Keeping the interior of your tent at a comfortable temperature is especially important during cold weather camping adventures. With a few tips and suggestions, it is possible to make a tent warm and inviting, even on the coldest days and nights. So how do I make a tent warmer?
A key to a warmer tent is by taking steps to make airtight and stable. When the tent is sealed tight, it lessens the amount of heat that escapes from the inside. When exterior fixes are put into place, the result is a warmer tent.
Outside Tips for Keeping Tents Warmer
4-Season Tents for Warmth
When camping during colder weather, many/most campers are equipped with a 4-season tent, which is designed specifically for use in cold weather. These tents are made with materials that are thick and resistant to snow and cold temperatures. If you are considering buying a new tent prior to the trip, check out the many 4-season brands that come in assorted styles and sizes for a warmer camping experience.
Regardless of the type or style of tent used, when setting up camp, choose a location that offers some means of coverage. When tents are out in the open, they are exposed to wind and the open air, which lessens the heat stored inside the tent.
By setting up near a group of trees, hillside, rock formation, etc., helps protect the tent sides that are less exposed to the wind and air, which helps stop heat from leaking out.
Tent Insulation for Warmth
Insulation can play a key role in helping to keep a tent warmer. A tent is no different from a house when it comes to insulating against the weather and cold temperatures.
Before placing the tarp or rain fly over the body of the tent, place a thick layer of material that could be a comforter or a thick blanket. Once place, then add the tarp or rain fly. This added layer of protection helps hold in the heat, which raises the interior temperature.
How to Make a 3-Season Tent Warmer
While 3-season tents work well in mild and moderate weather, they are not designed to take on the cold of winter. If you are camping in the fall and want to extend your trip into the winter, your current 3-season tent will need some help in keeping you warm.
Do this by bolstering the tent’s capability to deal with cold weather by adding an extra layer of coverage to the exterior. Use a heavy-duty and durable canvas tarp or a rain fly that provides full coverage. Both the tarp and the rain fly will work to resist cold temperatures and high winds from seeping inside the tent. Use tent stakes of high-quality to ensure the covering and the tent stay securely in place. Another benefit of using these two options is you will not have to invest in a new tent.
How to Make a Tent Warmer in Winter with Inside Fixes
Once you have taken the steps to secure the outside of the tent via a partially blocked location for set-up, an extra layer of insulation, plus a heavy-duty tarp or rain fly covering of the tent body, there are some fixes to do inside to increase everyone staying warm.
Portable Tent Space Heater
There are several choices in portable space heaters that can be used inside a tent. These include electric heaters, halogen heaters, gas (propane and butane) heaters, and wood burning stoves that also serve as a heater.
With portable electric heaters, you will need a power source to plug in. If staying at a campground, electrical power outlets may be available. If you are camping out in wild, you have the option of using a portable generator to power the electric heater. Some of the top electric heaters include:
- Mr. Heater Buddy
- Vivreal Mini Space Heater
- Mr. Heater Portable Radiant Heater
- Camco Olympian Wave-6
- Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater
Halogen heaters are a good choice for those who prefer an alternative to propane. These heaters are cost-effective, energy efficient, and safe. Several to consider include:
- Comfort Zone CZHTV9 Oscillating Electric Halogen Radiant Heater
- Fire Sense 62234 Sporty Halogen Space Electric Heater
- Impress IM-707B Parabolic Halogen Oscillating Heater
- LIVART LVH-780 Halogen Heater
With portable propane heaters, you can gauge how much fuel will be needed beforehand to ensure you have enough to last for the duration of your camping trip. Several on the market offer warmth and convenience plus the many recommended safety features. The following are several of the best models available.
- Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Indoor Propane Heater — Best overall
- Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat — Best budget
- Mr. Heater MH4B Little Indoor Safe Propane Heater — Best for smaller tents
- Vornado Velocity 3R Whole Room Space Heater — Best electric
- Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater and Stove — Best butane
Portable wood burning stoves use wood, so there is no stress over lack of fuel, running out of fuel, or not having access to electricity. If you choose this method of heating to stay warm, you must have a tent designed for use with a stove set-up to allow for ample ventilation, a flue, and made with flame retardant material. For wood burning heat, consider these the following stoves that are used for heating the tent as well as cooking.
- DANCHEL Outdoor Portable Titanium Tent Tiny Stove
- Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Tent Stove
- Kcelarec Camping Titanium Tent Stove
- YILI Outdoor Camping Stove
- Winnerwell Woodlander Medium Tent Stove
Personal Fixes for Staying Warm in a Tent
There are quite a few things you can do to help stay warm while inside the tent from personal attire to camping gear and accessories.
When it comes to sleep time, buying a high-quality sleeping bag made of thick material and lined with good insulation will help keep you warmer than a cheaper sleeping bag made of thinner material and minimal insulation. The thicker material works to reflect your body heat, which results in a warm sleeping experience.
For campers who use air mattresses, a sleeping pad is a must-have accessory. Air mattresses do not retain heat, which means cold air can escape and keep you chilled through the night. Adding a sleeping pad as a layer between you and the mattress can lessen the chill factor. Sleeping pads, such as the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress.
Personal Tips and Tricks
When it comes to apparel, the more you wear at bedtime, the warmer you will be. Just like the insulation placed between the tent body and a tarp or rain fly helps keep the interior of the tent warm, so, too, will a layering of clothes insulate you.
At bedtime, consider wearing layers that include items such as a hooded sweatshirt, light jacket, long sleeved sweater, long underwear, long underwear shirt, pyjama pants made of thick material, T-shirt, and socks.
Knitted hats are a versatile piece of attire that do an excellent job of keeping heads warm when outside in cold weather. Inside the tent, wearing a knitted hat at bedtime helps your body retain heat. An alternative to a knitted hat is the close-fitting balaclava that covers the entire head and neck with the exception of the eye area.
Studies have shown that humans lose an estimated 50 percent of their body heat through their head. No matter how well you bundle up, if your head is left exposed, you will lose a significant amount of heat.
If your clothes get wet or damp, whether from rain, sleet, or sweat, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. Damp/wet clothing are not heat-friendly. Remove them and hang them to dry and away from where you are sleeping.
Hot water bottles are great at keeping you warm, especially when place in the core region of your body. Once the hot water bottle is heated and wrapped in a towel, it will begin to radiate heat not only to the area where you placed it, but also to the surrounding area inside the tent.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
Using a combination of exterior fixes and suggestions to provide insulation and prevent air leakage to your tent along with helpful interior tips and recommendations for your personal care can have a direct impact on making a tent warmer.