How to Stay Warm in a Tent: Surefire Tips for a Cozy Night in the Middle of Nowhere

Staying warm inside the tent
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

Tents can often be cold and lonely shelter, but if you see the good side of it, it lets you survive in almost every condition. All you have to learn is how to stay warm in a tent. Whether you are stuck in deserted woods or somewhere in the middle of lonely deserts, tents can be your life saver.

If you see the positive side of camping, it comes with a lot of perks, especially when you are planning to camp amidst the chilly weather with snowflakes all around you. The amount of bliss and solace camping in a quiet surrounding gives you cannot be compared with anything else.

See also: Best Portable Camping Heater: Keeping Yourself Warm in the Colder Months

The weather out there can be too cold, and that is why you need to learn tricks that can keep you warm and safe even in the worst weather.

Torch light inside tent

Scientifically, when you sleep, the blood is drawn from the extremities to the core, leading to drop in the body temperature. This is the main reason you have to prepare yourself for a good sleep when you are camping in a rather cold region.

How to keep your tent warm

To help you out, we are going to talk all about a number of tips on how to keep a tent warm. These tricks have been proven beneficial to people stuck in the cold with less than the required facilities.

Get yourself the right gear

Before you head off to the woods or snow, get yourself the right tent. A lot of options are available in the online stores, all with a different specification. A 4-season tent can be your best bet as they are good for winters as well as the rest of the seasons. These tents seem to be versatile enough to accommodate you in most terrible weathers, and you won’t even require special tents for every other weather. For the best six person tent you can use for your family’s comfort, check out our article on this topic.

A tent with heavy fabrics will work the best, mainly because it shields the person inside from cold weather, especially from the chilly wind. As earth can be the major transporter of cold to the body, the base of the tent needs to be strong, thick, and warm. If you can find a tent with a thick and insulated base, half of your problem will be solved.

Campfire while camping

Camping is better done in groups unless you are stuck somewhere alone. If you are planning a little expedition in the snow, get yourself a camp that accommodates at least three people. As per the quality of the tent is considered, the camp should be ready for the most awful weathers. The poles and stakes should be placed in a way so that when you go out, the entire tent is not alarmed.

Look for a tent with more than one entrance; this will help you in situations where one of the doors is barred due to heavy snow fall or any other unwanted conditions.  You can use the extreme door to move out of the tent so as to avoid unwanted interaction with cold wind.

Pick the right place to setup your camp

When you are setting up the camp, make sure it is not in the direction of the wind. You can start 50 ft above the valley floor and look for a spot that doesn’t have soft snow on it. Once you have decided the right place to put your tent, you need to decide on what side of the valley tent’s entrance should be.

Winter camping

If you are putting it towards the upper hills, there can be an issue with the fierce wind.  Better place it facing the down hills so that you can avoid the chilly and noisy wind around you.

Flatten the sleeping surface

When it’s snowing, once you have fixed the camp at a certain base, you need to track the unwanted moments of snow beneath the tent. The snow will melt, refreeze, and will create uncomfortable bumps here and there, which means you will have to clear the hurdles beneath before you go to sleep. In case the place where you lay is simple mud, make sure it is free of debris and naturally dry.

On a further note, buy an insulating pad if you can. These sleeping pads will keep you warm, and a bit of extra layering is always welcome when you are sleeping in a colder area. For more ideas, see our list of the top sleeping pad for side sleepers for reference.

Sleeping surface

By any chance, if you had no chance of getting yourself a cozy modern sleeping bag, we recommend you to do a little of hunting. Animal skin is excellent warmers and if you manage to get it anyhow, you can surely going to survive your way through the extreme weather.

Those who have seen the movie “The Revenant” will understand what we are suggesting. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio was seen hiding inside the skin of dead animals to save himself from the cold wave. You exactly have to do something like this.

Heating equipment

A simple stove can save your life when you have no hope left amidst the deserted wild. Using the stove, you can get a bottle filled with warm water and place it under your blanket. Simply collect a little snow and melt it using the stove and use it as a warmer.

Camping stove

However, when you place any warming object inside your blanket, make sure your body doesn’t sweat. If moisture builds up, it will make the condition vulnerable when the temperature drops. Always pay attention to the body heat and remove and add in layers when needed. Even the jacket you are wearing should have zipped armpits so that you can create a vent to keep the moisture away.

Use a reflective blanket

You might not have used it before, but let us tell when it is about keeping you warm in a tent, this fantastic product works miraculously. The blanket is specially made to reflect the heat back to your bed. All you have to do is take a duct tape and tie the blanket to the ceiling of your tent. The reflective sheet will attract all the heat from the tent and will throw back to your bed.

