how to stay warm sleeping in a car

How to Stay Warm Sleeping in a Car: 8 Easy Pro Tips

Road trips are a great source of sightseeing and testing your abilities to cope with harsh weather conditions. Being on the roads, sometimes you, by choice, or chance, choose your car to sleep. But a car is not a great place to live and sleep overnight, especially in winter. 

So, how would you stay warm while sleeping in your car? How would you insulate your car and make it a better place for sleeping? 

The best way to stay warm in your car is to insulate it with reflective foam covers to keep the heat in, dress in layers to keep the body warm, use the car’s HVAC system to generate heat, use a 0-degree sleeping bag, and protect your feet with merino socks. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking hot drinks. 

With years of experience, we’ve come up with these eight best tips and tricks for staying warm and comfortable while sleeping in your car. 

A pro tip: It’s always advised to try not to stay in areas that are going to be too cold because a car cannot provide you with the sufficient heat required to keep warm. And you can freeze in the car. Always check the weather and area conditions, and check all the equipment needed for the trip before setting on a journey.

Tips to Stay Warm While Sleeping in Car

Below are few easy pro tips for staying warm while sleeping in the car during camping.

Check the weather before leaving

 Before setting off on a voyage, the first and foremost thing to do is check the weather. Because you can modify your route and destination by being aware of which places will be badly affected by adverse weather, this will also help you pack your bags and choose the right gear accordingly.

Insulate the car

In stark contrast to your home, a car has poor insulation. Therefore, you must take extreme precautions to insulate it so that the heat within does not escape and you remain comfortable and cozy throughout your trip. 

insulate the car before sleeping in car in winter

Let’s learn how to insulate your car.

Cover the Windshield 

Insulating both front and back windshields is crucial. They take the large area of your car and are prone to excessive cold that ultimately makes its way to the car, making it colder. So, you can choose the windshield snow cover to stop the cold outside and preserve the heat inside.

It also blocks out lights that could otherwise keep you awake and is excellent for maintaining your privacy.

Use reflecting foam window covers. 

Cover all the windows of the car with reflecting covers. They bounce back the heat from inside the car and keep the extreme cold away from the vehicle. Thus, they work amazingly in maintaining the car’s temperature.

Cover the sunroof with a reflecting vent cover or Crashpads, so there’s airflow, but the snow or rain doesn’t go in.

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Dress in layers

Dressing in layers during your winter outing is an excellent way of keeping the cold away. You can choose the base layer made of merino wool to regulate the body heat and wick the sweat. You can try a sweatshirt or a merino t-shirt on a hoodie. 

Keep a jacket nearby in the car if you need one at midnight when the temperature frequently dips. 

One pair of jeans won’t protect you from the blistering cold. So, to adequately protect your legs, think about wearing more than two pairs of pants.

Wear Socks:

Protecting feet is exceptionally crucial because that’s where you usually get coldest. So, use two layers of socks, one a cozy Merino wool socks, and second, if you drive or travel a lot, give medi pad compression socks a try.

Mediped compression socks work great in keeping your feet warm and cushioning your ankle so it doesn’t get swollen.

For extra protection, you can also wear a scarf and a Merino Wool beanie

  • Satin Pillows: Having satin pillows in your car is no less than a blessing. They are soft and warm and help you sleep with ease. 
  1. Use warm packs: 

Apart from warm clothes and sleeping bags, you need some items in your car to stay warm.

Heated seats: 

Invest in heated seat covers, and you will never regret it. For the whole part of your journey, you’ll be sitting and sleeping on these seats, so they must be heated.

These heated seat covers are electrically connected to provide warmth and added comfort, particularly for leather seats that don’t hold heat. 

Hand warmers: 

They keep your hands and feet warm, as well as any other body part. You can use them very quickly. Just place them where you need them, and they will do the rest.

Heated steering wheel:

A heated steering wheel can help prevent your hands and fingers from freezing while driving rather than resting all night.

0-degree sleeping bag 

One can not even imagine sleeping warm in a car without a sleeping bag. 

