Staying Warm on Cold Camping Nights

posted in: Camping Recreation | 0


Love to camp, but don’t like the cold while you’re trying to sleep?  Over time, I have learned hacks that keep me toasty warm while sleeping- even when it’s below freezing temps.


These are things that have worked for me- depending on the temperature and your preferences, you may want to incorporate some or all of them.


*Wear long johns (aka thermals) under your sleep wear.


*Put on dry socks before you get into your sleeping bag.  Do not go to bed with the sweaty smelly socks that you’ve been wearing throughout the day.  I always bring several pair of Merino Wool Socks with me camping.  When it’s really cold- I will double my socks and place a toe warmer between my socks on each foot.


*Sleep in a stocking cap; you’ll be amazed at just how much heat you lose off your head.  It is also more comfortable to wear a hat than to try to cover your head in the sleeping bag.  This is especially not good if you get claustrophobic easily.


*Sleeping in gloves  will also help you stay warm during the night.  I make sure that I bring gloves on every camping trip- my kids wear them as well and it makes a huge difference.  Also- it’s nice to be able to put your gloves on in between waking up and before the camp fire gets going.


*Bring an extra comforter/blanket to throw over your family will hold the heat and keep everyone much warmer as well.


*Make sure you have warm bedding: Buy sleeping bags with the necessary lower-limit temperature rating and insulated, closed cell foam sleeping pads if possible.


*Use a hot water bottle: If you put a hot, non-insulated stainless-steel water bottle in your sleeping bag at night, you will feel like it’s your personal sauna. Place your water heater next to your core, inner thigh (near your femoral artery), and/or  your neck (near your jugular).


How the body loses heat

  • Evaporation causes a cooling effect. 85% of  heat can be lost through the body through sweating during exercise. Clothes that are wet from sweating and increased respiration also trigger a drop in body heat.
  • Radiation is another factor- it can cause  heat to move away from the body. Your body could lose more than 50%  heat at temperatures lower than 68°F (20°C).
  • Conduction- transfer of heat from When there is physical contact, a transfer of heat occurs. Conduction begins at 68°F (20°C) , and is the reason the body loses heat from sleeping on the cold ground. This is why having a quality sleeping pad is so important.
  • Convection occurs when a heated fluid moves away from a source. Take hot tea for instance- The rising steam coming off of the cup demonstrates the movement of heat as hot water transitions into gaseous water (wet steam).


So next time you go camping- you will know exactly what to do to stay nice and warm.  Have other tricks that you’ve used? Please leave a comment below!

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