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insulated tents


Benefits of insulation

  • warmer tent in winter
    • an unoccupied tent with no heat source will eventually attain the same temperature as the outside temperature no matter how well insulated
    • the better the insulation, the longer it will take to equilibrate with a change in outdoor temperature
    • the benefit of insulation in winter is that it will retain YOUR BODY HEAT and any other heat source (eg. electric blanket) for much longer
      • for example, with an unoccupied 2P tent which has been covered with PVC to stop almost all ventilation and then covered with a thick quilt and the only heat source inside is a 48W electric blanket, the temperature inside the tent will be 7deg C warmer than outside increasing ventilation will rapidly reduce this benefit but may or may not improve condensation inside the tent
      • NB. you body acts as a 100W heat source and as long as this is not all retained inside an enclosed sleeping bag (ie. use a loose quilt instead if not too cold), this will function in a similar manner to the 48W electric blanket
  • possibly less noisy
  • if there is too much ventilation, no amount of insulation will improve the warmth of the tent as all your warm air will escape and be replaced with cold outside air!
    • controlling air flow is YOUR FIRST STEP in making your tent warmer
    • at normal elevations, one person will NOT run out of oxygen or get too higher a build up of carbon dioxide inside an enclosed 2P tent overnight (refresh the air each day) but condensation can be an issue (this assumes you are not running a heat source inside the 2P tent which consumes oxygen and gives off carbon monoxide such as a gas burner - NEVER do this!)

DIY insulation of your two person (2P) tent

  • you can apply this to a 1P tent or a swag and these will be even warmer as they have less air volume to heat up, but they also less amenity
  • tips to insulate your own tent - far less expensive, more versatile and easier to wash
    • use a small tent - the less air volume, the easier it is to warm it up and keep it warm eg. 1P or 2P tent or swag
    • insulate yourself from the ground
      • your body loses a LOT of heat to the ground, so insulating yourself from it is important, this also applies to hammocks and stretcher beds where you lose heat to the air underneath it (hammock users use an under-quilt to address this)
      • a thick memory foam mattress with a high R value (at least R > 3, preferably greater than 5 if cold conditions) will be great but if that's too big, there are other smaller mattresses with high R values (but some of these can be noisy)
    • protect tent from wind chill and reduce air flow into the tent
      • site selection
      • use a full fabric inner instead of a mesh inner (unless you almost fully cover the mesh with PVC or reflective foil or other material
      • reduce ventilation but need to watch for condensation issues if fully closing the tent up
      • consider adding an extra rain fly or tarp (eg. perhaps even an air tarp)
      • consider place it inside another larger tent
    • add further insulating cover:
      • this is easiest if using a 2P inner tent inside a larger tent and not using a fly as it allows adding extra layers OVER the inner tent such as:
      • thermal foil survival blanket (this will reflect body heat back into the tent as well as further reducing wind chill and provide some internal condensation protection to any layer above it)
        • as long as the tent is fully covered to stop ventilation, this measure alone will increase tent temperature by ~ 3-3.5degC if a 48W heat source is inside
      • quilt or sleeping bag
        • a nice -10degC rated synthetic large rectangular sleeping bag (~4kg) which can be unzipped to be a quilt to cover your 2P tent works almost as well and is far less expensive, more versatile and easier to wash
        • as long as the tent is fully covered to stop ventilation (eg. with PVC sheet or insulating foil), this measure alone will increase tent temperature by ~ 7degC if a 48W heat source is inside
      • consider options for reducing internal condensation as well:
        • options for managing internal condensation of 100-150mL water exhaled per person overnight include:
          • ventilation, but this will lose much of your valuable warm air, or,
          • de-humidification dessicant packs (these absorb ~40% of their weight and can be renewed in the morning by drying out near a fire or stove or placed in the sun)
  • finally, you have additional options of supplying heat into your tent as well, much of which will be maintained inside the tent if you have insulated it well
    • eg 12V electric blankets to add an extra 48W or so of heat into the tent and allow you to sleep semi-naked under a loose quilt or with only partial cover to gain even more efficient heating from your body into the tent (instead of into a sleeping bag) - you will probably still need warm socks and a head cover if outdoor temperatures are below 10degC
  • place insulating quilt or sleeping bag INSIDE a queen size bed mattress PE transport protector bag which you can buy cheaply from hardware stores such as Bunnings, then place this over the top and sides of your tent and clamp in place
    • this will not only protect your quilt/sleeping bag from dirt or getting wet if it falls onto the ground, but will stop it getting wet from either condensation on under-surface from the tent or from dew on the top surface
  • strongly consider using a 2P tent without its fly INSIDE a larger 3-4m diameter tent for wind and rain protection
  • this will:
    • make you significantly warmer as you have less wind chill
    • avoid you having to get out of a 2P tent through a cold wet fly
    • provide a LOT more amenity especially in wet weather including:
      • ability to stand up, ability to have a table and chairs for cooking, eating, reading, etc
      • ability to add in a wood stove to make cold weather camping a LOT more enjoyable - you can cook with it, boil water for drinks, hot showers, bake in an oven, dry your clothes, possibly reduce condensation inside the tent, hasten drying out the tent prior to pack up, and of course, you get to enjoy the warmth (but you can't keep the fire going overnight so don't rely on this)
    • provide a cooler experience on sunny days than a 2P tent but it will still be very warm so you do need a shady spot unless it is winter

Two-layer thick walled tents



Quilted insulated full tents

carbon fibre fast frame cube tents

Shiftpod iii cube fast frame tent



alloy framed tents

Irish Crua Outdoors Tri


Irish Crua Outdoors Cottage

Irish Crua Outdoors Loj

air tents

Insulated Inner tents

  • NB. the manufacturer states you MUST keep at least 1-2 vents OPEN - presumably primarily as a condensation management issue

air inner tents




insulated ice fishing cube tents

  • these are designed for fishing on frozen lakes
  • not applicable in Australia

insulated liners for tents

australia/tents_insulated.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/21 16:49 by gary1

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