How To Heat A Tent Without Electricity

Usually when you think of camping, you may think of a warm, sunny day. There are a vast majority of different style campers. Most who probably like to camp during the warmer months but there are a few who also like to camp during the colder months. You may be one of the campers who camp during the colder months and anyone who does knows the importance of staying warm.

There are plenty of products on the market that can sufficiently warm tents, items such as electric and gas tent heaters, but when using any type of heater there is always risk involved. It’s possible for your tent to catch fire when using a heater, so a much safer option is heating your tent without any electric, but how can you do that? This post will go into detail on how you can keep your tent warm without electricity a multitude of different ways.

Sleeping Gear

It’s super important to stay warm not only when you are awake, but while you are sleeping too. Making sure your sleeping gear is set-up to keep you warm is imperative to making sure you are comfortable throughout the night.

Sleeping Bag

Choosing a top rated sleeping bag is essential when trying to make sure you keep warm during the night. It is best to get a sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees, this will ensure your sleeping bag is made to withstand very cold temperatures.You need to always keep your sleeping bag dry because moisture will take heat away from your body.

Store your sleeping bag in a sack that is waterproof and make sure it is completely dry by the time you use it the following night.To stay extra warm in your sleeping bag, a mummy style sleeping bag may be best as it wraps around your head using the drawstring, which helps ensure that no heat escapes from the upper section of your sleeping bag that surrounds your neck and shoulders.

Sleeping Pad

The purpose of a sleeping pad is to trap heat inside of your sleeping bag, without the use of any electricity. Insulated sleeping pads are the best option as they help retain more heat than a regular sleeping pad, generally the colder it is outside the higher R-value you want your pad to have, 5 or more. For a more comfortable sleep and to help your pad retain even more heat, you can place a wool cover over it, especially great if you are sleeping on an uneven ground, so you won’t slide all over the place!

The Therm-a-Rest Mondoking 3D has an R-value of 11.4, which means that it is excellent for winter camping as it can retain a lot of heat. If the weather is warmer it may be best to go with a lightweight option with a lower R-value, the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is a great option as it has an R-value of only 1.3 and has air cells that are integrated and conform to your body for maximum comfort.

Sleeping Bag Liner

Having a sleeping bag liner can greatly increase the temperature of your sleeping bag especially if it is fleece. It increases it about ten degrees more. This also comes in handy when it comes to washing, because it is easier to wash the liner than it is to wash the entire sleeping bag.


Using a wool or another thick blanket to put over your sleeping bag is an excellent and quick way to increase the temperature inside of your sleeping bag, using a thermal blanket can help greatly too.


The type of clothes you wear is a very important factor in keeping warm. You want to make sure you are properly dressed to retain your body heat, but not overdressed to the point that you will overheat. Always make sure to keep your clothes dry, wet clothes will contribute to you losing a significant amount of body heat, making you more uncomfortable and increases your chances of catching a cold.


Wearing a thick pair of socks will ensure your feet stay warm. If needed you can wear more than one pair, but just be sure that you do not sweat as it takes body heat away from you, making you colder.


Wearing a knitted or a wool hat can help with retaining an immense amount of body heat since a lot is actually lost through your head. Also be sure to get a hat that is big enough to come down over your ears.


Having a scarf wrapped around your neck while in your sleeping bag can help better keep heat inside of your sleeping bag and keep air out since most of your body heat is known to escape around the upper portion of your sleeping bag, around your neck and shoulders.


Usually keeping your hands inside of your sleeping bag is enough to keep them warm, but if you find that your hands are still cold, a great option is to use gloves to warm them up. They do not need to be bulky, as it will make it more difficult for you to effectively zip and unzip your sleeping bag.

Your Body

Your body can really work with you in situations where you need to stay warm. Taking a multitude of different steps will help your body remain warm even in cold weather.


Exercising is an excellent way to increase body heat, as it helps the heart pump and gets the blood flowing. Of course you shouldn’t do a full blown thirty minute workout but a great workout you can do to help keep you warm are sit ups. They get the blood flowing pretty quickly. Be careful of not to start doing too many as you will begin to sweat, making your clothes damp and when your clothes get damp it will take body heat away from you.

High Fat and High Protein Foods

Eating food that is high in fat and protein will kick start your metabolism and get your body working hard to burn the fat, which will help warm you up quite a bit.


Keeping yourself hydrated plays an important role in your body keeping itself warm. Hydration helps your digestive system stay active.


Holding your pee contributes to making you colder as it takes body heat for your urine to be warm and not to mention that holding it can make you a lot more uncomfortable while you sleep.

Body Heat

If you are camping with someone else, a great way to increase your body heat is to sleep closer together.

Miscellaneous Camping Items

These are a list of other items you can use to help keep your tent warm.​

Hot Water Bottle

Warm up some water and place it in a water bottle and put it inside of your sleeping bag. It is best to place the water bottle between your legs, around the middle of your thigh as it warms up your femoral arteries which helps the warmth spread throughout your body quicker.

Warm Rocks

Commonly known as “Rock Radiators” this is a great method to not only make sure you are warmer, but the entire tent. You would need to find either one or a few rocks (depending on the size of your tent) that are around 15 pounds or so, set them in the fire for about an hour, safely sift the rock away from the fire and allow it to cool down until it is safe enough for you to handle. You can then place the rock inside the tent and the heat will radiate through the entire tent.


A lot of cold air comes in the tent through the floor and a good way to reduce the amount of cold air that comes through the floor is to use a carpet or rug to put down. If you do not have either one and if you are camping with more than one person, you can put down your sleeping pads close together to help cover the tent floor.

Chemical Heat Packs

There are two different type of heat packs, reusable and disposal. Just place them inside of your sleeping bag and you’ll get warm pretty quickly. Make sure to read the packaging as it is possible that the packs can cause skin irritation.


A quick way to heat a tent without having to get creative is to just use a heater. Pretty simple!

Catalytic Heaters

Catalytic heaters are specifically made to be used inside of your tent. They are fueled by natural gas and a generally very safe for camping. You want to always make sure to read the manufactures instructions on how exactly it should be used, but it is not advised that you should leave it on while you are sleeping, it is best to let it run awhile before you sleep and in the morning when you wake up.

About the Author Kyle Grey

Hey Everyone! My name is Kyle Grey and I am the guy behind outdoor intensity. I am an avid camper and have been camping for well over 10 years. Camping and the outdoors is something that I am super passionate about and because of that I decided to share my experience and knowledge that I have gained over the past 10 years.

Leave a Comment:

Lina Ho says October 22, 2017

Winter is coming. Hats & Gloves should be useful things to remember for warming up my body in the tent. Thank you for this article, Kyle.

    Kyle Grey says October 25, 2017

    It’s essential that we remember those things. You’re very welcome lina!

Hiking Spree says November 12, 2017

Your body is best radiator there is but sometimes it sure needs a little help!

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