Camping in a tent may be a thrilling adventure! However, if you’re new to tent camping, you might need some suggestions, particularly on how to keep your tent toasty even when there’s no electricity.
Most campers won’t have an issue with this because most campgrounds include electricity outlets, even tents. If you choose to use the back roads, though, you’ll need to pay close attention.
When it comes down to it, the easiest option to heat a tent without power is to use a portable propane gas heater developed exclusively for camping. They’re small and can heat a tent for up to 7 hours on a single gas canister. (Read Most Comfortable Way To Sleep In A Tent)
How to Heat a Tent Without Electricity
1. Purchase a Radiant Heater with a Portable Gas Heater
One solution is to invest in a radiant heater like Mr. Heater Buddy. (Amazon) Mr. Heater comes in a variety of sizes, but the 4,000-9,000 variant is my favorite. Even on the coldest nights, this will be more than enough to keep your cold tent warm. However, using Mr. Heater Buddy has one disadvantage: you must supply extra gas.
While this is not an issue if you plan to drive straight to your campsite, it may be a problem if you plan to hike many miles off the usual road to get there.
If you run a small gas canister on low, it will only last around 4 hours. This implies you’ll have to bring many canisters merely to keep your tent warm for one night.
A word of caution before utilizing any gas-powered heater. All gas heaters produce carbon monoxide to some extent. While neither of these units is expected to make enough to pose a threat to you or your family, it is your responsibility to read the product instructions and follow them.
It is not recommended to sleep with a tent heater. When there’s no electricity, heater like radiant heater, propane heater, electric heaters, and portable heaters aren’t the only option for keeping your tent warm.
2. Rocks of Heat
Heated Rock can also be used to heat the entire tent and fight the cold air without the use of power. It may sound a little silly when you think about it, yet this strategy has been utilized to great effect for hundreds of years.
People used to heat their stoves by placing their “bedrocks” on top of it. The rock would then be wrapped in rags and placed at the foot of the bed. This would enable the stone to radiate heat throughout the night.
When you’re winter camping, you can do the same thing. Find a dense, smooth, and dry smooth rock. Place your rock near to the campfire once you’ve discovered it, ideally just close enough for it to absorb the heat. (Learn How To Insulate A Tent)
Wrap the rock in some cloth and place it at the bottom of your sleeping bags once it’s warmed up. The effectiveness of this treatment will astound you.
3. Bottle of Hot Water
Using hot water bottles are like using hot stones, except you can fill it with hot water instead of leaving it by the fire.
The disadvantage is that a hot water bottle releases heat faster, requiring more frequent refilling.
Heat some water over a campfire or on a stove and pour it into the water bottle; once it’s full, close the top snugly and store it in your sleeping bags. By this method, you can heat a tent without electricity.
4. Using Coals for a Campfire
Now, if you want to stay safe, you’ll need to use this approach right, but it’s really effective at keeping the temperature inside warm. But how does it function?
Dig a fire pit for your campfire before lighting it; be careful to save the soil in a pile beside the fire. For this to operate, it needs to have a reasonable depth.
When it’s time to retire for the night, extinguish the fire and use the coals to keep your tent warm. To do so, use the earth you left behind to smooth the flames, taking care to cover the entire fire.
Ensure there’s plenty of soil on top of the fire, so it doesn’t get too hot to touch while still releasing heat. Place your tent on top of the dirt and secure it with pegs. The heat from the coals will permeate the cold ground and begin to warm your tent.
It’s a cool method, but make sure you do it correctly, or things will get incredibly hot very quickly.
5. Purchase a High-Quality Sleeping Bag
If you’re only going camping in cold weather, any sleeping bag, together with the tips mentioned above, should keep you warm enough for the night. However, if you plan on camping in severely cold temps, you’ll need a insulated sleeping pad bag developed expressly for this purpose.
When buying a cold-weather sleeping bag, look for one that is rated for the temps you’ll be camping in. Regrettably, these scores aren’t very accurate! They’re usually wrong by 10 to 15 degrees. If the sleeping bag you’re considering has a temperature rating of 20-25 degrees, you’ll want to go with one in the 10-15 degree range.
Also, if you can afford it, invest in a down sleeping bag. When compared to their synthetic competitors, they are well worth the extra money.
6. Frost-catching sleeping bag lining
Choose a sleeping bag specifically designed for cold weather. Add a lightweight rectangle sleeping bag liner to make it even cozier. It can be used on the inside of your sleeping bag in the summer, but it can also be used on the outside of your sleeping bag to assist capture frost in the winter.
