Should You Sleep Nude in Your Sleeping Bag?

BivouacIf you’ve done any winter camping at all, you’ve probably heard someone say that sleeping inside your sleeping bag in the nude is the best way to stay warm on really cold nights. Is this just an old wives’ tale or does it actually work?

Let’s break down this myth.

As you go about your active outdoor day, the idea goes, your body produces sweat which ends up as moisture in and on your clothing. If you were to put these articles of clothing outside in really low temperatures, they would freeze.

If you have this moisture inside of your sleeping bag, it’ll get all clammy. Your clothes themselves are cold from being outside, so you have to produce extra heat to warm up those clothes and dry them off, so sleeping with clothing on keeps you from being really toasty  — right?

Wrong. Your sleeping bag should be warm enough that things are not freezing inside of it, if it’s well made and rated for the conditions in which you’re using it. If your clothes are freezing in your sleeping bag, it’s time to get a new one!

Trapped warm air is what keeps us warm, be it inside a sleeping bag, inside a house, or inside the layers of your clothes. The same goes for your sleeping bag. The more layers that air can be trapped in, the more efficiently you’ll be warm and the warmer you’ll be. Wearing clothes inside of your sleeping bag will help you stay warm. The amount of moisture your clothing absorbs is negligible when taking into consideration how small of a space you need to heat with your body to stay warm.

For maximum coziness, carry an extra base layer in the middle of your pack, along with an extra pair of clean socks. Once in the tent, you can change into your dry, warm gear to sleep in. If you’d rather carry fewer items, don’t worry about it. Instead, pack a better sleeping bag.

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