As a fan of camping, I always consider a heated tent to be a priority for every night of camping. It doesn’t matter if you camp in the wild or right next to your car. Tent heating ideas should be your main concern before you dive into a camping experience. If your tent doesn’t offer the proper temperature, you can easily put your health and even your life in danger. So, there are no compromises to be made when it comes to this aspect. And, as you will see, heating your tent is nothing complicated.
But what do you need to heat a tent and have a comfortable camping night? How can you heat it up safely and easy? And most important, what tools should you use? All of these questions will find their answers in this article. I tried them all, and they are as simple as they sound! When you want to know best way to heat a tent, you also should be concerned for your safety. So, I will talk about both aspects in this article. All methods that follow are safe and inexpensive so you can use them every time you want a camping experience.
What Do You Need to Heat A Tent Safety and Properly?
Before we get to the process of heating your tent, there are some tools that you will need to have with you. In the wild or a camping area, there are slim chances to find them. So, make sure to pack them beforehand. Most of these supplies can be found at convenience stores or pharmacies. They don’t require a big investment either, but they are somewhat mandatory for your safety!
- Knit Cap, Wool socks, and thick gloves You can replace these with any warm clothes that you have available. As long as they are made of a material that conserves the heat of your body and doesn’t waste it.
- Thermal blankets
- Duct tape
- Insulated Sleeping PadYou can use an air mattress instead, but it will not be insulating. Air mattresses work for warmth, but they allow cold air to access the inside of the tent. It makes them inappropriate for long-term use.
- Sleeping bag
- Catalytic heater
- Heated RocksYou can use just as well hot water bottles. They fulfill the same purpose, and they are a cheap way to produce heat. These bottles can be bought at any convenient store or pharmacy in your area. They are great to use in case you can’t make a fire to heat the rocks. I always have a set of 5 or 6 hot water bottles with me just in case the weather doesn’t allow me to make a fire.
Procedure of how to heat a tent without electricity
1. Warm clothes
- You need to make sure that you are dressed weather appropriate when you go camping. Sometimes, no matter how hot it is during the day, the night is a different story. If your body is dressed to resist the cold, half of the job is done. The most sensitive parts of our body are the ears, feet, and hands. So, our extremities need to stay warm before everything else. Knit caps are perfect for keeping your head warm, and you can use wool socks and thick gloves for your extremities. Make sure not to neglect your feet as you can suffer from frostbite if they are not heated properly!
You can adapt this equipment to what you have available and even wear two pairs of socks instead of one thick pair. But whatever you choose to wear, make sure that these areas of your body are warm. If you are not dressed weather appropriate, all the other steps will not be so effective for you.
2. Get your tent ready
- Before you worry about heating a tent when camping, you should place it in the right spot, on a flat surface. Your tent needs to be equipped with all the supplies to stay warm during the cold nights. The inside of your tent will need to be arranged to conserve heat for several hours.
- Thermal blankets are great for isolating your tent and maintaining a good temperature inside of it. Cover the surface of your tent with these blankets and make sure to reach all the edges of the tent. You don’t want uncovered areas that will facilitate cold to get inside.
- The duct tape will come at handy here as well. You can use it to tape the blankets to the tent to keep them in place. You are done with this step when you covered the entire interior of your tent.
3. Add your insulated sleeping pad
- After arranging your thermal blankets, it is time to set up your insulated sleeping pad. It will keep the floor surface of your tent warm but also will waterproof it. Make sure the sleeping pad lays flat on the floor, and there are no gaps.
- Some people prefer to use an air mattress when they go camping. But an air mattress will never be as efficient as a sleeping pad! Sleeping pads insulate the tent, and they keep the cold air out so that you can enjoy only the heat. This is something that air mattresses can’t do. The layer of sleeping pads makes the differences when it comes to a comfortable camping night.
There are different kinds of sleeping pads that you can choose from. Plain sleeping pads or sleeping pads with air mattresses built in. Even if the ones that come with an air mattress built in might be a little pricier, they are also much more comfortable.
4. Set up your sleeping bag
- When you are done with the insulating sleeping pad, you are ready to set up your sleeping bag. It should also lay flat on the sleeping pad. The sleeping bag should be resistant and able to conserve proper heat. A zero degree temperature rating sleeping bag is the best option for these situations.
