Are you looking for a tent to help you feel more comfortable year-round? Particularly if you intend to go winter camping, you might be wondering whether you can add an insulated tent to your gear list and how it can help.
You can purchase an insulated tent with the same poles as your regular tent. Insulated tents add warmth in the winter and help you stay cool in the summer. Look for floor coverings, waterproof materials, good ventilation, and size when shopping. You should still take cold weather precautions.
If you have been thinking about adding an insulated tent to your wish list, here’s what you need to know about them.
Can You Buy an Insulated Tent?
Campers thinking about getting into winter camping want to be warm, even when the temperatures dip below freezing. This leads many people to wonder whether they should invest in an insulated tent.
If you’re thinking ahead to your next winter camping trip, here is what you need to know before you invest in an insulated tent.
1. What is an Insulated Tent?
An insulated tent may not be enough to keep you toasty warm in sub-freezing temperatures, but it does offer a bit more protection than you can get with DIY methods.
You may get a little relief from the wind and the cold ground with a sleeping pad or a tarp, but what you need for winter camping is an insulated tent.
This type of tent is equipped with a thin layer of insulation that lines the entire interior. It keeps some of the wind out, but it primarily serves to trap body heat inside.
The insulation in your tent will still utilize the poles and body of the tent you’ve become familiar with.
However, it provides an extra layer that will make it easier for you to keep warm in the middle of the night.
2. Insulated Tents for Summer and Winter
One of the best things about an insulated tent is that while it’s great for winter weather, it’s also a helpful tool for summer.
At first glance, you might think that insulation isn’t going to keep you as cool as you want to be while the summer sun is beating down on you. However, it has a crucial feature that you’ll want to consider.
Insulation keeps the tent from absorbing all of the sun’s heat. As a result, you can climb into your tent even in the hottest part of the summer and still feel cool.
Keep the doors open for ventilation if you’ll use them in the summer. Most campers think of insulated tents in terms of what they can provide during the winter.
They work by removing your body’s heat and trapping it within the tent.
The insulated lining doesn’t allow that heat to escape, making you warmer without tips and tricks like a heated water bottle, propane heater, or candle warmer.
3. Can You Make Your Own Insulated Tent?
While you could theoretically make your insulated tent with a couple of tarps, it won’t be as easy or effective as purchasing a manufactured one.
Insulate a tent by covering the ground under it with a tarp and placing another tarp over the top of the tent.
As you can see, this would create much more work for you to set up camp, especially during those cold winter months. It’s faster and easier to purchase a tent specifically for this purpose.
It takes minimal extra time to put up and is just as effective, if not more so, than these DIY methods. This is particularly true for features like a carpet or floor covering.
If your tent has some of these features, you can avoid packing unnecessary equipment like a thick sleeping pad designed to keep your body heat from transferring to the ground.
4. What to Look For in an Insulated Tent
While you can buy an insulated tent from any manufacturer, there are a few key attributes you’ll want to keep in mind.
First, you should look to see where the insulation covers. Some tents may only insulate the walls, while more advanced tents will also include a carpet.
A ground-covering prevents your body heat from transferring to the cold ground and can eliminate the need for a high R-value sleeping pad.
Another feature you’ll need in an insulated tent is ventilation. For many, this seems like a point contrary to their experience. Winter winds are better kept at bay, so why would you want a tent that allows air in?
Unfortunately, tents without ventilation store up your breath as a form of water vapor. In turn, this leads to condensation, which is uncomfortable.
It can also freeze and make the interior of your tent colder, even with the best insulating material on the market.
Campers must also evaluate how much room they need when buying a tent. A larger tent will be harder to keep warm, especially if you camp solo.
Make sure to get a size that suits the camping party you will go with most often.
As a final note, you should ensure that the material is also waterproof to keep snow and rain from penetrating the interior of your tent.
This is a given with most insulated tents, but it’s still worth noting as you may find lower-quality tents that promise warmth only under dry circumstances.
5. Take Cold Weather Precautions
Just because you’ve invested in an insulated tent doesn’t mean you can forego precautions designed to keep you warm.
Winter camping means you must be conscious of the other things that keep your body warm in the snow and icy winds. For example, you’ll need a warm sleeping bag.
You’ll still want to wear several light layers, finishing with a windproof jacket or shell. Don’t forget to put something on your head to keep your body heat from escaping.
If there’s something you can do to keep yourself warm, you should still do it regardless of what type of tent you purchase.
One thing you’ll want to take note of is where your tent is located.
It won’t do you much good to have an insulated tent if you position it somewhere the snow will pile up on it or where the wind will cut through the thin insulating fabric.
Instead, consider positioning it near trees or hills to help break the wind.
Insulated tents exist and can be a great addition to any avid camper’s gear. It’s a great tool to keep you comfortable all year round, but it can be especially helpful in winter.
If you plan to do a lot of four-season camping, this is a must-have item, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for precautions like dressing appropriately and positioning the tent correctly.
Be sure to add one of these tents to your must-have list right away if you think you’ll want to be more comfortable!