When winter arrives, don’t let the cold put you off if you want to organize a great hike ending with an extraordinary night of camping.
If you pack everything you need, camping any month of the year is not only doable, but can also be quite comfortable. With the right equipment, you can sleep in the mountains with peace of mind, even on the coldest nights.
On the other hand, sometimes your highest quality thermal sleeping bag, your insulating blanket, and even your favorite pair of pilou-pilou socks may not be enough to keep you warm if the nighttime temperatures are really too low. .
In this kind of case, where the nights are freezing, it could be useful for you to look for solutions to heat your tent, so that you can sleep well while not dying of cold.
There are different ways to heat your tent, and while some of them can pose a slight hazard, if you take the right precautions, it’s not impossible for you to do so safely.
Important things to consider when heating your tent
- 1 Important things to consider when heating your tent
- 2 How to heat the inside of a tent- best and safest ways
- 3 5 Great Ways To Make Your Tent Warm And Cozy At Night
Not only is it important to keep the heat in your tent, but also to make sure you are warm in the first place. One of the biggest mistakes campers make is not wearing enough layers and going to bed when they are cold.
These are both things that can make winter camping a real pain and you need to know your stuff if you want to have the best experience.
While you might not need a lot of insulation when camping in the height of summer, winter is a whole different game. You need several layers of clothing and your bedding needs to be changed.
Investing in a padded sleeping bag and a thicker, better insulated sleeping pad are things that should be a priority. After that, you should think about what to wear. When you go to bed, make sure you’re not already cold. If that’s the case, it may mean you’re staying that way as you’re not moving and not keeping your blood moving.
For this reason, we always advise warming up and putting on a few layers before heading to bed. Once you’re warm, it can be tempting to go to bed with just one layer, but that can be a rookie mistake. You’ll likely wake up in the night feeling freezing cold, and it can be difficult to warm up again.
How to heat the inside of a tent- best and safest ways
Winter can be very cold, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop camping. However, lower temperatures require you to get proper gear to avoid freezing and other serious health issues. ONE camping blanket is sometimes not enough as temperatures can get extreme. If you’re wondering how to heat a tent in such conditions, keep reading our guide. Here are 5 tent heating ideas you should try the next time the temperature suddenly drops.
Electric heaters and their alternatives:
Placing a small electric heater inside your tent is the quickest way to heat the inside of your shelter for the night. On the other hand, some of these heaters require an electrical outlet, which most of the time is only available in vans or motorhomes.
Our solution is all found: If you want to take an electric heater with you and you do not have access to an electrical outlet, simply plug the heater into a small electric generator or a power inverter, itself even plugged into your car battery.
Anyway, this solution requires transporting and installing additional equipment during your night camping. But, if you think this is the best solution for you and your needs, then you will find on the market small electric heaters from some top brands such as DeLonghi, Lasko and Holmes.
There are also hot air generators that run on propane and are easier to transport and use in a tent. On the other hand, they produce CO2 and are therefore more dangerous than electric heaters. It is therefore imperative to inform yourself well about their use before acquiring one and using it during your nights camping.
However, with proper ventilation, which is usually built right inside most tents, carbon emissions from generators shouldn’t be a problem for you; although it is crucial to always remain vigilant.
In case the thought of suffocation worries you too much, you always have the option of opening your tent while the propane generator is on: admittedly, some of the heat will be lost, but you will be sure to good air circulation inside your tent; and above all, you can fall asleep with peace of mind.
You should also know that there are propane-powered heaters on the market that have been designed specifically for use in tents. Most of these radiators are made by the brands Coleman and Mr. Heater.
These are catalytic heaters: they therefore produce heat without any flame. However, if you choose this heating system, you should never forget to turn them off before going to sleep.
It’s a good idea to turn them on an hour or two before you go to bed and turn them off as soon as you feel the air inside your tent is warm enough for your comfort. If necessary, you can always turn it on the next morning when you wake up.
Heat your tent with a lantern:
Lanterns are another effective way to heat your tent without the discomfort of an electric heater and the danger of a propane heater.
This is an object in which you must place a burning candle. The candle flame sits inside a glass container which will provide you with light and as long as it is not freezing cold outside this one will be perfectly able to increase the temperature of your tent by ten degrees.
Naturally, since this is an open flame, it must be handled with care and attention, and you should never fall asleep with your lantern still lit. It is best to extinguish your candle before going to sleep, like catalytic heaters.
Thus, your lantern must be lit inside your tent before going to bed, in order to guarantee you a sufficiently warm, cozy and welcoming internal air. Once installed in your sleeping bag, it is imperative to blow out the flame of your candle.
