Are Trailer Tents Warmer Than Tents?

Although I’m a big fan of camping all year round, that wasn’t possible during the winter months in a normal tent. That’s why I decided to look at trailer tents and folding campers, to see whether they’re warmer and more suited to all-year-round camping.

Are trailer tents warmer than tents? In general, trailer tents are not warmer than tents. However, trailer tents are warmer at some times, for example when you’re sleeping, as the beds are raised.

So, trailer tents aren’t particularly warm. However, they are warmer than your average tent in some circumstances. I’m going to explain all you need to know in this blog post. I’ve also put together a few tips for keeping warm in your trailer tent, particularly when travelling during the colder months.

How Are Trailer Tents Warmer Than Normal Tents?

For the most part, trailer tents are not warmer than normal tents. However, trailer tents are warmer in some notable ways. I’m going to explain all that you need to know below.

Trailer Tent Beds Are Raised

When you’re sleeping in a tent, you are likely to be sleeping on an inflatable bed on the floor. As avid campers will know, this can be cold during the warmer periods of the year, never mind the autumn and winter months! In trailer tents, the beds are raised from the ground. This ultimately means that sleeping in a trailer tent is much warmer than sleeping in an average tent.

Trailer tent bed example © Camperlands UK

As you can tell from the above photograph alone, trailer tent beds are much more comfortable and warm than air beds that are directly on the floor. The raised bed offers not only greater comfort but also warmth, as you aren’t directly in contact with the cold floor.

In a trailer tent, you also have proper mattresses. Mattresses naturally offer more insulation and comfort than air beds, so this will make a massive difference when sleeping in a trailer tent.

Insulation On Some Models

With most trailer tents, you’re sleeping under a canvas, as you would be in a tent. While this means trailer tents heat up quickly in the sun, it also means the cold seeps through when it’s cold outside and you’ll probably have to deal with a draught. However, some folding campers are insulated, so you’ll be much warmer than you would be in a tent.

One example of a well-insulated trailer tent is a Riva/Dandy. A Dandy trailer tent has an insulated roof and walls. Dandy models use PVC, rather than canvas. This is great for out-of-season trips where cold would be a big issue in a canvas trailer tent.

Image showing erected 2007 Riva Dandy Destiny. Riva Dandy Sales

As far as insulation goes, the Riva/Dandy trailer tents are your only options really. They are the only trailer tents that use PVC rather than canvas. While the manufacturer no longer makes trailer tents, you can pick up a reliable second hand Dandy for a great price. Some of the older Dandy models, such as those released in the 90s, can be picked up for a great price these days. Remember, trailer tents and folding campers are built to last; don’t be put off picking up a model that’s a good few years old.

Camp-lets are another option, as all models have insulated canvasses. All Camp-let canvasses use heavy duty Ten Cate material. Ten Cate is recognised as the best tent cloth in the world, so you know you can rely on a canvas using Ten Cate material. Ten Cate canvasses are insulating and UV-resistant. The material is also waterproof, meaning folding away the canvas damp isn’t such a big deal anymore as the material is resistant to mildew staining and damage.

Tips For Keeping Warm In A Trailer Tent

If you’re passionate about camping out-of-season, I’ve put together some tips for keeping warm in a trailer tent. With these tips, you’ll be cosy in your trailer tent at the coldest of times.

Insulate Below And On Top Of Your Mattress

Many people load the duvets and blankets on top of them, but they still end up cold. That’s because usually the cold is coming from the ground, so blankets and duvets on top of you are not going to prevent that.

Many say that the more you put under you in bed when camping, the warmer you’ll be. This still applies when you are using a trailer tent. If you want to stay warm while you sleep in a trailer tent, put some insulation below and on top of your mattress.

Here’s several examples of what you can put under your bed:

  • Heavy blankets
  • Cardboard
  • Old carpet

Once you have insulated underneath your mattress, it’s always a good idea to insulate between you and the mattress too. Again, you can do this with heavy blankets or something such as a luxurious memory foam mattress topper. Unfortunately, the best memory foam mattress toppers come with a lofty price tag. If you’re going to be camping often throughout the year, however, investing in decent mattress toppers is the best way to keep warm.

I opted for this Silentnight ‘Ultimate Deep Sleep Topper’, which is available here on Amazon. This topper is incredibly comfortable and offers that little extra insulation that makes all the difference. Unlike many mattress toppers, I’ve found that this one doesn’t flatten and lose its depth and comfort over time. We’ve had it a few years and it’s still as comfortable as it has ever been.

Use Fan Heaters And Oil-Filled Radiators

Although the above tip will keep you warm and toasty in bed, what about when you’re just relaxing in your trailer tent? While blankets and thick clothing always help here, I’ve found using fan heaters and oil-filled radiators a more effective way of keeping warm.

The reason I’m mentioning both fan heaters and oil-filled radiators is they’re both good in different circumstances. You can’t just use one or the other if you want to stay warm in a trailer tent.

If you’re very cold and you want to quickly heat your trailer tent, use a fan heater. A fan heater consumes much more power than an oil-filled radiator does. However, a fan heater will also heat your trailer tent much quicker than any oil-filled radiator. The heat from a fan heater is pretty much instant and can easily be directed wherever you want. So if you’re about to get into bed, point it at your bed to warm it up!

Here’s an example of a cheap portable fan heater, available here on Amazon. This Warmlite fan heater is effective yet compact and you can easily store it with your other camping belongings all year round. Just note how much energy it consumes, because you might be unable to use other appliances at the same time.

While a fan heater warms up a trailer tent instantly, there are some downsides to fan heaters. Depending on the type of fan heater, you have to be really careful about using fan heaters safely. You can’t leave a fan heater on for long periods of time, or unattended. If you leave your trailer tent, you can’t leave the fan heater on to keep it warm. Furthermore, you can’t leave a fan heater on overnight. This is where the oil-filled radiator comes in.

An oil-filled radiator with thermostat can be left on pretty much constantly. You can leave an oil-filled radiator on overnight or unattended, so an oil-filled radiator is perfect for keeping your trailer tent warm once you’ve warmed it up with a fan heater. If you have to pop out of your trailer tent, you can leave the oil-filled radiator on without worrying.

Wear Suitable Clothing

Last but certainly not least, wear suitable clothing when you’re in and around your trailer tent. While this might seem obvious, many forget to bring clothing suited to the weather and temperature when staying in a trailer tent out-of-season. No matter the time of year, you should always ensure that you pack warm clothing and warm sleepwear in particular.

At a minimum, you should always try and take:

  • Midweight base layers
  • Fleece pants
  • A warm, puffy coat
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Warm socks
  • Hat and gloves
  • Warm sleepwear

Although using heaters and insulating underneath your mattress and bed do help to keep warm in a trailer tent, those measures won’t make a difference if you’re not dressed appropriately. Believe me, fluffy socks can make a big difference when camping in the winter!

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