To make winter camping even more enjoyable, I’m going to show you how to heat a tent.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to keeping you warm in the coldest of conditions, there are some strategies and tactics that can help.
You’ll likely fall in love with cold-weather camping and become an expert on how to heat a tent after trying out a couple of the methods described here.
The location of your tent might have a significant impact on how warm it will be at night. The first step in keeping your tent warm at night is to find a nice spot to set up camp.
If you want to sleep comfortably at night, you’ll have to contend with the wind. Windy regions, such as ridgelines or the top of steep slopes, should be avoided at all costs. Avoid setting up camp in wide open spaces for the same reason that you shouldn’t bring pets. If at all possible, seek out a location with trees to serve as windbreaks.
Because bracken (fern) grows in low-lying places, it is a good indicator that the land isn’t frequently frozen. If you’re worried about the rest of the region freezing over, consider setting a camp among the bracken.
Get a Hot Tent or Insulated Tent
It is a type of hot tent that is designed to accommodate a wood-burning stove. In order to use a wood-burning stove, you must have the right kind of tent for the job.
As a result, they are designed with ventilation in mind and are often sprayed with fire retardant.
Insulated tents are another alternative. Crua Cocoon’s insulated tents are excellent.
There are techniques to insulate your current tent if you don’t want to buy a new one.
How to Insulate Your Tent?
The tent should be well ventilated if you decide to insulate it yourself, so that it doesn’t get too hot or even lack oxygen while you sleep.
Thickening your tent’s walls and roof alone won’t do the trick when it comes to insulating your sleeping bag. You must also take the terrain into account. Starting from the ground up, here are some suggestions for insulating your tent:
Insulate Under Your Tent
Because the ground will be stealing your body heat all night long, even a thin layer of insulation can make a big difference. Before you pitch your tent, lay down a tarp. Despite its little size, this can make a big difference.
Make a bed of leaves or soft pine branches, and then put your tarp on top of it for even more insulation. In order to avoid sleeping on lumps, make sure the surface is as flat as possible.
Insulate the Gap Between Your Tent and the Ground
The draft that enters between your tent and the ground can be reduced by covering that region. Cover this area by placing items, leaves, or even moss around the perimeter of your tent.
Throw a tarp over the top of your tent
The additional layer will aid in the retention of warm air. Keep in mind that tarps don’t breathe, so don’t cover a small tent entirely with one.
Ventilation is essential; otherwise, the tent’s CO2 level could rise dangerously.
Use Space Blankets or Foil
Space blankets or even reflective bubble wrap can be used to completely insulate your tent during the colder months. In order to attach it, you’ll need something like duct tape (if appearance isn’t important to you).
To achieve the best insulation, try to cover as much of the area as possible, but remember to leave some space for ventilation.
How to Heat a Tent With a Heater Safely?
Warning: Do not use a gas burner that is not certified for indoor use in a tent. Carbon monoxide is dangerous and can build up in enclosed places with poor ventilation when cooking on a stove.
Propane Powered Heaters
Propane heaters made by Mr. Heater are excellent for use indoors. In the event of an oxygen deficiency, they have an automatic shutoff. Moreover, other YouTubers have tested carbon monoxide levels while using these heaters and have consistently found nothing.
A wide range of sizes are available from Mr. Heater. Consider upgrading to a larger Mr. Heater for a larger tent or camper.
Extra warmth in your tent is easily achieved with the use of candle heaters. They can get very toasty, but don’t anticipate them to add more than a few degrees to the temperature of your tent.
There’s always a chance of it tumbling over and igniting something if you’re using candles… As a result, you’ll want to exercise caution!
Fortunately, they are generally inexpensive, compact and light.
Candle lanterns made by UCO can be used as warmers for candles. The UCO Original Candle Lantern is a fantastic, compact model.
With the ease with which candle heaters operate, you may want to explore creating your own. For this simple project, you’ll need several clay pots, an eye bolt, some nuts and bolt retainers and a tray, as well as a few votive lights.
In this video, you’ll learn how to make one:
Instead of a little tray, as shown in this video, many individuals use bread pans to hold their candles. With the bread pan’s depth, you may opt to place your candles in the bread pan rather than on top of it.
If you’re using candles in an enclosed area, be sure there’s enough ventilation. There is a risk of carbon monoxide production when candles are burned. Due to the modest size of the candle’s flame, just a minimal quantity of airflow is required.
