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Seven Tips on How To Keep Your Tent Warm

Here Is Seven Tips to Help You Keep Your Tent Warm

Follow these seven tips to keep your tent warm and toasty at night. Whether you are camping during the winter of just for those chilly spring and fall nights, there’s something here that will surely help.


sleeping bag

Warm Tent Tip #1 Make sure that you have a good quality temperature rated sleeping bag. For maximum toastyness, get a sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees. You can also get a fleece sleeping bag liner to increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag by about ten degrees. If you are in need of a good sleeping bag, you might want to check out the highest rated sleeping bags.



sleeping pad

Warm Tent Tip #2 – Use a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads offer more insulation than an air mattress does since air mattresses get filled with cold air on cold nights. An air mattress by itself doesn’t offer any insulation between you and the cold air in the air mattress. If you want comfort and warmth, you can put the sleeping pads right on top of your air mattress. Thermarest Sleeping Mattresses are excellent.



coleman blackcat catalytic heaterWarm Tent Tip #3  Purchase a Coleman Blackcat Catalytic Heater. These heaters are made for use inside of a tent. We do not recommend however letting the heater run all night while you are sleeping. If you use one of these heaters, we recommend that you run it for a while before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.



mylar thermal blankets

Warm Tent Tip #4  Use a Mylar Thermal Blanket to reflect the heat from the heater back down at you. Most people just think of these blankets as emergency blankets. Whether you use a catalytic heater or just your own body heat, this tip can really help a lot! Just attach the thermal blanket to the ceiling of your tent with duct tape and it will reflect much of the heat inside the tent back down at you.



knit hat Warm Tent Tip #5 – Wear a knit hat while you sleep. (You should know this one already!) A lot of your body heat is lost through your head so just by wearing a knit hat, you can keep a lot of that body heat in you. Wearing one is better that putting your head inside your sleeping bag because when you put your head inside of your sleeping bag, your breath creates condensation inside the bag which can ultimately make you colder throughout the night.



warm socks

Warm Tent Tip #6  Make sure that your socks are completely dry. Even slightly damp socks can cause you to loose a lot of heat through your feet. we recommend putting on a clean pair right when you climb into your temperature rated sleeping bag. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t bundle up too much and start sweating. If you get so warm that you start sweating, you can be sure that you will end up cold and damp in the end! If you start to sweat, remove some layers.



warm rocks Warm Tent Tip #7 – Heat up a few 5 – 15 pound rocks by your fire for about an hour or so. Pull them away from the fire and let them cool down for a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle (but still very warm) wrap them in towels and put them in the foot of your sleeping bag. They can also be placed in the center of your tent and combined with the mylar thermal blankets on your ceiling, they should keep your tent warm for hours!



* One other tip that is important that most people don’t realize is that you need to keep your tent ventilated at night. This may sound a little strange at first but there’s a good reason for it! The heat from your body and your breath itself inside your tent at night can cause condensation to build up and make everything in your tent slightly damp.


Remember: Dampness = Chillyness!


By keeping your tent ventilated, you can reduce the dampness and condensation thereby keeping you and the inside of your tent dryer – which keeps you warmer throughout the night. Also equally important is that you keep yourself from sweating. If you wake up and notice that you are sweating … remove some layers to keep dry. You don’t want to get too hot inside your tent.

Summary of How To Keep Warm In Your Tent

Wear dry socks and a knit hat. Bundle up in a few layers that you can easily remove if you start to sweat. Use a sleeping bag rated for zero degree weather. Sleep on a sleeping pad. Use a mylar thermal blanket across the top of the inside of your tent. Use a Coleman Catalytic Heater before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning. Lastly but also important is keep your tent ventilated.

Follow these tips and you should have a nice toasty night in your tent!

Do you have any other tips that you would like to share with us?

If so leave a comment below, we’d be glad to hear your tips!

Happy Camping, Take Care, and Keep Warm!


  • mary says:

    Warm scarves are a lot of help

  • Teri says:

    I fill a hot water bottle with warm water and put it in my sleeping bag, works great!!

    • Leah says:

      That’s a good one! And also wear mutipable pairs of socks. If your a girl then keep your hair down and put a hat over, I think it helps. Wear tights or compression pants under your clothes, if you don’t have thermal stuff. Remember that covering your face in your Blanket can make it harder to breath but it helps keep your hands warm. Drop-cord+heater+inside tent= warmth!
      Take pillows and put them around the the tent against the walls. And cover the corners with blankets pillows ect ect, that’ll help keep in the warmth, put down a tarp under your sleeping bags, it’ll help prevent morning dew or frost!
      Lol I don’t really camp a lot but when I do I go prepared.

