How to Stay Warm in a Tent: 15 Secrets

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People who are passionate about camping usually limit their days in the wilderness during cold weather. Here are a few recommended options that will work well to help you stay warm in a tent on your next trip.

How to Stay Warm in a Tent

Why does your body lose heat?

Before appreciating the advice on staying warm in a tent, one needs to understand why the body loses heat, especially during camping.


When your body sweats, it forms a moist layer on your skin, giving you a cooling effect when it evaporates by coming in contact with the wind. Evaporation makes your body lose heat; so avoid getting sweaty by keeping humidity out of your tent.


Radiation means that body heat is not trapped and is moving away. The body usually loses 50% of its heat through radiation. To prevent this, one should wear insulated warm clothes.


Conduction is the loss of heat from your body when it comes to physical contact with any cold surfaces. Thus, while camping, one should avoid sleeping on cold grounds.


Convection means losing heat via cold climatic conditions, especially when the weather is windy. The cooler the air is, the more heat you will lose. That’s why it’s very important to cover yourself adequately.

Importance of a tent when camping

Importance of a tent when camping

A tent is significant when camping or hiking, especially during winter, early spring, or fall. It not only blocks cold wind, it also gives your body an extra five degrees of warmth. Since you are very close to nature, it also gives you a real outdoor experience which is not possible in the city.

Another advantage of a tent is that it offers you privacy especially when you go camping in groups. Also, a tent is necessary for protection against natural elements like rain and strong winds.

How do I make my tent warmer inside?

Most people prefer to go camping during the summer and spring However, during these seasons, camping can be rather expensive. On the other hand, camping during cooler weather saves money, but staying warm inside a tent becomes a challenge, especially during the night.

To overcome this complication, here are 15 brilliant ways that will help you stay warm in a tent so that you can enjoy camping, even in cold weather. 

1. Select the Right Tent

Choosing a perfect tent for cold weather is an essential part of camping. Ideally, you should go for a well-insulated tent which is made for four seasons. A three-season tent will also work, but you need to add insulation.

The tent should also come with a ventilation option, and if you are planning to camp in the snow, it should be waterproof.

Additionally, while selecting a tent, its size should also be considered. Smaller tents are better at keeping you warm. However, ideally, it should have vestibules wherein you can store hiking items and gear at night.

2. Insulate the tent

Insulate the tent

Insulating the tent as much as possible should be the second goal. The best way to insulate your tent is to fill it up with your luggage or camping gear.

You can use carpet fitted tents or/and rugs to keep the ground warm. Both will act as an insulating layer and save you from conduction.

If your tent is not fitted with a carpet, you can also opt for economical rag rugs or picnic rugs, which will save you from the cold if you step out of bed at night.

3. Keep your tent ventilated.

Keeping your tent ventilated may sound counterproductive, but there is a good reason for it. The process of respiration and heat from your body when inside the tent makes the tent a little bit damp and moist.

So, don’t block the ventilation holes and keep it a little bit airy. Not only will you get fresh air, doing so will also reduce dampness in the test.

4. Choose an ideal tent site.

Choosing a perfect tent site can be a challenge while camping. As hot air is more buoyant than cold air (it rises), hence it’s not good to set up the tent down in a valley.

On the other hand, camping at the peak of the mountain is also not a good idea as it is exposed to cold winds and unsafe weather conditions.

Moderate elevation sheltered from the cold winds is a perfect place to put your tent. Also, try to set up your tent slightly inclined and use a tarp underneath it so that you stay away from cold moisture when sleeping.

5. Pack a hot water bottle

A hot water bottle is a versatile and precious thing when you go camping. Choosing the ideal leak-proof hot water bottle is very important. Make sure it is of good quality and stays warm throughout the whole night even during cold weather.

Hot water bottles can help keep your coffee and water hot for a longer period. Apart from this, you can keep it inside your sleeping bag so that additional heat can be added to it, giving you a cosy temperature.

6. Use body warmers and heat packs

Use body warmers and heat packs

Thermals or body warmers are considered an essential item by camping experts. Though it is not fashionable, wearing a pair of leggings or long johns warms you excellently and can be stored easily.

You can also opt for disposable heat packs, which are very useful while camping. You can put these little packets inside your socks, hats, and mittens, which will give additional heat to your body.

7. Wear layers

Wearing multiple layers of clothes helps you adjust your body temperature effectively. It allows you to put on or remove clothing as needed and keeps you comfortable.

However, make sure the layers of the clothes are made from material like wool or synthetic fibres so that heat is well retained.

Also, don’t layer your body with tight clothes as it will have an adverse effect on blood circulation, leaving your feet and hands cold and untrapping body heat.

8. Choose your sleeping bag wisely

A high quality sleeping bag is definitely a camping essential you don’t want to skimp on. You should buy a high-quality sleeping bag, particularly with down insulation. Alternatively, you can purchase one with synthetic insulation which is less expensive. You should ideally go for a 4-season sleeping bag if you plan on camping during the winter season.

While using the bag, you shouldn’t burrow into it, covering your whole head. This will make your sleeping bag cold instead of warm due to respiration.

9. Use portable heaters

Portable heaters which run on gas are of great help in making your tent warm. However, you should be incredibly careful while using it as it omits carbon monoxide, which can be fatal.

You can opt for catalytic heaters, which emit heat via chemical reactions and give out less carbon monoxide.

Also, be certain that your tent is ventilated correctly when using the portable heaters to get rid of carbon monoxide or use a 2CO alarm.

10. Empty your bladder before sleeping

It would help if you emptied your bladder before sleeping. If you forget to do so, use the washroom when you wake up at night and do not hold your urine.

This is because your body has to waste extra energy to keep you warm if you hold urine. The extra energy comes from your body heat, resulting in lower body temperature.

11. Eat more and drink warm liquids.

Calories are a unit to measure heat; hence you should eat high calorie (up to 6000 calories) food during cold winter nights while camping. It should be rich in carbohydrates and fats.

Also, try to eat your dinner as late as possible, or have some snacks before going to bed if you are in the habit of eating early.

Warm liquids like coffee, water, milk and tea help you in digestion and also stimulate better blood circulation, which supports your body to stay warm.

12. Keep your feet and head warm and dry.

Your body wastes much heat through your head and feet. To inhibit this, you should wear a thick and dry pair of hiking socks and a hat for additional insulation.

You can also go for heated socks or insoles as both are outstanding additions for any outdoor activity, especially in cold weather conditions.

13. Do light exercise before sleeping.

For maintaining body heat, short workouts before going to bed helps a lot. Keep in mind not to do too much because you may perspire which will adversely affect your body temperature.

Do a few push-ups, squats, sit-ups, or walk for a while. This will make your blood circulation better, which in turn keeps your body warm.

14. Use campfire, cautiously

Use campfire

Campfires could be a great source of heat for your tent, but be very cautious and do not light it too near to your camp. Build it near the campsite where heat is radiated from it, giving you the optimum temperature.

Try to make the campfire similar in width and height as this will give you the maximum heat. Put it out before sleeping to ensure your safety.

15. Sleep with someone

Sleeping with your camping buddies in a tent is another free option to make your tent warm. Try to sleep very close to each other but with different sleeping bags as sleeping together in the same bag results in lots of open spaces that will affect your body’s warmth.

The more buddies you have, the warmer your tent will be due to body heat.

Final Words

Maintaining an ideal temperature in a tent can be a very challenging job. That’s why we have given you essential tips on how to stay warm in a tent. The next time you go camping, do follow these bits of advice and make your camping trip comfortable and memorable.