How to Stay Warm in Your Tent in Winter

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

Edit - We wrote this blog back in September 2018, after our first Winter. Since then we've made a few changes and learnt a lot.

Sure, the facts haven't changed - you still need a good barrier between the ground and you to stop that radiant cooling, but we thought we should share some of the lessons from the Winter just gone.

Winter 2019 saw a huge amount of interest in our parties and we were fully booked almost every week! We put it down to some really good feedback and word of mouth - nobody complained of being cold inside, even in the middle of Winter, and pretty early on we found that if we put enough rugs out and used good mattresses the guests were warm enough even without the mats, as long as they shut the door and wore the right clothes. So these days we only use the mats when really necessary.

We also made a decision to transition completely away from the inflatable mattresses - no matter what the season - as these definitely required the foam mats in Winter, and in any event they were nowhere near as comfortable as the latex-filled self-inflating mattresses.

Then shortly after that it became apparent that while they were comfortable, the SIMs were slowing us down, meaning we had to start turning bookings down because we couldn't fit them into our day. So we've now made the decision to transition away from even those to our latest mats - the Dunlop Comfort Foam mats. These mats are even warmer and even more comfortable while being quicker to set up than the SIMs and they really provide our customers with a glamping experience that we're proud of.

We're always learning at Camp Buone Notti and we'll keep striving to bring you a better service, because we know that the quality of your experience is the source of our success. Since Winter we've been building our bookings every month - thanks for having us!

Now back to the original blog post from 2018....

Here at Camp Buone Notti we're often asked if it's too cold to camp out in the backyard, and we're not afraid to say that Winter is a quieter time for us (cakes, anyone?)

But it doesn't have to be. We don't call it "glamping" for nothing! We've invested in the very best equipment and have done our homework on how to keep you and your little ones warm during their next cosy campout. Read on and we'll share our secrets with you...

Fact - the earth gets cold at night. You need to put a barrier between the cold ground and yourself. But there's so much more to it than just putting a sheet under the tent.

During Winter all Buone Notti party setups have a triple system of floor insulation, consisting of 5 separate layers. We call it "rugging it out", but it's about more than just rugs.

Part 1 - The Moisture Barrier

Layer 1 is simple, we place a PVC tarpaulin over the ground. This prevents moisture reaching the tent base and helps keep it clean.

Layer 2 is the base of the tent itself. We didn't skimp when we bought our tents and Buone Notti's have a 650gsm PVC ground sheet. Beware of imitators who use tents with a thinner floor of around 540gsm - and even less - to save money. While we're on the subject, the canvas sides of our tents are 360gsm, which is also thicker than most other tents on the market. Want to know more about our top-notch Bell Tents or even buy one for yourself? Contact the lovely Lucy at Breathe Bell Tents.

Part 2 - Stopping Radiant Cooling

Layer 3 is where it gets interesting: the main reason you get cold in a tent is not because of the air hitting the sides of the tent (unless you left the door open!), rather, it's because of the effect of Radiant Cooling. Basically, the cold comes through the floor during the night and takes the warmth (primarily body heat) away.

So at a Buone Notti sleep out the most important part of insulating your glamping tent is never seen: we cover the tent floor with interlocking foam tiles, cut to fit to the edges and create an insulating layer to stop that heat transfer. The other neat thing about the foam tiling is that it both smooths out uneven ground and makes it lovely and comfortable underfoot.

Layer 4 is the obvious one that you see. All those pretty rugs and throws on the ground? They're not just there to look good (although they do, which is a neat little bonus), they play a crucial role in adding yet another layer of insulation to the system. So we "rug it out".

Looking good, feeling toasty!

Part 3 - The Right Bedding

Sounds obvious right? Use warm sheets, wear flannel PJs blah blah... well yes of course, that's a given. What we're talking about here is choosing a mattress that will both hold onto your body heat and prevent radiant cooling.

So Layer 5 is your mattress. We learnt about convection currents in school didn't we? Well this is the lesson when it comes to choosing your mattress. In an air mattress, the air is cooled as it flows around inside the mattress, taking heat from your body while cooling from the ground. Air mattresses are fine in Summer when the ambient night time temperature is in the 20s, but in the cooler months that cold air in the mattress sucks your body heat and you just don't stay warm.

As with many things in life, the solution costs money. And the solution is a high quality Self Inflating Mattress, or SIM for short.

SIMs combine the convenience of an air mattress with the warmth and softness of a normal matt. The latex foam inside makes up the bulk of it, and when you close the valves the trapped air provides resistance to squashing and just builds it out a bit, without sacrificing comfort.

The main thing is that because of the latex inside it, the SIM retains your body heat as you sleep, so you stay warm through the night. When combined with the proper floor insulation, that heat doesn't escape through the ground - so you stay warm.

Our three mattress types. On the left is the plain old air mattress which we sometimes use but mostly avoid unless you really pack out the tent with people (Edit September 2019: we no longer use these at all, opting instead for our new Dunlop memory foam mattresses that are much more comfortable); middle is the Self Inflating latex mattress which is our go-to mattress, especially in Winter; right is the adult mattress. We supply a free parent mattress if you want it with every hire

So that's our five layer system to a warm and cosy campout. There's more to it of course: wear appropriate pyjamas, don't go to bed cold, keep the tent closed as much as possible - but they're the ones your mother always told you about. We wanted to share with you our tips for how we make sure your kids (or you!) have a great night, and give you some comfort that when you book with Buone Notti Glamping Parties Sydney in Winter you'll be warm and cosy all night long.

One other thing: choose the right size tent for your party. You want to fill the space with people: as a guide, 6 (and up to 8) people in our 4.5m tents is ideal, or 8 (and up to 10) people in our 5m tents. Our 4m tent can has a recommended occupancy of 4 or 5, but can fit 6.

If you'd like to to know more, feel free to Contact Us

A Note About Heaters

Before we go, there's something we need to get off our chest: we're sometimes asked what heaters we're bringing along and the answer is - none. Using the system above and assuming you wear appropriate clothing and don't leave the windows or tent door open we know you'll stay warm.

More importantly, there are serious liability issues for us in supplying heaters or hot water bottles to children at your sleepover party. It is possible to purchase camping heaters for tents and we don't specifically prohibit the use of these or hot water bottles in our tents, but we recommend that you do not, we will not provide them and we are not in a position to provide any advice as to which of these systems might be best. It ain't Everest Base Camp out there!

Happy Glamping!

- Camp Buone Notti

© 2020 Buone Notti Glamping Parties

ABN 35 540 766 339

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