Staying Warm While Camping in Cold Weather

Sleeping pads close upCamping in the fall offers plenty of advantages over camping during the summer months. Smaller crowds, fewer insects, and the lack of poison ivy are all things to look forward to in fall camping, but those things come at a cost. Fall days might be pleasant, but fall nights can get down right chilly. Here are some things to think about to help you stay warm at night when you’re camping in cold weather.

Get a sleeping bag liner. Sleeping bag liners are a good way to add warmth to your current sleeping bag on a cold night. Depending on what a liner is made of, it can add 10-30 degrees to your sleeping bag’s temperature rating. Sleeping bag liners also increase the longevity of your sleeping bag.

30 degree sleeping bags don’t necessarily work in 30 degree temperatures. Some people sleep warmer than others do, meaning that they need a warmer sleeping bag. Also consider that women’s sleeping bags are warmer than men’s sleeping bags.

Add a sleeping pad. This will help keep you insulated from the cold ground and is also more comfortable than sleeping in the dirt. Different sleeping pads have different R-values. The higher the R-value, the more the pad insulates, and the warmer you will be.

You can still sleep in a hammock when it’s cold outside. In general, hammocks will not provide as much warmth as a tent, but that doesn’t meanĀ  a hammock can’t be a toasty option for fall and winter camping. If you’re going to sleeping in a hammock, check out our post about hammock camping in cold weather.

Sleep in your base layer. Don’t strip down for bed time. Your base layer will provide some much needed warmth on a cold night. Wool base layers are great for their insulative and antimicrobial properties.

Sleep with your next day’s clothes in your bag. You probably don’t want to sleep in your clothes, but keeping your clothes for the next day tucked in your sleeping bag at night is a great little trick. Instead of putting on cold clothes that zap your body temperature, you get to don clothes that feel like they’ve just been pulled out of the dryer.

Embrace the backwoods hot water bottle. Boil water at night, put it in your water bottle, put said bottle in your sleeping bag. Enjoy.

Don’t breathe into your bag. As tempting as it might be, don’t bury your face in your sleeping bag. While this method might keep your nose warm, it traps moisture in the sleeping bag material, which can actually freeze if the temperature is low enough. If your face gets cold easily, try sleeping with a balaclava.

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