Best Way to Camp in Winter with your Roof Top Tent
You bought your pricey, high end, Roof Top Tent and now it's either sitting on your vehicle or in your garage because it's winter time. True, there is nothing worse than dreading that midnight bathroom stroll when it's freezing outside when out in the woods so you put camping on the back burner til next season. I am writing this to tell you that this is absolutely AVOIDABLE. Your Roof Top Tent does not have to be freezing in below freezing temperatures. There are solutions...
This article will go through several roof top tent tent heating techniques to make sure you stay nice and cozy in your elevated Roof Top Tent during cold winter nights. You won’t be second guessing to join your camping buddies on that next winter camping trip. After all, summer days only account for about 50 days out of the year.
- Can my Roof Top Tent withstand rain and snow?
- It’s not that cold...with the right gear
- How safe is a heater in the tent?
- Electric solutions for your tent warming needs
Can my Roof Top Tent withstand rain and snow?
Roof Top Tents are built tough, some more-so than others in respect to the quality of the material used and whether the tent has double fabric covers. If you are planning to snow camp with a forecast of snow/winds for example, your Roof Top Tent would need to be rated for heavier weight loads and wind gust conditions.
Most Roof Top Tents will fall under two ratings: the 3 season and 4 season tent. The 3 season is built for, you guessed it, 3 seasons (fall, spring, summer) while the 4 season is year-round.
You can winter weather proof your tent with insulation on the interior or an extra dome cover which some tent manufacturers offer. If you already have purchased a tent that does not offer these options, and do not plan on sending you and your family into a white out, your tent should be fine as there are other options for staying warm.
A great tent choice is the Kave Venture Tent for 2+ or the Kabana Venture Tent for 4+ because unlike a lot of RTTs out there, these are fully insulated. This means when you zip up all the windows and door you get an air tight RTT (we recommend cracking a window for fresh air). What this means is like the sleeping bag, the precious body warmth created in the RTT, stays in the RTT. A lot of RTT’s tent material is simply attached to the flooring, allowing that air to escape, resulting in an unforgettably cold night.
"It’s not that cold...with the right gear"
If you have had a bad experience with being chilly in the night while camping, it may be because you have taken your blankets/duvets from home, and expected to be warm just like in the comfort of your home. A risk you took, but this is not the way.
In order to sleep outside you need to upgrade to a sleeping bag with a grade 32 Fahrenheit or below. Some examples are:
- TETON Sports Celsius XL Sleeping Bag - 1 Person (Amazon Link)
- TETON Sports Mammoth Queen-Size Double Sleeping Bag - 2 Person (Amazon Link)
- Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag - 1 Person (Amazon Link)
- Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide - 2 Person (Amazon Link)
- Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 20 - 2 Person (Amazon Link)
Slip into a double sleeping bag with your spouse or alone even, and you will see how quickly you will get cooking in there. Zippers and hoods to keep that precious body warmth you are generating inside the bag.
“I don’t want to invest in a double or below freezing rated sleeping bag for only one single season.”
A below freezing sleeping bag is actually not bad at all during the summer as your sleeping bag unzips to allow heat to escape. Your Roof Top Tent has windows or a sunroof to get the breeze surrounding you in your cozy below freezing double sleeping bag.
If you are the person who does not like the confines of a sleeping bag there are other options like the RUMPL blanket (Amazon Link) or the Arcturus Buffalo Plaid Wool Blankets (Amazon Link) which are essentially a down / wool blanket without zippers you can cover yourself with which come in a variety of sizes and colors. If you really feel like decking out your RTT interior then there are also RTT specific tent comforters, wall insulation and anti condensation mats (Amazon Link).
When blankets are not enough and you still see your breath inside the Roof Top Tent, it may be time to add a space heater, and boy are there a lot of options.
How safe is a heater in the tent?
The terrifying stories you may have heard of people misusing tent or car heaters has instilled a fear of them. Its 2021 and technology has come a long way, as long as there is common sense to go along with it. There are heaters that are made specifically for tents with clear instructions on how to use them correctly and safely.
Propane works as a heating solution, and since you have to deal with carbon monoxide exhaust and levels, I personally do not recommend propane heating in a roof top tent as a convenient choice.
Even though heaters could save the day, well night actually, a sole reliance on a heater is a bad idea. If it fails for whatever reason such as battery dying, you need a back up such as a winter rated sleeping bag. With that said, here are a few recommendations to look into for your electric heating solutions.
Electric solutions for your tent warming needs
These three electric heater solutions will definitely keep you and your family warm throughout winter nights in your Roof Top Tent:
TEKCIANS is an awesome option as this tent is for those with a tech savvy craving. This lil’ heater has it all, remote, oscillation, touch controls, timers. You can even have it blow natural air which makes a year round must have. Safety features include a tip over shut off switch, and overheating control system.
STANLEY ST-SSSA-120 Electric Heater: Packed with 5100 BTUs of warming power, the Stanley weighs in at just under 4lbs and is quite compact. Can heat 165 sq ft or a bedroom. Safety features include an overheating control and a tip over shut off switch. (Amazon Link)
ANDILY Portable Space Ceramic Heater For those looking to save their wallet this heater gets the job done with knobs, energy efficiency and the same tip over and overheating safety features.