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Tips to Stay Warm When Cold Camping!

Guide To Cold Camping

Some people would prefer to be cuddled in front of the heater at home rather than camping through winter. Others see the benefits of the quiet sites, seclusion and crisp air, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors.
Personally, I prefer going during the cooler months, no flies or mosquitos, less wildlife on the road and fewer people using sites and facilities. If you’re lucky, you could end up with an entire campground to yourself.

How To Stay Warm

Staying warm during the camping trips starts at home and preparing ahead. The trick is to wear lots of loose layers and to avoid getting wet.

Make sure you pack the following:

  • Good quality thermal long pants and long sleeve top
  • 10 or better sleeping bag, preferably a mummy type that is tight fitting, check out-out Camping Sleeping Bags page
  • Thick socks
  • Woollen Beanie
  • Thick mittens
  • Warm weatherproof jacket
  • Warm long pant and long sleeve top pyjamas
  • Hot water bottle

The basic principles of staying warm can easily be remembered by thinking of COLD

C- Keep your clothes CLEAN


L- Wear lots of LOOSE layers

D- Keep your clothes DRY

Certain materials hold in more heat than others. If you can I would recommend sticking with the list below when it comes to clothing and sleeping bags:

  • Wool
  • Fleece
  • Polypropylene
  • Polarguard
  • Thinsulate
  • Down

The Dreaded Bathroom Run At Night

It always happens, you finally get warm and wouldn’t you know it….you need to go to the toilet. Here are some helpful tips to try and get around this problem:

Try no to drink to many fluids at night, hard to avoid I know. Mind you I don’t think I have ever been able to follow this rule.
DON’T HOLD IT!!! Holding on uses precise energy which would otherwise be used to keep you warm.

If you can, it is recommended you use a bottle. Much easier for males, but I have known females to master the art of using a funnel and bottle. Just make sure that you put the bottle out of reach so that no one mistakes it for drinkable fluid…
If you are REALLY cold, you can use the pee bottle as a hot water bottle.

Tips To Keeping Warm During The Day

Staying warm during the day is a little easier than at night as you can get out and do physical activities such as walking and hiking. Wear lots of loose layers, but make sure that you don’t get too hot as this will cause you to sweat and the sweat will soon get cold. As soon as you start to get hot remove a layer and once you start to feel the cold add a layer.
Having a constant fire will help throughout the days and will also ensure that the fire will be roaring at night time. If you put the clothes that you are planning on wearing during the day at the foot of your sleeping bag during the evening, they will be nice and warm when you put them on. Camping in the rain? Read the following article!

Tips To Keeping Warm During Your Sleep

As you would know, night time is the coldest part of the day, particularly once you have moved away from the campfire. These tips will help you stay warm while you are asleep.

Don’t go to bed cold. Make sure you get warm before hopping into your sleeping bag. It can be done by sitting by the fire or doing some physical activity before bed.

If it can be avoided, don’t sleep on the ground. Try to elevate yourself with a stretcher bed. If this isn’t possible use newspaper or insulation paper under your mattress to keep the cold from the ground reaching you.

Wear a beanie to bed. Most of the heat from your body is lost through your head.

Have a separate pair of socks for sleeping and leave them in your sleeping bag. Never go to bed with wet or damp socks.
Take a small snack to bed with you. If you wake up in the middle of the night due to being cold, your snack will provide enough calories to allow your system to warm you back up.

Don’t put your nose or mouth into your sleeping bag in an attempt to warm them up, instead, use a balaclava. The moisture from your breath can make the sleeping bag damp and cold.

30 minutes before going to bed fill a hot water bottle with hot water and place it in your sleeping bag. When you are ready for bed, refill it will new hot water. Personally, on freezing nights I use two water bottles. 1 for my feet and 1 for my stomach.

Snuggle!!!! If you are with someone else, why not using each other’s bodies to keep warm?

Winter Tents

For winter camping, you need a thick insulated material so that it keeps the heat in and the cold air out. If you can grab yourself all-weather tents that can be used all year round, otherwise the canvas tents are good during the cold weather.
When choosing a tent get the right size. If it’s too big the air that is in the tent will become cold very quickly, the smaller area, the warmer it will stay. Insulate the bottom of your tent with a tarp or a footprint, newspaper, carpet underlay or insulate paper and make sure you are sleeping on something to keep your body off the ground, foam, mattress or stretcher if possible.

Try to ensure that nothing is touching the sides of your tent, especially your clothes or skin, as the condensation will stick to the walls and will be wet.

What To Eat And Drink To Keep Warm

For winter camping, you want small meals that are high in calories, which in return will keep your energy levels high enough to provide more heat. Try to make things that a quick and easy as the last thing you want to be doing it preparing for ages and getting cold. Soups and stews are perfect for heating you up and are very easy to make. Any hot drinks will help to warm you up, such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Much of this is common sense; you are obviously not going to eat ice cream while camping in the snow.

Tips to Stay Warm When Cold Camping!
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Mark Jonson
Mark Jonson
Outdoor enthusiast and rafting addict. From Cleveland Ohio born and raised (GO CAVS). Working for a professional kayaking company located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio. I am a huge NBA fan and spend the rest of my spare time djing as a hobby.

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