How to Insulate Your Tent and Beat the Chill While Camping

As we prepare for the fall weather, you may be getting ready to pack up the camping gear and head back home for what will feel like a long, cold winter. But do not fret, campers, just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean you need to stay inside and watch the fall and winter pass you by. 

You can always buy or rent a hot tent for a weekend (and if you’re going somewhere with frigid temperatures, we would suggest doing so), but if the low temperature of the night is somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you probably don’t need a tent made for the tundra. So how can you insulate the tent you already have? You probably have more of the gear you need than you think.

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Prep Your Tent

Image by Christopher Kimmel/Aurora Photos

Before you even set up your tent, be sure there is a barrier between the bottom of your tent and the ground. Put down a tarp that is the same size or larger than the footprint of your tent. This will create the first layer of the barrier that will keep your tent warm on those first cool nights of fall. 

If it’s windy outside, add a second tarp to the side of your tent. (Essentially, make a windbreaker for your tent.) And if it’s rainy out, pack a third tarp to add to the top of the tent. Basically, tarps are going to be your best friend when it comes to insulating your tent from the outside. You can also add a thermal blanket to the top of your tent for extra added warmth.

Inside the tent, add some layers to the floor. Sleeping pads will not only add extra comfort when you’re sleeping but also help keep your tent warm on those chilly nights. You might also consider adding a rug or carpeting to the bottom of your tent. Of course, you’ll also need a sleeping bag that’s good for cooler weather.

Prep Yourself

Image by Anchiy

No matter how many extra layers you add to the ground, if it’s cold outside, you’re probably still going to feel it to some degree. Make sure you pack thermal underwear and/or base layers to keep you warm during the night. This will keep your body heat close to you while the layers added to the tent will trap heat inside the tent. You can also bring hand warmers for extra heat, but please read the safety instructions and don’t fall asleep with them on your skin. 
If, after your many layers of insulation, you still don’t feel like they’re working, you can add a tent-safe heater to your setup.