Can You Turn a Regular Tent Into a Hot Tent?

A regular white tent turned into a hot tent for the winter.

Unfortunately, we can’t start this text with the usual “so, winter’s just around the corner…” part. It’s the middle of June, and in most parts of the world – the weather’s really nice. However, that doesn’t mean outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t seek thrills in colder areas. Therefore, it’s completely alright to propose this question: can you turn a regular tent into a hot tent?

Needless to say, this is one of the most frequently asked questions out there, in the camping community. Here, at Outdoor Is Home, we can’t help but answer it. In the article that you’re about to skim through (yet we hope you’ll give it a thorough read), we’ll show you if it’s possible to turn a regular tent into a hot tent, and if so – how?

Yes, it’s possible to convert a regular tent into a hot tent, but the process of conversion will have to be conducted by an experienced person. That’s because there are a lot of safety issues associated with DIY hot tents, obviously. You’ll need to obtain a wood-burning stove and a so-called stove jack. 

Okay, so there’s nothing worse than reading just the preview and ignoring the text below. That’s right, read the whole thing!

What is a hot tent?

Before we delve deeper into what’s our today’s main subject (converting regular tents into hot tents), it’s best that we first provide you with some basic info on what a hot tent is, and what’s it used for. If the conditions allow it, it’s always best to first get the terminology straight. So, what exactly is a hot tent?

In the simplest of words, a hot tent is a shelter that’s cleverly made to accommodate a wood-burning stove. In other words: there will be a little chimney (or a so-called stovepipe) going through the roof of your tent. Doesn’t that sound cool?

Also, a hot tent will provide you with some much-needed warmth if you’re camping in colder areas of our lovely planet, or simply – during the winter. Additionally, you’ll use the heat source to cook food and dry your camping attire. Okay, so let’s see if there’s some additional info we can mention in the intro segment!

Are hot tents safe?

Now, of course, by knowing that there’s some fire involved, one could wonder if hot tents are safe? It’s only natural to ask such a question. Anyway, you’ll want to know that hot tents are usually considered pretty safe. Unless they’ve been set up in an incorrect manner. Keep in mind that you should stick to all the instructions given by the hot tent manufacturer. You’ll be safe from both the cold outside and unfortunate issues with fire inside.

Most folks would assume that the wood stove is definitely the number one suspect when it comes to issues with hot tents. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure you’ve set it up properly. In other words: the exhaust pipe going through your hot tent’s roof should be working like a charm. That way, you’ll guarantee nothing goes awry while you’re hot tent camping.

Why should anyone try hot tent camping?

Hot tent camping is getting more and more popular over the past couple of decades. It seems as though the trend won’t stop anytime soon. Here we’ll show you some of the reasons why everyone should try hot tent camping:

  • It can be quite thrilling. It’s more exciting than camping during the summer, obviously.
  • You’ll get to experience something not many folks have done. 
  • If you’re camping with your little ones, you’ll get to teach them some basic survival skills.
  • It will most probably involve some good ol’ physical activity in the form of trekking, cross-country skiing, etc. 
  • You’ll enjoy a good night out (well, a good night out in the outdoors) by the sounds of the crackling fire.
  • Also, you’ll get to create a bond between yourself and whomever you’re taking along with you. 

As you could’ve read, hot tent camping brings the best things together: hard work & coziness, survival & wintertime comfort. Okay, so now that we’ve finished our little what-is-a-hot-and-related-info talk, let’s see consider our main issue for today: can you turn a regular tent into a hot tent?

A couple of gray hot tents.

Can you turn a regular tent into a hot tent?

As we’ve said, this article’s main subject is the conversion of a regular tent into a so-called hot one. First of all, let’s see if it’s possible to add a wood-burning stove to a regular tent and convert it!

You’ll be glad to know that yes, it’s possible to add a wood-burning stove to a regular tent. Therefore, it’s also possible to turn a regular tent into a hot tent. However, the whole process isn’t an easy one and comes with great responsibility, so we’ll just outline the steps you’ll need to take. Preferably, it should be conducted by a professional since this is a very touchy subject in terms of safety. Or, you should simply obtain a normal hot tent (we’re pretty sure you’re rolling your eyes now).

Okay, so let’s see those steps to add a wood-burning stove to your tent and make it a hot one!

#1 Choose the right stove

You’ll want to opt for a stove that’s relatively small and easy to transport. In other words: it needs to be light enough for you to carry it on a winter camping adventure. Feel free to browse this selection of portable wood-burning tent stoves to see exactly what we mean.

#2 Consider the fabric your tent’s made from

This should’ve gone first, but it doesn’t really matter since we still haven’t got to the main part. Anyway, before you delve into the DIY hot tent-making, it’s best you first consider the type of fabric your tent’s made from. For instance, if you’re sporting a nylon tent – the material will react like crazy if a fire breaks out. That, of course, doesn’t mean other materials are somehow fire-proof.

Also, you might experience some condensation issues if you’re sporting a silnylon or urethane-coated tent. The thing is: they won’t “breathe” as a regular canvas tent would. Speaking of canvas tents, here’s how you’ll make a DIY canvas tent.

#3 Fix your stove pipe

This might, very well, be the most important task that’s ahead of you. You’ll need to find a way to get that pipe through your tent’s roof. This process needs to be handled with great care. Otherwise, you’re risking too much in terms of safety since a lot of things might go wrong when a stove pipe isn’t properly installed (you’re risking carbon monoxide poisoning, for instance).

Okay, so how should one conduct this part of the process? First, you’ll need to cut some canvas around the desired place where your stope pipe will go through the roof. You can’t simply cut a hole that shares the same dimensions as your pipe’s circumference. Between the stove pipe and the hole, there will need to be something else. There’s a little thing called a stove jack and you’ll want to utilize it for this purpose.

There’s an alternative way your stove pipe might reach the outdoors: through your tent’s window. However, one should refrain from doing such a thing. The thing is: you’ll need to find a pipe that doesn’t just go straight upwards and that might make your stove pretty unstable (which is clearly something you want to avoid).

That’s about it when it comes to the process of adding a wood-burning stove to your tent and turning it into a hot tent. It might seem easy and everything, but keep in mind that it’s an extremely delicate procedure. If you’re not a professional yourself, you should definitely contact one for this. Let’s check out some additional safety tips revolving around the topic of hot tents!

Bonus round: two hot tent safety tips

To reward your patience and, hopefully, your willingness to provide the safest shelter from the cold one can imagine, here we’ll introduce you to two bonus safety tips related to camping inside a hot tent:

  • Prevent the aforementioned carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to ventilate your tent frequently; let the air circulate. As soon as you start to feel dizzy inside your hot tent, it’s a clear sign that you need to let the air circulate more freely. However, please don’t wait until that happens. Prevention’s always better than cure.
  • Watch the sparks. Keep your stove closer to the center of the tent since you don’t want any sparks reaching the tent walls. They’re well-known to fly out of your stove’s furnace as soon as you open it or put in new wood.

Final words

That’s that on the topic of converting a regular tent into a hot tent. Hopefully, you’re well aware of all the dangers that are associated with the conversion process itself. If you’re not too sure about how to handle it, please keep in mind that it’s best you contact someone with more experience. For more tips on various outdoor-related issues and similar info, feel free to visit our blog page.

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