How to Add Thermal Insulation to your Tent (6 Step Guide)

This to the point guide will suggest a way to add thermal insulation to your tent easily. If you plan to go camping in very hot places like Burning Man, you will have to wake up all covered in your own sweat. The heat in a tent that is exposed to the morning sun tends to build up really fast, and it gets very hard to sleep in such scorching heat. But since you are there to enjoy yourself and you just went to sleep at 4am, getting up at 7am is not happening at all, right?

With a little bit of money and very less time you can thermally insulate your tent. Using durable emergency blankets and some clamps it is possible to sandwich an insulating thermal layer between your tent and its rainfly. This thermal insulation layer will then prevent your tent from heating up due to direct sun exposure.

Below is the 6-step guide on how you can add thermal insulation to your tent.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

In order to thermally insulate your tent, you will need:

  • 2 or more sturdy emergency blankets: “blankets that are okay to be used in any weather those are available in sporting goods or camping stores. These “blankets” are insulating tarps and have nice grommets on them. You need to keep in mind that they are not the cheap emergency mylar blankets. The mylar blankets usually crinkle and tear in the wind. These blankets are usually 5′ by 7′ and should cost between $10 and $15, that is expensive, but they worth the price.
  • 6 or more clamps: If you are wondering that from where you can buy these clamps, so the answer is you can buy these clamps from your local hardware store. Two sizes are really handy: Small green clamps that are for $.37 at Home Depot, that can squeeze one blanket around a tent pole. The larger red ones that are for $2 also at Home Depot, that can squeeze 2-4 layers of blankets for where blankets will overlap.

So, here the question arises that how many blankets and clamps you will need in order to set up a thermal insulation, so the answer is, it totally depends on the size of your tent. Your small tent can be covered in 2 blankets and maybe around 6 clamps.

We would recommend that you make an estimate and observe as to how many clamps and blankets you need and then simply keep your store receipt so you can return any blankets/clamps that you do not end up using.

Step 2: Setup Your Tent

You should always set up your tent where it will not disturb anyone preferably in your parking. You should work in a day when there is not much wind other wise you will get into a lot of hassle.

You need to keep in mind to not put the rainfly on your tent at all. The insulation is supposed to get between your tent and your rainfly.

Step 3: Trial and Error: Lay the Blankets on Your Tent

Here comes the hand-waving part, since every tent is different from each other, it totally depends on you to choose that in what way to lay the blankets on your tent.

Three sides of the tent are covered without any large gaps: in this way, the emergency blankets will carry away heat from your tent from these three sides. No doubt that your tent will still get warmer because of the ambient temperature, but you get better airflow in the tent that will prevent the tent from getting warm. This will be the best option if you are trying to sleep longer in the morning while the outside temperature is still moderately low. It will clearly not work if you want to sleep in the tent during the daytime.

On the other hand, you could use even more blankets and wrap the whole tent. You would definitely have to leave a flap from where you can get in and out of the tent easily without any hurdle.

Read More: Best Camouflage Tents for Hunting

Step 4: Using Clamps: Small Clamps Vs Big Clamps

As you go on and you try out different ways of laying the blankets on your tent for the proper method, you will find out that you need to overlap the blankets in numerous parts. You need to use these clamps to clamp more than one blankets altogether onto the tent. It is perfect to use a large clamp to clamp up the blankets. The large red clamps can easily clamp 3-4 blankets to the tent. You can also use smaller clamps to clamp single layer of clamps to the bottom of the tent. 

Step 5: Rotate Clamps and Add Rain Fly

Once you are satisfied with the coverage on your tent, you may rotate the clamps so that when you have to put the rainfly on your tent, the clamps do not poke through your rainfly and does not cause trouble.

Finally, you will have to add the rainfly for your tent this is very important step since the rainfly is the most important means of securing your insulation layer. Without a rain fly, even minor winds can strip the blankets off the tent, and it will cause a lot of trouble afterwards. To avoid this and to make the wind pass over/around your tent, you must add the rain fly.

Step 6: Final Note: Tent Placement

At the end you must consider the orientation and location of your tent. Some tips for this purpose are as follows:

  • When you are setting up the camp, you need to make sure that you know exactly from where the sun rises.
  • In case you find any shade for example tree or a vehicle, you must put your tent where the shade will be in the in the early hours of the morning.
  • In case you do not have any shade to work with, you must make sure to adjust any uninsulated sides of your tent away from the morning sun rays. 
  • Many times, you simply need to guess on how to adjust your tent and you are obliged to be off a bit. So, when you wake up in the morning, note where your tent is taking direct sun and adjust the blankets or the orientation of your tent accordingly so you can sleep for more time the next day.

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