How To Stay Warm In A Tent — Secrets To Sleeping Warm

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Staying comfortable is important for having a good camping experience. Waking up with your teeth chattering won’t do anyone any favors. It is important to know how to stay warm in a tent. That’s an important skill, not only for four seasons camping but also for regular camping. Nights in spring and autumn can get pretty chilly so it’s better to stay prepared.

How To Stay Warm Camping In A Tent

1. Insulate Your Tent

Knowing how to insulate your tent will go a long way in keeping you warm. Once you’ve protected your sleeping area from the cold, you’ve won half the battle. Of course, there’s more to do, but good insulation for your tent is an excellent place to start.

2. Pick Your Campsite Wisely

You want a campsite that is (at least somewhat) protected from the elements. Steering clear of windchill will keep your tent and you warmer. Try to place your tent near rocks or shrubbery robust enough to block the wind. 

If you are camping in the mountains, avoid valley floors or somewhere near the summit of a mountain. Cold air sinks to the bottom, and thus the valley can actually be colder. The summit of a mountain, on the other hand, is often windy and offers no protection from the elements.

3. Eat A Good Meal And Have A Hot Beverage

Who doesn’t love a good hot meal and a nice beverage? They are your friends while camping in the cold. A nice meal and a hot beverage will help keep you warm. It’s also worthwhile to have a diet that’s rich in fat, which provides your body with more calories to burn and stay warm.

4. Clothes And Layering

Good warm and light clothing is important to stay warm. Say hello to synthetic fabrics and wool, and bid adieu to cotton. Thermal clothing is excellent for staying warm and comfortable. Layer your clothes properly, starting from thermals. Make sure you have enough layers to keep the cold out but don’t overdress and end up sweaty.

5. Change Into Different Clothes

Change from whatever you’ve been wearing in the day to your ‘bedtime clothes’. Even if your clothes seem dry, they might have become moist from your sweat and other factors as you hiked through the day.

6. Set Up Your Sleeping Bag

Having stayed tightly packed throughout the day, your sleeping bag might be a bit compressed. When you take it out of its bag, shake your sleeping bag to get it all nice and fluffy again. Make sure that the material inside your sleeping bag is distributed evenly and is not lumped up or gathered to one side.

If you have cold weather sleeping bags that have a covering for your head, use them. Do not think of it as a pillow, but rather use it as intended. Remember, keeping your head warm is a top priority. You might be tempted to keep your face and nose inside the sleeping bag, but that’s best avoided. The moisture in your breath will add to humidity inside your sleeping bag, and it can become uncomfortable.

7. Warm Up Before Sleeping

How to stay warm camping in a tent? Start warm! A little bit of exercise to get your blood flowing will get you warm enough to enter your sleeping bag. Remember, the goal is to warm yourself up, so don’t do something vigorous enough to make you sweat. If you have an inflatable mattress with a pump, setting it up can be a good exercise too.

Another idea is to change your clothes while inside the sleeping bag. The sheer effort required to change clothes in the confines of the sleeping bag will get you warmer. On that note, some people suggest sleeping naked in the sleeping bag. Personally, I don’t think it’s a wise choice.

8. Keep Your Head And Feet Covered

Always cover your head and wear warm socks. Our body loses most of its heat through the head and the bottom of the feet. Wearing good quality insulating or thermal socks and a similar cap can work wonders in keeping you warm.

9. Take A Hot Water Bottle To Bed

Fill up a hot water bottle and take it to bed with you! They’re awesome for staying warm, and you will find yourself more comfortable. If you don’t have the conventional rubber hot water bottle, just fill up a regular bottle with hot water. Just make sure your bottle can handle the temperature of the water, and will not leak during the course of the night. 

10. Don’t Hold Urine

It’s a cold night and you just got the urge to pee! Stepping out of your snug sleeping bag into the cold outside the tent does not seem like a welcome prospect. Especially with all the work we’ve already put in to keep warm. Holding it in won’t help either, since the body will spend heat to keep the pee at body temperature. 

So here’s a gross but useful idea – keep a pee bottle. If you have to go during the night, pee into the bottle. Be sure to mark this bottle clearly so you don’t end up mistaking it for something else!

What Are Your Secrets On How To Stay Warm In A Tent?

I hope all the ideas listed here will be useful in keeping you warm at night. Many campers have their own tips and rituals, learned from experience on how to stay warm in a tent. The goal here is to stay warm and comfortable. Should you be unsure of something, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.