One of the main complaints you hear from people who are interested in hiking and camping – but have not yet done it – is that they don’t think they can handle the cold nights without electric heaters and other luxuries.
If you’re one of those people, then this guide is just for you.
In this article, we’re going to explore the various ways that you can heat up your tent without having to use electricity.
Even veteran campers might find some new and exciting tips here. Let’s jump straight in and check out what kind of methods there are.
Heating your Tent Without Electricity
If you’re unable to access electricity and use a traditional heater, what other options are there for heating up your tent? Let’s find out!
Hot Water Bottle
One of the cheapest and most efficient ways to maintain decent body temperature while camping is by making use of a hot water bottle. These are cheap, long-lasting products and are worth every cent.
Simply boil some water on a camping stove or over a fire before bed and carefully pour inside the hot water bottle. They’ll come with a soft covering that stops the hot water bottle from burning your body if it’s in the same place too long.
These are perfect for putting in your sleeping bag and can warm you up extremely well. Especially if placed down at the bottom of the bag by your feet.
If you forget to bring one, however, and you’re feeling down – don’t worry! In a pinch, you can use a thermos (or another non-plastic bottle) wrapped in some old clothes or a sock for the same effect.
Here is how you can keep a fire burning all night in case you need to replace the hot water.
Mylar Thermal Blanket
Many people assume that thermal blankets are only to be used in emergencies, or when your life is in danger in some way. This is not the case at all and they’re actually an amazing way to retain heat while in a tent.
The way thermal blankets work is by reflecting any heat that hits them. If you wrap yourself in one, it’ll reflect your own body heat back at you and stop your temperature dropping on cold nights.
You can even layer the roof or walls of your tent with a thermal blanket, which will stop heat from escaping and keep it all contained within the confines of your tent. They’re relatively inexpensive, so think about stocking up on them if you’ll be camping in very cold areas.
If you don’t have a thermal blanket or a hot water bottle to hand, here’s a handy tip that not many people know about. For years now, campers have used this trick to keep themselves warm during those long, cold night.
Place several rocks around the outside of a fire for a little while until they’re hot. Then – once they’ve cooled down enough to handle safely – wrap them up in some old socks or an old blanket, basically anything you don’t mind damaging or getting dirty.
Placing these well-wrapped hot rocks in your tent can make a tremendous difference to the temperature. You can either put one in each corner or just have them all in the center of the tent. Whatever you do, ensure they’re fully covered and that you don’t come into contact with them while they’re overly hot.
Sleeping pads (or insulated pads) are a brilliant way to stop the cold from escaping out through the low levels of the tent. By raising yourself ever so slightly off the floor, you’re eliminating more ways for warm air to escape.
Insulated pads can also help to retain the warmth that’s already in your tent. Not only will they help to maintain temperature, but they’ll also provide you with a much more comfortable night of sleep.
You could also try an elevated camping mattress or a military-style cot. These can go a long way towards making you more comfortable and helping fight off the cold.
Other Tips for Staying Warm
Want a quick list of some of the simplest ways you can stay warm throughout the night and generate extra heat? We’ve got you covered!
- Bring plenty of extra clothes and try to layer up BEFORE you start feeling the chill.
- Thermals / long-johns are one of the best ways to retain heat comfortably.
- Never underestimate the warming power of a good hot coffee.
- Don’t go to bed cold – even if that means jumping jacks before sliding in the sleeping bag.
- Silk or fleece sleeping bag liners are a great way to retain your body heat.
- Cheap carpets or rugs can really help insulate your tent.
- You can never go wrong with extra blankets and duvets.
- Hand warmers can work, in a pinch.
As you can see, there are plenty of small changes you can make to the way you camp to ensure that you don’t have to spend any more cold nights wishing you were back home in bed!
Ways to Reduce the Cold in a Tent
Here are a few simple ways that you can reduce the cold ever making an appearance in your tent, and stop your body temperature plummeting throughout the night.
Use a Smaller Tent
Lots of people out there purchase unnecessarily large tents when they head out camping. These larger tents can be amazing for family trips or for housing a whole group of friends. When you’re just camping alone (or with not many people), it’s essential to use a tent that’s the right size.
The less air inside of a tent means there will be less air to heat overall. If you’re all alone inside a cavernous tent, not only will it take longer to heat, it’s also not going to retain the heat for as long as it would if there were several people inside.
A smaller tent is one of the smartest moves you can make if you want to stay as warm as possible. Combined with the other hints and tips we’ve given you, this is a surefire way to maintain temperature.
Eat Before Bed
This is one of the easiest ways to ensure you stay warmer throughout the night. Start scheduling your evening meals a little later while camping (or make sure you snack before crawling into the sleeping bag). Your body produces heat as a side effect when you’re digesting food, so this is a great way to passively keep yourself warm.
Foods that are filled with carbohydrates tend to digest in your body fairly fast, so include foods that contain a lot of protein and fat before bed instead. Proteins and fats digest much slower in the body, which means they’re a slower releasing warmth throughout the night while you’re sleeping.
A hot meal can work wonders when you’re really feeling the cold. It doesn’t take much effort at all to change what time you have your meals, so it’s something worth considering on your next trip into the wild.
Moderate When you Drink
This might sound like an obvious point, but you’d be surprised how many people constantly chug bottles of water right before bed and then get surprised how cold it is when they’re heading in and out of the tent to hit the can. If you’re constantly opening and closing the tent door all night, of course, it’s going to get cold.
If possible, slow down on the drinks a few hours before you plan on heading to bed. That way, you won’t be letting in cold air throughout the whole night as you run in and out trying to find a tree to do your business behind!
The other benefit to this (aside from keeping the cold out of the tent and keeping you out of the cold) is that you won’t have to go through the effort of putting your shoes on and off all night and fumbling with flashlights to find the zippers!
Keep your Head Warm
This is a fairly self-explanatory hint, but it’s one that we often see people overlooking. When you go to all this effort to keep your body warm while inside a tent, you’re missing one crucial and important part. The head!
Keep your head warm during the night by wearing a wool beanie (or a similar hat), or by wrapping your head with an old t-shirt. Keeping your head warm will help in retaining your natural body heat and can make the world of difference.
Last Few Words
There are so many options out there for people who either don’t have access to electricity or don’t want to use it camping. Hopefully, this article will have solved any problems you have with cold tents.
The best way to go about keeping your tent warm on those awfully cold nights is to combine several of the methods we’ve listed. You’re bound to have a warm and comfortable night of restful sleep even if you just pick a few of these tips and put them into use on your next trip!