I love camping. In fact, I have camped in different weathers including under hot, warm, cold, and freezing temperatures. Once I have even camped in the UK around November and trust me it was very cold.
Over these years that I have camped, I have seen the good and bad of rigging a tent in the outdoors. Cold temperatures are some of the worst camping experiences that I have had as the tent freezes up.
Nonetheless, I have weathered the storm. Thanks to my camping pro tips and more importantly, my knowledge of how to stay warm in a tent when it’s freezing out there. That’s why in this post I have decided to share the same tips for campers so that you don’t hate this extraordinary experience any day.
But before that, let’s take a look at some of the must-know things when it comes to getting cold in a tent.
How Does the Body Lose Warmth/ Heat?
There are many ways that your body will lose heat. Once you know how this happens, then you can easily put the right measures in place to help you curb this heat lose and instead maintain the type of warmth that you need. Here are some cool pointers.
The effect of radiation is that it will cause heat to move away from your body. This causes the body to lose quite an amount of heat. At temperatures lower than 20 degrees Celsius, your body will lose over 50% of its heat through radiation.
When a heated liquid or gas travels away from its source then that’s referred to as convection. A good example is a cup of tea that loses heat through steam. Your body also does the same when you sleep, although it might not be visible with the naked eyes.
Evaporation is also another major cause through which the body loses heat since it triggers a cooling effect instead of a warming effect. Actions such as sweating are ways that evaporation occurs. During an intense workout, for instance, you will sweat profusely as your body tries to react and counter the climbing temperatures.
When you hold another object such as your sleeping bag, the cooler object (the object with lower temperature) will tend to draw heat from the one with the higher temperature in an attempt to try and create balance. This is what happens when you sleep on the cold ground as your body transfers heat to the cold ground too.
Pro Tip: These processes work differently from each other, but will all occur at the same time so long as the environment that’s provided is ideal. It is therefore very important that you take all the necessary measures in advance.
Staying Warm in a Tent
I want you guys to understand that nothing sucks like trying to sleep under cold weather. It just never works. That’s why from my end I have always developed these super tricks to keep warm in a tent.
This is my cardinal rule for campers who want to stay warm in their tent. Never set up a massive camping tent especially if you are very few in numbers. A big tent with few guys means the tent will have so much unoccupied space that will remain really cold for a long time.
Smaller tents are usually easy to warm up. So if you are going for a short camping spree and you are only a few people, think of taking a smaller tent. They are easy to warm up than their larger counterparts. If not, switch to canvas or poly-cotton type of tents to minimize the heat loss always.
How to Keep Your Tent Warm
To keep your tent warm and your bodies even warmer, here are some of the best tips that you can focus on.
This means sleeping closer to each other. You can always bring or put your tent partner’s sleeping pad closer to yours. This retains more heat and prevents the space from swallowing you guys in its large cooler room.
You can also create a barrier by using duct tape to hold an emergency blanket onto the ceiling of the tent. This will prevent cold air from seeping through the tent’s canopy to leave your bodies freezing.
Pack It Up
Use everything you have including stuffed packs, backpacks, and other clothes around you. It will provide a further insulation and leave you with a warm space to keep your head and body in under the tent.
Grab a Hot Water Bottle Anytime
I would suggest having a stove, kettle, or hot water bottle with you every time you hit the outdoors for a camping spree. Trust me, this will come in handy even for guys don’t usually use one at home or those who believe that the summertime is always warm even by the night time too.
This is the one staying-warm tip in a tent that has always saved me from freezing up in my own camping bed and I call it the greatest camping tip of all. You will need it. So ignore it at your own peril.
Where the Right Type of Attire Too
Campers’ best attires are usually fleecing pajamas, pullovers, pull-necks, and zip up hoodies along with thick woolen pair of socks. In short, looking stylish when hitting the sack isn’t for campers really; since by any language all that you should care for at that moment is to stay warm and warm.
