How to Stay Warm in the Cold Outdoors
If you are a seasoned camper like myself, you will know that camping in winter is as easily done as in summer. But bare in mind that keeping warm and dry is one of the factors that can make or break a winter camp trip, especially during the night when tempratures can plummet.
Your body cools down during sleep and the blood is drawn from the feet and hands to the core of the body, so be prepared and ensure that you have the nessesary equipment with you.
If it is your first time winter camping, below are some tips on how get a good nights sleep and how to stay warm in the cold outdoors:
- Select a pitch that is sheltered from the wind if possible. Hanging a tarp between trees or setting up a wind breaker can help block the wind from your tent if needed.
- I would say electric hook up is pretty necessary for a comfortable winter camping trip. Not just for heat, but for light as well.
- If you are using an air bed you will need insulation both underneath and on top of it, aswell as some good winter bedding. Either a warm sleeping bag or winter grade duvet with a fleece blanket to throw on top. Insulating yourself from the ground is more important than insulating yourself from the cold air. Studies show (and from my own personal experience) that what you have under you is more important in keeping you warm than what is on top of you.
- Keep hydrated during the day and avoid drinking lots of fluids at night, so you won’t have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Wear a hat to bed, over half of your body heat can be lost through your head. One saying goes, “If your feet are cold, put on a hat.” Also wear loose fitting clothing to bed so it doesn’t restrict circulation.
- Do not wear too many pairs of socks. If the blood flow to your feet becomes constricted, your feet will get cold regardless of how many socks you have on. Tightening your boot laces too tight will constrict the blood flow as well.
- Exercise for a few minutes before getting in your sleeping bag. This will warm up your body and make it easier to warm up a cold sleeping bag.
- Fill a metal water bottle with hot water before you go to bed and then place it at any cold spots in your sleeping bag. Make sure it has a screw on lid that is done up tightly. A variation of this is to use disposable heater packs or hand warmers, which costs a little extra money. Or, in the old days they would take some heated rocks from around the campfire and place them in a wool sock (just make sure they’re not to hot, so they don’t burn you or your sock!).
- Keep a snack with you for the middle of the night, so if you do wake up cold you can replenish lost calories and warm back up again.
- Sleep with your clothes for the next day inside the bag with you so they’ll be nice and warm when you’re putting them on.
- If you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle the cold, do a practice run one night in your garden first. It should at least give the neighbours something to talk about.
- Your campfire is important! If you’re glamping, many yurts and cabins feature a wood burning stove. If you have to have an outside fire, see our tips on how to make a campfire and always keep it topped up and don’t forget toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate before bed… a must when camping at any time of year!
- One-pot meals for dinner are the easiest way to cook in the winter. Food should be easy to cook and tasty enough to be appetizing.
- Store extra batteries in your sleeping bag or close to your body to keep them warm. Cold will reduce the life of the batteries significantly and as the winter nights draw in quickly you will need them more than in summer months.
Author: Rosie Austin.
The CampTrip Team