A Guide On The Best Way To Heat A Tent

Camping on a cold day? You can stay toasty with the best way to heat a tent as well as other heating hacks.

Camping is an exciting adventure. But as you know, it’s not summer every day. You may need to camp out during winter or a chilly day. Still, it doesn’t mean that you have to shiver all night long. You can make use of some heating techniques without putting your tent at risk.

Aside from bringing a portable heater, there are survival hacks that you can use. Remember, not all campsites have a source of electricity or fuel. Once your portable heater dies down, you should know some manual heating strategies so you can camp comfortably.

Get an insulating pad

Insulating pads serve as insulators for the floor of your tent. Instead of sleeping in the cold gravel or pavement, you can use insulating pads to repel the cold temperature. This also traps the body heat of the people inside the tent.

Aside from adding heat on your tent, insulating pads are also comfy to sleep at. Anyway, you can use a separate sleeping pad or bag on top of it.

It’s best to purchase an insulating pad that covers the entire floor of your tent. This way, you can keep the heat intact while preventing the cold from seeping in.

We recommend the Drymate Camping Tent Mat. It’s made from a carpet-like material that’s soft to touch. It also keeps you dry and warm inside the tent. It comes with straps so you can roll it and toss it to the trunk of your car. Aside from camping, you can also use it for picnics and other outdoor activities.

Use thermal blankets

If you get cold quickly, you can utilize some thermal blankets to trap body heat. This is a perfect pair for the insulating pad above. This thin blanket reflects the heat of the portable heater back to you. Aside from that, it keeps the heat closer to your body if wrapped around the shoulders.

Aside from wrapping your body with thermal blankets, you can also tie one at the tent ceiling to keep the heat trapped between the thermal blanket and the insulating pad.

Thermal blankets are relatively cheap and you can purchase several packs for a small price. If you’re looking for one, we recommend the Dukal Heat Reflective Emergency Blanket. It has a thin design that can be wrapped around the body or tied in your tent. It measures 52 x 84 inches, plus it comes in several sheets. This is thin and very durable so that it will last for a few days of continuous use.

Use a hot rock heater

If you’re caught unprepared, there’s one trick that you can do: the rocky radiator. For this method, you need a 15-pound rock. Place it on the campfire and let it get hot. After a few minutes, get the rock out of the fire using a stick. Let this cool down until the rock is no longer scorching with embers.

After that, wrap the rock with a cloth blanket and bring it inside your tent. We recommend that you place it on top of a folded cloth blanket to prevent heat damage on your mats.

The heat radiating from the hot rock will help warm your tent. It’s like a portable heater but done naturally. For large tents, you can place several hot rocks to keep the cold away. Once the heat dissipates, you can re-heat the rock to the campfire for continuous protection from the cold.

Note: always wait for the rock to cool down a bit. Bringing it inside your tent while scorching hot can cause heat damages.

Try to bring a catalytic heater

Catalytic heaters are portable and you can easily stash one on your luggage. Catalytic heaters use gas to produce heat, so make sure that you bring several propane cylinders to keep the heater running.

The best thing about catalytic heaters is that no actual fire is produced. It emits heat while reducing the risk of setting your tent or other items on fire. Still, you should never leave a catalytic heater running all night long. Like other gas heaters, this will produce the silent killer carbon monoxide if trapped inside the tent for long hours.

For your safety, run the catalytic heater a few minutes before bedtime, then turn it off. Just turn it back on upon waking up. If you plan to use the catalytic heater for extended periods, unzip a portion of your tent for ventilation. Still, you should never sleep with a catalytic heater on.

Maximize your camping stove

If you can’t bring extra equipment because of the distance of the campsite, you can maximize your camping stove instead. You can even look for a camping stove designed to double as a tent heater.

For those who want to save gas, you can place the stove inside the tent while you’re cooking. Still, you should always be careful to prevent setting your tent on fire. First, place a welding blanket around the stove. This blanket can repel sparks and flare-ups from the stove. We recommend placing one against the wall of your tent where you’ll place the stove.

Also, try to unzip a small portion of your tent’s entrance. This is to prevent the accumulation of harmful gasses. Anyway, you can always look for a camp stove that’s designed to repel nasty gasses.

Keep your tent sealed

Once your tent is well heated, turn off the stove or heater. Zip everything and seal any possible points where the cold air may enter. After that, slip into your sleeping bag and enjoy the toasty temperature. Thermal blankets come handy here. If you want, you can wrap the interior of the tent with these blankets for optimal heating.

Take note that some sleeping bags come with built-in heaters, which is a big plus for campers during winter.

Remove the dampness

Remember this: damp = chilly! So before you put up your tent, make sure that your spot is as dry as possible. You can place a thermal blanket below as an immediate shield from the dampness.

Also, if you’re starting to sweat, wipe it away and try to remove some layers of blanket from your body. As much as you want to stay warm inside your tent, you wouldn’t want to be too hot either.

Nevertheless, you can also use water to keep yourself warm. Fill a glass bottle with warm water and hug it inside your sleeping bag. This will give you head start on being warm. Once the warmth of the water wears out, just slip it out of your sleeping bag.

Use your body heat

If you have a tent built for one to two people alone, your body heat might be enough to keep the interior warm. This is applicable during cold days, but not the snowy season. A few sheets of the thermal blanket will help trap body heat inside.

Since small tents are cramped in space, bringing a heater inside may not be ideal. You can use radiator rocks aside from body heat if the outdoor temperature is really chilly.

Use a foldable bed

If you’re camping during winter and you have a big tent, you can bring a foldable bed. This way, you won’t be sleeping on the cold ground. Take note that you still have to place insulating pads on the floor and you can also bring a sleeping bag. This way, you’ll have added layers of protection from the cold.

Also, don’t wait until your palms and feet are chilly before you layer up. Maximize your body heat and keep your body covered as much as possible. You can also get a large sleeping bag so you can share it with someone. This way, you can combine the body heat from you and the other camper’s body. It’s also ideal for small tents.

What to avoid

Of all the possible ways to heat your tent, lighting a candle inside isn’t one of them. An open fire may produce immediate heat, but it also puts your tent at risk of being on a blaze. It won’t just ruin your camping; it will put you and other campers in harm’s way.

Also, whenever you’re using a camp stove or heater inside the tent, always ventilate first before sealing the place. This way, you can let the harmful gasses dissipate. Also, never leave a heater running overnight. It’s a waste of gas, plus it will also expose you to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Moreover, never leave a fire burning near your tent. If you used it as a means of heating the surroundings, set it off before you go to sleep.


The best way to heat a tent just requires a few blankets, heater, and a little bit of gumption. Even if you’re camping during winter, you can stay toasty and enjoy the outdoor adventure. Nevertheless, you should always prioritize safety above all. This way, you can camp out and go home without any hassle.

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