Tips to Sleep Better In a Tent When It’s Cold Outside

We all love those cool fall nights when the conditions are perfect for camping. Those nights that your sleeping bag was made for, and you fall asleep before your head hits the sleeping pad. Those nights are great.

Of course, anyone who has spent much time camping in the fall and winter knows that sometimes it gets so cold at night that camping almost stops being enjoyable. Some nights get so cold that you would wake up from the sound of your teeth chattering if you weren’t already awake because it’s too cold to fall asleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. Those nights aren’t so great.

Here are a few tips to sleep better in a tent when it’s cold outside.

Pick the perfect campsite

This one isn’t specific to cold weather camping. Any time you set up your tent, find a nice level surface without large rocks, pointy sticks, pine cones, holes, etc. The more comfortable your campsite, the easier it will be to sleep at night.

Warm, loose layers

Before going to sleep put on a warm base layer, preferably a loose fitting base layer. Tight layers can restrict blood flow, which can actually make you feel colder.


Have a designated pair of warm wool socks for sleeping, and throw on a cap and a neck gaiter. It can be especially hard to keep your feet warm on a really cold night, so consider doubling down on your socks.

Hot water bottle

Boil some water before bed and put it in a water bottle, like a Nalgene bottle. Place your hot water bottle near your core or between your legs to keep your body warm. This is also a good way to prevent water bottles from freezing on especially cold nights.

Sleeping pad

A closed cell foam or a pad with a reflective Mylar lining is a must have. Stay away from air core sleeping pads if you plan on sleeping in temperatures below freezing.

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bag temperature ratings are basically an educated guess. If you sleep colder than the average person, get a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating. Also invest in a mummy bag with a hood that cinches, as this will help trap in body heat better than a traditional rectangle sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag liner

Liners adds extra warmth, plus they stretch the lifetime of your sleeping bag.


Camping pillows and travel pillows add a lot of comfort without adding too much weight or taking up too much space. Again, the more comfortable you are, the better you’ll sleep at night.

Emergency blanket

As the name suggests emergency blankets are good for emergencies. If you’re under-prepared, or you misjudge the night time low, bust out your Mylar blanket. They’re too noisy to use as plan A, but good when you literally can’t sleep because you’re too cold.

Before bed

Go ahead and eat a snack and go to the bathroom before hitting the hay. Your body will generate more heat to burn the calories from your bedtime snack. Relieving yourself will help keep your body warm and prevent a midnight bathroom run.

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