Can A Candle Warm A Tent (We’ll Show You How)

Is there anything worse than being cold? Being cold whilst trying to sleep is potentially a lot worse but when you’re camping, you have to brave the elements, right? To a degree, this is true, but this should never be at the expense of your comfort or well being. If you find yourself without power and unable to start a campfire, you may be wondering whether a candle can warm a tent.

A candle will provide a certain degree of warmth; it does have a flame, after all. While it may not provide you with the level of heat that more substantial products could, it is certainly viable as an emergency heat source. However, simply lighting a candle isn’t going to be enough, you’ve got to get creative if you want to spread the heat.

With this in mind, let us show you how to warm your tent using a candle.

Candle Safety

One of the most important things to think about when using a candle inside a tent is your safety. Any flame, regardless of how small, harbours the potential to cause a devastating fire. This is not something that anyone wants to risk, so understanding candle safety should be our first priority. 

Many modern tents do feature a flame-resistant coating but this is designed so that the tent can withstand the heat from a campfire without setting alight. Bringing a flame inside the tent is another matter entirely 

How To Heat A Tent With A Candle

You could be forgiven for thinking that there was no way that the tiny flame from a candle would do anything but give off radiant heat in the inches around it. On its own, this assumption would be correct but by using a little creativity, it’s amazing what you can achieve. 

It is important to keep in mind that expecting to heat a huge, family-sized tent with multiple bedrooms with a single candle is pushing the limits of this concept a little too far. However, if you have a smaller tent then the heat of a candle could quickly fill the enclosed space, giving you just enough warmth to bed down comfortably. Tent Insulation is the key to success, so before you light your candles, be sure to remember the following tips:

  • Use a groundsheet to insulate the tent from the ground up.
  • Cover the tent windows and doors with blankets or pieces of material to keep cold air out. You might also line the floor with blankets which is great if you are camping for longer periods. 
  • Make sure that you pitch your tent in a location that isn’t exposed to wind and gets maximum sunlight throughout the day.
  • Wear layers when you are sleeping.

There are two main ways that a candle can be used to heat a tent; one requires a simple purchase while the other requires a little more input from campers. 

Candle Lanterns

A candle lantern is a very old-fashioned piece of equipment, having been used for centuries as a source of light. In days gone by, people often relied on these to see once the sun had gone down. However, modern candle lanterns are much more innovative and ideal for camping. In fact, there are many campers who won’t leave home without one. 

Some of the better designs allow for up to nine hours of burn time and are compact and durable enough for camping adventures. But what’s best about these lanterns is that the candle is protected so there is a much less significant risk of accidents. 


UCO Candle Lantern - Green

Everyone loves a classic, time-tested and just perfect at what it does.

Uco make a range of candle-powered camping lanterns, including this nice green model. Refills are readily available and they’re nicely warm as well as illuminating.

Makeshift Candle Heater

If you want to have a go at making a candle heater for yourself, you can often do this with things you already have. Not only is this cheaper as you won’t need to purchase a candle lantern but it also means that you have one less piece of equipment to carry with you. Furthermore, this is a great option if you find yourself in an emergency situation in need of heat and light. 

Another benefit of this DIY model is that you can use all types of candles. If all you have in your pack are a few tealights, then these will work just as well as larger candles. 

This system works on the idea of creating a convection current and boosts the heat that the flame gives off. Many campers swear by this method and it can be very effective when it is done correctly. However, you should keep in mind that this will only give off a small amount of heat and you should try to insulate your tent as much as possible. 

To create your makeshift candle heater, you will need the following items:

  • Candles
  • One large clay pot with a hole at the bottom
  • One small clay pot without a hole at the bottom
  • A container for the candles; this should be heatproof

Take your container, this can be made from glass, ceramic or anything else that won’t crack under the hot temperatures, and place your candles inside. Be sure to light the candles before moving on to the next step.

Now, turn the smaller pot upside down and rest it on top of the container making sure that there is space for air to flow. If you don’t do this, the flames will go out due to a lack of oxygen. Next, the large pot should be placed over the smaller one and all you have to do is wait for the heat to circulate around the tent. 


Camping is typically a summer activity for many people but if you are brave enough to head out when the mercury starts getting lower then you’re going to need ways to keep warm. If you don’t have space in your backpack for large heaters or you find yourself in an emergency situation, a candle could produce just enough heat to get you through the night. We wrote an article about safe ways to heat your tent should you need any other ideas.

There is the option to purchase a candle lantern which will give you protected heat and light for a good few hours. Alternatively, you could fashion a DIY heater using candles and clay pots which is a favoured method of some of the most experienced campers.