How to Heat a Tent?

ways to keep a tent warm

Camping is one of the best adventures that you always anticipate going for during the summer or winter season. Learning how to heat a tent is important since you won’t let cold temperatures stop you from exploring the world.

Your camping expeditions will be very much enjoyable when your body is warm.

From this article, you are going to learn

  • How to heat a tent minus electricity?
  • How to heat a tent with electricity?

ways to keep a tent warm

How to Heat a Tent without Electricity?

To heat a tent in winter or in the wilderness where you have limited resources at your disposal, there are many ways to keep your tent warm. These do not require the use of electricity. What’s more,  you need to choose a winter tent to spend a cold night outside.

Use Heating Rocks

You can use a super-heated fire cobblestone to warm up your tent. There is one problem you are likely to face using these stones.

When you just simply heat them and place them directly in the tent, they are likely to cool after approximately two hours. The tent will be cold again just as before.

What do you do? You have another option.

You can use a pot with a lid. Where you place your hot rocks inside then cover. However, this technique will only provide you sufficient heat for a maximum of three hours.

You still have five hours of complete cold temperatures. You need a more lasting solution for up to six to eight hours.

 Aluminum foil is the best thermal insulator. It can store heat for up to 12 hours long without getting cold. Wrap the cobblestone with aluminum foil. Five layers will suffice your night needs.

When you start to feel cold, unwrap the foil layer by layer to increase warmth. Strive to exercise caution with the rock as it can burn the bottom of the tent. Place it in a pan to avoid risks.

heating cobblestones that warm up your tent

Use Hot Water Bottles

One of the old-fashioned, yet still most popular eco-friendly way to keep a tent warm without electricity is using a hot water bottle.

This method is very effective in delivering results. Your body will feel warm in a matter of minutes.

You will first need to boil water up to 100 degrees then pour it in a bottle. You can place the bottle at any location you feel comfortable with.

You can wrap it in a cloth then hold it against your chest for maximum heating. You could place it underneath your sleeping pad or inside your sleeping bag. It is entirely up to you.

If you desire to get warm very fast, then a hot water bottle is a great way to start.

Insulate the Tent

You might have a heater and all those but if the heat keeps escaping, it won’t do you any good.

Thus you can use carpet on the floor. A woolen mat is the best material to use on the floor. This provides insulation from the cold air that might come from the ground.

Additionally, you can fix emergency blankets on the exterior walls of the tent. This will reflect the heat whenever it tries to escape.

Alternatively, sleeping inside the sleeping bag will heat the tent.

use carpet to keep a tent warm

Set up Your Tent on Top of a Campfire

This idea is drawn from old age where folks used to dig a hole and fill them with firewood. This fire provided heat, but upon completion, the coal and ash were buried with soil.

The place remained hot for many hours. When all wood has burned out or you are satisfied, you can fill up the hole.

When setting up your tent on top of the campfire site. Do not use carpet on the floor.

You will receive a continuous flow of heat throughout the night. This campfire site can remain warm throughout the night.

Use Candles

It is advisable not to allow fire inside the tent. Most tents are not designed to be fire-proof, any small mistake and it burns. A candle is a safe medium, though.

Companies have worked tirelessly to produce candles that are safe to use inside a tent. An example is the UCO candle lantern and the UCO Anodized candle lantern among others.

These candles provide sufficient lighting and heat to keep you warm. The heat produce can dry your clothes too. Isn’t this fun?

Unfortunately, candles are not designed entirely to produce heat. Also, the tent is not made to retain heat. Some heat will escape through the openings and even the ground.

use candles to heat up a tent

Low-Temperature Sleeping Bag and Mylar Blanket

A Mylar blanket is a special type of blanket. It is foldable, lightweight, and made using a heat-reflective material. It can either repel or conduct heat. This will depend on how you use it.

For it to act as an insulation against heat loss, you have to wrap it loosely around your body. Your body radiates heat. You need this when the weather is hot. But do you want your body to lose heat during the cold season?

The blanket reflects heat to keep you warm through the night. The heat you release is reflected in the airspace between the blanket and your body. How does it conduct heat?

When you lie on the blanket, the air spaces are lost. As a result, the blanket will begin to conduct heat leaving you shivering. For this reason, you should strive to use it as instructed by the manufacturer for you to enjoy its benefits.

stay warm in a tent by using mylar blanket

Another option is using a low-temperature sleeping bag. It helps trap the heat generated by your body, hot water, or the hot rocks.

When the temperatures drop in the dead of the night, you will remain heated thanks to the sleeping bag.

You no longer have to wake up and head straight to your coffee jar because you are chilled. Use a sleeping bag to help retain heat.

Use Hand and Feet Warmers

You can use hand and feet warmers to keep your extremes heated up.

The warmers are usually in small packs, so it will not be a burden to carry. They can fit in tiny spaces. The common one consists of water, iron, activated carbon, salt, and vermiculite. The latter is a mineral.

The salt acts as a catalyst to speed up the reaction. Carbon, on the other hand, serves to distribute the generated heat from the reaction. Vermiculite acts as an insulator.

So, the heat produced is enough to keep your toes and hands warm.

The heat produced can last for up to eight hours. You should use warmers without removing them from their pouches.

It should not be in direct contact with your skin. Your skin will burn in the process of heat production. It is small enough to fit in your boots and gloves (outside the inner lining).

use hand warmers to stay warm in a tent

Place Foam Mat Below Your Sleeping Bag

The best way to ensure you have uninterrupted sleep all night long is by having a foam mat. This bag acts as an insulator.

