At some point you will feel cold when tent camping. In cold, wet and windy weather, temperatures can drop and even in the summer, during the night it can feel cold.
If you are wondering how to keep warm camping in a tent there are several things you can do. Choice of tent, clothing, the equipment that you have and, in some cases, using portable heaters, can all help to keep you warm in your tent.
How to keep warm camping in a tent- Choice of tent
Most modern tents are made from man made materials which are designed for ease of use and to be lightweight to make transportation easy.
These materials come in different thicknesses and cost and the reality is that although they are designed to be weatherproof, they are not particularly warm.
There are several steps that you can take when selecting a tent to make sure that it will be the warmest that you can get.
The tent material – canvas tents are thicker and tend to be warmer, but they need more care and regular maintenance than man made materials.
Generally the thicker the material, the better the insulation levels.
Flysheet – does the tent have a flysheet or similar?
This extra covering will provide another layer of protection and an air pocket that will act as an insulation layer.
Groundsheet – A sewn in groundsheet will give better protection than a tent that has a separate groundsheet, it will prevent draughts and damp from entering underneath the tent sides.
Size – A large tent is more difficult to keep warm than a smaller one. Avoid buying a tent that is too large for your needs if you can.
Stove Jacket – Choose a tent with a stove jacket that is flame retardant and take portable wood stove with you, which will keep the tent warm in the coldest weather.
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Where you choose to pitch your tent can have an effect on how warm you stay.
If you have the option to choose where you can put your tent up you should aim to setup in an area that is as sheltered as possible.
The corners of a field, with hedges on two sides can provide effective windbreaks and shelter from rain, this protection can reduce the wind chill effect that can make you feel cold.
Sunlight – just a touch of sunshine on a tent can provide warmth.
Pitching your tent in a spot that gets sun in the evening can help to warm the interior before you go to bed.
Avoid setting up camp at the base of a valley.
Cold air is dense and will roll to a valley bottom making the base of a valley much colder than the sides. Camp higher up to stay warm.
How do you safely heat a tent?
The safest way to heat a tent is to use an approved heater that is either powered by gas or electricity.
Unless you are on a campsite that has electric hookups available for use, you will be reliant on a gas heater.
These are available in many different shapes and sizes with the larger ones producing more heat an using more fuel than those that are smaller.
Heaters are available which are standalone, powered by an internal gas bottle or, you can buy a heater which sits on top of your stove and generates heat via the stove flame.
Our recommended standalone tent heater is the Highlander Portable Compact Heater which you can read about here.
Correct Clothing to stay warm
Having the right type of clothing will help you to stay warm when camping.
It is important to be prepared and to take a selection of practical clothes with you for during the daytime and evening.
Remember it will cool down at night and tracksuit pants and a long sleeved top are ideal when sleeping.
Make sure that you have some wet weather gear with you and try not to wear any wet clothes while in the tent.
If it does rain then always make sure that you have at least one set of dry clothes at all times to wear only in the tent.
A woolly hat and some thick socks, even in the summer, can make all the difference at nighttime to help to keep you warm.
Camping equipment to stay warm
There are other things to think about when camping and these suggestions will help to make a difference to your camping warmth:
Hot water bottles – easy to transport and fill from your camp kettle, put one in your sleeping bag to warm it and keep you warm.
Sleeping bag -get the best that you can afford. Sleeping bags vary in quality and thickness.
Extra blankets – An extra blanket used with a sleeping bag can have a big impact on your level of warmth and could be the difference between feeling cold or not.
Tent carpet – many tents have carpets that can be bought to use with them. The extra layer can have a massive impact on warmth and comfort levels. If you cannot get a carpet then a couple of thick blankets can be used with the same effect.
Frequently asked questions
This really depends on you and your tent. Some people camp all year round and are comfortable doing so.
They have cold weather tents, with heaters and good quality equipment.
Generally, camping is comfortable anytime between May to early September with normal equipment.
Do tents hold heat?
No, not very well. Tents are designed for weather protection against wind, rain, snow and hail.
The thin construction of tents means that heat escapes very quickly through the sides and roof.
A tent with a flysheet will feel warmer than one without due to the air gap between the inner tent and the sheet.
How do you heat a tent at night?
There should be little if any need to heat a tent at night. If you are sleeping then any heat that you use to warm a tent will be wasted quickly and will be of no benefit to you while you sleep.
Make sure that you have a good sleeping bag and extra bedding to stay warm.
Can you heat a tent with fire?
You should never attempt to heat a tent with fire. Apart from the obvious risk of setting fire to your tent you also run a real risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.
Never be tempted to have a fire in your tent, this includes things such as disposable barbecues which produce deadly fumes.
How do you keep a tent warm without electricity?
The best way is to use an approved portable gas heater. These come in many different sizes and run off bottled gas or gas canisters.
Camping does not have to be miserable when it gets cold. With a little preparation and a few basics you can be warm and comfortable.
We’ve look at several ways of how to keep warm camping in a tent which you can use to make your holiday more enjoyable.
If you camp in the UK then , at some point, it will rain and get windy and you will feel cold.
Take the time to prepare for this and you’ll enjoy your camping adventures.
How to stop bedding getting damp when camping