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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How to Stay Warm While Cold Weather Tent Camping

 photo by julief514 via iStock

With fall just around the corner here in the northern hemisphere, all I can think about is some awesome cold weather camping.

Of course, I don’t like to be cold, so there’s that little problem…

Thankfully, there are all sorts of things I can do to stay cozy and warm when I hit the sack in my Torro Offroad Skylux rooftop tent that I have on top of my Turtleback Expedition trailer.

Let’s review a few of my favorite tips on how to stay warm while cold weather tent camping!

The Obvious Choices

woman drinking tea to stay warm while cold weather camping

Photo by agrobacter via iStock

There are some obvious things you can do right off the bat to ensure you stay warm while you’re camping…

Wear appropriate clothing, including dressing in layers, wearing a knit hat, gloves, and wool or synthetic socks to keep the heat in.

When it’s time for bed, the question of how to stay warm while cold weather tent camping becomes even more important.

Consider boiling some water, filling your water bottle, and placing the bottle inside your sleeping bag to warm it up. I like to put it at the foot of the bag, but the middle of the bag where your torso will be is a good option too (or heat up two bottles and kill two birds with one stone!).

person in a tent in winter

Photo by Mumemories via iStock

Clearly, having a sleeping bag that’s appropriately warm for your adventures is also important. Keep in mind that you’ll want a bag that is warm enough for the coldest expected temperature, so if the forecast calls for it to be 10 degrees, bring a zero-degree bag just to be safe.

Snuggling up with a loved one or a dog, getting up off the cold ground (e.g., in a rooftop tent), and having extra blankets just in case the temperature dips lower than you expect are other common options for keeping warm.

How to Stay Warm While Cold Weather Tent Camping: Use a Heater

Diesel Heater next to an SUV in the snow

I recently picked up a portable diesel air heater from Planar Heaters, and I have to say, it has changed my outlook on cold weather tent camping!

This heater is self-contained and uses either diesel or kerosene and 12v DC power to give you all the heat you need in your tent. In fact, this heater will run for eight hours on approximately a half a gallon of fuel, so you can stay warm all night long without having to get up and top off the fuel tank. The wired remote control gives me the ability to control its operation without getting out of bed, either!

wired remote for portable heater

Better yet, this heater will work at altitudes up to 8,200 feet, so even if you’re way up in the mountains, you have a solid heating option for your tent.

The heat that’s put out is a dry heat, too, so there’s less worry about condensation becoming a problem in the tent. I also like the fact that this heater has a silencer so I’m not listening to the rumble of a loud heater all night as I try to sleep.

Are Good Diesel Heaters Worth The Money

Add in excellent portability, a crushproof and rain-resistant case, and superb performance, and you have the ideal way to stay warm while cold weather tent camping.

There are even higher-powered options, like this 4kw model that offers 5 amps of draw under normal operation and puts out an impressive 13,600 BTUs. If you’re handy and want to install the heater yourself, you can  purchase a diesel air heater kit that comes in 2kw up to 8kw varieties. There’s simply loads of options!

And since these heaters stay outside the tent and vent warm, dry air inside, there is no worry of carbon monoxide being introduced into the tent. That’s exactly the kind of safety you want!

How to Stay Warm While Cold Weather Tent Camping: Insulate Your Tent

person in a warm tent

Photo by Mumemories via iStock

Yet another option to stay warm while cold weather tent camping is to insulate your tent.

The easiest way to insulate your tent from the cold is to use an insulated pad under the tent. Doing so will keep the cold from the ground from rising up and chilling you to the bone. Sleeping on an insulated sleeping pad will also help keep the cold from the ground at bay.

Some people also insulated the walls and ceiling of the tent. This can be done with a variety of materials, from space blankets to insulated foam. Insulating the walls and ceiling of the tent can take quite a bit of time, but the benefit is that you have yet another way of keeping the warm air inside the tent and the cold air outside.

stay warm while cold weather tenting with a space blanket

Materials with a reflective surface – like a space blanket – are especially helpful for insulating your tent because they reflect the heat inside the tent back toward you while also reflecting the cold air back outside. Think of it as having a double-walled tent that provides a layer of air between the insulating layer and the tent walls.

Ultimately, how to stay warm while cold weather tent camping is up to you. And, truthfully, you might find that a combination of these suggestions works the best for you. Now is the time to try out different options, that way you’ve got a good system in place when winter hits!

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