It’s not as if tents come designed with built-in heating systems so when the weather gets a little cold outside when you’re camping in a tent, you have to come up with creative ways to keep yourself warm. Things can get even more complicated if you don’t have access to electricity.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to still sleep and stay in a warm tent. How to heat a tent without electricity is a very popular and common question in the world of camping. So, today, we wanted to give a rundown of some of the best and safest methods of going about this. Let’s rock.
1. Pack the right sleeping bag
Easily one of the best ways to heat a tent and keep yourself warm while you sleep is to invest in the right sleeping bag. Sure, you can just settle for any old sleeping bag that you can find at your local convenience store, but not all models are made the same.
If you want the absolute best cold weather sleeping bag, it’s probably best to buy a design with down insulation. We won’t sugarcoat it, down insulation sleeping bags aren’t cheap. When it comes to insulators, however, down’s been called nature’s best, and we certainly aren’t here to disagree.
In addition to its superb warmth-to-weight ratio, down’s also highly compressible, and it can also wick away moisture from your body. Plus, you can buy a sleeping bag that has more fill power, and one that’s rated to handle extremely cold temperatures. While the right sleeping bag isn’t going to heat the entire tent, it will heat you and your body.
2. Use a battery-powered heater
How to heat a tent without electricity? Well, what if you just opt for batteries instead? Is that cheating? Guess what, though? This one’s too good to be true. So, why did we even bring it up, then? The reason we did is we actually covered what some of the best battery-powered heaters are for a tent in a different post.
You’ll see many articles online detailing the same, but battery-powered tent heaters technically don’t exist. Maybe one day that will be a thing, but there are still heaters on the market that can heat a tent. However, remember, there’s still no access to electricity as some of the best space heaters for this purpose will be corded.
That leaves you with propane heaters, and they can be used safely in a tent. Yes, the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning is real with these, but there are a couple of things we want to point out.
One, some of these heaters will be certified indoor safe. Two, most will come with built-in detection systems to automatically power the heaters off when they detect that oxygen levels are too low. Oh, and such heaters can also be paired with carbon monoxide monitors and sensors for even more safety.
3. Set up your tent in the correct spot
Would you believe us if we told you that one of the best ways how to heat a tent without electricity is to just ensure that you set it up in a good and optimal spot? We’re not saying that additional methods of heat will no longer be necessary, but you really should think about where you’re setting your tent up.
One of the biggest issues with keeping yourself warm in a tent is with the wind. Due to such, it’s ideal to assemble your tent in a location where you can keep the wind at bay. This can be very difficult but avoid leaving your tent in an open field or in an elevated position (such as at the top of a hill).
It’s best to set up your tent surrounded by trees so they can help to block the wind. Then again, avoid placing your tent directly under a tree because on top of blocking the sun more, you also have to account for falling branches.
4. Rig your tent with some insulation
Let’s just say that tents aren’t exactly known for having amazing insulation. Most tents are actually designed to have ventilation and to be breathable given that many people enjoy warm weather tent camping. So, with that said, there are some items you can buy to help better insulate your tent.
Arguably the number one area that can help the most is to insulate the flooring. There are a few ways you can go about doing this. If you’re camping and not backpacking, you can purchase an all-weather carpet to line the tent floor with. Considering this will add a lot of weight to your load, this might not be the best option for backpackers.
Another solution is to buy a foam sleeping mat to keep yourself off of the ground while you sleep. That cold ground can certainly be a killer on those cold camping nights.
I’ve written another article on how to insulate your tent for winter camping – consider giving it a read if you’re interested in insulating your tent.
5. Buy a 4-season tent
Okay, so we just got done saying that tents aren’t known for their insulating properties. While that’s certainly true, there is this thing called a 4-season tent, and it’s specifically designed and optimized for cold weather camping.
It’s kind of ironic that it’s called a 4-season tent, as it’s really a winter tent. As opposed to the more traditional, 3-season tent, a winter tent’s main job is to keep you safe from extreme weather. Such tents will be much better equipped to handle powerful winds and heavy snow loads.
Also, they won’t feature much mesh at all, and that’s a staple material for keeping 3-season tents well ventilated. Basically, in the summer, you’d be more or less dying from the heat of a 4-season tent. In the frigid cold, though, it’s the tent style that you’re probably going to want.
Well, there you have it. Truly, there are more options than just the ones listed above of how to heat a tent without electricity. However, we really like the solutions above. From buying the right sleeping bag (preferable down) to buying yourself a gas space heater to purchasing a 4-season tent that’s designed to handle the cold, you do have a lot of leeway on which way you want to go.
Don’t be afraid to combine some of the options too. It all depends on how darn cold the temperature’s going to be on your next camping adventure. Regardless, stay safe and warm out there!