How To Stay Warm In A Car Overnight

Besides safety concerns, staying warm is one of the significant worries while sleeping in a vehicle overnight, particularly in colder months when on camping trips and not running the car’s engine. The issue is that when you fall asleep in a car, the temperature will be colder inside than it can be outside your car.

Because of this, you’ll need to ensure you wear warm clothes, have ample space to move around, and have warm bedding, such as wool blankets or even a sleeping bag. Of course, if you have a portable heater, all the better.

Problems arise, though, if you are a car owner; emergencies happen, so you may not have all the gear with you to stay warm. In our guide, you can learn how to stay warm in a car with no heat.

By the end, you’ll see what you can use for keeping warm and what things you can keep in your car to help. You’ll also see many tips to stay warm sleeping, be it in the middle of an extensive road trip or you are on your camping trip in cold weather and need to know what is the best cold weather bedding. (Read Making An Air Mattress More Comfortable)

Tips in Staying Warm In A Car Overnight

Quick Ways For Staying Warm Inside Your Sleeping Bag

Overnight Car Heater

To keep the area warm, a car heater can be used overnight. To keep the heat in, be sure to insulate the floor and windows.

Depending on the heater type, you will need to keep your car windows open for ventilation, although you should do this anyway.

Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are a terrific complement when traveling in chilly weather, especially at night. This is because the body’s extremities, such as the hands and feet, are more susceptible to the cold.

Hand warmers are fantastic for preventing your hands from becoming numb and stiff, but they won’t warm up the entire car.

Wool Blankets

Wool blankets are an excellent choice since wool traps heat so effectively. Not only is it cozy to sleep on a large wool blanket, but it also keeps you very warm at night.

Another Person or Pet

A tried-and-true method of remaining warm is to exchange body heat with others to prevent hypothermia. For example, if you’re traveling with a friend, stay close to one another in the automobile. If you have them, wrap yourself in blankets to trap as much heat as possible.

Sleeping near to others when camping will allow you to share each other’s body heat at night and keep the car warmer.

Naturally, body heat is shared more between two people who are near to one another. Pets are an excellent way to warm up a car because they also create body heat.

Boiling Water

A hot water bottle can be tucked inside your sleeping bag to help keep you warm, and boiling water adds heat to a car. (Learn How Long Before Car Battery Dies With Radio On)

Hot Rocks

Due to their capacity to retain heat, hot rocks are helpful. Depending on how hot they become, you might need to cover them with a blanket, but they work excellently as hand or sleeping bag warmers to help keep your body warm.

You can heat these as you boil the water for your hot water bottle.

Tips To Stay Warm Sleeping In A Car and Save Money

Bad weather might leave you trapped in your car, so you need to know how to retain heat when sleeping in your car overnight.

Suitable Sleeping Area for Car

1. Pick A Suitable Sleeping Area

For the place you intend to visit, consider both the seasonal climate and the daily changes in weather reports.

Climate is defined as the long-term weather patterns seen in a particular location, as opposed to weather, which is defined as simple changes in temperature and precipitation.

If you must sleep in your car because of an unforeseen scenario, camp in populated rest areas like:

  • Campsites
  • Rest stops
  • Truckstop’s
  • Walmart

2. Wear Layers

The base is everything with layering. The base layer of clothing is essential for limiting heat loss.

Layering is appropriate for synthetic fabrics made of polypropylene, polyester, rayon, or nylon that can wick moisture away from the body.

You may need to cover your hands and feet depending on how cold it is outside. Wear gloves that let you use your fingers while also protecting your hands.

Wool socks are a fantastic way to prevent cold in your feet thus keeping your toes warm.

Bring along an extra blanket as part of your cold weather bedding or invest in a hardy sleeping bag you can keep in your vehicle.

One solution to keep warm if stranded is to keep a mylar blanket in your vehicle in case of emergencies, although these are better if you have a good sleeping bag to accompany their use. (Read Can I Sleep In My Car At A Campsite)

3. Insulate Your Car

Use insulating reflective foam that reflects heat energy back to you to keep any heat you produce inside the car.

Get a large roll and use it to cover the windshield and windows on the inside, not on the outside. You may need to use duct tape to fasten it, or if you frequently clepe this way, you can come up with another solution.

As an alternative, you may insulate the car using a space blanket. Wrap yourself in the space blanket after covering your windshield and windows with it to keep the cold temperatures out.

4. Use an Electric Blanket

A type of blanket with electrical heating wires incorporated into it is an electric blanket with an insulated wire woven into the fabric that heats when powered and functions like heating pads.

Most electric blankets come with temperature control options, so you can regulate how much current flows into the heating elements and how much heat is released.

The throw blanket, coverlet, or duvet can all be made of the blanket. The best way to use an electric blanket is to warm up the space where you’ll be sleeping before unplugging or turning it off before bed.