You can keep it a lot warmer by putting your zero-degree thick sleeping bag inside it, along with a fleece liner. It is then this frost liner, not your sleeping bag, that will become wet.
7. Use a candle to reduce radiation.
For a moment, let’s get a little heated. Candles emit radiated heat, which raises the temperature within a compact space such as a tent. Candles in tents have been found in studies to raise temperatures by up to 15 degrees on really cold days.
But, for a moment, let’s be honest. Only attempt this if you can stay awake while the candle is burning and only when it’s extremely cold outside.
8. Clay Pots for Tent Heating
The first approach does not entail the use of candles. Cover the drain hole in the pots with foil, a coin, or a small rock, then fill them with sand and lay them next to the bonfire to heat up. Move the pots inside your tent with insulated fireproof gloves and allow them to radiate heat to warm your tent.
Candles are used in the second approach. Light 4 tea lights on a fireproof level surface inside your tent, then set a clay pot upside down above the candles but off the ground to allow the candles to get oxygen, then place a larger clay pot over the smaller one and cover the drain hole with a coin or other fireproof material. The candles’ heat will warm the clay pots, which will release the radiant heat gradually over time.
9. Conduction/radiation hand and foot warmers
Fasten your seatbelts. “Air-activated hand warmers contain cellulose, iron, activated charcoal, vermiculite (which stores water), and salt,” according to Wikipedia. When exposed to air, hand warmers produce heat by exothermic oxidation of iron. They usually generate heat for 1 to 10 hours, and it takes 15 to 30 minutes for them to warm up.”
Isn’t it bad? When iron comes into contact with oxygen, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in the formation of rust—the salt aids in the speeding up of the process. Heat is released throughout the process, as it is with most chemical reactions.
The warmers are placed against your hands and feet to transfer heat from the pouch to your hands and feet. The pouches also radiate a little amount of heat, keeping your hands and feet toasty.
10. Make sure your tent is well-insulated.
To be clear, this strategy works best when used in conjunction with any of the previous methods. Insulating a tent is designed to keep warm air inside while reflecting it back to you. Well insulated tent ensures that the tent is kept warm just by your body heat if the weather isn’t too cold outside. You also have to check the tent walls from time to time.
11. Wear a balaclava to keep the heat in.
The majority of the time, clothing is worn to trap and store heat. Our clothing does not offer us thermal energy unless we wear electric socks. It simply takes what we give it and turns it against us. When worn against our skin, a balaclava aids conduction, and when worn loosely, it aids radiation. (Read Packing A Tent)
12. Buttercup, cuddle up – conduction.
Cuddling up might be an appropriate approach to stay warm, depending on the social environment. My wife and I each have our own tent that we can zip together. This way, all we have to do is cuddle up and keep each other warm. Conduction heating with a smidgeon of radiant heating is used when cuddling up next to someone.
13. Dehumidifier/moisture absorber – dries the air.
Portable moisture absorbers are quite affordable and help to keep the tent dry.
So, why are you cooler while the weather is hotter? When the temperature is chilly, and the humidity is high, the body conducts heat away from the body more rapidly and easily, and we become colder as a result.
14. Wood-burning stove
The availability of hot tents has helped to increase the popularity of winter camping. These large canvas tents are designed to be heated with a wood stove.
They can make a -40 night extremely comfortable by having a heat-resistant vent hole for the stovepipe to travel through.
Wood stoves that firms pair with heated tents are compact and easy to transport. Everything is designed to work together for more efficient mobility and less wasted space.
The combined weight of the tent and stove is normally above 50 pounds, necessitating a sled, making them only suitable for use in the winter when going on foot.
If you’re in a wooded region, you’ll be able to find deadwood that’s dry enough to burn in the stove. You will need to bring wood processing instruments, such as a saw and an ax because the pieces of wood must be tiny enough to fit.
Allow at least two hours before dark to find and process all of the wood you’ll need to keep your tent warm all night.
Apart from providing heat, the burner also allows you to cook and boil water to melt snow. Bring some cord to string because the heat released helps you dry any moist garments. (Find the Best 3 Burner Camp Stove)
The smoke from the wood stove keeps the mosquitoes away and helps to heat your tent without power.
Your camping vacations will be more enjoyable and safer if you have a warm tent on a cool night. Your shelter, clothing, sleeping method, and you all contribute to a pleasant setting.
Learning how to warm a tent without electricity is just a beginning toward being a master of the great outdoors.
Consider how all of your systems work together to keep your core body temperature stable and try to improve them a bit more with each trip.