We all get excited, as summer strolls around, to get out in our tents and explore the wild! Similarly, we all feel a sense of loss as the leaves turn from green to orange and we begin to accept that we will have to wait another 9 months before we can get back out on the trail. However! what if I told you there was a growing movement of people who were enjoying camping, in comfort, all year round. This is hot tent camping!
What is a hot tent?
A hot tent is defined as an oversized tent with a portable, wood burning stove inside to provide heat so that you can stay warm during those cold evenings (and days depending on where you are in the world).
As a newcomer to the world of hot tenting I can say that not only is this an ingenious idea but is also very luxurious and for me, has many pros which outweigh even traditional camping.
Hot tent camping is guaranteed to lift your spirts and is growing in popularity around the world. Now, some of you may be thinking that it is reckless and irresponsible to put a heat source inside a tent and usually I would completely agree with you, except in this case you can purchase a specialist hot tent which is made from flame retardant fabric or, at a minimum, treated with a flameproofing agent.
These tents usually have a chimney space to release smoke and carbon monoxide so you remain safe and snug inside your hot tent.
Most tent companies have cottoned on to this growing trend so it has never been easier to pick up a hot tent and stove combination. Now, I know how tempting it is to always go for the cheapest option (who doesn’t love a bargain) but hot tent camping is a serious pursuit.
You will be out in freezing temperatures, with a stove inside a tent. There is a lot which can go wrong. I have put together my ‘how to stay safe’ guide at the bottom of this article but for now I would urge you to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that the cheapest deal is the best deal.
Instead think about where and when you are using your hot tent. If you are camping in the depth of winter where temperatures are incredibly cold – that extra cost now may be nothing compared to savings (in terms of comfort and your own safety) in the future.
So, with that word of caution, let’s get started on some of my favourite hot tents!
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Best Hot Tent Reviews
Ease of Pitching
The best hot tent on our list is produced by a company called Whiteduck. It is made from 100% cotton fabric that is waterproof, mildew and UV resistant. You can choose if you want the tent to be produced from fire retardant material, which we would always recommend, especially when using a stove and chimney inside your hot tent.
The tent has been classed as 4-season, making it suitable for heavy rain, snow, high winds and hotter climates. In other words, you can use it year round.
Includes a high quality sewn-in ground sheet, an opening for your stove chimney, 4 vents for ventilation and heavy duty zippers which will be long-lasting season after season.
Tool Kit that includes pegs, pins, rain cap and rubber mallet- all packed in waterproof tent bag.
The yurt style tent has a spacious design with standard wall height of 2’7” which is higher than the industry standard wall of an ordinary bell tent making this tent extremely comfortable and spacious to be inside.
This hot tent has 2 layered windows and 2 layered doors with a canvas cover that can be rolled up with an additional bug mesh to keep out the creepy crawlies!
As expected with a tent of this quality, all of the seams and corners have been reinforced for extra durability.
Ease of Pitching
The next best hot tent on our list is produced by REDCAMP, it is overall a great choice for anyone new and experienced to hot tent camping. It is a heavy duty rainproof, windproof, and snow-proof tent so you can use it all year round. The tent has a large size (10ft to 20ft diameter) allowing it to sleep up to 5 people. The exterior is made from khaki cotton canvas with two stove jackets (top and down).
The two stove jackets on the top and wall (hole diameter 3.9inch) both meet the industry standards, they are professionally installed to protect the integrity of your canvas (it can be covered with a flap when not in use).
The stove jacket has a high temperature resistance strip around the chimney hole and has been tested in 500 degree temperatures without any burning or melting of the fabric.
RedCamp are confident that the tent will last you years to come and have therefore provided a 5 year warranty which only excludes normal wear and tear.
Ease of Pitching
This camping tent is made of 300gsm cotton fabric with waterproof treatment and taped stitch seams that allows it to be used in wet weather conditions. Whilst it is classed as a 4-season tent, we wouldn’t recommend using it in very heavy rain, at most it should be used in moderate-heavy rain.