Never Walk Into Camping Bed Cold
Rushing into your sleeping bag when feeling cold means you will likely stay cold for a very long time before you even try to fall asleep; so the best thing to do is to have a warm drink before you get into bed.
Personally, I always take some star jumps to get my temperature up before I walk into my sleeping bed. I guess a few stretch-up will also set the temperature right so that you get an easy bedtime too.
Don’t Get Cold before Layering Up
Once the temperatures start hitting the lower numbers it is time to grab an extra layer and layer up. Waiting until you get cold before you can layer up is never the best idea since by then your body temperature would have hit a low and getting it up again would take some time. So as soon as you feel the breeze come in, layer up.
Bring Extra Blankets with You
Most night times are often cold. So don’t assume that just because it is the summer you will definitely feel warm – hell no! That’s why it is always very important that you bring with you a few extra blankets to keep you warm just in case the temperature gets low or if you had your kids with you.
Make Use of Sleeping Bag Liners
Silk sleeping bag liners are said to add some extra-touch of warmth. And I agree with these liners work. However, you should be really careful with them as they are always very delicate. I remember the one I bought ripped off almost immediately. And that’s why I use fleece as my best alternative.
Give Your Tent the Best Insulation
Yes. This works. So how do you insulate your tent? You can always use fitted carpet or even rags on the tent’s floor so they can act as an insulating layer. Doing this will easily stop cold from coming through the floor and prevent you from freezing up.
NOTE: You don’t have to get a fancy fitting carpet for your tent to keep it warm. Using some thick rugs on the floor including picnic rugs will also work as you don’t have to step on the cold floor anytime you step out of the sleeping bag.
Buy an Innovative Sleeping Bag
Well, like I have mentioned above, down insulation is often the bomber. However, if you aren’t planning on going towards that direction, investing in an “innovative sleeping bag” that comes with a number of synthetic fillings is also super cool at trapping heat and keeping you warm all through the time.
Go with Disposable Heat Packs
Popping a couple of disposable heat packs in your hoody or even sleeping bag will be very effective at keeping you warm. That’s why many people who are looking at stay warm in a tent often go with them.
They are quite useful and that’s why it is always advisable that you throw in a few extra dollars for a pack of disposable heat packs whenever you are out there camping. I prefer to buy a pack of four.
Buy the Right Type of Sleeping Bag
A cheap bag is never the best option for a freezing weather instead they work best for the summer weather. Instead, go for a close fitting mummy sleeping bag as they will often contain the heat easily and keep you warmer all through the time.
NOTE: I have read many suggestions of using a duvet on top of a cheap summer sleeping bag and tried it before – it doesn’t work so don’t be duped.
How to Stay Warm in a Tent: Top Camping Gears for Staying Warm
Let me also highlight a number of gears that will help any camper out there to stay really warm in their tent. They are quite affordable and you can always buy them anytime you choose to and just before a camping adventure. They include the following.
A sleeping bag is the absolute essential. However, not every sleeping bag is ideal for cold temperatures. In case you are going to stay out in the cold or if you want a warm sleeping bag for the night, go with the following options.
- 3 season sleeping bag
- Cheap bag for the summer
- Mummy fitting sleeping bag for cold
Sleeping Bag Liners
Silk sleeping bag liners are also super cool if you want to minimize heat loss when camping outdoors. They are good at containing heat except that you need to really take proper care of them as they are often very delicate. Look for a 100% pure organic silk liner to use in boosting up your sleeping bag.
A good camping kettle is usually designed to help campers get an easy time when they want to heat up some water and also keep the water or beverage hot for longer durations. Such kettle has plastic or rubber touch on its back to minimize heat loss.
Thermal tops are specifically designed to retain heat. They are good at preventing high-level heat loss from the body. They are also affordable and can be bought at any time. Choose your thermal top depending on the following.
- Body size
NOTE: Thermal tops shouldn’t be very tight. Very tight tops will prevent body fluid from circulating properly and in turn, cause a temperature drop. Just get a thermal top that will fit you perfectly.
