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How to heat a tent in cold weather?

Winter is coming!!!!

A Game of Thrones fan may find this exciting but not for campers. The dreaded mountain chill can frostbite even your energy. Sleeping in the tent in cold weather is less appealing.

But, winter is not a reason to set camping plans aside. With proper camping gears and setup, the cold will have a hard time killing your drive. Sometimes the temperature can go miserably down, and your highest quality, zero degree bag, insulated blankets, and socks can keep away the chill.

You will have no other option but to heat your tent.

How to heat up a tent in winter?

Though there are many ways to heat the tent, they all have some degree of danger. Read our list for knowing the best ways to heat a tent in winter.

Tent Heaters

  • Tent heaters are the choice of seasoned hikers. Many hikers swear by the adequacy of tent heaters in keeping away the chill. However, you have to consider some things before investing one.
  • Tents can only keep cold and wind out. Though you can expect an initial rise in temperature, don’t expect it to stay. The tent will become chilly again once you switch the heater off.
  • Refrain buying gas heaters. Gas heaters increase the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • The safer options are Electric heaters, radiators(1), and electric fan but they have a downside. All these require a power supply.
  • Electric fan heaters are the best since they are feather lite and highly portable. They can reduce the condensation inside tents. 
  • As a hiker, I would not recommend keeping the heater on throughout the night. Such actions invite the probability of fire. I on my heater before bed and in the morning, to take the chill off.
  • Check beforehand if your campsite has a power supply.
  • Turn on the heater only for 10-15 min to reduce chances of fire
  • Position the heater off the ground and away from the tent’s side.

Insulating Carpet

Many hikers seem to consider carpets a luxury. Trust me; insulated carpets can do more than being decors. Walking barefoot in the cold ground is less enticing. Invest in quality carpets and keep the ground chill off. When buying one, invest in a wider size with narrow edges.

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There are electrically heated carpets as well. Though a luxury for campers, this anti-slip carpets can be a valuable addition to your hiking gear. Again, you will need an electric hookup to use one.

Well, for hikers who want to save some bucks, opt for cheaper cardboard. Line your tent floors with those, and it can offer some insulating effect.

Be sure to invest in good quality. They can come handy for a long time than a cheaper one.

Electric Radiators

Yes, some hikers (2) can laugh at you for trailing along with radiators. If your campsite offers power supply, consider buying these. They can heat the tent interiors quietly and emit heat for a while even after being turned off. Unlike the fan heater, they don’t create stuffy air as well.

The heaters have portability issues and will be difficult to carry around. Moreover, they may take a while to radiate heat.

Buy our top choice electric heaters here.

Electric Halogen Tent Heaters

Halogen heaters provide a greater output of heat for the small power they consume. However, check hand, if your campsite allows one. Many have banned those owing to fire hazards.

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To quell the fire hazard, buy one that hangs in your tent. The standing ones cause problems.

They can heat quietly and create a warm glow inside your tent. These are easier to transport than radiators and heats the interiors quietly.

Wood Burning Stove

My favorite gear for heating my tents in the cold. Yes, it requires more effort than electric ones that can heat up with just a button push.

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These traditional gears allow exploring sites that do not have a power supply. They are also cheerful companies for all camps in any seasons. The only requirement is the right sort of tent.

Your tent will also need an appropriate flue exit. A heat resistant mat is also mandatory. Most hikers turn their backs on stoves due to their heaviness. However, these days many portable versions are available in the market.

A carbon monoxide alarm is also a good idea when buying burning stoves.

Gas Tent Heaters-Worth the Risk?

 I would not recommend using gas tent heaters. Though modern designs have reduced fire risks, monoxide poisoning is still the top concern.

Handy tips for staying warm

  • Opt for sleeping bags with ¾ season rating.
  • Invest in thermolite sleeping bag liners to keep the sleeping bags warm.
  • Substitute air mattresses with sleeping mats. Sleeping mats are easily portable and extra comfy.
  • Taper the walls of a tent with Mylar solar thermal blankets. They can reflect the heat better and keep the interior warmer.
  • Consider buying tarps for tents during winter. Tarps are professionally sound to keep the cold and rain outside
  • Always wear thermal socks to bed. A thermal hat and scarf also can offer much warmness.
  • A hot water bottle, stove, and kettle are top priorities during winter camping
  • Ditch your normal hiking wear while settling for the night. A set of long johns or leggings can keep the winter chills and sleeve thermal tops are winter essentials.
  • Drape extra thermal or wool blankets over your sleeping bags.
  • Consider buying hand warmers
  • When the campsite offers no power supply, buy candle lanterns. They can give adequate amounts of heat and ensure some warmth.


  1. Gray, J. (2019). How to safely heat your tent this winter. [online] ADAPT Network. Available at: https://www.adaptnetwork.com/gear/how-to-safely-heat-your-tent-this-winter/ [Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].
  2. Grayston, G. (2019). Tent Heaters for Camping in Autumn, Winter, and Spring. [online] Get Out With The Kids. Available at: https://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk/camping/camping-tips/tent-heaters/ [Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].
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