Top air vents and zippable windows are complete with nets to prevent insects entering. You can also roll up the wall of the cabin tent, allowing a cool breeze to blow through on a summers day.
The chimney hole/vent is 5 inches in diameter on the top of this canvas tent. The chimney hole can be covered with a flap and long lasting straps when it is not in use.
One of the biggest pros of this hot tent is that it is 5M in diameter, allowing it to fit four double mattresses inside, and still have plenty of room for all of your camping gear and stove.
Ease of Pitching
This is our pick for the best cheap hot tent. What can we say? You get all the great features and qualities of some of the more expensive options on this list, but at a price which doesn’t hit the back pocket as hard. The fabric is a 300D Oxford Cloth With Silver Coated Layer.
This is designed to be waterproof, anti-wear and tear resistant, with the added benefit of a much warmer and insulated outer layer than your standard teepee tent.
The chimney hole allows for the use of a wood stove inside of the tent. The hole size is 4.7″ to 5.5″ in diameter, which fits most standard hot tent stoves. The wood stove jack has been produced with fire resistance materials for peace of mind. Furthermore, you can open the two doors, allowing you to get in and out easily as well as assisting with ventilation.
So what’s the catch? The main difference between this tent and our top picks is that it is not made out of cotton. Cotton is regarded as a premium material with natural qualities which make for an ideal 4-season tent.
Nevertheless, if you are after a cheap hot tent which is great fun for all the family, we strongly recommend this one.
Ease of Pitching
Similar to the previous hot tent in our list, this tent is not produced from premium materials like cotton. However it is still classed as a 4-season tent due to the tear, wind and water resistant 210T Polyester outer layer.
As you would expect from a high quality hot tent, the stove chimney hole is produced from fire resistant materials and can fit most standard stove flue pipe diameters. The chimney hole can be covered up and remains waterproof when not in use.
The tent can be kept cooler in hotter climates by opening the two large air vents and the main double door. This makes it an ideal choice if you are camping in all seasons.
It is a 3-person hot tent, with a ground sheet diameter of 10.5ft, and a height of 5.2ft. Although some customer reviews mention that the tent is slightly smaller than expected and is more like a 2-person tent when you have lots of gear with you.
In our opinion one aspect that makes this hot tent stand out is the weight. It weighs only 3.4 pounds and can be easily strapped to a backpack. This allows the tent to be used on a backpacking adventure, when you are trying to keep the weight of your tent and other gear down.
Package includes: 1 x tipi tent , 1 x stove jack, 12 x pegs, 8 x ropes, 1 x storage bag, 1 x accessories bag, 1 x pole.
Ease of Pitching
This tent is an ultralight hot tent, it weighs an astonishing 2.6lbs which means it can be tied to your backpack and taken pretty much anywhere your hiking boots will allow.
It is produced from high quality 20D Silicon coated Nylon fabric which has a waterproof rating of 3000mm, which means that this tent can be used in moderate rain. As well as this, the YKK zippers are fully waterproof and the seams have been treated to prevent water ingress.
This hot tent comes with no tent bottom or ground sheet, which means this will act as a shelter in which you can insert your stove and chimney, or purchase your own tent inner to create a fully fledged hot tent.
For good ventilation there is two windows and 1 zippered side entrance which can be opened in hot weather.
Ease of Pitching
The next hot tent on our list is does not have an outer layer of cotton like some premium tents, however it is made from 20D Silicon-coated nylon fabric that’s light and durable. What you sacrifice by not using cotton, you gain in terms of portability and weight reduction. If you are someone who likes to travel light, this could be a great option for you.
The water rating is 2000mm which is less than most 4-season tents and means that this hot tent can be used in moderate-light rainfall. The heptagon shape with reinforced stress points creates a solid base, because of which the tent can withstand high winds.
This tent features a double chamber design with space to sleep one person in each chamber and inner mesh layer with front room for the fire stove.
In hotter climates, you can still maintain good airflow through the tent by opening the double door and 2 windows at the top.
Weight: 4.2Ib (1900g), comes with one 5.2ft (1.65m) tent pole, 10 tent pegs and 4 guy-lines.
