Tangled Metal wrote:To think a double layer of think nylon or polyester is a great insulator! I'll wrap my house in it and watch my heating bills shrink this winter!
Sorry for the facetious comments above. The tent only cuts out the wind and rain. It offers no insulation in itself. You can find shelter without a tent or tarp and just using your sleeping bag and mat if you know a good location. Not to recommend it as a tent or tarp is kind of reassuring.
Mat and sleeping bag are the only real ways of getting your insulation right. You have to get the right ones for your intended conditions and your personal choices. The tent is just the windbreak.
I disagree. The tent doesn't hold much heat, but it does hold some. Most tents have an inner and an outer, and they trap air between. Thin layers of nylon may not be *great* insulation, but it is *some* insulation.
A 4 season tent does a better job of that, as it is designed to do so. An extreme weather winter tent will do even better.
I certainly would rather sleep in a tent on a cold night than just a mat and sleeping bag under a tarp. A bivvy bag is another alternative, but that puts another layer of insulation around you. It's probably a more effective way to stay warm than a tent, as long as it's not too cold for your face, or severe weather.