Spring and fall are great times to go camping. Even the winter has become a popular time for campers with a little more nerve.
When camping during cooler weather you can save a lot of money on camping fees and have a completely different experience than camping in the summer.
One downside is that you have to figure out how to keep warm in your tent at night. The truth is this is easier than you may think.
My children and I camp in the mountains most years in early spring. The days are generally beautiful and sunny, but the nights can get really chilly.
We’ve learned all kinds of ways to stay warm in our tents at night, so that we can enjoy beautiful daytime hiking and adventure spring weather in the mountains allows.
While you are getting prepared for the best camping trip possible, be sure to check out these 10 hacks for camping with children.
Here are my best tips for staying warm in a tent during a cold night.
The best bedding for cold nights in a tent:
Your bedding is your best tool for staying warm in a tent.
A sleeping bag designed for the cold can give you a major advantage to keeping warm on long cold nights camping. Choose a sleeping bag designed for colder weather than you are expecting for maximum effect.
I am a very cold natured person. When it’s less than 45 degrees outside while I camp, I’m going to be cold even in sleeping bags created for freezing temperatures every time. I’ve learned that the way to make a cold weather sleeping bag actually keep me warm is to fill up the sleeping bag with blankets and clothing.
Any space not filled inside the sleeping bag is filled with air. Air cools down quickly between your body heat and the sides of the sleeping bag. But there is a way to fix that problem.
Leave as little room in the sleeping bag as you can- blankets inside the sleeping bag with you are much better than blankets piled on top when it comes to staying warm. Any blanket will do, however choosing blankets made of wool, fleece, or down will be the warmest option.
You can also use a hot water bottle to help keep warm inside your sleeping bag.
*Pro tip – Take an extra clean pillowcase camping- each night put tomorrow’s clothes inside the pillowcase.
Your clothes for the day will be warm when you wake up, plus they will take up extra space in your sleeping bag, and if you work hard enough you can even get yourself dressed without getting out of the warm sleeping bag!
Clothing for cold weather tent sleeping:
Put on fresh clothing before climbing into your sleeping bag at night. Don’t sleep in the clothes you wore all day, not even your socks! What you wore all day contains some sweat and that retained moisture can make you feel colder.
While your sleeping bag is the most important tool in staying warm at night, you should sleep in layers to help protect your body from the cold. A good pair of long johns under your pajamas is a great idea.
Wear a hat to keep your head warm.
You can even wear gloves. This can keep you warm should you push your arm out of the sleeping bag of you have to get up and go to the bathroom at night.
Add layers to the bottom of the tent too.
Put layers between you and the ground under your tent. Straw is one of the most popular insulators for under tents. When you leave it can be left in your camping spot to decompose and feed the soil. Straw is an environmentally-friendly choice.
If you want a reusable option, foam mattress pads are great for sleeping on and will put a layer of insulation between you and the ground helping to keep you warm.
Line your tent with mylar. Mylar blankets are cheap and lightweight. They can be used to line the floor, walls, and ceiling of your tent if secured well. This will help trap your body heat in your tent keeping it nice and warm.
*pro tip- sleeping on an air mattress during cold weather will make it much harder to stay warm at night.
The air inside the air mattress cools down faster than solid ground, which can make you feel much colder at night. Choose a more compact bed such as a foam pad or an egg crate style pad if at all possible to keep the cold of the ground and air farther away from your body.
If you do choose to sleep on an air mattress, but sure to place a few layers (such as quilts or another foam pad) on top of the air mattress to help insulate you from that cold air.
Fill your tent
A great way to keep warm in a tent is to share your tent. This will create more body heat that will be trapped in the tent to help keep you warm.
Rather than spreading your family out into several tents, try to fit as many people as possible in the smallest tent that will work. The closer your bodies are while sleeping the warmer you all will be.
Cover your tent
Add a tarp or wind cover to your tent to help keep the wind from getting in and lessen how much heat the wind will remove from your tent as it blows past.
These tips will help your family stay warm while camping in cooler weather. Spring and fall often bring beautiful days and cold nights. Don’t miss those beautiful days due to the cold nights- use these tips to stay warm in your tent at night!