If you’re going to be camping in an area where there is electricity and you want to run an extension cord into your tent, there are many choices for tiny electric heaters.
As this essay is about heating a tent without electricity, I won’t go into too much detail here. I can note, though, that the Honeywell Ceramic Heat Bud is an excellent low-cost alternative.
How to Heat a Tent Without Electricity?
As well as those already stated, there are also other methods for heating without electricity, such as making your tent more energy efficient or employing an electric heater.
As a starting point, you will need a source of heat. The next step is to figure out how to properly transfer that heat into your tent without setting it on fire.
Using a fire to warm anything that will stay warm for a long period can allow you to transfer heat from the fire into your tent. A high specific heat capacity is what you’re looking for. As a general rule, a material’s specific heat capacity is a measure of how well it holds or releases heat.
When something has a high specific heat capacity, it will keep its heat for a longer period of time, although doing so will be more difficult. Objects with a low specific heat capacity are more prone to overheating and overcooling.
The higher the specific heat capacity, the better, as it will be able to be warmed by the fire and then brought into the tent, where it will continue to radiate heat for a considerable period of time.
Heat may be stored in water and released slowly over a long period of time because it has an extremely high specific heat capacity (SHC).
The tough element is making sure the water is kept in heat-resistant containers that don’t leak.
What to do:
Metal or plastic water bottles that can withstand hot liquid are required. I think it’s preferable to go large. In addition, the more resources you have, the more advantageous it will be.
Using the fire, bring water to a boil, then fill the bottles with the resulting steam. Make sure they don’t leak or melt before bringing them inside the tent.
When they’re still hot, put them in a thin towel or shirt and remove it later when they’ve cooled down.
They’ll stay warm for longer if you keep them close together or even touch them. This strategy will not keep your tent toasty warm, but it will add a few degrees to the overall temperature.
Additional benefit: If your water bottles have cooled down, you can bring one into your bed with you when you wake up (one with a very trusty, non-leaking lid). What a great way to stay warm in the winter.
The specific heat capacity of stones is high, therefore they can keep their heat for an extended period of time. In order to avoid melting your tent, you need to know where to put them.
Cookie sheets or two are the best solution.
If you don’t have a cookie sheet, you’ll have to come up with something else to put the stones on. You’ll need stones that are warm enough that you don’t want to put them directly on the floor of your tent in order for this to be effective.
Caution! Avoid using rocks that are damp or that are too close to a river since even small amounts of water can be trapped inside these boulders. An explosion may occur because of the high pressure caused by the expanding water.
What to do:
Collect a number of stones weighing between two and two and a half pounds. Allow these stones to heat up until they are too hot to handle before placing them around your campfire. Put them right in the middle of the fire if your campfire isn’t big enough.
Use a sturdy stick to roll them into balls and place them on a cookie sheet before transporting them to your campsite. Make sure it’s out of the way and nothing falls on top of it before you put it in place.
In the same vein as water, this will not keep your tent toasty warm, but it will at least bump it up a few degrees. This will help them retain their heat for a longer period of time.
3. Soil (pitch your tent over a burned-out fire)
Using this method is time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s best for tiny tents, but it can work with larger tents if you put in the time and effort.
What to do:
The length and width of where you intend to sleep should be excavated in a shallow trench that is about 4-6 inches deep. Cover the hot coals or heated stones with at least 2-3 inches of earth and place them in the trench’s bottom.
After filling in the trench, you can then set up your tent right on top of it!
Keeping Yourself Warm
Keeping yourself warm will reduce the amount of energy you’ll need to use to keep your tent warm. The first thing you should think about is your wardrobe and gear. If you don’t have the proper clothes, it’s going to be difficult to stay warm. After that, there are a few ways to keep warm in a frigid tent all night.
Clothing and Sleeping Gear
The scope of this article does not provide a comprehensive examination of winter clothes and camping gear, but the following are the most important considerations:
- Keep Yourself Warm at Night – one of the most common blunders people make is to think that a sleeping bag is enough to keep them warm at night and that a sleeping pad is only for comfort. The primary function of a sleeping pad is to protect you from the ground. All night long, the ground will steal your warmth if you don’t have one.
- The Warmer Your Sleeping Bag, the More Comfortable Your Nights Will Be! In addition to being confusing, sleeping bag temperature ratings can be misleading as well. The degree rating they advertise is frequently considerably lower than what you would be able to bear.. You can’t expect a 32°F bag to keep you warm in 32°F weather. In that case, I’d recommend bringing a bag with a temperature range of 15-20°F.
