Are you thinking of heading out to camp in the cold wintery nights? Then you need to figure out how you are going to keep yourself warm.
Surely you see those big cloaks in movies over the actors and think to yourself you can do the same, but we must tell you that in actuality for overnight camping, you need way more than just a cloak to stay insulated from cold and go through the night without getting frostbite.
Want to know How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping? Here is a list of 8 hacks which we tried and tested personally to remain warm during chilling winter.
- Choose The Right Location: looking for places where wind cannot reach
- Choosing A Tent: select a small weatherproof tent. The best tent for you may just be a canvas popup tent
- Ground Protection: get a thick ground tarp that can provide you with good insulation
- Overhead Protection: carry a waterproof rain tarp that you can apply over your tent
- Sleeping Bags: buy a thermal trapping sleeping bag that fits you perfectly
- Warm Clothes: wear multiple layers of clothes made of a material like wool
- Thermal Blankets: buy a thermal blanket of warm insulating material like wool or nylon
- Heat Generation: Heat Packs, Heaters, Campfire, Hot water bottle or bag
We will first tell you how cold it actually can get and some places you can go for winter camping before letting you know the ways of insulation and how to make a tent warmer. Let’s dive right into it.
- Where To Camp In Winter?
- How To Camp In Winter?
- How Cold Can It Get?
- How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping: 8 Hacks
- What Are The Heat-Generating Methods?
- DIY Tent Insulation
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Final Thought
Where To Camp In Winter?
Winter is beautiful in the States and every one of you must try out camping at that time of the year at least once. The US has specific locations for winter camping which can provide you with the best of experiences. Some of the best are:
- NEW YORK STATE ADIRONDACK PARK – UPSTATE NEW YORK
- PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS STATE PARK – ONTONAGON, MICHIGAN
- WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST – NORTHWEST COLORADO
- WILD RIVER STATE PARK – MINNEAPOLIS/SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
- FORT MYERS BEACH – SOUTHWESTERN FLORIDA
All these places have beautiful natural vegetation and campsites for you to set up your camp. You can enjoy snowfall, skiing, hiking, and many winter sports in these places.
How To Camp In Winter?
Camping in winter is not very different from camping in summer but you need some extra equipment when it comes to winter camp. First of all, you need an extra blanket obviously to cope with the cold. To go with that you will need thicker tents and stronger mats.
In terms of planning, you will need to check weather conditions and that no hazard is going to disturb your camp.
While packing, you will need to pack an extra set of cold-weather clothes and carry hot water in a hot water container. Extra blankets and tarps also come in handy.
While in camp, you can use various methods to keep the interior of the tent warm that we will discuss.
How Cold Can It Get?
You know already that winter is very cold here in the US, but inside your homes, in cozy beds under blankets, you may not realize how cold it is. It is through staying out in the open at night camping, can you realize the actual winter.
It does get as low as 2.6̊ F in some places like Hawaii and Alaska. But over the entire United States, the average temperature throughout the winter season is usually just above freezing at 33̊ F.
So, you know why you surely have to take care of the insulation of the tent. Let’s see how you can do that.
How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping: 8 Hacks
There is no one way of insulating your tent against the cold of night in winter, you have to apply different methods to do so.
1. Choose The Right Location
For preparing your tent for winter camping, you need to look for a place where the temperature will be highest. This can be achieved by looking for places where wind cannot reach, also known as windbreaks. If your tent is set up in between rocks, where the wind cannot reach your tent, the heat inside your tent will automatically stay inside and result in keeping you warm.
2. Choosing A Tent
Now when it comes to choosing a tent, you have to take care of various factors and come up with the best tent for the appropriate condition. They are:
- The tent should be small. The smaller your tent is, the cozier it will be. This is because of the phenomenon of trapping heat. The heat around you will be closer to your body if the tent is smaller.
If you have a larger tent, the heat gets dissipated in the large area inside the tent and thus you feel cold.
You can buy popup tents that are easier to set up and are smaller in size than other tents. If you want, you can check them out 11 Best Pop-up Camping Tents for Quick & Easy Setup.
- The tent should be weather resistant. Some tents are made keeping in mind the change of weather. That is why they are often called 4- season tents. Another advantage of this type of tent is that the tents are more durable.
You can look at canvas tents if you want to buy 4-season tents. If you want, we have the best canvas tents picked out and reviewed at 10 Best Canvas Tents For Camping: Your All-Weather Partner.
- Another feature that you can look at while picking your tent is whether your tent has provision for interior heating methods like bonfire or candles. For that to be the case you also need your tent to be fireproof.
So, the best tent for you may just be a canvas popup tent which is fireproof and well ventilated against fire. Carry one and your wintery night might just be the one you want it to be.