Like thermal tops, hoodies are also good at retaining body heat and also keeping your ears and head covered so that you don’t experience any cold around the sensitive parts of your body. Hoodies can be easily worn over the thermal top or normal t-shirts.
A yogi hoody, fleece, or sweaters will also add to the heating effect that you need when you are out camping or sleeping outdoors in a tent.
Just like the kettle, water bottles are meant to store warm or hot water so that you can always have some beverage to boost your body temperature. Choose the best outdoor water bottle in line with these tips.
Thick Socks and Hand Warmers
Thick cotton wool socks will be a bonus. They are very good at trapping heat under your skin and keeping every part of your body covered. The same applies to the hand warmers too. Both are very affordable and can be easily found in online shops and regular shops too.
NOTE: Buying the best camping gears that will help you to stay warm in a tent is very important. However, you might need to focus more on working with a budget before you get out there to actually buy any of them.
FAQs: How to Stay Warm in a Tent
There are a number of concerns that many first time campers will have when it comes to staying warm in a tent. In this section, we highlight some of these concerns and provide the right answer to each and every one of them.
How Does “Buddy Up” Work?
Body to body warming is also quite effective in case you want to keep warm in cold temperatures or prevent heat loss. So how does it work? We have seen that there are many ways that your body losses heat.
Typically by conduction; during this process, if the temperatures of these two bodies vary greatly, then the rate of heat transfer will be very high. By coming together, two bodies will minimize the body’s area of exposure to the cold air thus increasing the surface area exposed to warmth and in turn, suppress how fast the heat from their body is lost to the cold environment that’s surrounding them.
How Long Will Water Bottles Keep Beverages Warm?
That depends on the type of water bottles that you have. If the water bottles are insulated, they will take a longer time to lose heat. So go for insulated bottles. Better still, you can also insulate your own water bottles.
What Types of Clothes Should You Wear in Cold Temperatures?
It is true that you should wear fleece, hoodies, or thick woolen socks to keep your body warm when in cold temperatures. Warm synthetic fabrics will also do the trick. Some of the best options will also include fingered gloves and cozy caps.
However, there are a few things that you should keep a close eye on and avoid at any angle. They include tight-fitting clothes including underwear, socks, and gloves. The reason is simple; tight-fitting clothes restrict the flow of blood through your body and prevent the process through which your body gets heated.
Don’t also stretch out until you sweat. If you do, the sweat (moisture) will also get trapped inside your sleeping bag and lead to the temperature drop and overall cooling off.
Does Holding in Pee Makes Me Cold?
Yes. When you hold in the pee, your body will have to do extra work and burn more calories to keep your pee warm. This will eventually cause a temperature drop. It is therefore very important that when nature calls, you don’t resist it.
Why Do Some People Suggest Cotton isn’t the Best for Cold Weather?
Cotton never wicks moisture – if you didn’t know; now you do. In fact, it might easily drop your body temperature and leave you feeling really cold in case moisture is trapped inside. Cotton works more like a sponge and not like the moisture-wicking (polyester, merino wool, and polypropylene) that are designed to use capillary action to redistribute moisture.
When Should You Take the Warm Beverage?
The warm beverage is best taken when you start experiencing signs of temperature drop. You shouldn’t wait. The earlier you do it the better since it will be effective then. However, there is no harm in keeping your bottle next to your sleeping bag so that you sip on it all through the night.
Pro Tip: You can go with a combination or warming tips all at once and still have the best experience when it comes to stay warm
Conclusion: Anyone who is looking for tricks on how to stay warm in a tent should take every one of these tips that we have highlighted for them today. These tips are super cool and have been tested before. They are easy to work with and will give you the best camping and outdoor experiences should you find yourself in a tent.
Of importance is you shouldn’t be scared of sleeping under a tent simply because of the cold. That way, you won’t be living the best outdoor life. I suggest taking into consideration these tips and choosing whatever works for you.
You can also use them with your loved ones, family, and kids and at the end of it provide your loved ones with awesome camping experience. I have used them before and believe it or not they are simply awesome and work best.