How To Stay Warm In a Tent [A Beginners Guide]

By Sigita B •  Updated: 11/15/21 •  5 min read

Are you planning a trip to the mountains? Worried you won’t be able to handle the cold? Trust us; you’re not alone. The truth is that most new campers tend to be underprepared for the cold weather on their trips, especially during the night. As a result, they spend their entire trip out of their comfort zone and shivering in the cold. 

Poor gear, lousy location, and counterproductive measures result in the campers becoming unfortunate victims of the cold. But staying warm and tackling the cold weather is only a matter of preparing for your trip the right way. 

So sit tight and put your fears to rest because we will be telling you everything you need to know about staying warm in a tent. These tried and tested tips and tricks are the results of years of camping experience.

tent in the mountains

How to stay warm in a tent?

There is a long list of precautions and measures you can take to keep warm and cozy in your tent. Here are our tips and must-have items for your next trip.

Invest in a proper kit

Most campers that find themselves on the less prepared side tend to have a kit that does not suit their needs. It always helps to invest extra into a camping kit which includes a sufficiently thick sleeping bag and a proper high-quality tent. 

When putting together a camping kit, choose equipment with proper materials to keep you warm. Bear in mind the camping location you will be going to and research weather conditions to keep in mind beforehand. For example, if you’re visiting a wet or humid campground, invest in a waterproof tent.

Remember, saving money is great, but it’s not worth buying a mediocre camping kit only to spend your entire trip uncomfortable and ill-equipped for the temperatures you will have to encounter.

Pitch your tent wisely

The correct location to pitch your tent is what makes all the difference. Do not make haste in pitching your tent at the first available spot, but choose a location that keeps you protected from unwanted rain, wind, or snow.

While weather conditions are mostly unpredictable, there are a few measures you can take to make your best bet.

Keep your tent well ventilated

You must be confused; why should I risk losing any heat by letting air cross through my tent? The temptation to keep your hatches sealed to trap heat is counterproductive.

Tents with poor ventilation end up becoming damp and sticky with no opportunity to air out and dry. Humidity produced from the outdoor environment and inhabitants gets trapped in the walls of the tent. The damp walls hinder the tents’ ability to trap heat and make them even colder. Even the best of tents and sleeping bags are unable to keep you sufficiently warm if they are the slightest bit damp.

Don’t skip out on meals

You can keep your tent as warm as possible, but if your body is not on your side, the cold will eventually get to you.

Eating helps generate body heat which is very important in keeping you warm. Move your final meal of the day closer to bedtime so that you can preserve as much body heat as you try to fall asleep.

Scale down

While it may be tempting to buy a large tent to gain access to more indoor space, they are notoriously difficult to keep warm. Your body heat is the primary source of heat used to keep your tent warm. A smaller tent can easily be kept snug using body heat, but this becomes much more difficult with large size.

Insulate your tent

Some carpeting on the floor of your tent can help trap heat by acting as an insulating layer. If you do not have a tent with an elaborate setup, including floor padding, you can use an inexpensive rug that will do the job. This will prevent the cold from traveling through the ground, keeping your tent warm throughout the night.

What not to do

What you might think will help keep your tent warm can yield unfavorable results and compromise your safety.

Do not cook inside your tent. You might think a warm fire and pot of soup is the best thing in the world on a cold winter night. However, cooking inside your tent and using a stove as a heat source can result in carbon monoxide filling up inside your tent. These fumes in a small enclosed space can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death!

Furthermore, do not forget to turn off all heaters before going to sleep. Leaving a heater on inside your tent as you sleep may keep you warm throughout the night but can be incredibly dangerous.

Final Note

Most campers tend to underestimate the weather and find themselves unprepared. While there are countless ways to warm in a tent, only a handful will do the trick.

Do not shy away from the opportunity to explore new territories because you are afraid of the low temperatures you will have to encounter. By investing in proper gear, pitching your tent at the right location, and doing everything to keep your tent well insulated, you will not need to worry about the cold ever again.

Sigita B