- Make sure you’re well-clothed so you don’t have to deal with the discomfort of being cold. However, people still tend to overestimate how much clothing they should wear when they’re unsure. If you start to feel warm, remove one layer at a time.
The Water Bottle Trick
Water does a good job of retaining heat for an extended period of time (it has a high specific heat for you chemistry folks). Warm water in a water bottle in your sleeping bag can provide a surprising amount of heat.
Before going to bed, heat up a water bottle that won’t leak and can handle hot liquids. You can use Nalgene bottles or one of these handy hot water bags for this purpose. It will keep you warm all night if you keep it close to your feet.
Two people have an incredible ability to keep each other warm! As a general rule, try to sleep as close to your partner as possible or “spoon” if you’re able to do so while camping.
How To Connect Two Sleeping Bags?
Don’t make the assumption that your sleeping bags will zip together before you’ve tried fussing with two zippers that just don’t work together before you’re out in the cold.
It’s possible to get a double-width sleeping bag, but they’re usually not rated for really low temperatures. Teton Sports Tracker Double Sleeping Bag is one of the few exceptions.
Even though they can zip together, most rectangle sleeping bags aren’t made to withstand temperatures below freezing.
Two mummy-style sleeping bags can only be joined by purchasing one right-handed and one left-handed bag. This is to ensure that the zippers are near to each other while they are both laying face up.
This bag will have a hood on top of your face if you buy zippers that are on opposite sides of each other.
Purchasing two of the same model sleeping bags is quite beneficial. The chances of successfully fusing two models that aren’t compatible are slim, yet it is feasible. If you wish to zip together sleeping bags from different manufacturers or models, you’ll need to make sure the zippers in each one are the same type and size.
The Lux Option: The SnowTrekker Basecamp
Canvas wall tents aren’t usually associated with the terms “simple” or “fast.” SnowTrekker, a small Wisconsin-based mom-and-pop firm, makes some of the best snowshoes on the market. For them, the term “mom and pop” is taken literally: Duane and Margot Lottig operate the business, while their son Jonah is in charge of marketing and logistics. A proprietary seven-ounce cotton canvas is utilized to manufacture their tents, which are supported by lightweight Easton aluminum poles that are similar to those used in backpacking tents rather than the non-collapsible frames typical in this space.
Even with the heavy wood stove (steel this time), the two-person Basecamp ($2,000) they loaned me last fall only weighed 31 pounds. The only stakes needed to connect to the horizontal wall poles are those of a special guyout system. In addition to being highly durable, SnowTrekker’s tents can be set up in a matter of minutes because to this structure. My hands were toasty warm in less than 20 minutes after just a few seconds of fast forwarding through a YouTube video. Canopy Tent
Cotton canvas has the advantage of being permeable to air. To make things even better, this time we’re using a large enough wood burner to keep the tent warm and dry for hours on end. With a ridge height of eight-and-a-half feet and ample dimensions that can accommodate four people, all on their own cots, all with their gear spread out to dry, you can truly spend time in there. In cold, wet weather, I’ve never felt more at home than I do when I’m cooking a proper supper on the huge burner with my camp table and chairs brought inside.
SnowTrekker is the most comfortable winter tent I’ve ever used. Nevertheless, the price of $2,300 makes it prohibitive for many people to purchase. When you consider that it packs into two huge duffel bags and weighs 56 pounds, it needs a level of commitment I’m not yet ready for. I’ll eventually get my hands on one of these, but until then, I’m looking for a way to improve the comfort of a smaller, more portable tent.
The Simple Option: Battery-Powered Heating Sources
When you’re out in the woods, electricity isn’t always readily available. Batteries have never been able to compress nearly as much energy into a dense, or as economical, a storage medium as liquid or gas fuels, which are normally found outdoors. That’s changing, however, as we’ve seen with electric automobiles. A heated blanket or even a portable space heater may be powered by one of the new portable battery packs being sold to outdoor enthusiasts for the duration of the night. And, if so, could it recharge quickly enough so that you could continue to use it on following nights? ”
Initially, I researched electric blankets on the internet to begin the experiment. For some reason, I couldn’t find anything that worked except for a mattress pad designed for long-haul truckers, even though DC power is more efficient than alternating, it can’t travel as far without sputtering. It rapidly became clear that folding the pad would cause the wires inside to break, resulting in a fire hazard. It’s not meant to be carried about on camping vacations; it’s meant to be permanently mounted on the truck cab’s bed. Heating blankets developed for domestic usage at 100 watts seemed to be the next best thing to electric blankets. It is claimed that the heating components inside these may be bent or folded, and that the current draw remains rather efficient. That led me to buy an AC blanket from Amazon for $60, a 100 Watt Serta.
