How To Heat A Tent

Cold weather camping can be one of the best experiences that everyone can enjoy. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a nature explorer, or a newbie adventurer, but knowing how to heat a tent will make it more fun and memorable.

You can commune with nature as you experience the warm sun and cold breeze, appreciate moments, cherish a company, and learn survival skills, such as how to heat a tent. 

No inclement weather can prevent you from enjoying your trip. We’ve got you covered with some practical tips that you can apply to combat the freezing weather condition. 

Tent Heaters

Obviously! As the name suggests, a tent heater is used to heat a tent. But we’d like to state the obvious to put an emphasis. Many campers often underestimate the weather, packing all the things that they needed except for any heating apparatus such as a tent heater. 

This is not wise and it can ruin your trip big time especially if you don’t know how to heat your tent without a heater.

There are two primary types of tent heaters – electric and gas. Electric types of heaters work very well. They are safe but they can be inconvenient because they usually require an extension cord to your car or a generator. 

The gas type also works well. They’re more portable and handy. Some common gas type heaters run on kerosene, propane, or butane. 

Use extra caution when using a gas type heater. You’ve probably already heard the health risks associated with carbon monoxide exposure. Apply proper ventilation when you are using it.

As you want to manage the heat, it is vital to know what may be safe and life-threatening for you. There are some gas types, however, with state-of-the-art technology that are considered safe for indoor spaces. 

a green tent at night

How To Heat Your Tent Without Using Electricity

Don’t rely too much on tent heaters. An electric and a gas heater are not the only ways to reduce your tent’s temps.

It’s good to have a tent heater, but it’s better to come prepared with some skills on how to treat a tent without using electricity. In many cases, there can be no electricity found in a camp area.  

Check out below 9 practical tips on how to heat your tent without using electricity:

Enhance Your Tent’s Insulation

Taking your body heat into account, your tent can somehow heat itself when it is properly insulated. Pick the right spot where you want to put up your tent. This can significantly impact the insulation of your tent. 

You can also use ground insulation. Sleep on insulative materials like air mattresses, blankets, or rugs. You won’t lose as much of your body heat because ground insulation traps most of the heat giving you extra warmth when sleeping.

Invest In A Right Tent

Not all tents work well in freezing weather. Invest in the right tent that can stand the test of time, especially during winter. 

Most tents in the market are a 3-season or 4-season tent. Choose a 4-season tent because this type is built for camping in all weather conditions, including freezing weather. 

There are also other tents that are specifically built for extreme cold condition camping. These tents generally cost more. But if budget is not an issue for you, by all means, go for it. They are pricey for a good reason.

Hot Water Bottles

Placing a few hot water bottles in your sleeping pad can go a long way in helping your fight off the cold. Hot water bottles provide little extra warmth to your body and to your tent.

Wrap one of your layer around the water bottle if it’s too hot to the touch at first. You can place it with other parts of your body as well.

Hot water bottles are an effective way to access extra warmth but remember that they are not designed to heat your tent for a long period of time. They only offer a short term solution.

Heat Some Stones

Heating some stones is a clever way to get a little extra warmth to your tent. This is fairly simple and straightforward. You just have to heat some stones then place the heated stones in your tent.

Stones that are about two pounds are a good choice because they heat quickly and they are easy to carry to your tent. 

Keep in mind to place the heated stones with sufficient distance from where you sleep to avoid potential injury. Don’t also place it too close to the tent as the stones can damage the tent material. 

Dress For The Cold Weather

Heating your tent will virtually do no good if you yourself are not insulating properly. Dress in layer to stay warm. Use thermal undergarment that helps contain your body temperature. Wear layers that are comfortably loose as tight ones can restrict your blood circulation.

You also have to protect the two main parts of your body where heat escapes – your feet and your head. Wear a thick or thermal pair of socks as well as a bonnet or a skull cap. If the weather is intensely cold, then you may also consider wearing thermal gloves.

a person standing in snow in winter clothes

Eat A High-Calorie Meal

This tip may not be specifically a way on how to heat your tent, but this can be a way to add heat to your body. You need to fuel your body up so it can withstand better with the freezing cold.

Individuals who participate in cold outdoor trips such as camping and backpacking will require about three times as many calories as needed as those who do not.

Consume a high-calorie meal in order to keep your body warm. Cheese, nuts, and chocolate among other calorie-dense foods are your best bet to give your body an extra boost.

Hydrate Yourself

Similar to having more caloric meals, you also need to hydrate enough when camping. Drink enough water to hold the natural temperature of your body. Hydrate yourself all throughout the day, not right before going to sleep. 

You might have to go somewhere to pee in the middle of the night if you drink much before bedtime.

Use a Candle (but be careful)

Using a candle works well in providing you heat but this may not be the safest tip on how to heat a tent. When you have no other way to survive the cold but use a candle, go for it, but do it with extreme care. 

Keep the candles elevated off the ground and place them where they won’t’ be easily disturbed. Candles can be knocked on the floor while you’re sleeping which can cause a fire to spread. 

Do Light Exercises Before Sleep

Keep your body warm and get your blood flowing. When doing physical exercises, your body will normally heat up which can help you combat the cold breeze.

The increase in your body temp, during an exercise, has a calming, soothing consequence on your body. But don’t do an intensely vigorous exercise right before your sleep time. This will make you stay active for longer hours even if it’s already time to sleep.

A Word of Caution: Safety First

Safety should be your top priority when heating your tent. Don’t take unnecessary risks and avoid improvising. Don’t also do any foolish ways to heat up your tent especially when there’s fire involved. 

When done right and with care, the tips above can help you to reduce your tent’s temperature and obtain extra warmth. Don’t compromise your safety at any time. 


With or without electricity, there can be plenty of ways to heat your tent. Learn this survival skill and you’ll be bound to enjoy a warm and comfortable camping experience.

You can combine and use several of the tips that we’ve listed above. And apply these methods with care. You may also like to read my article on Winter Camping in a Tent

Until then, stay warm and enjoy your next trip! and remember leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.

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