Ease of Pitching
Made of anti-tear 210T patterned polyester. PU2000mm waterproof with waterproof zippers and fully taped seams. This will keep you dry in light rain but is not designed for moderate to heavy downpours.
The base has a 105ft diameter which is enough ground space to sleep 2 people and store your camping gear. The height is 1.6m, making this a fairly short hot tent. But remember, what you lose in space, you tend to gain in portability. In-fact, this tent weighs only 3.5 pounds, making it one of the lightest on our list. It’s small enough to fit on or inside a large backpack.
Hot camping tents excel at maintaining a warm temperature in cold weather due to the ability to use a stove within the tent walls. However, this tent can also be used in hotter climates due to good airflow that can be achieved by opening the double door and 2 large air vents.
One downside to this tent is that the stove pipe vent is not fireproof, and therefore if you do want to use a chimney and stove inside of the tent, you will have to heat-insulate the chimney hole yourself before use.
Hot Tent Camping: Buyer's Guide
What do you need to go hot tent camping?
In another article I go into great detail on what equipment you need to go camping. When you go hot tent camping you need to take all of the usual things you take ‘normal’ camping as well as some specialist items to get the most out of your trip away. One thing that most people forget is that when you are hot camping you cannot forget to pack warm winter clothes (which should be layered for maximum effect). It is likely that temperatures will dip below freezing in winter months (if not well below depending on where you are in the world).
In addition to the items in our camping checklist, you should also look to add the following which will help make your hot tent feel like a home away from home:
- Portable box stove
- Venting mechanism
- At least 100 feet of rope
- Cooking gear (cast iron is the best) and utensils
- Basic tools like saws and axes
- Fire-starting materials
- First aid kit
- LED lamps
- Fold-down sleeping cots
- Winter-grade sleeping bags
- Ground pads if you don’t bring cots
- Ingredients to make meals over your fire
- A proper wardrobe with multiple changes per camper in case garments get wet.
The right stove is key to the perfect trip away.....
Tent stoves are at the heart of the hot tent camping experience. It is this which will keep you warm, provide light and offer comfort on those cold winter nights.
As such, picking the right stove is key to the perfect trip away. You may want something small and compact to fit comfortably into your hot tent, or, you may want something heavy duty and durable which will provide a plethora of heat season on season.
To help you pick the perfect camping stove I have included my favorite below.
- Lightweight and portable
- Pipe size – 4pcs of 3.2 diameter chimney pipe and 4pcs 2.7 diameter chimney pipe together (over 7.5 ft. total height)
- 304 STAINLESS STEEL with strong anti-rust ability and excellent durability. Sturdy stove that can withstand any harsh outdoor environment.
- Glass window in the door which can visible flame and wood in the stove.
- The heat insulation plate of the furnace is a 6th generation aluminum alloy material with high thermal conductivity. The chimney pipe is made of 201 flexible iron. Waterproof cap on the top of the chimney pipe.
How to stay safe when hot tent camping
As someone who was fairly new to hot tent camping, I did a vast amount of research on how to ensure that I stayed safe. I combined this learning with my own survival skills training to come up with some basic rules which, if followed, can reduce the risk and make your hot tent camping safer! (N.B. following this list does not guarantee safety – you should always consult with local experts e.g. park officials, and use good common sense when out on the trail).
The best hot tent will be like a home away from home. You will be snug and warm whilst enjoying the awesome experience of camping in those winter months when the stars seem to shine just a little brighter and the air is a touch crisper. A hot tent is not just a short-term, cheap item – instead it is a long term investment in an adventure you will never forget.
I recently took up hot tent camping and I can’t tell you how gutted I am that I have been missing out all this time (experienced hot tent campers you know what I mean). Hot tent camping is the purest form of outdoor adventure I have experienced to-date. This was made so much better by using the right hot tent! You need to ensure that you pick one which is the right size, will withstand the rigours of your trip and be long-lasting so that once you get the bug you have a tent which you can get use time and time again.
Just remember to stay safe and use all the common sense precautions to ensure you don’t end up setting you tent on fire!