For the past few years, I’ve been utilizing a $500 Jackery Explorer 500 portable battery while camping in my van and at the cabin. If you need to keep a few lights on when the power goes out at the cabin, this 500 Watt-hour battery pack will do the trick. It’s easy math, but the Explorer 500 will be entirely depleted in five hours if you use a 100-watt blanket.
It was build quality, not run time, that presented the first challenge for me. However, even though it was plugged in and drew close to 100 watts, the blanket never warmed up. The problem was found to be widespread in customer feedback. So, I spent $100 on a better-reviewed, more expensive blanket from Degrees of Comfort. ‘ After a few minutes of plugging it in and letting it warm up, I thought I felt a slight warmth, but it could have been my imagination. To see if it worked, I’d have to take it outdoors into the cold.
Jackery handed over their new Explorer 1500 Solar Generator set ($2,699) for my review at the same time. Designed to run longer and to power larger appliances, this battery has three times the capacity of the 500 and greater discharge rates than its predecessor. The battery can be charged from 0 to 80% in four hours under direct sunlight, according to the manufacturer, who claims that the kit includes four 100-watt solar panels and all of the necessary hardware.
Due to its isolated location, my cabin endures regular, long power outages in the winter. I want to utilize the Explorer 1500 to keep the lights and appliances going. People who reside in areas like Texas, where the government spends more time enforcing women’s rights than it does maintaining their infrastructure, might profit from a similar arrangement.
On a single charge of 1500 watt-hours, that 100-watt blanket could run for two nights at a time. Also, since it was so well-equipped, I decided to check if I could use it to power a space heater.
Room-sized electric heaters often have two modes: 750 or 1,500 watts of power draw, depending on the model. One of them will run for little more than two hours on the $2,699 solar generator’s best case scenario. Rooms, on the other hand, are much larger.
Actually, they’re smaller than a cubicle, and heaters are made specifically for them.
So I bought a small $26 heater that can switch between 100 and 250 watts of demand. A full charge of the Explorer 1500’s battery lasts for up to an hour while powering anything plugged into it. To be more accurate, the heater was drawing about 225 Watts even on the lowest level (250 watt). It was pulling a steady 100 on the lowest setting. On high, that’s six and a half hours, and on low, it’s fifteen.
Efficacy, rather than duration, remained the most pressing concern. For this reason, I carried Mr. Heater Buddy and a propane tank out into the snow with the batteries, blanket, and space heater.
In the video, you can see the shocking results. Not only did the small space heater outperform the much larger gas heater in terms of heat production, but the blanket also proved to be rather effective.
With its 100 watt setting, the space heater is now my go-to solution for heating a small tent for a short period of time (around bedtime and in the morning) while also delivering just a sliver of additional heat throughout the night.
Solar panels have been able to keep up with nightly discharges at the cabin roughly eight miles south of Canada even in the middle of December.
It’s important that I point out a few things: The first problem is that, although the space heater provides dry heat, it does not have the same drying impact as the SnowTrekker’s huge wood fire.
Still, you need to make sure that the water vapor formed by your breath, body, and clothing can be expelled overnight. Batteries, on the other hand, do not appreciate temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternatively, you can store the Jackery in a cooler with the wires dangling out of the drain hole. While I was able to heat the tent to a pleasant 60 degrees, the outside temperature was just 36 degrees at that time. There will be no 24-degree temperature differential in cooler weather.
It’s possible, however, that you’ll notice a difference. That’s a major accomplishment for this camper. Even if your electricity goes out, your heated tent will keep you toasty with the addition of a $26 cubicle heater and a huge solar generator that you currently possess or plan to acquire. From now on, I’m taking this with me whenever I go on a cold-weather road trip to camp in my car.
A stove jack on your tent or a gas or candle-powered camping heater will help you stay warm in the winter when most tents aren’t built to do so. Your tent should be situated in an area that isn’t too windy. Your tent can be heated by using hot water or stones or by pitching it over buried coals during the night. Also, make sure you’re well clothed and equipped for the cold weather.
Bushcraft skills can make camping even more enjoyable. To learn more about the best bushcraft skills, have a look at this list of 31 amazing techniques.