How to Keep a Tent Warm in Cold Weather – Survival Tips

During freezing temperatures, applying conventional warmth generation methods won’t suffice as the temperature will dwarf whatever it is you are doing to keep warm in a tent.

How to keep a tent warm in cold weather

Camping is an exciting outdoor activity some of us love to participate in from time to time. Camping affords us the opportunity to connect with nature and bond with loved ones. Just been lost on purpose in open country is an adventure some of us can’t get enough of.

Camping is fun but if there’s one thing that may ruin your adventure in the open wide country, it is the weather. During freezing temperatures, applying conventional warmth generation methods won’t suffice as the temperature will dwarf whatever it is you are doing to keep warm in a tent.

And you can’t also afford to warm yourself up by turning on a heater, for example, all through the period you will be out in the wild or in a survival situation. With some clever and helpful tips, you can maximize the warmth in a tent and enjoy a wonderful camping experience regardless of the freezing temperature.

Here are some helpful tips you can use to respond to the question: How do you heat a tent in very cold weather?. Remember, staying warm also involves keeping your immediate environment warm ( tent). Wearing thick clothing and sleeping on insulated beddings won’t do much for you if your tent is freezing cold.

Sooner or later, the cold temperature will break through your clothing and sleeping comfortably during the night will no longer be possible. Without further ado, here are simple tricks you can adopt to keep a tent warm.

 Use a Small Sized Poly-cotton or canvas tent

The first thing to take note of is the type of tent you use. If you are going to be sleeping in a tent alone or there will just be two of you, go for a much smaller tent.

This is because excess space in the tent will leave room for cold air to permeate. Also, using specialist tents like Poly-cotton that have insulation properties will trap heat inside and prevent it from escaping.

 Use Special sleeping bags

To stay warm at night, using normal sleeping bags won’t keep you warm neither will it keep a tent warm as well. To maintain a warm temperature inside the tent you need to use sleeping materials that sustain temperature. Sleeping bags like silk bags with zero degrees are great for warmth.

For extra warmth, you may also want to combine the silk bags with a sleeping pad. I recommend a sleeping pad because pads are very effective in absorbing temperature. To use a sleeping pad properly, place it on top of your mattress or sleeping bag.

 Keep your tent warm with a Heater

Another very important thing you must do to keep your tent warm is to warm up the interior with a heater. Heaters are very effective in raising the temperature but during extreme weather, you will have to keep the heater on for longer because it takes a little more time before you begin to feel the effect.

When your heater is on, make sure your tent is closed to prevent heat escape and cold air inflow. In fact, make sure that the tent is closed at all times.

Although the heater may take a longer time to warm your tent, but never go to sleep with your heater on. To get the best result, switch it on about an hour before bedtime and switch it off before you retire for the night.

 Cover the ground with carpets and rugs

When you are camping you need to pay close attention to the ground where your tent is set up as the ground also feels the impact of the freezing temperature.

To prevent cold air from coming through the ground, make use of carpet or rugs. After erecting the tent, cover up the ground with a rug or carpet and make sure no part is left exposed.

This has two benefits. The rug or carpet depending on the one you are using will prevent air and moisture incursions and will also trap heat generated by the heater. If the ground is exposed, it will absorb the heat after a short while leaving your tent cold again.

 Heat up some Rocks

When you are out camping during cold weather periods, you need all the heat you can possibly generate to stay warm especially at night when the temperature drops.

Heating up some Rocks to be used afterward will serve you well once you turn the heater off. About an hour before you go to bed at night, heat up a few rocks until they are burning hot like coals.

Once the rocks are hot enough, remove them from the fire to cool off for some minutes. You will need to be observant lest they lose their hotness due to the weather.

After the heat has dropped by a few degrees (still hot though), wrap them up with towels and place them close to your sleeping bags or at the center of the tent. This will help maintain a warm temperature at night.

Attach a Thermal blanket to the ceiling

To trap heat inside the tent, you can use a thermal blanket for good measure. Simply attach the blanket to the ceiling using duct tape to hold it in place. The thermal blanket will prevent warm air from escaping.

If you decide to place the hot rocks you’ve heated at the center of the tent, place it under the blanket. By so doing, the heat from the rock trying to escape through the ceiling will be reversed by the blanket back to you thereby keeping you warm.

Besides the cold air coming from outside the tent, your body temperature is another thing to keep in check. Your body temperature and breath can make you cold at night as well. If you are very cold, in no time the temperature of your tent will drop too. 

So while insulating your sleeping area with blankets and thermal materials you also need to protect your body as well. Here are a few things you need to do.

Suit up on time

There are times in the day when the temperature begins to drop. This is often during the evening periods when the sun starts to set. During winter, temperature drops may happen earlier than that.

Be aware of the period and prepare for it. Don’t start wearing your protective clothing after the temperature has dropped because once you begin to feel very cold, it is quite difficult to get warm again at night. Before temperature starts to drop, suit up.

Always go with a Hot water bottle

Always go camping with a hot water bottle. Make sure that you have warm water at all times. To do so you will need a stove and a kettle with which to boil water. Keeping your body warm is one way to keep a tent warm

Never go to bed cold

As a general rule, never go to bed cold. No matter how warm your tent is, if you retire for the night cold your temperature will kill the warmth in the tent. Warm up yourself first by dressing properly, doing a physical exercise or drinking a warm beverage.

Disposable heat bags are helpful

Disposable heat bags are very helpful for regulating temperature. You can place them in your pockets, under your pillows or anywhere close to your body. It’s cold to remember, so you need all the warmth you can get.

Cover up your limbs and upper body with protective clothing

The type of protective clothing you wear matters. You can wear long leggings and thick pants to cover up your limbs and thick sleeves to cover your upper body.

Wear Knitted hats and dry socks

In case you don’t know, a lot of your body heat is lost through your head so endeavor to wear Knitted hats and head warmers at all times when you are out camping. Wearing a pair of dry socks is also equally important to keep your feet warm.

Lastly, bring extra blankets along

Don’t also forget to bring extra blankets along. If for any reason you need to change blankets or the prevailing conditions calls for more, having insufficient blanket stocks can make your camping less fun.


Stay warm in a tent is very vital when you are out camping or for survival. The colder the temperature, the more heat generation you need.

Generating heat with heaters and disposable heat bags will be an exercise in futility if you are not able to protect the heat from escaping afterward. To prevent heat escape here is a summary of what you should do to stay warm when camping in cold weather.

  • Keep tent covered at all times
  • Cover the ground with rugs or carpets
  • Attach a thermal blanket to the ceiling for extra protection

Heat up some rocks and place them close to your sleeping bag or at the center of the tent

Use Special sleeping bags and disposable heat bags to regulate your body temperature

If you adhere to these tips, how to keep a tent warm in cold weather, you will surely stay warm all through your camping exercise and never feel a shiver down your spine due to the cold.

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