It prevents the heat from escaping into the ground. Many types of these pads are available in the market.

These sleeping pads are less expensive. To top it up, you will sleep comfortably in frosty temperatures.


How to Heat a Tent with Electricity?

You can use electricity to make your tent warmer. You will need a power source for you to achieve this though. Carrying a generator is one way to ensure that you have a sufficient power source to last you through the week.

However, if you are going camping in a place with electricity then a generator is not necessary.

Here is how you can use electricity to heat your tent:

Using an Electric Heater/Portable Generator

use electric heater to heat up a tent

An electric heater is a very efficient and effective way to heat your tent. You do not need to worry about cold nights anymore.

Camping is an adventure that should not be postponed because of cold seasons. An electric heater will need a power source to keep it powered up. A portable generator will act as your source of power during camping.

You need to have all the necessary additional equipment. Your normal home extension cords will not work here. You need proper cords fitted with a circuit breaker. This is the only way you will operate the electric heater.

An electric heater unlike other ways of heating is fast. You just power it up before you sleep. It heats all angles of the tent equally.

It is lightweight and portable, you can carry it anywhere you go. Additionally, its prices are very low.

The only disadvantage of using an electrical heater is that the heated air dries up very quickly.

Put the heater above the ground and away from the walls of the tent.

Electric Blanket

An electric blanket is another device that you can use to stay warm. This product, however, does not heat up the entire tent. It heats you alone.

Just like an electric heater, you will need to pack your portable generator to act as a power source while you are in the wilderness.

There are other alternatives though; you can opt to use a 12-volt electric blanket, which you can power using your car’s lighter or a USB charged blanket.

Generally, an electric blanket should have a power control. This enables you to adjust the temperatures whenever you feel uncomfortable with the heat generated.

You might think that since they are electrically powered, their cost is high. No, they are cheap, lightweight, easy to roll, and transport. They also exist in different sizes.

You should replace your blanket over the years since just like any other electrical appliance it can easily damage.

Underfloor Heating Carpets

a heating carpet can keep a tent warm

Underfloor heating carpet is another way to keep your tent warm when camping. This carpet is a better version. It is more efficient and effective compared to an electric heater.

However, an electric heater makes the air dry. This might cause a fire risk.

Underfloor heating carpet, on the other hand, is designed to produce heat alone. It is lightweight and foldable. You can pack it in your backpack.

Just like an electrical heater and electric blanket, you need a portable generator to charge it.

Electric Radiators

You can opt for an electric radiator too. Though it is a bit luxurious, what the heck. The purpose of your camping is for you to enjoy each moment. It is the best alternative to an electric heater since it does not dry the surrounding air.

Additionally, it runs quietly. You will have uninterrupted sleep when using a radiator compared to an electric heater. It has fans that tend to be noisy when running.

You will be supplied with continuous warm air even after shutting it down. This will help you save on cost.

Some of the problems associated with an electrical radiator include:

  • It is bulky hence difficult to transport.
  • It is most effective in the center of the room. So, the corners will not receive much heat.
  • It does not produce heat instantly. Therefore, it takes longer to heat your tent.

With the many types of electric radiators in the market, you should ensure you select one that is designed for the size of the talent. Consult with the seller before deciding which one to buy.

use electric radiator to keep a tent warm


What Kind of Heater Can Be Safely Used in a Tent?

Are you wondering whether it is safe to use a heater in a tent? An electric heater is said to be the best type of heater to use.

It produces sufficient heat throughout. Even though it supplies you with enough heat, choose one with the right safety features.

An electric heater can dry the surrounding air making the tent stuffy. If tipped off it can start a fire. There are electrical heaters equipped with sensors. When tipped off the heater will automatically switch off.

Furthermore, you should put your heater away from clothing, and the walls of the tent. These are potential risks to fire. Another excellent safe way is to use the electric heater when awake.

You can use an electric blanket if you want something that will keep you heated up all night. It produces enough heat to keep you comfortable through the night. It is the safest way to keep you warm.


What Not to Use to Heat a Tent?

Any type of heater is practically unsafe for use inside a tent. You need to exercise caution when using a heater in the tent. Ensure you follow all the safety precautions enlisted with the heater.

Some of the heaters not to use include:

  • Combusting heaters

A heater that requires burning should not be used in a tent. When oxygen is combusted, carbon monoxide is the by-product. This gas is dangerous and might be fatal inside your small tent, especially if the air cannot easily circulate leading to smoke concentration.

  • Gas lanterns

You should never use a gas-powered lantern to heat your tent. Any type of flame in a tent is a potential fire hazard. A tent features limited ventilation. As a result, gas fumes will build up inside the tent. This leads to carbon monoxide poisoning and explosion.

how to safely heat a tent

Generally, avoid using any source of heat that requires combustion inside the tent. Following simple safety precautions will ensure you enjoy your camping experience.

All accidents that have occurred inside tents were a result of misuse and unsafe practices. It is practically possible to use a heater to warm up the room then switch it off.

You can turn it back on in the morning when you wake up. This will ensure you are completely safe inside your tent.



Your spirit of adventure should not be halted because of the weather. Summer or winter camping is a very entertaining activity that you should not miss. When going camping carry all the necessary equipment to ensure you remain warm throughout.

Whether using non-electric means or electricity to heat your tent, you should enjoy camping.