      • star says:

        Actually your breath inside the blanket will cause moister so not the best idea to cover your face with your blanket from what I hear anyway.

  • Bonnie says:

    I place my air mattress on top of foam exercise mats and also place a silver Mylar folding car sunshade between our head and the tent at night. During the day when it is hot out we use the sunshade to cover our coolers.

    • Bonnie says:

      I’ve also made a wind break around our campfire with a small trap. Really helps on those chilly nights and mornings. 🙂

  • Diane says:

    My lab loves to get right up close and under any blankets with me. Together we stay toasty warm.

  • Mungo says:

    Is it true that fleeces are a bad idea to wear at night? What would you recommend that is light and easy to transport in a rucksack? Sorry for the questions, I’m relatively knew to camping

      • Dave says:

        Sorry Mungo, I just saw your comment! I think that fleeces might be a bad idea to wear in your tent at night because if it’s too warm it could make you sweaty. Sweating at night in a cold tent is something you definitely MUST avoid! It’s better to be chilly and stay dry than to get too warm then sweat. If you do end up sweating, you’ll end up freezing afterwards for sure once your body cools down. Hope that helps!

      • Dave says:

        Also, stop on by our Facebook page if you haven’t yet. We have a great active community of campers that love to help each other out and answer question just like this.

        Happy Camping!

  • xtinadoodle says:

    I recommend a couple of large breed dogs 🙂

  • melinda says:

    for mungo…… always cold or my hubby says so….. I don’t use fleece shirts at night but I do use layered sweatshirts/long sleeved tshirt type shirts and sweat pants. a lot of people use wool and or knit type blends but im allergic to wool so had to find a alternative….. hope this helps

  • Great tips! I swear by thermals under my PJs, thick woolen bed socks, hot water bottle and finally, never go to bed cold! If you are already cold you are more likely to stay cold, so try and warm yourself up before you get into your sleeping bag. Have a hot drink and do some jumping jacks ….though not at the same time 😉

  • Norma says:

    Boil water, put in hot water bottle and put in sleeping bag.

  • Great tips! I’ve never tried the Coleman catalytic heater but look to get one for camping this winter.

  • Tee says:

    Zipped three (small) kids up in two bags. They were toasty!

  • John says:

    Put a tarp over the tent during winter camping. Helps hold heat in and rain out. I’ve been winter camping for 14 yr and the tarp has save me many times.

  • In the cold weather below 32 degrees Wool blankets is one the best it breaths better then most sleeping bags and the socks thing you right on, buy wool and keep a set just for sleeping or a set of neoprene dry socks used for Kayaker’s and canoes . Yet for both sleeping bags and or Wool blankets sets or even with a wool inside your bag no less then 90% wool. I found making a long narrow shallow trench you make a fire in that then your hot coals with no more then 2 inches of cover dirt will help dry the ground out below you and help keep you warmer on real cold nights. The Hot coals in such manors make good for types of char for the next days fire or to have to take with you to start your next fire.

    • Colleen says:

      I agree, I always fold up a few squares of cardboard, and put a tarp over the tent. There have been many nights where it’s been so warm I could unzip the sleeping bag and keep it open. Cardboard also makes it easy to move around in the tent on your knees. Then you can burn it in the fire pit on your last morning before leaving

  • nick says:

    I always pick a camp site for the tent to be low and out of the wind on a small rise so if it rains the water from the tent will run away from the tent and the wind will not be so strong. I also build a large stome back to the camp fire andlet the heat radiate toward our tent. I also try to get on the Eastsouth East side of a rock if possible (large rock) as it will turn wind and rain also. If that is not available and I will be staying a few days I will build a log wind break, if no natural one is available. For winter camping I find a cot to get me up off the ground is best and also put newspaper under me or cardboard under me under the cot to keep the cold floor temp from penetrating into the tent as much. Also put a large tarp not only on top of the tent but under the tent to act as a moisture and thermal stop under also.

  • amy says:

    Lay hay down under your tent, makes the floor warmer and more soft.

  • camper says:

    Someone needs to invent a battery-operated small heater that will keep the tent warm without build-up of condensation. It should also work in a car, van, etc.

    • Jim says:

      It’ll be a LONG time before we see small batteries with enough power to provide any significant heat. To raise the inside of an 8×8 tent by twenty degrees for 6 to 8 hours would requires something like 3000 watts total energy. That’s the total energy of several car-sized batteries (total weight of about 300 lbs). The tech isn’t there yet, even with lithium technology. Propane is probably the best weight-to-power ratio available today for camping use (it burns relatively clean, especially with catalytics, unlike other fuels).

