Cold-weather camping is not for the faint-hearted – but it is possible to keep warm while camping in colder temperatures. With careful planning and some well-chosen clothing, you can stay warm in your tent even in super-cold weather. It just takes a bit of preparation beforehand. Here are the key things you need to know to keep warm while camping:
1. Dress in Layers
Dressing in layers is really important when camping in colder temperatures. These layers should be easy to add and remove as needed. Regulating your body temperature is important because if you sweat, it will eventually cool, which will bring your body temperature down even further. It’s better to wear more layers of thinner clothing, as opposed to just wearing your normal amount of layers with a large jacket on top.
Also, don’t neglect your hands and feet. You lose a lot of body temperature here, and protecting these areas is important. It’s good to invest in a good thick pair of socks and camping gloves. Follow this link to learn more about gloves for camping.
And don’t forget a good hat to keep your head warm!
2. Think About Sleeping Arrangements
Temperatures will drop even further at night, so you need to think about this in advance. If you can, bring more than just one layer for sleeping – like a camping sleeping bag, fleece blanket, and single or double swag mattress. The more layers the better, as you can add them as the temperature drops. Keep them within reach at the bottom of your bed, so you can quickly pull them up if you wake in the night.
It’s also a good idea to bring a hot water bottle with you. You can use it to warm up the bed before you get in, and then use it to stay warm as the night goes on. You could even bring a couple of hot water bottles if you can find room for them.
3. Eat Plenty!
You’ll need a lot of calories for cold-weather camping. You burn through them at a fast rate just trying to stay warm, so make sure you bring a lot of snacks to give you energy. Look for high-protein, high-fat snacks. It’s also important to stay hydrated so your body can work properly to keep you warm. Drinking herbal tea is a good choice as it will keep you warm and hydrated at the same time.
4. Get a Tent Heater
If you have the benefit of an electric camping pitch, you can use a heater overnight without worrying too much (although make sure you use it on the flattest surface possible and avoid using it in windy weather in case it topples over).
Gas heaters are okay for outside of your tent, but can’t be used inside – that’s because it’s dangerous to use one in an area with poor ventilation, otherwise you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. While it might be tempting to fire up your stove in your tent to help take the edge off the cold, add more layers of clothing and grab your hot water bottle instead.
5. Use Hand Warmers
Hand warmers are very useful things to have around! Not only can you use them to keep your hands warm, but you can also tuck them into your socks and put them in your sleeping bag at night. Crystallized hand-warmers are pretty affordable, and you can just ‘snap’ them to activate the heating process. But if you want something longer-lasting, go for a battery-powered model instead. Try to avoid gas-powered hand warmers (these emit a small amount of carbon monoxide, so it’s not worth the risk of using them in a tent in case of carbon monoxide poisoning).
6. Use Insulation
You can make your tent feel a bit warmer by laying a tent carpet or rugs on the floor. This acts as an extra layer to prevent you from feeling the cold from the ground. Tent carpets can be expensive, but you could just use old rugs, carpet offcuts, and picnic rugs instead. Anything that provides a bit more insulation underfoot will do. Plus, it will feel nicer to walk on than a bare groundsheet, especially if you need to get up in the middle of the night.
7. Don’t Use a Huge Tent
While it feels really luxurious to have a large tent, it’s actually more beneficial to have a smaller space in very cold weather. It’s easier to warm up a small tent, so go for one that gives you just enough room.
8. Remember Your Thermals
Thermal undergarments sound like the least glamorous thing ever, but they’re well worth it. A good thermal layer will help to keep your core warm, which is really important, especially at night. If you prefer, you can just wear them under your sleepwear if you’re worried about overheating during the day.