Emergency blanket

Suppose you didn’t have the time to buy a reflective blanket, you can go for animal furs and skin. They are excellent heat absorber and will keep your tent warm. Check out the list of the top 8 camping blankets to keep you warm and toasty.

Take care of things you have

It matters how you manage your stuff amidst the chilly weather. The sleeping bag, your jacket, boots, everything needs proper attention to function well in the cold. For instance, when you wake up in the morning, make sure you roll the air out of the sleeping bag. Roll it from head to toe and then leave it still, till the sleeping bag gets back to the normal room temperature. At night, you can fluff it up manually and go to bed in all warmth.

Winter sleeping bags and jackets

Before you sleep, keep your shoe covered inside something warm. Put them inside your blanket or just under the animal skins to maintain the warmth. Keeping the shoes open in the snow will make them colder, stiffer and it will be difficult to wear it in the morning.

Even the socks you wear should be dry as damp socks will cause you to lose a lot of heat which is not good when you are making all the efforts to stay warm.  Always keep a few extra pairs of socks while going for a trip. Unfortunately, if you are not left with any dry socks, wrap your feet with any warm cloth like a woolen scarf.

Make use of the rocks in the surroundings

A 15-pound rock if heated adequately can keep your blanket warm for hours. Even if you are in an area full of snow, rocks can be found easily. Not a tough job at all. Just heat the rock and let it cool enough to be touched, then wrap it in a towel and place under the foot of your blanket. This will keep you warm for almost the entire night.

Snowy rocks

Once the rock cools down, make sure you take it out of the blanket. Rocks have the tendency to adapt to the weather very quickly, and once the warmth of it is gone, it will start getting cold, causing the temperature around you drops. Keep a check and remove the rock, once the heat starts fading away.

Exercise before your sleep

Do whatever you can to warm your body before you slip into your blanket. The sleeping bags and camps are meant to retain heat so as to keep you warm in your sleep.

It is assumed that your body temperature rises abruptly only by doing 3-5 jumping jacks. 20 jumping jacks will be enough to get your blood flowing faster and if you don’t feel like doing jumping jacks, go for any exercise of your choice. Anything like push ups and stretching can be opted for depending on your mood.

Exercise for keeping warm in winter

However, don’t overdo the exercise as it will cause you to sweat causing moisture in the tent. If you like some fun, just try to change the cloth within the blanket. Believe us, it is a complete exercise in itself.

Pack yourself with calories

For health sake, get the idea of dieting out of your mind when it is about surviving in the cold. It is necessary to keep your metabolism high throughout your stay among the snow. Calories are a unit of heat, and the more you consume at night, the warm you will feel.

Eat a big dinner full of protein and carbs. Meat will be a perfect choice if you are looking forward to keeping yourself warm. It’s hard to get food amidst the snow, but you can always get meat there. Meat tends to digest slowly, and it will keep the furnace inside you lit up, keeping you warm.

Camping food

In the wild, there can be a chance of attacks on your food and the best trick to keep the food safe is by placing it away from your tent. Put every bit of food left in an air tight container and place it at a fair distance from the tent. So, even if there is a wild bear around, your food will be safe. See our list of the top bear canisters to keep you safe from predators.

As far the water intake is concerned, keep yourself hydrated but do not consume more water. Basically, it is hard to notice thirst in the cold, but you should keep yourself in check every hour. However, you should stop the intake of any liquid one hour before you go to bed, else you might have to wake up in the middle of night.

Don’t go out of the camp

Avoid going out of the camp, even in the worst case scenario. The cold wave can be fatal to you, and you should hardly take the chance of going out. Make yourself utterly comfortable inside the camp before the cold waves begin to rise.

Sleeping in tent

Eat your food, wrap yourself in warm clothes, and keep the necessary things alongside you. If you have consumed more water and need to pee, then we recommend you to use a pee bottle. This might sound unhygienic, but going out in the cold wave can cost you your life.  As per the hygiene is considered, you can still maintain it by labeling the container and placing it in the far corner of the bed.

Bottom Line

Learn these tricks by heart, and you can survive camping even in the coldest conditions even in a place like Alaska. As you can see, preparation goes a long way in making sure that you stay warm inside your tent. For an article review of the best tent heater, check out our previous piece for more information.

Take care, stay warm and share with us your ideas to maintain the body warmth while you’re camping in the wild. The comment section is down below!


Bradley Page

Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!