Remodeling a Tent for Cold Weather Camping

The last couple of weeks have definitely been a distraction. The family made reservations to camp at the Grand Canyon in March and although we will take the RV, the kids will all stay in tents. I thought a family tent that could be heated would be an excellent overflow space for the RV. I had been planning to put together a tent like this for some time. Now just seemed to be the right time.
I shopped for different tents that could fit a family of four in style and my favorite was the Browning Big Horn and the Field and Stream Forest Ridge 8 person as these two tents have oxford nylon floors instead of the plastic most large tents feature.

Browning Big Horn Tent

Browning Big Horn Tent

Forest Ridge 8 Person Tent

Forest Ridge 8 Person

I actually bought the Field and Stream for my son and family when they needed a larger tent. But the ceilings are all mesh which is not great for cold weather. I’m not sure when ventilation became so important in tents that whole ceilings are now made of mesh. We camped for years in tents that were nylon with nylon rain flys and never experienced excessive moisture even in humid Indiana. I suspect it is mostly a cost saving feature.
Years ago I purchased a clearance set of walls for a 10 x 10 instant canopy. Now I learned that there are tents made for these canopies that are meant to hang underneath. I decided that the two walled approach would yield a warmer tent. I really planned to buy the Standing Room Tent but even though the older model’s price had been reduced to $99, I could not find information about the tent floor. It appears it is a “tarp” which would mean plastic. It does have a solid ceiling and two large doors and windows.

Standing-Room-Tent-2 Door

Standing-Room-Tent-2 Door

For $129 I bought the Ozark Trail Connect tent and an Ozark Trail 10 x 10 frame with canopy.

This tent also has the plastic floor and it is not a tub style but the seam is at ground level. It only has one door and a mesh roof. All things I do not prefer. So I set about improving the tent. It occurred to me that I’m actually remodeling a tent instead of the house.
Since we are planning for cold nights, between 20 and 40 degrees, I decided the mesh roof had to be covered. I had purchased several tarps in the summer for my son’s tent footprint but he never sent me the actual measurements and is using a 10 x 10 footprint that I bought with the tent which seems to be working fine. So I had three extra 9×7′ flys. I cut two of them in half diagonally along a seam and sewed the triangles together. I heat treated the raw edges to keep them from unraveling. At the edges of this interior roof. I sewed velcro and also to the edges of the inside of the tent. The tent has a lantern loop in the center of the ceiling and the interior “roof” hangs from that with an S hook.

Sewing velcro on roof tarp

Sewing velcro on roof tarp

I hung the set of Ozark Trails walls that I had bought on clearance years ago and only used once as an extra tarp. They fit around the tent perfectly but in order to tie the inside tent to the frame, I sewed button holes where the tie loops came through. I also added some velcro to the upper edge and the tarp to keep the sides from sagging.

Tent door with walls

Tent door with walls

Connect Tent with Walls

Connect Tent with Walls

For the floor I purchased two 4’x 10′ pieces of Reflectix and placed those under the outdoor RV mat that we have and seldom use.

Reflectix and RV mat on floor

Reflectix and RV mat on floor

Then I bought a Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater and a carbon monoxide alarm just to be safe. I tried it out with a small propane tank but I also bought the hose to use it with the larger tank. I’m using the roll up aluminum table to set the heater on and was able to get the tent 15 degrees warmer than outside within 30 minutes with the heater on low. There was no wind for the test but it seems that the tent will be cozy with all its upgrades.

Mr. Heater Buddy Propane

Mr. Heater Buddy Propane with CO alarm

Tent Thermometer

Tent Thermometer

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