It’s a number one and super important thing. So, find a 0-degree sleeping bag that will keep you warm and cozy all night. They usually are made to work fine up to -7 degrees, but if you expect the mercury to drop further, you can add more layers of blankets in your sleeping bag like soft wool blankets, woven blankets, etc.,

There’s nothing better than laying on warm layers rather than covering yourself with layers. 

A pro tip: Always keep a spare blanket or jacket in your sleeping bag if you need them at midnight. Because If you exit the bag, you risk losing all of your body heat.

Electric Blanket for Optimal Protection: 

A type of blanket with electrical heating wires built into it is an electric blanket. Like heating pads, they function by having an insulated wire placed into the cloth, which heats up when it is powered. Most will feature a temperature control device that allows you to manage the amount of current going to the heating components to control the amount of heat emitted.

The electric blanket can be used as a bedspread, pillow, or under the blanket. 

When using this blanket, you should warm the area where you will sleep and then turn it off before sleeping. As a result, you are not resting on heating wires. 

But keep in mind that running them requires a lot of power. As a result, you must bring an extra power bank because using the car’s battery would soon drain it. Use it only when necessary.

Use the Car heater (HVAC) to Warm the Car: 

Before you sleep, you can use the car’s heater ( HVAC system) to fill the car with heat. Due to its speed and accessibility, this is the most popular method for keeping warm in a car overnight. The vehicle’s heating system can quickly provide quick heat.

Use the Car heater (HVAC) to Warm the Car

A car’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system controls the cabin temperature. Purified air is supplied to the car interior through three subsystems, ensuring thermal comfort for the driver and passengers. It regulates the temperature and humidity of the air, removing too much moisture from the airflow, so you have dry, hot air. 

Use the heater for a brief period and turn it off when you feel the car is heated enough. Additionally, you can slightly open the sunroof to let in some fresh air. However, it is advised not to sleep with the heater on and the car engine running because it poses severe dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and suffocation due to the air exhaust system.

Use Hot Drinks: 

Carrying with you a cup of hot coffee or any other warm drink you like is another straightforward method to stay warm overnight. Carry it in the heated mug or flask and drink it every once to keep your body warm and hydrated.

The drink is kept at a temperature of roughly 140°F (60°C) by the heated mug, which is electrically hooked into the car’s socket.


We hope you enjoyed our article about how to stay warm sleeping in a car. Sometimes, we all have to travel by car, but finding a place to sleep is not always easy. So we wanted to share some tips with you to make it a little more comfortable! With the right gear and a few tricks, you can create a warm and cozy space in your car that will help you get some rest on your journey.


How cold is too cold to sleep in your car

Ans: For me Anything below 15 degrees Fahrenheit is considered unsafe and too cold to sleep in your car. So avoid sleeping in your vehicle if you fear the temperature will hit the 15 degree mark.

How to stay warm in a broken-down car

Ans: To stay warm in a broken-down car, try to insulate it with blankets, foils, or any other thing that could help. Run the engine a little to get heat. Cover your feet, nose, and head. And use hot drinks at intervals to keep the body temperature maintained.

How to keep the car warm when sleeping in it?

Ans: Insulate your car windows and windshields with reflecting foil. Use a car heater for a brief time. And use hand warmers or warm packets 

Can you freeze to death in your sleep

Ans: You can freeze to death while sleeping, but only if you are already sick and hypothermic. It won’t happen overnight. There is a high likelihood that you will wake up shivering instead of freezing to death.

Can you sleep in the trunk of your car?

Ans: Yes, if it is the only option you have. You can sleep in a car’s trunk, and because it is not airtight, like a car, there are no chances of suffocation. But you have to avoid it as much as you can.

Is it warmer to sleep in a car or tent?

Ans: A tent is warmer than a car. Since they are smaller than cars, they heat up quickly. They are additionally explicitly designed for insulation. And their unique fabric prevents them from becoming as cold as the aluminum used to make your car.

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