Lighting a fireplace on sandy ground:
If you’re going to be camping in a sandy area and have some time to spend heating your tent, it might be worth building a fire pit for yourself. Be careful, we advise you to find out beforehand about the possibility of making a fire at the place where you are going to camp.
Because not all wild places are suitable for lighting a fire and it is possible that the guards foresters fine you for breaking the rules. This is because you wouldn’t want to unintentionally set fire to the forest or disturb any wild animals that might be there.
To proceed with this heating system, it is first necessary to light a fire. To do this well, dig a circle in the ground to a depth of 10 to 15 cm. Arrange rocks all over your fire so it doesn’t spread unexpectedly. Go get dry wood to fuel your fire and light it with paper or a fire starter that you have taken with you.
Finally, you can place about twenty stones directly on the fire; and while these heat up, dig a hole in the ground to a depth of between 50 cm and 1 meter.
Once the stones have reached the desired temperature, throw them in the hole you have dug and cover them with a little sand. Be careful not to burn your hands while carrying the stones. Use the shovel you used to dig the previously mentioned holes to move them.
You will then need to position your tent above this fireplace. In this way, your tent will heat up thanks to the heat flow coming from the stones; and this for most of the night.
It is very important to make sure that the stones are well buried in the ground and above all, very well covered with sand, because the heat of the stones could burn the floor of your tent.
Sand also plays a big role in this heating system. Indeed, thanks to its consistency, it allows heat to rise more easily to the surface by passing through the grains, compared to the earth. And it will make your night in a tent much more comfortable.
Filling a non-plastic bottle with boiling water:
Fill a bottle with boiling water just before you go to bed so it doesn’t get cold. Once your water boils, pour it into a bottle (not a plastic one) and place it at the very bottom of your sleeping bag, near your feet.
Similar to a hot water bottle, hot air will diffuse from the lower part of your body to the upper part to keep you at a sufficient temperature. Tip: put on a pair of socks!
Be careful not to fall asleep with a heat source directly in contact with your bust, because it could overheat this part of your body and thus evaporate the water naturally present in your internal organs; which poses a serious danger to your kidneys.
This is why it is advisable to place this bottle at your feet. Also be careful that this bottle is not in direct contact with your bare skin, because it could burn to several degrees if you fall asleep. The sequelae and scars of such a burn could remain for a number of months, or even your entire life.
To have experienced it, it is not very pleasant. The frozen minced steak effect in a hot frying pan, it hurts and healing is slow!
Finally, and of course, DON’T DRINK the boiling water inside your bottle, unless it’s your thermos full of tea. It is also important not to drink hot water from a plastic bottle, even if it has cooled down.
Use hot stones:
This is a meager piece of advice, which, done correctly, remains a totally effective and valid solution for warming up your tent.
The principle of hot stones remains more or less the same as boiling water in the bottle, although it will take longer to heat your stones than your water.
But more importantly, the hot stones take longer to cool than the water in your bottle, and as a result, the inside of your tent will be kept at the right temperature for longer.
What do you need to do this little thing:
- Of a fire;
- One or more pairs of socks;
- A handful of stones the size of a hand and with a smooth surface, because a stone with a rough or angular surface can cut the sock in which it is located, in addition to being unpleasant in contact with the body.
Once you have gathered everything you need and lit your fire, position your stones 10 or 20 cm from it depending on their size and the size of the fire.
Turn them from time to time to make sure the stone is charging with heat from all angles.
When the stones have reached the desired temperature (so when they are too hot to touch with bare hands), you will know that their center has been sufficiently heated and that they will therefore be able to hold your tent and your body well. hot.
It will take about two hours for the stones to be properly heated.
Once you have reached this level of heat, thread your hand up to your wrist in your turned over sock and grasp a stone in your fingers (still protected by the sock), then with your free hand pull the part of the sock that is wrapped around your wrist and wrap the stone inside the sock. Do this with all the rest of the hot stones.
Now you can place the hot stones wherever you want in your tent. For example, you can put one at each corner of your tent or all of them in the center, near your sleeping bag. And if you prefer, you can even put them directly inside your sleeping bag in the same way as the boiling water bottle.
For once, never place them directly on your bust and even less on your skin, even if they are wrapped in a sock.
Reduce the volume of your tent as much as possible:
If your tent contains less air, its capacity is reduced and it will therefore be easier to heat it: indeed, the more air it contains, the more time it will take to reach the desired level of heat.
For this reason, try reducing the volume of your tent (some adjustable tents have this feature), or buy a tent with reduced dimensions and you will have solved the problem at the root.
5 Great Ways To Make Your Tent Warm And Cozy At Night
Now that you’ve warmed yourself up, you want to make sure your tent stays that way. But we won’t lie to you, it’s no easy task.