  • Fabio says:

    Never tried before, just thought of it…
    What about a single tent inside a 4 people tent?

  • Bobbi Jo says:

    Sleep nude in your sleeping bag, you will not sweat. If you have a two piece tent w a cover for summer (mesh top) put a blanket or towel between the layers. I use an air mattress but put a blanket between me and my air mattress w several blankets on me, if I get chilly I cover my head except for a small gap for fresh air. I bring a pee bucket in my tent (empty when done) but the heat stays in and body stays warm. Moisture from your breathe keeps you warmer, heat holds on to moisture. I woke up on Halloween w an inch of frost no outside my tent but I was comfortable and warm. Several blankets is key, a tent w no mesh is a good idea for camping.

  • Ken says:

    I just made another (what I consider extreme cold 14-15 degrees with wind. And I use a zero rated mummy bag always wear full face mask. The heater posted here would not work at the altitudes I have been at (propane doesn’t do well at altitude or in cold, +who can fit this in the backback), but the next best thing is a candle lantern from REI. Candle will bring a small tent up about 5+ degrees and will burn about 10 hours.

  • Charles thomas says:

    A candle lantern will increase the temperature in your tent.

  • Sophie Elms says:

    I found the most simple way was to add a liner to my sleeping bag and I
    found one made from Thermolite material which works a wonder, really can add up to 15 degrees warmth to my sleeping bag!

  • smiley 750 says:

    This sounds crazy, but it works!! Put ground pepper in your socks before you put them on. It will actually keep your feet warm as they sweat! Try it, it works!!!

  • Jason says:

    Throwing a blanket over your tent will keep the whole inside of the tent cool to warm, unlike a blanket laid over your sleeping bag which will only warm you under the bag. Being warm in a bag, but breathing in frigid air can be uncomfortable. With a blanket on the outside trapping the heat in, you will breathe in cool to warm air.

  • RangeTracker says:

    I like the heated rocks in the tent. Although it would seem that once the rock cools down it would make it colder in the tent. From 3-6 am is pretty chilly. I use extra tarps and will try the mylar ceiling, that sounds great. Thanks Dave!

  • Bill says:

    A dry longsleeve cotton T-shirt and cotton pajama bottoms will keep you toasty and keeps the synthetic sleeping bag away from your body. An alternate is to have a cotton sleeping bag interior liner (It’s like a cotton sheet). Contact with synthetics seem to make me sweat and uncomfortable. Anything clothing you have hiked in contains moisture and will keep you from getting warm.

  • Jack says:

    I thought you took all clothes off to get body heat in the sleeping bag

  • Kevin says:

    I throw a couple of body handwarmers in my bag
    and also have poured warm water into my water bottles
    and placed them in my bag and always wear a face mask

  • Jim Burton says:

    Just returned from camping in Torres Del Paine at altitude and it was bloody freezing. Ice and snow covering tent in the morning. We survived by heating rocks and also raiding a recycling bin at a Hotel on the way up for a load of cardboard boxes which we laid out on the floor of the tent below our rollers and extreme cold weather sleeping bags. Saved us! Would take tarp and groundsheet next time. Also had to wear thermals, socks and a hat.

  • Jim Burton says:

    If you can sleep without clothes then I am guessing it is not actually that cold to begin with or you have an amazing sleeping bag.

  • Kiane says:

    RangeTracker, we’ve done the heated rock thing and it was still warm the next evening at 6pm, so I don’t think you’d have any issues with it cooling off through the night.

  • David says:

    Great tips! Instead of hot water in a bottle, I make hot chocolate. It’s still warm in the morning and you have a great burst of energy to get the day started!

  • Tess says:

    I put a movers blanket under my air mattress along with a tarp , helps keep some warmth . If its cold & windy where i’m camping I carry big clips and clip extra traps around my tent this helps a great deal . I like the rock ideal

  • petej says:

    Two Words – HAND WARMER. I am surprised to see only one mention of Hand Warmers in these comments. Zippo makes some smaller ones, but they are really pocket warmers. For winter camping, the Peacock Giant hand warmer is by far the best, lightest, and most effective solution. You need to carry a little lighter fluid, but it is far simpler than heating rocks or water, and there is no open flame. Get a big 5 X 3 inch warmer and you can get 5 nights of warmth out of a single small can of naptha lighter fluid.

  • Kevin says:

    I use the fanfoil that is used under vinyl siding to put on our tent floor works great. It’s light weight and folds up .

  • James says:

    Sleep with someone else for body heat

  • Glyn says:

    UCO candle lanterns give off a surprising amount of heat, especially the three candle version!