- A performing sleeping bag might be a key element when it comes to how to heat up a tent. It can provide you with the optimum temperature, and you will sleep comfortably, just like in your bed. You can buy a mummy sleeping bag which will cover your head as well.
- These are great for keeping your entire body warm enough for the entire night. Also, you can buy a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the weather that you will endure. Remember that the sleeping pad and the sleeping bag go hand in hand and they are equally important!
5. Set up your heater
- When it comes to heatting a tent , a heater is essential for your success. Catalytic heaters are the best for cold camping nights. This type of heater will release chemical reactions and will break down the molecules in the air. By doing so, it will produce the heat that you need easily and without any issues.
- Make sure you have propane or gas tank available for your heater before you set it up. When you install the propane or gas tank, check for possible leaks or risks before turning it on.
- After you checked and made sure it is ok, you can turn it on. Make sure to turn it off when the tent reached a proper temperature before you go to sleep. It is safer to sleep with the heater off, to avoid accidents of all kinds! However, you can leave your heater on when you leave the tent.
6. To rock or not to rock
- You can use heated rocks to heat your tent, but this is not a must. However, it can help tremendously if you use it right and follow the guidelines. To use heated rocks, you will need to create a fire outside your tent. Pick rocks that are big enough and place them inside the fire. Usually, depending on the size of the rocks, they heat up in around one hour.
- After the rocks got warm enough from the fire, take them out and place them inside your tent. Don’t use your bare hands to take the rocks out because you will injure yourself! Use a stick or gloves to pick the rocks out of the fire.
- Place your rocks in the most important area of the tent, like around the sleeping bag. Make sure to keep your hands off them as they will be hot for a while after you pulled them off the fire.
7. Keeping a good ventilation inside your tent
- While keeping warm is one of your main concerns during cold nights of camping, ventilation is just as important. You need to keep an eye on insulation and make sure that too much heat in your tent doesn’t create a humid environment.
- If there is too much heat, water will evaporate, and the air will get colder, which works against your interests. In time you will learn the proper balance between ventilation and heat. The perfect set up is the one that keeps your tent dry while it doesn’t allow the heat to get out. You want a dry, warm tent that you can breathe in.
- To achieve this kind of balance is important to open your tent window to let fresh air get inside of it constantly. If you do it too often, it will cool down your tent. If you don’t do it enough, the heat will work against you. By practice, you will find the right balance that works for you.
8. Safety first!
- When you consider heating your tent, safety is one of your main concerns or should be. Do not take any unnecessary risks; actually, don’t take any risks at all! Don’t improvise to create heat because this is not the time to get creative.
- It is important to use the heaters that are made to be used in a tent and no others. Make sure you are familiar with the instructions before you use them. Don’t use other fuel than the one suggested by the manufacturer. And last, but not least, don’t place heaters or hot rocks in the areas where you might turn or roll. You can move a lot during your sleep and accidents can happen easily!
- The market offers you many options of supplies that are made especially for camping nights. So, you can choose the ones that are budget-friendly and not make up your methods. I tried to avoid these supplies, and it didn’t end up well for me.
If you have a small tent, your body heat can create some warmth inside of it as well. By breathing, you will warm up the air in your tent. The temperature will be one that doesn’t put your health or life in danger. So, if you lack some heating supplies mentioned above, you can apply this trick.
However, this only works for tents that are built for one or two people maximum! Also, this is not a recommended method to rely on, but it can be used in extreme situations.
Try to conserve your energy and talk less to be able to provide the constant breathing. While this method is good for extreme cases, it will not offer you any comfort. However, it will keep you out of danger, and it is more like a survival tip. The results of this strategy are better if you are not alone in the tent.
By following these simple steps, you will never endure cold weather again during your camping nights! And when it comes to heating a tent, all those steps are essential for a great result. I had to go through many camping experiences to reach a comfortable level of camping. And I am telling you, the experiences are not fun in the cold! No matter where you camp, heat is a must.
I consider the tent heater to be the most important element along with warm clothing. If you have these two aspects, you can work on the rest. What did you think of this tutorial and what can you add to it from your own experience? Comment below or share the article if you liked it, so others find the answers that they need as well! Now you can enjoy your camping nights more comfortably!