How To Sleep Warm In Winter Camping

So your camping trips gonna be cold and you want to sleep warm.

Here I’m gonna share my proven tips to sleep comfortable and warm in your tent or your hammock or whatever kind of shelter you’re gonna be in when it’s freezing cold outside.

Some of you maybe got that winter trip already planned and it’s on the calendar and you’re freaking out about it. You’re like how in the world am I gonna stay warm.

I’m hopefully gonna help you out so stick around.

I’ve been winter camping for about four years now, I’ve gone two to three times each year, and I have had some great experiences and I’ve had some not great experiences.

But I’ve learned quite a bit over time. I’m gonna share what I’ve learned with you and hopefully it’s gonna help you out also.

The two things that I consider when I’m about to head out into the world of winter camping are what’s my shelter gonna look like and what’s my sleep system gonna look like.

If you are new to winter camping I’m gonna tell you to pick the shelter that you are the most comfortable with sleeping in during the warmer months.

You don’t want to just switch up your entire shelter when you’re dealing with cold weather and then have to worry about just being comfortable on top of it.

Because being warm in the wintertime doesn’t mean you’re gonna be comfortable in the wintertime.

We all know that being insulated is pretty obvious when it comes to cold weather camping.

I bring a temperature rated sleeping bag or quilt that is at least 20 degrees below what the weather says it’s gonna be especially in the colder seasons.

One of the worst things that can happen is you can get out into the backcountry and realize that the forecast was wrong and it’s gonna be 10 degrees colder than what it said it was going to be.

If you know anything about comfort ratings on sleeping bags or quilt, in almost every situation with every company, the rating that’s on the bag is not the actual rating that you’re going to be comfortable at.

One thing that people forget is the insulation underneath them. It’s very important to have something that’s got a lot of insulating value underneath you and it’s typically called R-value.

The higher the R-value, the warmer the insulation values that that sleep pad or whatever you’ve got underneath you is gonna have. That’s super important because that ground can really suck that warmth right out of you.

You’re about to jump into your tent, you’re about to jump into your hammock, a couple things I would tell you to do before that happens.

One is eat a meal. It’s always good to have something in your stomach working all night long to keep that core temperature moving.

The other thing I would recommend is pee. Go pee before you get comfortable inside of your tent. The worst thing in the world is if in 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning you have to go relieve yourself, because you’re letting all that heat out that you built up all night long. Not fun!

Also you might want to save a camp chore until right before bed or do a couple jumping jacks before you get into your tent. Work up some heat before you jump in there, but make sure you don’t get wet. In other words don’t get sweaty.

There’s nothing worse than getting in your tent when you’ve got sweat on your body or your clothes are wet and you freeze all night long, not because you had insulation that didn’t do its job, but because you made the mistake of getting your body full of sweat before you jumped into a cold situation in your tent.

One other thing I like to do is get some chemical disposable hand warmers.

HotHands Hand Warmers 40 pack case

Make sure that they are the long-lasting hand warmers. Make sure they last more than eight hours. You don’t want to have these things not working in the middle of the night and all of a sudden that radiant heat doesn’t work.

Don’t just use them for your hands. What I like to do is I like to put them down on my feet. I like to put them strategically along my body inside of my sleeping bag just to give myself radiant heat all night long.

That’s gonna really help especially if your sleeping system isn’t rated properly for the situation that you’re in.

So get yourself a good set of hand warmers. There are also Chemical Toe & Foot Warmers and Adhesive Body Warmers.

best chemical toe warmers

Two more things.

Make sure that you’re evenly insulating your body. A lot of times we have the tendency to wear those really big puffy jackets and maybe we neglected our legs and our feet.

What you want to do is have that upper body work for the rest of your body. Sometimes when my feet are cold in the middle of the night, I’ll actually unzip my jacket a little bit let out some of that radiant heat. It’ll make its way down to my feet and it makes all the difference in the world.

Don’t forget to be comfortable. We often think that comfort means warmth or warmth means comfort, but that’s not necessarily true.

I can be nice and warm in the fall but I’m not comfortable. So if you like to bring two pillows in the summertime or those fall months, bring two pillows in the winter, but don’t neglect your comfort.

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