  • Brian says:

    I have excise Matt then a qwilt then air matters then a queen size half inch thick foam bed cover then small blanket over that then a fitted sheet only problem I have matters keep going flat and can’t find were they are leaking leaking. And have a tarp under tent folded double the tarp folded twice over the top .and left enough to have a awning over the front van anyone think anything else that would help to keep it warmer in the winter

  • Brenda says:

    Wearing clean dry socks at night is good, but if also put on some Vicks vapor rub it will definitely keep you warm, clean cap for head, we loose heat through our furthest extremities. Head, feet and hands. Also change your clothes before bed. During the day your body produces sweat or perspiration that in turn is absorbed into clothing, at night when our bodies cool down the wetness in clothing causes you to be colder, and when I say change clothes I mean all clothes, including under garments. I once changed everything but underwear and was cold all night no matter what, the cold over took the heat in my sleeping bag.

  • Smittypoo says:

    I was just high thinking, and was wondering if you guys thought this might be an idea worth trying.. To stay extra warm possibly in mid winter, set up your small, 2 person tent in a larger, 4 or 6 person tent. Im pretty sure the insulation would be great, and having the large tent would greatly inhibit any wind from stealing hey away from your small tent. The question is, do you think the added weight would be worth the amount of warm?

  • willis yaylor says:

    I use nig candles with 3 wicks on the top the more candles you light the warmer your tent gets

  • Robyn says:

    Silk is the best insulator. My sister sent me a silk sleeping bag liner from Australia…toasty! Thanks for all the tips – my next camping trip will be more comfortable than the last.

  • somedude says:

    I use a ski mask/balaclava that covers most of my face, so I don’t breathe in the cold air. yea it gets a bit moist but it’s mandatory for low temp.

    dunno about this Catalytic Heater… it has 7 hours worth of heat, keeps none, and weighs 4 pounds. too heavy and inefficient. I like the water bottle idea a lot.

  • Jen says:

    I use hand warmers in the bottom of my sleeping bag to help keep warm during cold nights. The one time I camped in 31F overnight I put the hand warmers in the bottom of my sleeping bag and then had an extra sleeping bag to put over me since I don’t have a bag rated for that cold. I’m going to be camping here in northern Ohio in 3 weeks, so I will be pulling out all my tricks so that I can stay warm if it is very cold. I camped about 2 weeks ago and when I looked at the weather forecasts, the low was supposed to be around 50F overnight. It actually got to the high 30’sF and I was freezing since I wasn’t prepared for that cold weather.

    • Dick says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      I too have used the hand-warmers in the foot of a sleeping bag. It was -8F when we woke up the next morning. Try holding one close to your chest all night as well, it helps!!

  • Ryan says:

    Stripping down to your underwear in a sleeping bag will keep you more warm while you sleep than if you wore layers. The least number of layers between your skin and the sleeping bag the better. That includes socks, if your feet get cold take off the socks. I learned this in the boyscouts and tried it both ways. It made a huge difference.

  • fpeggy straight says:

    i sleep with my hair down, a hat on and a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. i put handwarmers in the area my feet will be when i start switching into my sleep clothes. i also put one handwarmer in my hoodie front pocket. i make sure the hoodie is way oversized. wool socks, long underwear and sweat pants. i can’t sleep in a sleeping bag, but use wool blankets and finally cover with an elk hide. it makes it hard to move, but toasty.

  • Mike C. says:

    I bought a 12 volt electric blanket for my wife to use to keep warm in the car on road trips. Next time I camp in the cold, I’m gonna bring it and plug it into a 12 volt deep cycle battery and stuff that critter in my sleeping bag.

    I never used a sleeping pad under my air mattresses but I’ll try that too. If I sleep on a cot I always put a crummy wool moving blanket under my sleeping bag to keep the cold air from coming up through the cot.

    My brother showed me the hot rock from the fire trick last time we camped. We put two big rocks on a small piece of plywood I had brought along. The plywood also makes a good manual fan for super charging the campfire if it gets oxygen starved. The rocks were hot but I don’t know if they really added much heat inside a 10×12 tent that’s tall enough to stand in.

    Wearing an OJ hat to bed is the best thing I ever thought of to stay warm when sleeping outside.

    Try picking up a couple moving blankets from a storage center that rents moving trucks. They occasionally have some blankets that are too wrecked to rent out any more but they’re good dog blankets and good for camping. Just be careful washing them cause they tend to disintegrate easily.

