cold outside?
Comment below and let us know your thoughts.
In summary, we hope this article has helped you understand the best ways to stay warm in a tent. If you have any questions, drop a line below and we will get back to you.
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