How to Keep Warm in a Tent? 16 Tips to Get Through Winter

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Camping in cold weather comes with many more challenges than camping in summer. One of the first things to learn before your adventure is how to keep warm in a tent.

Knowing how to keep warm when sleeping outdoors in winter goes beyond comfort. Hypothermia is a serious threat, but luckily, there are many ways to prevent it.

Here are 16 killer tips to keeping warm in a tent throughout the winter.

How to Keep Warm in a Tent?

Tips To Keep Warm In A Tent

To keep warm in a tent, you must wear proper clothes and use adequate camping gear. It is also essential to add extra insulation to your tent.

Besides these two main paths, you can also use space heaters, especially when camping in really cold weather. With this in mind, here are a few essential tips to keeping warm when camping in cold climates.

Dress for The Occasion

It goes without saying that the easiest way to keep warm in a tent is by dressing properly.

Pick clothes that can keep you warm in cold weather, such as tees, trousers, and sweaters made from neoprene, fleece, or wool. A cap and thick socks are also necessary to prevent frostbites.

Use Right Sleeping Bag

No matter what season it is, check the weather forecast in the area where you plan to go camping and pick a sleeping bag rated for the lowest temperature you’re expecting to encounter on your adventure.

You can always unzip the bag if you feel too warm, but adding extra layers of insulation to it could be difficult.

Camping Panda Recommends Best Sleeping Bags:

OmniCore Multi Down Mummy Sleeping Bag

TETON Sports Celsius XL Sleeping Bag

TETON Mammoth Queen-Size Double Sleeping Bag

Avoid Huge Air-Mattresses

Sleeping on an air bed when camping in cold weather could sound like a good idea, but the truth is that the air inside the mattress can get very cold if you’re not using a space heater.

Choosing a thinner, self-inflating mattress or a thick wool blanket could be a better idea.

Wear a Knit Cap

The human body loses most heat through its extremities, including hands, legs, and your head. Keeping the former warm in a suitable sleeping bag is easy, but you might lose a lot of heat through your head.

For this reason, it is always recommended to wear a knitted hat when camping in winter.

Don’t Wait Until You are Already Cold

How Not To Get Cold Camping In Winter

Warming up when you’re cold is harder than keeping yourself warm in the first place. Start layering up as soon as the temperatures start to drop in the evening.

If you’ve been hiking in snow and your garments are wet, change in dry clothes as soon as you’ve reached your shelter.

Don’t Sleep On Your Tent Floor

While sleeping on a huge air mattress is counterintuitive, sleeping directly on the floor is not a good idea either. Adding some insulation between you and the tent’s floor is crucial.

Self-inflating mattresses are an excellent choice, or you could invest in a camping cot.

Camping Panda Recommends Best Mattresses:

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad - Mat

iDOO Camping Inflatable Sleeping Mat

Self Inflating Sleeping Pad - No Pump Power

Choose Your Campsite Wisely

Where you pitch the tent can also make a difference when trying to keep the interior of your shelter warm. If possible, set up the tent in an area free of snow, ideally on grass or atop a pile of leaves or other vegetal materials.

Change Out of Your Day Clothes

No matter how cold it is outside, it is near impossible to hike without sweating. The moisture soaked into your clothes will make you lose body heat. Thus, it is crucial to put on dry clothes as soon as you return to your tent.

Eat and Drink Warm

Hot foods and drinks can help you raise your body temperature. Brew yourself a cup of tea and eat some soup instead of drinking cold water.

Bring Extra Blankets with You

Blankets are very versatile. Besides wrapping yourself in a fluffy fleece blanket to stay warm, you can use them to sleep on them or to cover your tent for extra insulation.

Best Cold Season Gear:

Self Inflating Camping Sleeping Pad

Thermal Underwear Set for Winter

Thermal Wool Blend Outdoor Socks

How Do You Keep a Tent Warm in the Winter?

Warming up the air inside the tent comes with some risks, but there are many companies that manufacture space heater you can use in a tent.

Buy a Portable Gas Heater

Portable gas heaters are safe to use in a tent, as long as you’re buying the right model. They can burn either propane or butane, and their main advantage is that you don’t need electricity to run them.

To get the right one, make sure to check the size of your tent and calculate the necessary BTU as well as the running time.

Some of the best portable gas heaters, such as the Mr. Heater F274800 can output around 18,000 BTU and run for 6 or more hours on a single fuel tank.

Best Portable Gas Heaters

Mr. Heater Potrtable Propane Heater

Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane

Mr. Heater Indoor Safe Propane Heater

How Can I Keep My Tent Warm Without Electricity?

How To Keep Warm In A Tent Without Electricity

If you don’t want to use a portable gas heater and don’t have access to electricity, there are still a few ways to keep your tent warm.

Get Hot Water Bottles

Hot water bottles are easy to carry, easy to fill, and you can easily boil some water to get an instant heat source.

Keeping one or two hot water bottles in your sleeping bag can easily get you through the night even if you don’t have a space heater.

Don’t Use a Massive Tent

It is quite obvious that the bigger the tent is, the harder it is to keep it warm. For this reason, when camping in winter, you should choose the smallest tent for the number of people sleeping in it.

After all, the closer you are to one another, the easier it is to keep warm.

Insulate from the Ground Up

The tent loses most of its heat through the floor rather than walls or roof. That’s why you should always start insulating from the ground up.

If you don’t have enough supplies to insulate the upper side of the tent, at least you’ll lose heat slower.

Get Disposable Heat Packs

Disposable heat packs are a great alternative to the classic hot water bottle. They work more or less as the instant ice packs, and you can simply throw them in the trash bin when you wake up.

Keep Your Tent Ventilated

Condensation building up on the tent walls is one of your worst enemies, so keeping your tent ventilated throughout the night is crucial. At the same time, it is also important to keep yourself dry, as the more you sweat, the chillier you’ll get.

Best Cold Season Gear:

Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag

Large Waterproof Windproof Blanket

Natural Hand Super Warmers


• What kind of heater is safe to use in a tent?

Portable heaters designed for indoor use are typically safe to use in a tent. An electric heater is undeniably your safest option. Alternatively, you can opt for a clean-burning gas heater that won’t release noxious fumes.

• Is it warmer in a sleeping bag with less clothes on?

As long as your clothes are dry, yes. The secret to staying warm when sleeping in a cold environment is to create as many layers of air around your body as you can. As the air in these layers warms up, it reduces overall heat loss and keeps you warmer. However, if your only set of clothes is wet or soaked in sweat, it is warmer to take it off and sleep naked or in minimal underwear.

• Can you survive winter in a tent?

You can survive winter in a tent as long as you take all precautions. Gear includes heat warmers, sufficient clothes, blankets, and an adequate sleeping bag. Insulating your tent with foil blankets or plastic wrap is also recommended.

• How can I increase the warmth of my sleeping bag?

To get the most out of your sleeping bag, it is essential to keep it clean, so that the oils in your skin and dirt don’t prevent it from “fluffing up.” On particularly cold nights, you might also consider adding a thermal liner.

• Does a sleeping bag liner add warmth?

Yes. A silk, cotton, or fleece liner can boost the warmth of your sleeping bag. Some thermal liners are very thin and lightweight, adding minimal bulk to your backpack. Such a liner can help you get through the night safely if the temperatures drop below the rated temperature of your sleeping bag.

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