Military surplus tent adventures; 3 ways to keep your tent warm in winter

March 10, 2019

I absolutely detest trying to sleep cold. I can remember one time during a black powder weekend in the late fall that I stayed in my buddy Norm's military surplus Army tent with him and his son, Howie. On this night I had a groundcloth and my USMC medium weather sleeping bag, and he and his son were sleeping on beach chairs swaddled in heaps of quilts and wool trade blankets picked up at a past rendevous.

I awoke at approximately three-thirty in the morning to two strange phenomena, one was the fact that both Norm and Howie were snoring comfortably and were making little, corresponding snoozing noises, which I found to be odd; the other was the fact that I was freezing to death.

With chattering teeth I headed straightaway to my parked car, which was about twenty-five yards away, fumbling keys with the intention of getting in it and curling up in the back seat while running the heat full blast. About halfway there I tripped over a fellow camper's tent string, pulling the little peg holding it from the ground, and sending the frosty cloth fluttering onto the face of the poor fellow inside. So, in contemplation of that horrible night, here are three ways to sleep warm in a tent in the winter.

1. Get off the ground. Though a groundcloth works great in a mild environment, in a very frigid environment the cold ground will leech the heat from your bones right through the frozen groundcloth. Short of burying a bank of coals underneath it, your best bet is to get off of the ground to create space between you and the ice cube that the ground becomes in the winter.

2. Put handwarmers in your bag. Those chemical handwarmers can be an excellent way of keeping warm in your tent. Just actuate ten or twenty of them and throw them into your bag, especially near your feet.You can stuff a couple in your socks, in your long johns, and underneath your thermal tops as well.

3. Use a heater of some sort. Even a candle can make a difference in a cold tent, but they do make internal stoves for tents. A Coleman lantern can even help. Just be sure that if you use a heater of some sort you allow for proper ventilation, or you could asphyxiate. You should always read manufacturers warnings on any heating device and adhere to them to the fullest.

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