The downside of these is they need mains power, or your vehicle has the means to convert, and the blanket can help; you remain warm from battery power.

5. Turn The Engine Off

Before sleeping, turn off the engine and AC. Leaving the engine on will reduce air quality and put you in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you wish to use your car’s heating system, ensure it works, and only run the engine for brief periods. You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector just in case.

In addition, while it may be cold, you should always sleep with the windows open, even if just a little.

6. Eat and Drink

Warm clothing and sleeping bags can do wonders to keep you warm, yet you need to consider inside the body.

Hydrate and eat to remain warm. When sleeping in your car, keeping emergency food and drink makes a difference.

Hot drinks in the winter help prevent dehydration and warm the body against the cold. The most important thing is to consume a warm beverage before bed yet avoid caffeine.

Travel mugs keep drinks warm, so invest in a leak-proof thermal cup.

7. Use Aftermarket Heaters

A small vehicle heater is a great option to provide heat if your car heater breaks down. Small car warmers work by dispersing heat throughout the automobile’s interior.

It works wonders to defrost windows. The cost of a good car heater is usually justifiable given the future comfort it will provide.

Sleep in a Car Overnight

Can You Sleep in a Car Overnight with the Windows Up?

Sleeping in a car overnight with the windows up is safe if you don’t have the engine running. There’s enough natural oxygen exchange that it’s not dangerous to have the windows up, but you can always crack the windows slightly for more airflow. (Read Why The Fridge Is Not Cold But The Freezer Is)

Portable Heater

Catalytic heating is the best choice. Therefore: None of them emit carbon monoxide. So instead, most heaters use combustion to produce heat energy. Catalytic heaters expedite the heating process and prevent molecular changes in the gas that would otherwise cause the emission of CO2.

They are compelling. As opposed to liquid fuel, these heaters use fuel-efficient fuel, such as a propane heater or butane, which tend to use all the oxygen in your car, thus converting it into a hazardous fire pit. Using these rather than a catalytic heater, you would need to leave your windows open. You may use this kind of heater for more extended periods without the requirement for ventilation than normal heaters.

Space Blankets

These fantastic blankets fold into a small package and are quite affordable. They are ideal for hikers and car campers alike. In addition, hikers and mountain climbers often take these Mylar Thermal Blankets with them when they venture into regions at a high altitude.

It is known that they can retain up to ninety percent of the user’s body heat, which protects the user from hypothermia and shock. Another time you see space blankets in use is for runners at the end of a marathon, where they wrap the space blanket around their bodies.

Hand Warmers

These are more often recognized as being beneficial for any activity, from marathons to hiking excursions, from tailgating the upcoming football game to surviving in the harsh North. When you need an additional heat source in your car overnight, these are especially useful for warming your hands and feet.

Electric Blanket

These are everyday items for winter car camping, so this one is fascinating. These will be used to warm a sleeping area as you travel to your destination, charged just before bed, then unplugged when it’s time to sleep.

Most items will stay warm for a decent amount of time and won’t drain your car’s battery if you unplug them after about 30 minutes of charging.

Solar Power Bank

If you’re determined to survive extremely chilly nights, you can use a solar power generator to sustain an electric blanket like one outlined previously for long periods. You don’t want to use up your own car’s battery.

These solar power banks can be recharged all day long using solar panels, or you can use your driving car to recharge the power bank without draining your car battery.

Reflective Foam Insulation

You can get reflective foam insulation from many places, although you won’t need much to cover your windows.

You can get it from your local hardware store and cut it to shape to fit your front, side, and rear windows. This gadget can heat your automobile to the point of turning it into a mini-oven system by reflecting up to 97% of the heat from escaping.

Guide in Sleeping in a Car

Sleeping in a Car FAQs

Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?

No. However, whether you are trespassing or intoxicated will determine this. The exception to this rule is Hawaii. In Hawaii, sleeping in a moving vehicle is prohibited from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Can It Get Too Cold to Sleep in Your Car?

Yes. If it is below thirty degrees outside, it is not advisable to sleep in your car.

Can Wild Animals Break Into My Car as I Sleep?

Typically, animals don’t attack cars. However, bear country requires caution because bears have been known to damage car glass.


Car sleeping overnight may be interesting. Unpreparedness can make it an unpleasant experience, though. Now that you know how to stay warm sleeping in a car in cold conditions such as when winter car, camping. If you abide by this guide, you will feel safe and at ease while staying warm.

The essentials to remaining warm when sleeping in your automobile are:

  • First, check to see if your car’s heating system is functional or if you have an aftermarket heater to keep your car warm.
  • Consume plenty of food and drink before sleeping in your car.
  • Have access to thick bedding, a wool blanket, and warm clothing ready for sleeping in a car.

How To Stay Warm In A Car Overnight

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