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Keeping warm while camping can be a challenge, even in the summer. We have also done some camping in the dead of winter in the middle of a blizzard. We know how hard it can be to stay warm in these conditions.
The bulk of your camping gear space is going to be taken up by gear that keeps you warm. Don’t be afraid to pack more if you believe that you will need it. Just remember that even in the summer, the nights to get colder. And you certainly don’t want to find yourself in a situation where are you simply cannot get warm no matter what you do.
Below are some tips that you can use to keep warm during any season.
What to Wear
The key to keeping warm when it comes to clothing is layers. Make sure to bring plenty of wool socks in case they get wet inside of your boots. Also, you will want to bring an extra pair of gloves, and a hat and scarf. Thermal underwear are also very important, especially at night.
Bring the following items:
- Wool or fleece hat and scarf
- Merino thermal underwear or insulating synthetics
- Wool socks
- Waterproof gloves, pants, and boots
- A down-filled jacket
Preparing Your Campsite
If possible, bring along a tent so that you can stay warmer at night. This certainly helps a lot, especially during more windy conditions. You also do not want to get caught in the rain at night.
If your tent has vents, resist the temptation to cover them up. This will help prevent moisture build-up, which can eventually make you colder. In front of the tent, you can start a campfire. Please make sure that the campfire is sufficiently distanced from the opening of the tent so that smoke does not build up on the inside.
To keep the ground warm and to protect your tent, lay a tarp underneath the tent floor. Beneath your sleeping bag, lay a foam or air mattress. Cover the top of the mattress with a wool sheet. During those cold winter nights, you can stack sleeping bags by putting one into the other. Add a waterproof layer over the sleeping bag, such as a metallic survival blanket or a waterproof jacket.
Campsite gear for warmth:
- A tent designed for the temperature that you will be camping in
- Tools to start a campfire
- A ground tarp
- One or two sleeping bags
- A foam or air mattress
- A wool sheet
- A metallic survival blanket
How to Prepare For Bed
There are a couple of things that you can do before laying down in your sleeping bag that will keep you warm for the night. Before going to bed, make sure that you have eaten sufficient calories. This will keep your metabolism going throughout the night and keep you warm. Also, drinking a cup of ginger tea will help keep your just digestive system going, helping you maintain body heat.
Right before getting into your sleeping bag, make sure that you are warm. Your sleeping bag will not do much if you are cold. Do some push-ups or jumping jacks before hopping in.
Avoid making the sleeping bag too tight around you. In fact, keeping some air inside of the sleeping bag will help to insulate it. It makes more sense to wear less layers if it is going to loosen up the sleeping bag. If the sleeping bag is too tight, its insulating layer will be compressed and will not protect very well against the cold. For extra warmth, place a hot water bottle inside of the sleeping bag.
The above instructions are the essentials to keeping warm while camping. Of course, if you will be camping in very cold Winters, a separate set of instructions will be needed. For more information on what to do if your going camping in really cold weather, here is a cold-weather camping guide written by Princeton University.