How to Safely Heat a Tent

Learn how to heat a tent so that you can stay warm in a safe way on a cold night while camping in the wilderness. Use these warm tent tips on your next camping trip!

how to heat a tent

Staying warm at night is often the most challenging part of sleeping in a tent. We can often be found backpacking at high elevations where the temperature at night can be freezing! The first thing that we focus on is setting up our tent to conserve warm air and insulate us from the cold ground.

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Today I’m sharing some of the ways that we stay comfortable while tenting it.

How to Heat a Tent

Heat a tent without a heater

There are many different ways of staying warm while tenting. Portable heaters are not always the best option.

It often starts with having the right gear. Gear like 4-season tents can make all the difference in keeping the cold air outside and body heat inside.

Here are a few things that we like to use as a first defence in keeping our core body temperature up and having a warm tent to sleep in.

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  • Hot water bottle – fill a plastic bottle with hot water right before bed and place it in your sleeping bag.
  • A mylar blanket or space blanket can be used on the floor of your tent to help insulate it from the ground.
  • Hot rocks heated around the fire are a simple way to add warmth too.
  • If you have power at your site, an electric blanket can be useful.
  • An insulated tent and insulated sleeping pad help to keep the space warm.
  • We like to layer warm clothes on at bed time and often sleep in layers.
  • We love our hot core sleeping bag but a sleeping bag liner can also be used to help warm up your bag.
how to heat a tent

Using a tent heater

Be very cautious when using portable heaters because they can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. No heater is 100% safe.

Electric heaters, gas heaters and candle lanterns may be used but only outside in well ventilated areas. The best way to set these up is outside, near your tent to radiate heat towards it.

A propane heater, catalytic heater and candle heater can also be used just be sure to keep the heat source (or any open flame) a safe distance from your camping tent.

how to heat a tent

More tent heating tips

Start with a small insulated tent that can help to conserve body heat when shared.

Pack warm clothing and wear layers. We like: long johns, wool socks, a winter beanie, neck buff, fleece sweater and fleece pants.

An effective way to stay warm while winter camping is to purchase and pack the appropriate gear. Check out my tent camping gear list for more ideas.

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