Just as your tent can get very stuffy and damp in the summer, it will keep out the cold in the winter.
Always make sure not to use a tent that is too big as these will take more time and effort to heat up. Additionally, if you use the right size tent for the number of people sleeping in it, the combination of your body heat will contribute to the warmth inside the tent.
You need to think about the construction of your tent; this type of shelter puts just a thin piece of material between you and the elements. This can make it very difficult to warm up and even more difficult to maintain that warm temperature.
However, it is by no means impossible and using a combination of the following techniques you can have a comfortable and cozy tent.
1. Camp in a shielded area
In the autumn and winter months it is not uncommon for the wind to pick up. Even if the base temperature isn’t that low, it can feel a lot colder when it gets a little blustery.
One of the first things you should do to warm up your tent is to focus on where you are going to pitch it.
When it’s windy and cold, there’s little point in pitching your tent in the middle of an open field. It will be crushed by the elements. You should also try pitching your tent at a lower elevation. If you camp on ridges or slopes it will be much cooler.
The best place for your tent is where it is surrounded by plants or trees. These act as windbreaks and this is the first important step in maintaining a comfortable temperature in the tent. If you can camp where ferns are plentiful, those areas are unlikely to freeze and that can go a long way in helping you stay warm.
2. Lay a carpet in your tent
We all know that heat rises, but it’s also true that a cold draft could get into your tent from below and make it cold. One of the best ways to counteract this problem is to carpet the floor of your tent.
You may find this a bit of an inconvenience, especially when you ‘re backpacking. You don’t necessarily have to use the cut from the roll that you recently used in your living room at home.
Of course, if you want, a thick carpet is an option, but this tends to be better for static camping where you will be staying for a longer period of time. For smaller tents and for backpackers, it may be enough to roll up a light rug to insulate the floor, which will keep you much warmer while sleeping.
If you’re feeling really fancy there are heated tent carpets that you can buy and although they can cost you a pretty penny, they will do the trick!
3. Oil Filled Portable Fan Heater
Similar to the propane heaters we just discussed, an oil filled heater needs to be compatible with the size of your tent. If you have a very large tent you may need to use multiple heaters, but these are a quick and efficient way to increase the heat.
Also, they are safe and easy to use. The only downside is that they have to stay on for the entire time you need heat. The only downside is that they have to stay on the entire time you need heat, as while they give off a lot of heat, it quickly dissipates once the power is turned off.
For this reason, it might be better to leave it on low for longer than turn it on for an hour before bed.
4. Increase the insulation of the tent from above
As we’ve already discussed, the only thing that separates you from the outside world is a thin layer of canvas, and that’s not exactly conducive to staying warm. But one thing many campers carry is a piece of tarp.
This can be thrown over the tent and provides an extra layer of tent insulation. This is a great way to warm the air, but if not done correctly, this method could become dangerous.
To feel the benefits and stay safe, you need to leave a small space uncovered by the tarp. The reason for this is that the tarpaulin is not breathable and therefore if you cover the entire tent the oxygen levels can drop.
5. Make sure there are no gaps in the tent
Even with every heating method in the world, hot air will escape if it has a way out of the tent. Because of this, you should always ensure that any gaps between the ground and your tent are filled.
You don’t need any special equipment for this, you can also use things that you can find in nature. Try stuffing leaves into the gaps, or just line the edges of your tent with blankets, bags, and other items you have with you. This is your chance to get creative!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you use a heater in a tent?
A: You can use a heater in a tent. However, you must be extremely careful about the regulations in order to avoid possible complications and injuries. Electric heaters may not work with all power supplies. On the other hand, propane heaters can be used anywhere, but they emit CO2, which can be dangerous if the tent is not properly ventilated.
Q: What are safe heaters for tents?
A: You can use gas tent heaters, electric tent heaters or catalytic heaters to safely heat your tent. Just be sure to be careful when handling heaters. Also, it is important to behave in accordance with camping regulations and to keep your tent ventilated.
Q: How can I keep my tent warm without electricity?
A: There are many ways to keep your tent warm without electricity. The easiest and most affordable way would be to use hot water bottles and stone heaters. Additionally, you can use campfire stoves, insulation pads, candle lanterns, or chemical compresses.
Camping in the winter can be fun, but it can also cause you a lot of trouble, especially if the temperature is extremely low. Luckily, there are some ways to heat your tent and stay comfortable even in bad weather.
You can use gas, electric or catalytic tent heaters to stay warm. On the other hand, if you can’t use electricity, you can try raising the temperature by crafting stone heaters, using your camping stove, filling hot water bottles, and using chemical heat packs, among other options.
Aiden is a freelance journalist and content writer who writes about the outdoors, the environment, and travel. He is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. Aiden has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.