May 17, 2022

11 Tips on How to Stay Warm in a Tent

by Brad

When the winter season approaches, it does not mean that you have to retire your tent and other camping gear in the shed. Who says winter requires you to stop camping? 

You don’t need to let the cold weather limit your days out in nature when you know how to stay warm in a tent. If you want to camp all year round, you should know how to stay warm in a tent.

Being prepared for the freezing weather, having the right gear, and using the proper techniques can make a huge difference.

Fortunately, there is a myriad of tried and tested ways to stay cozy and have a good night’s rest. In this article, we will list them all for you. 

Table of Contents

1. Look After Your Needs While on the Trail

It is easy to get engrossed in your hiking and forget to tend to your personal needs when you are out in nature.

However, those extra miles you take without properly caring for yourself may cost you a good night’s sleep. Hence, you should ensure that you stay hydrated (bring enough water), avoid getting sunburned, and keep your body fueled.

All in all, you should take care of yourself sufficiently when you are hiking on the trail or camping. You might be surprised to see how much of a difference all of these can make to your bedtime experience.

How to Stay Warm in a Tent
11 Tips on How to Stay Warm in a Tent

2. Choose a High-Quality Sleeping Pad

It goes without saying that the sleeping pad is an essential gear you will need if you plan to camp during the winter season and freezing temperatures.

The pad will be the only thing separating you from the cold ground and acting as a barrier, so you need one that is thick and can keep you warm.

Specifically, you should look for a high-quality sleeping pad that is particularly well-rated for its temperature rating. It should be the ideal material for the temperatures you will be camping in.

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Additionally, it should be an inflatable one that comes with a pump. Avoid using your breath to inflate it as that would introduce moisture.

Once you get it, make sure to use this sleeping pad in addition to your sleeping bag when camping during colder temperatures. 

Browning Camping McKinley -30 Degree Sleeping Bag, Clay/Black, 36-Inch x 90-Inch
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Last update on 2023-09-25 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

Related Article: How to Store Sleeping Bag

3. Choose the Most Suitable Campsite

Knowing how the weather is at specific campsite and areas can also significantly affect how warm you are in your camping tent.

Since cold air sinks and hot air rises, valleys and similar areas might be the poorest choice for a campsite. They might seem warm initially, but you may find your teeth chattering during the night. 

Avoid the highest points for setting up your camp as well. Such areas would not just leave you shivering all night long but also be quite dangerous.

4. Get a Hot Water Bottle

A hot water bottle can help you add extra warmth to your tent. Right before going to bed, simply boil some water and pour it into your bottle. Use a water bottle insulator to keep the temperature for a longer period.

You can place this bottle in your sleeping bag next to your tummy or crotch area to keep your body temperature from dropping throughout the night.

You need a high-quality water bottle designed to stay at the same temperature for our hours for this makeshift heating pad tip to be effective. Stainless steel bottles would perhaps be the best choice for this.

Related Article: Tent Waterpfood Tips

5. Load Up on a Hearty Dinner and Warm Liquids

Body heat is essential when you want to stay warm in a tent. This is why you should eat foods with many calories since your body requires more calories during camping, especially during cold temperatures.

In some cases, you might be required to eat up to 6,000 calories in a day. Thus, here is approximately how much food to pack.

In such cases, the best foods to eat are rich and fatty foods since they often contain double the amount of calories as proteins and carbohydrate-rich foods do.

The body will use more energy for a longer time, which will naturally create more heat. 

Stay Warm in a Tent
How to Stay Warm in a Tent

6. Ensure That Your Head and Feet are Warm and Dry

Did you know that the most amount of heat escapes from your head and feet? This is why you should ensure that these two areas remain warm and dry throughout the night.

Wear a hat and thick hiking warm socks when you go to sleep.

Avoid wearing socks that have any moisture in them. So, you should not wear socks you have hiked in, but rather wear designated sleeping socks instead.

7. Take Out Your Day Clothes Beforehand

You should take out the clothes you plan to wear the next day beforehand to make it easier to get ready in the morning.

In fact, if these clothes are dry, you can shove them in your sleeping bag with you to create more insulation.

However, if these clothes are wet and have moisture in them, avoid keeping them inside with you if you want to stay warm in the tent.

Related Article: Titanium vs. Aluminum Tent Stakes

8. Use a Mummy Bag

When you use your sleeping bag for the purpose it was designed for, it can make a huge difference in staying warm.

This is why you should wrap your face with the insulated hood of the bag and actually use the mummy bag.

However, avoid burrowing your entire nose and mouth in it because the moisture from your breath might make it colder.  

Browning Camping McKinley -30 Degree Sleeping Bag, Clay/Black, 36-Inch x 90-Inch
  • 2-Layer Construction
  • TechLoft Insulation
  • Insulated Chest & Zipper Baffle

Last update on 2023-09-25 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

9. Change into Your Night Clothes

A great tip for staying warm in a tent is to remove any kind of moisture from the tent before going to sleep.

This is why it is important that you change out of the sweaty day clothes that you hiked in. The moisture from these clothes will significantly drop your core body temperature.

You should hang them on a line outside your tent or keep them in a bag outside. Even your sweaty shoes should not be inside. Make sure you wear plenty of layers and have dry clothes on. 

Related Article: Can You Use a Tarp as a Tent Footprint?

10. Avoid Sleeping in a Squished Sleeping Bag

Even the most insulated sleeping bags with an excellent rating can significantly drop in temperatures if you have not fluffed them out well. When these bags are squished, their insulation flattens quite quickly. 

Hence, you should take the time to fluff out your sleeping bag to evenly distribute the insulation and enhance its ability to keep you warm.

In fact, if you have time during the day, you should fluff it out and keep it out in the sun to make it drier and warmer. You might be surprised to see the difference all of this can make.

Related Article: How to Wash a Sleeping Bag

11. Sleep with Someone and Play the Naked Game

Body heat is one of the most effective ways to stay warm in a tent. This is why we recommend that you sleep with other people inside the tent.

However, you should all sleep in your own sleeping bags. Sleeping in the same bags together will actually make it colder and defeat the purpose of having other people around,

You could also play the “naked game” that requires you to get into your sleeping bag and then take all of your clothes off.

Once done, you should put them back on. Doing so will result in laughs and be an effective way to naturally raise your body temperature and keep you warm without sweating. 

Discover more from our Camping Skills archives and Camping FAQ archives.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Roger

About the author


Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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