How to Stay Warm in a Tent (Helpful Tips)

The last thing you want to do is crawl into a cold tent while camping. This may be unavoidable depending on the time of year, but that doesn’t mean that you must feel cold and uncomfortable. Whether you have lots of camping experience or not, you may still struggle with how to stay warm in a tent.

It’s easy to stay warm in a tent if you change out of sweaty clothes and wear several layers before you go to bed. Wear thermal socks and gloves before you go to sleep when camping in the fall and winter. Eat a heavy meal with lots of calories, fat, and protein before bed, and avoid drinking alcohol to stay warm in a tent.

Stuff your sleeping bag with dry clothes or a blanket to stay warm in a tent on cold nights. Follow along as we explore how to stay warm in a tent on your next camping trip.

How Do You Stay Warm While Sleeping in a Tent?

Pick a Sunny Campsite

The best way to stay warm in a tent is to pick a sunny campsite. Ideally, you should look for a spot in a clearing where your tent will get plenty of unobstructed sunlight. Set your tent up when it’s still sunny out so it can absorb as much heat as possible.

Try not to open and close the tent too many times throughout the day. This will help preserve the heat so you can stay warm when it’s time to go to sleep.

Bring a Small Tent

It’s much easier to stay warm in a tent if it’s small. Large tents may be more spacious, but there’s also more room for cool air to expand. Bring a small tent that is just big enough to fit you and your bags so you can stay warm overnight.

Change Clothes

Do you plan on hiking out in the sun before staying in a tent overnight? If so, your clothes are likely quite sweaty. The moisture within your clothes will naturally lower your body temperature throughout the night.

Change out of your sweaty clothes before you get into your sleeping bag at the end of the night. This will help you stay warm in the tent.

Wear Layers

Make sure to put on some comfortable layers after you change out of your sweaty clothes. Pick a comfortable base layer that features moisture-wicking material if you are worried about sweating overnight. Thermal socks and long johns can help prevent heat loss as you sleep.

A thermal long-sleeved shirt beneath a thin hoodie should provide plenty of warmth without making you sweat too much overnight.

Pack Thermal Socks

It’s no secret that body heat can escape through your feet. That’s the last thing you want when you stay in a tent, especially in cold weather. Thermal socks are comfortable and can help your body retain heat throughout the night.

However, it’s best to change into fresh, dry thermal socks before you get in the tent for the night. Wet thermal socks will make you feel cold and uncomfortable. Look for thermal socks made of polyester, acrylic, nylon, and sheep’s wool.

Wear Gloves

Just like how heat can escape through your feet, your hands can also quickly affect how warm you are in your tent. Even if the rest of your body is covered by layers, heat can still escape through your hands and leave you cold at night. A pair of nylon, wool, polyester, or acrylic gloves can help you stay warm in a tent overnight.

Don’t Drink Alcohol

While alcohol may make you feel warm at first, it has the opposite effect. Alcohol eventually lowers your body temperature, and this can increase the risk of hypothermia. It can also cause dehydration which can lower your body temperature even further.

A central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows down nearly all your body’s natural processes. Your brain will get less oxygen, and it will be harder to digest food if you have alcohol in your system.

Bring a Mat

You will naturally feel cold if you put your sleeping bag directly onto the floor of the tent. This is especially true if the ground beneath your tent is cold. Bring a mat or two to place underneath your sleeping bag to serve as a buffer between you and the ground. You can also stack mats to provide extra comfort and warmth.

Use Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are lifesavers in cold weather. They also come in handy when you want to stay warm in a tent on a cold night. Simply place hand warmers in each of your pockets before you go to sleep, and you will notice a huge difference. It also helps to put hand warmers between your legs and even on your stomach to keep your core warm.

Eat a Heavy Meal

While it’s not recommended that you eat a heavy meal before bed every night, it can help you stay warm in a tent. Heat is a byproduct of digestion, and this is exacerbated when you eat heavy meals that are harder to digest. Prepare a meal with a high-calorie count that features lots of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

This will extend the digestion process, and it will keep you warmer for longer. Make sure to bring antacids with you to be safe as eating before bed can trigger acid reflux for many people.

Stuff Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are quite sensitive to temperature, so they can quickly become cool on chill nights. You can combat this if you stuff your sleeping bag to help stay warm in a tent overnight. Stuff your sleeping bag with the clothes you plan to wear the next day.

This will ensure that it isn’t soaked in sweat from hiking. Place some articles of clothing on either side of your body. It also helps to put a shirt or hoodie between your legs or thighs to help keep your core warm throughout the night.

Drink Lots of Water

Not only is dehydration dangerous, but it’s also quite uncomfortable. Once you become dehydrated, you can experience uncomfortable sensations such as chills and fever. These are early symptoms of serious dehydration that can lead to much bigger problems.

Ideally, you should drink up to 3.7 liters of water per day. However, you must make sure to consume lots of electrolytes as well. Drinking too much water without consuming any electrolytes can strip your body of essential minerals, such as magnesium.

So, How Do You Stay Warm in a Tent?

Wear several layers, put on thermal socks and gloves, and put your sleeping bag on a mat to stay warm in a tent. Set your tent up in a sunny spot so it will warm up throughout the day. Place hand warmers in your pocket and your sleeping bag before you go to sleep so you stay warm.

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