Military Tent Thermal Methods of Insulation

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Military Tent Thermal Methods of Insulation
Thermal insulated tents save the military millions of dollars. (military image by T.Tulic from

During their military careers, our service personnel may live in temporary tent structures anywhere from weeks to years. Historically, military tents were uncomfortably hot during warm weather and cold when temperatures dropped. The cost to regulate the interior temperature has been exorbitant until methods of thermal insulation were developed.

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Insulating a military tent from extremes in exterior temperatures begins with the temporary structure's construction and design. The outer and innermost skins are weatherproofed canvas duck that does not sweat like high-tech plastic. The interior core of the tent material is a 7/8-inch-thick poly fibre core of insulation. The canvas is multiple stitched on stress points to avoid tears in the fabric. Heavy duty zippers and waterproofed flaps help keep the weather out.

Exterior Foam

The tent is further insulated with closed-cell spray polyurethane foam -- tent foaming. Once sprayed on, the foam hardens to create a barrier between the exterior temperature and the interior of the tent. It is the same method used for decades to insulate residential homes.


Thermal insulation of military tents incurs significant energy savings. In 2009, during the Iraq war, 1,200 tents, the equivalent of 5.5 million square feet were coated with tent foam. The result was an energy savings of £1.3 million per day. It reduced the number of convoys needed to transport fuels for the generators. It lowered the interior of the tents from 33.3 degrees Celsius to 21.1 degrees Celsius, making living conditions more comfortable for the soldiers.

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