Keeping your tent warm while camping can be a tricky topic, temperatures drop, and they drop fast. Learn how to properly insulate your tent without having to worry about the avoidable breezes that can have you shivering every night for the rest of your camping trip.
Have you ever been on a camping trip (Maybe it was your first one), THINKING that you’re all set to go, thinking that your sleeping pad and sleeping bag is enough to keep you warm for the chilly nights ahead? Only to slide into your sleeping bag after dark and realize you weren’t really prepared for these temperatures..
Fortunately, you can learn exactly how to prepare yourself for the unpredictable temperature changes by reading my how-to guide below. Enjoy!
Most Heat Escapes Through The Ground – How To Avoid This
Did you know that most of your body heat escapes through the ground? Well now you do 🙂 Most people that are cold during the night will blame their sleeping bag instantly. No! Most heat will escape though the ground.
Here’s how to properly insulate the floor underneath you which will cause a dramatic change in your insulating skills!
Sleeping Pad – It’s important to get a sleeping pad, without one you’re shooting yourself in the foot (lol). Your sleeping pad must have an R value of 4 or more. They might be more expensive, but you can’t under-price the importance of staying warm.
Use a Tarp Under Your Tent – Not as important for keeping warm but I thought I’d mention this to avoid getting rips and unneeded punctures.
Tarps are good for:
- Measuring the space for your tent.
- Help you when checking for rocks, bumps, sticks and lumps or ANTS NESTS :O
- Protects your tent by using an extra layer of defense.
- Your tents dry and clean, making pack up a lot easier.
- If you need to replace your tarp, it’s cheaper than replacing your tent.
Use leaves and forest duff – Drop leaves and forest duff under your tent which will reduce the amount of heat loss during the night.
For more additional warmth – If you have a bunch of spare clothes, jam them under your sleeping pad which will add immense warmth furthermore.
How To Keep Warm In Your Sleeping Bag
Using just the sleeping bag won’t be effective as you think, what about all the spare room inside your sleeping bag that you will try and fill with your body? Follow these tips to help keep you keep warm inside your sleeping bag.
Emergency Mylar Bivy – Slide into your sleeping bag for the night and place an Emergency Mylar Bivy OVER your bag instead of inside it, and you will feel instantly warmer.
Extra loose gear – If you still have loose gear/clothes you can throw this inside your sleeping bag which will reduce the amount of air volume inside the sleeping bag.
Don’t underestimate the water bottle: Boil some hot water for a water bottle, that will help keep you warm for the early parts of the night.
Tightening the sleeping bag – Tighten the sleeping bag around your chest area. When you move around in your bag heat will escape, however using this technique you can prevent this from happening.
Vapor Barrier Liner – Eliminate any potential heat loss by using a Vapor Barrier Liner, you can using anything such as: Plastic sheet, emergency foil blanket, rain poncho, etc.
Placing A Sleeping Bag On The Roof Inside The Tent
If you want to go the extra mile to make sure you stay warm the whole night, this is not really needed, just following the tips above you will be well on your way to a cozy, warm night.
Sleeping Bag – If you place a sleeping bag or a blanket on the roof inside your tent, this will act as an extra heat barrier that will eliminate cold breezes coming in, and heat leaving your tent.
Mylar Thermal Blanket – You can also try a Mylar Thermal Blanket which will work perfectly fine. Just duct tape one to the roof of your tent and heat will reflect back, keeping most of the warmth in.
Never Underestimate The Heat-Power Of A Blanket
Another simple idea, if you don’t want to follow the steps above
and you have A LOT of blankets and spare sleeping bags (If you’re an avid camper then you should!), simply sleep on a bunch of blankets/sleeping bags, and sleep with heaps on top of you as well.
Cocoon yourself in a couple of sleeping bags. No heat will get lost and no cold air is getting inside those bags!
Make Insulation A Top Priority
There’s nothing worse than going out for a weekend camping, sliding into your sleeping bag at night and realizing you messed up! Lol. It’s important to make your tent insulation one of the top priorities which will make your entire camping trip a much better experience.
