How do I keep warm while camping? Winter Camping

by Elvis Jai Closs on July 17, 2021

9 Tips For Staying Warm While Camping - How to stay warm while camping

There is no escaping it; cold temperatures while camping! There is no faster way to ruin a camping trip than being cold, but with a bit of preparation, it's easy to avoid the dreaded frigid toes and fingers.

Using these simple tips and tricks, here is how you can stay warm, and get a proper night's rest for the adventure ahead even on the most chilly of nights.

How to stay warm while camping

1) Dress in Layers

Wearing suitable clothing is essential. Dressing in multiple layers including - base layers, mid-layers, puffers, and shells - gives you a better ability to properly regulate your body temperature.

As you move through the activities of the day, it is important to avoid sweating as when it dries and the sweat cools, it will wrap you in a cold blanket. Constantly adjusting your layers will prevent you from sweating.

For this reason, it is essential that your base layer removes moisture, fabric that causes standing moisture on the skin will cause you to get cold very fast. Moisture-wicking fabrics include wool, silk, and synthetic materials but avoid cotton - cotton takes a long time to dry.

2) Get out of Sweaty Clothes

Once you have your camp constructed, fire lit and you are ready to settle down for tonight make sure to remove your sweaty layers ASAP. While it might initially be hard to strip down in the cold conditions, you will be grateful you did later on. Even if your base layer feels dry, it might still have some retaining moisture in the fibers which will make it harder to stay warm. This is why we recommend always carrying a backup base layer.

3) Create as much insulation between you and the ground as possible!

Your camping mattress, air bed, and blankets, etc are all designed to insulate you from the cold ground. An air bed's warmth (technically, its thermal resistance) is measured by its R-Value. With every layer added, the R-value will increase - keeping you warmer! Camp beds also provide another great layer of insulation. Air mattresses, thick foam camping mats, self-inflating mats, rugs, and heavy blankets all make good bases for your bed.

4) Ensure there is Adequate Ventilation in your Tent

While it may initially sound counterintuitive a supply of fresh air flow is very important. Your body heat and breath will cause condensation to build up inside the tent, these droplets will collect as condensation. Slightly cracking open the vents will ensure you don't wake up in an icebox that will later melt, making you wet and miserable.

5) How to Stay Warm in your Sleeping Bag

There are different kinds of sleeping bags suited for different seasons and temperatures, so do your research and pick one which is best suited to your camping trip! Before getting inside, fluff up the bag to loosen the insulating fibers, creating more pockets of air. It is these micro pockets of air that trap the heat. Also, make sure not to enclose yourself fully into the bag, breathing into it will cause an excessive build-up of moisture.

how to stay warm while camping

6) Wear a Balaclava to Bed

As you don't want to breathe into the sleeping bag, a balaclava is a great way to keep your head warm. We loose 40-45% of body heat is lost through our heads and neck due to increased blood flow. It also provides space for breathing and moisture to escape. You could even wear a beanie on top to keep extra warm!

7) Eat and Drink Lots

Your body burns lots of calories trying to stay warm, consuming enough food will ensure your internal furnace stays working! It is always a great idea to keep a few snacks by the side of you as you sleep in case you get cold during the night, it also ensures you start the day feeling fresh in the morning. At night, meals that are high in fat and protein burn slower than high-carb meals, these foods will keep you sustained (and warmer) for longer.

Staying hydrated is also essential. Drinking lots of water reduces fatigue. However, avoid drinking too much to avoid needing the toilet in night, as you risk losing all the heat you have built up. Warm drinks also help warm the core. If you are extra hardcore, or just plain lazy, you could pee inside a water bottle to avoid going outside. Make sure your aim is on point though, otherwise all could be lost! Although it might seem gross, a fresh bottle of warm pee can make the perfect hot water bottle.

8) Few Extra Tips

Staying physically active will keep you warm - some quick squats will very quickly raise your body temperature. Kicking your legs around in your sleeping bag also works, just make sure not to kick your tent buddy in the face! Campfires are also a great way to stay warm! While you should always keep away from tents, certain natural shelter constructions are designed to incorporate fires into the design. An example of Corporals Corner on YouTube shows a perfect example of this. You can view this here.

9) Some Extra Gear

There are lots of extra gadgets that can be a worthwhile investment in keeping you warm. Electric camping heaters are great, but only if your site has an electric hookup. Avoid lighting fires and BBQs inside as the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning are very serious. Other options include hand warmers, heated gloves, heated boots, etc A little extra help from technology can go a long way!

We hope you enjoyed this blog post and took away a few useful things! If you prepare correctly and follow these general rules it is hard not to stay warm. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!


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