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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 #2 - 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!

Written By: Dave


  • 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.

  • 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

  • Camping With Style says:

    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.

  • Mycampingchecklist says:

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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