3. Ground Protection
In winter it gets difficult just to set foot on the floor because it gets cold. You do not want to find yourself in such a situation, in which you are completely comfortable on the top side but your back is freezing.
So, we advise you from our experience to get a thick ground tarp that can provide you with good insulation from the cold seeping from beneath. You can easily get a ground tarp specifically made for the cold weather camping in the market.
In case you don’t have a ground tarp, you can use a thick blanket, carpet, or mat in its place. It is better to place a blanket even over ground tarp anyways.
4. Overhead Protection
Most of the cold seeping into the tent is from over you and so its protection is of utmost importance. If the option arises that you can protect either the ground or the top of your tent, go for the top. The snow, rain droplets, frost, or even mist falling over your tent carries away the heat inside your tent with it and makes the inside of your tent cooler.
So, before going for winter camping, carry a waterproof rain tarp that you can apply over your tent as a protective covering. It will trap the heat inside your tent for your comfort and also the waterproofing nature will mean any sort of water droplet won’t bother your night.
Make sure to get the tarp tested for waterproofing beforehand though.
5. Sleeping Bags
You know you are going to carry a sleeping bag for the night, so when you buy the sleeping bag, look to buy the one with the most thermal trapping ability. There are sleeping bags made for this purpose of trapping heat inside in winter, you can look them over.
Try to check if your sleeping bag fits you perfectly because just like tents, unnecessary extra space will just dissipate the heat. Also, it is better if your sleeping bag has padding on all sides because it will make you feel warmer.
So, buy a thermal trapping sleeping bag that fits you perfectly and has paddings on all sides for your winter camping trip. You can find the best sleeping bags here.
6. Warm Clothes
However warm the tent maybe, you will still need your clothes to be warm. If possible, we advise you to wear multiple layers of clothes made of a material like wool. You can further wear socks, hats, scarves, and hand gloves of thermally insulating material for extra protection.
So, before coming for winter camping, try to pack a bag of your warmest clothes and carry them in plenty.
7. Thermal Blankets
Thermal blankets are another thing that can help in keeping the interior of your tent warm. The way to use thermal blankets is that you tape the blanket to the top of your tent on the inside of your tent and it can block the heat tying to go out through the roof.
You can buy a thermal blanket of warm insulating material like wool or nylon and you are good to go for your camp.
8. Heat Generation
You have seen how to trap the heat inside your tent but the heat of your body is not enough to prevent your body from frostbite or freezing. For that, you need to have a system for generating heat and that can be done in several ways.
What Are The Heat-Generating Methods?
There are several ways you can heat your ten or sometimes your sleeping bag. Check these ways and you will never go cold.
1. Heat Packs
Heat packs are a handy thing you can carry if you are going somewhere cold. They are small in size and can be easily carried.
You can just place it in your sent or inside your sleeping bag and it will release heat out. They are cheap means of keeping your tent warm.
Tent heaters these days have become very popular. They are portable and do not involve the risk of burning the tent. Although one thing is that tent heaters will require electricity which may not be feasible everywhere but if you have access to electricity, tent heaters are the best means to keep yourself warm.
Campfire is a recreational activity that is popular in all seasons, be it summer or winter. In winter camping though, it becomes quite a necessity sometimes because of the requirement of heat.
Who doesn’t want to sit around a campfire and feel the warmth of the flames on your body while catching up to your fellow campers? Everyone does.
You can set your campfire inside or outside, based on your convenience. But if you are setting it inside, you have to ensure that your tent is fireproof or have ventilation for the smoke.
4. Hot water bottle or bag
Finally, if you cannot have any of the above three for your camp, the simplest way is by using a hot water bottle or a hot water bag to keep yourself warm. It isn’t as effective as heaters or campfire as water can go cold fairly quickly in winter, but it surely is better than staying cold in winter.
DIY Tent Insulation
Insulating your tent in winter is very essential and as you have seen there are many items associated with it but you can make your tent insulated just by using things available at home.
You can just do the following things:
- Set up your tent
- Put a waterproof plastic over your entire tent from the outside.
- Tape a blanket on the top of the tent from the inside
- Place a thick cloth or a blanket on the floor
- Keep a warm water bottle close to you.
- Enjoy your good night’s sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Winter in the States, though beautiful can also be tricky to camp in. You need full protection to withstand the cold and using thick layers can help you in that.
For us, we usually use tarps to cover the top and the bottom, use a warm sleeping bag, and use heaters to keep producing heat. You can use a similar one or maybe some other method shown according to your convenience.
But remember, a camping trip is as good as the night’s sleep you get. So, you shouldn’t make compromises when it comes to keeping yourself warm and enjoy a peaceful and calm night.
Do share your winter camping stories with us through the comment section below.
And as usual, Happy Camping!