How to Keep Warm in a Canvas Tent

How to Keep Warm in a Canvas TentSome campers prefer canvas tents because of their size and resistance to water. Though canvas tents are much bulkier and heavier than other types of tents, they can be great for winter camping because there are many ways to warm up the tent and stay toasty and dry even in cold, snowy weather.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Weatherproofing spray
  • Cot
  • Straw
  • Heater or wood stove
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bricks or disposable hand warmers
  • Socks and hat
  • Coffee or hot chocolate
Step 1
Waterproof your tent. Canvas keeps rain out of your tent, unless you touch the walls. Any spot that you touch while wet will begin to leak. Use weatherproofing spray before you head for the hills for greater protection from the water.
Step 2
Raise your bed off the floor. Sleeping on the cold ground makes it difficult to get warm. Use a cot, preferably one with a mattress. If you don't have a mattress, use a blanket as an insulating layer between your sleeping bag and the cot.
Step 3
Purchase a good-quality sleeping bag that is rated for cold temperatures. Down is best but more expensive than man-made materials. Either way, you can find a sleeping bag that is rated for temperatures far below 0 degrees F.
Step 4
Heat your tent with a propane heater or wood stove. Make sure the tent is properly ventilated. Canvas tents are large enough to accommodate a stove or heater with plenty of space around it. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully for safety.
Step 5
Hang blankets inside the tent as insulation. You can block off your sleeping area by stringing a rope across the tent and draping blankets around your bed. This enables your body heat up the small space. Native Americans used this practice; they call this sleeping space an ozan.
Step 6
Scatter straw on the floor of the tent, and around all the edges for extra insulation. Keep straw well away from a heater or stove.
Step 7
Install a wood floor in your tent. This is much warmer than the frozen ground and will be well worth it if you plan to spend several weeks in the tent. Place rugs over the floor for added insulation.
Step 8
Heat bricks, wrap them in flannel and use them for bed warmers. Alternatively, you can use a hot water bottle. For more convenient bed warmers, use disposable hand warmers. Stick your bed warmers in your sleeping bag a half hour before you go to sleep.
Step 9
Sleep in heavy wool socks to keep your feet warm. Wear a knit hat as well. You will stay much warmer if you keep your head covered; you lose most of your body heat from your head.
Step 10
Keep a pot of coffee or hot chocolate on the stove or over the fire. This will warm you from the inside out. Also, warm soup or other warm food will give your body the energy it needs.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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