Raise of hands: Who here enjoys camping but refuses to camp when it's cold? Camping is a lot of fun whether it’s by yourself, with your partner in crime, with a big group of family or friends.
But I think we can all agree that when the cold temperature starts creeping up, camping is no longer such a fun option.
I remember as a kid, going camping all the time with my family and our family’s friends. Playing flashlight tag in the woods, sitting at the campfire roasting marshmallows, hiking, chopping wood.
More camping games for adults here
I also remember some nights where it was just torture trying to fall asleep in the cold, and it took a lot of the joy out of it.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. There are plenty of options out there and some helpful how-tos to guide you to heat your tent to make camping comfortable during those chilly nights.
So, without further ado, here’s what you need to know on how to heat a tent safely.
What You’ll Need
The supplies that you’ll need are going to be expanded upon during the step by step process. But, with all those are listed below, you will be combining to produce the best result safely.
- 2-5 Thermal Blankets (Mylar Thermal Blanket is a great choice!)
- Catalytic Heater (Coleman Blackcat)
- Insulated Sleeping Pad
- High-Quality Sleeping Bag, with a Zero Degree Temperature rating
- Tape (Duct tape works best)
- Propane Tank (Smaller one, specifically designed for camping use)
- Tools to Make a Fire (Matches, kindling, wood)
- Rocks ( about the size of a dinner plate is ideal)
- Knit Cap and Wool Socks
- A Tent
Step 1: Proper Clothing
In this step, we will be making sure that you have selected the right attire to help keep your body warm.
When you get ready for bed, it's critical to make sure you have the proper sleeping attire to assist in staying warm in your tent. Ensure that you have a Knit Cap like a beanie or skull cap.
Your head is an excellent source of heat. Preventing heat loss in this area will help keep your body from not pulling blood from other locations to warm the exposed head.
DO NOT forget to bring Thermal or Wool Socks. Your feet can easily develop frostbite if not properly cared for. Thick and insulated socks allow for little to no loss of heat.
Step 2: Preparing The Tent
In this step, we will be making your tent to battle the harsh temperatures of night.
- You will need to grab your Thermal Blankets. It's here where we will be lining the inside of your tent with these blankets.
- Use the Duct Tape you brought and taped the blankets to the inner surface of your tent. The strips of tape should be long enough to be able to handle with one hand. Avoid cutting strips too long, as we all know how hard they are to work with.
- Finish lining the tent with these until you have complete coverage.
- With the Thermal Blankets now lining the tent, next you will unroll your Insulated Sleeping Pad and your Sleeping Bag.
- The insulated sleeping pad gets laid down first, flat against the floor.
- Next, you repeat the same action with your Sleeping Bag.
- Read more about waterproof your tent
Note: The insulated sleeping pad is used to keep your body from heat loss. The Sleeping Bag, as I’ve stressed in the “What You Will Need” section, should be approved for Zero Degree Temperature Rating. These specific sleeping bags are designed to withstand temperature at and around zero degrees.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Heater
In this step, we will be setting up and starting the heater before bed.
- You should have prepared in advance to purchase a catalytic heater like the Coleman Blackcat Heater. You’re going to take your portable heater and insert your small Propane tank.
- You’ll notice the canister gets hooked or screwed into the specialized slot. Be sure the tank and its linking connection are lined up flush and straight to avoid gas leaks and possible explosions.
- Once you’ve successfully attached the Propane tank to the heater's housing, be sure to perform smell checks to make sure there are no gas leaks. This gas does have an odor thanks to the chemicals placed in it. DO NOT TURN IT ON if you smell gas.
- You will want to turn it on using the designated switch or button. Depending on the model.
- Once you’ve turned it on, you will let it do its job and heat up the tent. This is safe to leave on without you being in the tent.
- Thanks to all the actions taken before turning the heater on, you will enjoy a toasty atmosphere inside your tent.
- Remember BEFORE you decide to go to sleep, YOU MUST TURN OFF the heater. This is pure safety. It has been approved to leave on all night, but safety is always better than accidental incidents.
Note: You’ll notice there’s not a flame. However, you still have the risk of melting the tent, sleeping bags, and the thermal blankets. The risk is only apparent when you leave it on overnight.
Step 4: Using Heated Rocks (Optional)
This is an optional task you can choose to either use or not It’s a primitive but effective method for warming your tent and sleeping surfaces.
- Using your matches, light a fire using kindling (twigs, paper, et.), then add larger pieces of wood to build a nice fire.
- Once the fire is going, find and place Rocks about the size of a dinner plate into the surrounding fire. You want these rocks to heat up so you can place them in the tent to release their heat for you.
- After an hour of waiting, remove the rocks using a stick or heavy gloves. DO NOT use your hands; you will be severely burned.
- You can now place these heated rocks within the tent.
- Placing them near, under, or inside your sleeping bag or sleeping surface is the best option.
- Remember they are still hot so avoid direct contact.
- The heat will last many hours and keep you and your tent nice and warm.
Did you enjoy reading this camper? I hope you can get out in the woods and employ these tactics and keep camping fun all year.
If you enjoyed reading this, please share it around and leave me comments to connect back with you guys.
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A roadeavour thermal blanket would also be a great choice.