  • Chris C. says:

    I camp each month, including in the winter. The tips listed here are all good. A few others that I use are: 1) Eat just before going to bed. This will jumpstart your metabolism and cause your body to generate more heat. 2) Use wool. It wicks moisture better than anything else. 3) Use a good 4-season tent – not a 3-season tent. 4) Place your winter bag inside your compact summer bag. 5) Always use your tent fly in cold weather. 6) Use the smallest tent you can get by with. Less area = less airspace to heat. 7) If it’s windy, stake the fly edge to the ground on the windward side of your tent. 8) To absorb excess moisture in your tent, place some rice in cheesecloth and hang it from the top. 9) Place your tent under a tree canopy, where the air temperature will be slightly warmer, but where the morning sun will strike it. 10) Always sleep with dry clothes on…

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Chris! We’re gonna be re-writing this article based off all our awesome reader’s comments, so we’ll be sure to include yours.

      • Cole says:

        I don’t like to wear socks at night when I’m camping. It doesn’t take much to restrict the blood flow to your feet even a little, so sometimes socks can make your feet even colder. If you do wear socks at night make sure they are real loose, or maybe house slippers!

  • Mike says:

    If your skin can adjust to it, merino wool is actually far more easy to wear than standard wool. The great thing about merino is just your body heat will cause moisture to wick away from you and the fabric dies quickly.
    If even merino feels scratchy, then I guess the next thing would be cashmere. Cashmere is not as rugged as merino, it will wear thin at the elbows long before merino. You might find a blend of merino and cashmere. Another option that helps keep you dry would be silk. The items I have checked on were a lot more expensive in silk.

    I have stayed warm in -14F weather with just a very small tent and a -25F mummy bag. I soon learned the hood would rub my face since I can’t sleep on my back. Each time I rolled over, it woke me up. So I opted for a double thickness ski mask. Worked great!

  • Jasper says:

    You can always piss in a bottle and put it in your sleeping bag, will be warm enough to fall asleep and you don’t have to go outside in the cold.

  • Owen Parry says:

    I have cut a sheet of carpet the exact size of the tent groundsheet. Then I sleep on a standard foam mat and in a sleeping bag. However the weight of the carpet limits you to a small tent and camping with transport.

  • henry says:

    I got myself a Teton sleeping bag. I sleep in my boxers in 30 degree weather. My gf is very sensitive to the cold and she slept in her panties and t shirt. Teton bags are the best. We have a queen size Teton Mammoth Bag.

  • Sheryl says:

    where can I find the kind of rocks that can be heated (without exploding) for warmth. I want to use in my chicken pen during winter and also under my sink when power is out to prevent pipes from busting.

  • Carol says:

    We did have rocks explode in our campfire once. Sent pieces of hot rock flying for many meters. Have been hesitant ever since to put them in a tent for warmth.

  • Cheemo says:

    Pour boiling water into a nalgene bottle, they’re rated for boiled water, and throw that in your sleeping bag. It will stay warm for 4-6 hours. I also found robaxacet self warming back pain relievers that work like hand warmers. But these are much larger and have a Velcro strap to go around your waist. Another thing I do is lay down a pad made of that mylar bubble wrap insulation, most power companies give this stuff away in the form of a hot water heater tank jacket, just make a rectangle as big as your sleeping pad and away you go.

  • Charlai says:

    We’ve been using hand sanitizer the thing is it Burns quick n very hot also can use rubbing alcohol its a cleaner burn.

  • Jason says:

    1.Hot water keeper for 7-8hrs: Japanese youtanpo in a sleeping bag.

    2.Cover tent with a tarp and spread a tarp under the tent.card board spreading in tent floor would be a good idea.

    3.2-3 candle lights boost inside tent temperature not worry about oxygen exhaustion.
    4. Eat a warm-hot chicken noodle soup before going to a bed. smoking at night.

  • Jason says:

    Yutanpo can be purchased through ebay or amazon.the best hot water keeping container in the world is yutanpo made in Japan.

    Do not carry the hot rock into a tent,possibly due to a burn injury.

  • Charlie Smith says:

    Back when we used canvas tents, (which I prefer in fall camping), it got very cold one night, froze the lake we were camped by. I heated three rocks, hot and put them on a pile of sand in the centre of the 8 X 8 tent, then when we were about ready to turn in, I changed them for three more hot ones, put the others back in the fire, got up to urinate during the night, changed them again and built up the fire. Did the same in the morning. It was quite warm, the guys camping nearby had a tent camper and damn near froze, “All that kept us going,” they said, “was knowing how cold you fellows must have been !”
    We told them we had been quite comfortable.

  • Deann says:

    Hi, thanks for your seven tips. The first one is best for me.

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