How to Insulate a Tent for Winter Camping

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Not everyone waits in the winter to go camping. But what if it comes to the move and you’re forced to spend a night or two or even more outdoors in a winter tent. What will you do during those nights to keep you and your family safe and cozy? It won’t harm you learning how to protect your tent from the cold of winter, even if you don’t intend to camp in winter— you may be camping in fall or spring, and a random cold night will take you away.

When you know how to keep them warm and yourself, you and your family will be very comfortable. For winter camping, there are some effective ways to cover your tent. And if you’re hoping to become one of those brave souls to start camping in winter, take a look at Dessert&Fox’s instant 4 season tent setup.



 

Professional campers say to keep you warm, it’s better to go smaller. But what if you have an extended family, and if you’re one of those people who believe that doing things with the family? Search for the bigger 4-season automatic pop-up tent.

But you can work with what you have

tent

If you got your tent already, and if you’re not a winter camper, you’ll probably have a 3-season tent or even a 2-season tent. A tent’s purpose is to keep you dry and keep you out of the wind, and to keep your sleeping bag warm, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

If you don’t have a 5-season Arctic weather tent, you’ll need to be insulated to keep the cold out. If you’ve got a tent for 2 or 3 seasons, you’ll have to winter it. There are three elements that you want to keep out of your tent, rain, heat, and cold. You’re going to want to keep the heat inside. That’s when your 2 or 3 season tent will be insulated.

Let’s start with floor covering, and that said we’re going to have a look at what you can use both in an emergency and in the field. You want the floor to be sealed so that no water or humidity will come in from the ground or under the tent. Winter comes with heat, and when you want to keep the cold out, you don’t want that.

How to insulate the floor

tent

You’ll need some floor covering to insulate the floor. If you have a  tent with the floor attached to the sides, you should look into getting an insulated carpet. But use a tarp pad, which is a heavy waterproof fabric, in case of emergencies.


 

Tarps are the most common flooring for campers and backpackers. If you buy a regular tarp it might not 100% waterproof, but it’s a good starting point to keep out moisture and provide some protection from the edges.

There’s also a very cheap option, a cardboard box that helps if you don’t have anything else, and you want to stack a few layers at the bottom of the floor and then cover it with some ground sheet or tarp sheet canvas. It all depends on the situation you’re in.

Another perfect way to put some padding between you and the floor is a regular foam pad. If you’re a one person camper, less is better. You should look into a one-person 3-season backpacking tent like the one GeerTop supplies.


 

How to insulate the tent’s walls

How to Insulate a Tent for Winter Camping

The outside walls of the tent

There are a few ways to cover the tent’s walls, from bubble plastic and plastic wrap or clear plastic sheet applied to the outside of the tent with spray-on adhesive to transparent foils added to the inside. And then there is always the natural way at the ground level to cover the bottom part of your tent with dry leaves. Isolating the outside of the tent with the plastic wrap or sheet is quite easy.

Air is a good insulator, so bubble wrap will help a lot to prevent the cold from coming in and is regularly used in the insulating industry. In fact, it is one of the most popular isolation forms.

To put the plastic around the outside of your tent, if you are not using plastic wrap, you will need some spray-on adhesive, which you can apply quickly and easily. Spray and add the plastic to a safe portion of the outside walls and rub it onto the tent cover. So you continue to strip it after strip until you cover the entire tent.

The insider walls of the tent

You’ll need some reflective sheets of foil or some of those emergency blankets or space blankets for the inside walls. You will do exactly the same thing with the plastic on the outside and add this film blanket and stick it to the inside wall of the tent with the film side facing the inside of the tent— you will apply the spray-on adhesive to the lining of the tent wall and stick the space blanket to the wall by rubbing it until it stays stuck to the wall.

This reflective foil reflects the heat in your tent’s inner space. If it’s not that cold outside, you can apply this to the entire inner wall up to the rooftops or just the walls. You can even use the reflective foil to cover the door portion of your tent inside, but do not cover the zippers. You use your body heat to keep you warm, which is about 100 watts of heat.


 

Leave some airflow space

You’re going to have to leave some space to get fresh air in and stale air out. There’s plenty of space to get into your tent. You can cover the door with the insulation inside, but you need to leave some room for fresh ventilation at the bottom and top. There’s little chance you won’t get enough fresh air, but you want to make sure there’s room for ventilation.

Conclusion

It might not seem clear, but your clothing and sleeping bag are part of your insulation system as well. So you’d like to make sure you keep your sleeping bag dry.

You’d also want to wear dry and warm clothes with personal clothing and don’t put your head inside the sleeping bag. The hot breath will induce sweat, and it might even make you colder. Talking of staying dry, you need to keep out of the water in the case of heavy rains or flooding, and you could use one of those Bug Net hammocks for that.

And if you’re on a heavy rain camping trip, in case of rain, the Outdoor Camping Car Tail Tent will be handy. So it’s always nice to be ready for all things if possible.

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