Winter camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get closer to nature.
We all know that winter camping can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to stay warm when the temperatures plummet, so how do you stay warm when winter camping?
Here are some tips for staying warm while winter camping:
Layering Your Clothing To Stay Warm When Winter Camping
The first thing to remember when camping in winter is that you must stay dry, so layering your clothing in the correct order will help with this, starting from a base layer that wicks moisture away and perspiration then on top of that wearing fleece or wool.
Bring plenty of layers, pack a few different types of clothes to wear so you can adjust for changes in temperature throughout the day/night.
Ensure that one is waterproof and windproof, so you don’t get wet or cold during an unexpected storm.
Bring plenty of extra clothing- even with a good winter camping sleeping bag and pad, there’s no excuse for not bringing enough dry clothes in a winter situation.
What you wear affects how well your whole body warms up, and once you stop moving around, staying warm becomes more difficult.
Dress in synthetic fabrics (fibers that stay soft when wet) since they retain heat better than natural ones like cotton (which stays cool when wet).
Avoid cotton fabrics- stay warm when camping by wearing only clothes made of synthetic fibers and stay away from cotton.
Cotton is soft and comfortable, but it doesn’t stay warm when wet. Wear all-weather gear that keeps you warm even if it gets soaked during the day on wet camping trip.
Water conducts heat away from the body way faster than air!
Staying Active Around Camp
Staying active to be the best advice for staying warm.
Try not to sit around camp while waiting for dinner or playing cards with friends. Keep moving by taking short walks, going on hikes, cooking up some hot cocoa by the fire (or tea if that’s more your speed), etc.
General camp chores such as processing firewood are also great to keep you active.
Even though this might seem counter-intuitive, moving around produces more body heat than sitting in the same place for an extended period of time.
Also, try to avoid sitting on the bare ground or rocks as this will soak away your body heat rapidly; if you need a seat, pile up some wood; wood offers far more insulation from the cold ground.
Picking the Correct Winter Camping Sleeping Mat
Invest in camping gear with high warmth ratings
If you are ground-dwelling, one of the most important things is a good quality sleeping mat with a high (R) value, and the R-value measures the sleeping mat’s thermal performance.
Here is a brief guide to R Values (Temp Values are Approximate)
- R – 1 = Summertime 5°C or above
- R – 2 = 3 season around 0 to 5°C
- R – 3 = All-Season is around 0 to -5°C, cold but no frost
- R – 4 = Extreme winter conditions as low as -10°C
If you have a poorly insulated mat, the ground will draw away your body heat, and you will find it almost impossible to stay warm.
There are workarounds such as heat reflective mats if you already own a sleeping mat.
Choosing the Correct Sleeping Bag for Winter Camping
Just like your Sleeping mat, your bag needs to be correctly rated for the conditions you are likely to encounter on your camp.
Make sure that your sleeping bag is warm enough; this way, you’ll stay warm even when camping in really cold conditions.
To make sure that your sleeping bag is good to go for winter camping, check out its temperature rating.
A liner might help, too, since it traps air between two layers for extra insulation.
Again similar to the table above, a brief rating of sleeping bags (Temp Values are Approximate)
- Season – 1 = 5°C or above, Summertime camping
- Season – 2 = Around 0 to 5°C ideal for Spring/Summer
- Season – 3 = All-Season is around 0 to -5°C, cold but no frost can be used year-round, with the correct layering of clothing.
- Season – 4 = Winter conditions as low as -10°C
- Season – 5 = Extreme winter conditions as low as -40°C
Camp With Someone Who Has Experience of Camping in Cold Conditions
Camping with a friend With Some Experience of Camping in Cold Conditions can be a great benefit so they can tell you what might happen next and how to stay safe when out in the cold.
Wear a Hat at Night
As we know, we lose most of our body heat through our heads, so keeping your head covered is a great way to stay warm, especially when tucked up in your sleeping bag.
A nice warm wool beanie hat should see you right at night as they are comfortable to sleep in and toasty warm.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol or Drinking Caffeine
Stay warm at night by avoiding caffeine and other stimulants, which will make you dehydrated and more uncomfortable as they wear off during the night.
Alcohol is also a bad idea because it makes you feel warmer than you really are for a short while before making you feel colder when it wears off.
Avoid alcohol as it will dehydrate you and cause your body temperature to drop.
Tip’s To Stay Warm When Winter Camping
Winter camping can be a thrilling adventure, but staying warm is crucial to ensure your comfort and safety. Here are some tips to help you stay warm during winter camping:
- Choose the right gear: Invest in high-quality, cold-weather camping gear. This includes a four-season tent, a warm sleeping bag rated for winter temperatures, and an insulated sleeping pad to provide insulation from the cold ground.
- Layer your clothing: Dress in multiple layers of clothing to trap warm air and provide insulation. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating layer like fleece or down, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer shell. Don’t forget to wear thermal socks, gloves, and a hat to protect your extremities.
- Use a sleeping bag liner: A sleeping bag liner adds an extra layer of insulation and helps to keep your sleeping bag clean. Look for a liner made of insulating materials like fleece or silk for added warmth.
- Warm up before bed: Engage in some physical activity before getting into your sleeping bag. It helps raise your body temperature and generates warmth that will be retained as you sleep.
- Eat high-calorie meals: Consuming high-calorie meals before bed can provide your body with fuel to generate heat during the night. Include foods rich in healthy fats and complex carbohydrates to keep your body warm.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is essential even in cold weather. Proper hydration helps regulate your body temperature and keeps your extremities warm.
- Use hand warmers or hot water bottles: Bring along hand warmers or hot water bottles to warm up your sleeping bag before you climb in or use them to provide warmth to cold spots in your sleeping bag during the night.
- Create a barrier from the ground: Place an insulating pad or a closed-cell foam pad underneath your sleeping pad to prevent the cold ground from sapping your body heat.
Remember, staying warm is crucial, but it’s equally important to prioritize safety during winter camping. Check weather conditions, inform someone about your plans, and always be prepared for emergencies.
Camping in the winter can be challenging, and in some cases, dangerous, so you should not attempt it without having the correct kit and information to do so safely.
Winter camping can also be great fun, with great views of a very different landscape than you may be used to in the summertime.
Stay safe out there, folks.
Enjoy the outdoors.