So before you go out for your camping trip, do a pre check of all your gear, and be sure to check everything you’ve got to keep your tent warm.
Often times we get too excited about going camping and never really check everything properly. We think that a sleeping back is more than enough to keep us warm for the entire night when we eventually find out this is not the case.
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Conclusion – A Rule Of Thumb To Follow
Be a good camper, don’t be one that constantly stuffs up, leaving his family cold and miserable.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than enjoying a lovely dinner meal with your family, talking around the campfire then getting into your tent, cuddling up to your wife and staying warm the whole night! Oh the greatness.
Here’s a rule of thumb – Don’t just take a sleeping bag and a couple of spare blankets. Bring a sleeping pad, heaps of spare blankets/sleeping bags and loose clothes to stuff under your sleeping pad.
Your wife will thank you for it, which will add to those all-important brownie points, haha.
I hope you enjoyed my article. Have you have a bad experience in the great outdoors? Comment below and let us know! I’d love to chat with you.
10 thoughts on “Keep Your Tent Warm While Camping With These Great Tips”
This is a trip-saving article. I love to camp, but *hate* to be cold, and nothing ruins an otherwise great trip like a cold, sleepless night! The first time my husband and I tried to camp together — at the beach, no less — we bailed halfway through the first night due to being too cold — lol! We’ve since upgraded our equipment to include many of your suggestions, but I see there is more we could be doing. One other thing I’ve found that really helps me is to wear a cap to bed, since I don’t like to keep my head in the sleeping bag. Thanks again for the great suggestions!
Hey Deedee, that’s great that you learned something. I didn’t think about wearing a cap, everyone’s got their own ways of keeping warm during the winter and COLD trips, knowing how to stay warm is a priceless skill to have – especially when it’s stopping you from sleeping through the whole night! Lol. Thanks for the feedback.
I’ve had this very experience! I used to tent a lot and at first i thought my high rated sleeping bag would be enough to keep me warm. Boy was i wrong. I didn’t realize until now that it was escaping through the ground! I thought i just needed to bundle more. At what temperature do you think you should invest in a nice sleeping pad to keep you warm? Great article!
Hey Sam, I would recommend investing in a good sleeping bag no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes you might think you got a great sleeping bag for the right price, only to be let down when the temperatures drop dramatically.
A sleeping bad is just as important, so make sure you get one with an r value of 4 or more. Thanks for the comment mate.
I’ve only ever camped once and that was at the Glastonbury Festival. I spent four nights freezing cold and soaking wet. Didn’t know anything about tents and how to keep dry and the experience completely put me off camping (the music was good though). A guide like this would have been invaluable as I always thought after this that everyone camping gets cold and wet – this almost seems toasty.
That sounds like a really bad experience. Now that you found my blog you’ll be able to read up a bit more on tents and how to keep warm if you haven’t already.
Nice tips, I remember learning about heat leaving through the ground but I had forgotten that, it’s good to know. I love camping but I don’t go when its a cooler season like fall. I should though because I love fall. I always just thought about layering your clothes and maybe something warm on top of your sleeping bag, but your tips would work a lot better. Also neat idea of the sleeping bag on the inside roof of the tent!
Yes, most of our heat is lost through the cold ground. By creating a few layers between you and earth you can prevent the significant heat loss, think less about shivering and more thinking about having fun the next day, taking into consideration that the sleeping bag is warm enough and you have a lot of layers on.
Great article! I have never camped in my life lol, but I think my friends are planning one soon and I’ll keep these tips in mind when I join them. Nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night because you’re basically frozen, these tips will help keep me comfortable and get a good night’s rest!
Hi Chiqui, you should really give camping a go because you only get one shot at life, and camping or hiking is something NO ONE should miss out on, definitely worth it – especially when Mother Nature has provided some beautiful views for us.
And when you do, hopefully you remember these tips so you don’t get a restless/freezing nights sleep. Good luck!