How to keep warm Camping in Winter

Camping in winter has its benefits, warm fires, roasted marsh mellows, and fewer bugs. But once the sun has gone the temperature drops and cold weather moves in.

Sleeping in the cold leads you to be uncomfortable and ruining your sleep.

The next day making you feel tired and there is also a chance of getting hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a life-threatening issue, a person doesn’t have to be in sub-zero temperatures to risk hypothermia

We want you to enjoy your camping, so here are our top tips on how to keep warm camping in winter.

Wear thermals, beanies, and socks

Wearing thermal clothing will help you warm. If comfortable wear layers of clothing. Recommend wearing a beanie to prevent body heat escaping and also woolen socks.

Wear thermals a beanie and light a campfire

Hot water bottle

Hot water bottles are an inexpensive way to keep yourself warm. If you don’t have a hot water bottle fill up a normal water bottle with hot water.

Test the bottle for any leaks before going to bed. If the bottle is too hot, wrap layers of clothing around it. Hot water bottles should keep you warm for many hours.

Disposable heat warmers

Place disposable heat warmers in your pockets or at your feet. These little packets can keep you warm and cozy for many hours.

Avoid too much water

Try and avoid drinking the liquid before going to bed. This will prevent you from having to get up in the cold of night to relieve yourself.

Plastic Bags

Once you are comfortable, slipping a plastic bag over you will keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

The plastic bag adds additional protection and insulation. It is also a cheap option!

Get off the ground

Cold ground can transfer its cold to yourself. Placing a sleeping mat between you and the cold ground will prevent the transfer.

If you sleep on a stretcher, place the mat on the top of the stretcher. If you sleep on an inflatable mattress, place a mat under the mattress.

This should provide additional protection from the cold.

Get the right sleeping bag

Sleeping bags are rated for different temperatures. The ratings are confusing and we have found they cannot be relied upon to keep warm.

However, choosing a sleeping bag to protect you from cold weather is very important. For further information check out our blog on how to choose the perfect sleeping bag

Get a heater

The most obvious way to heat your tent is to place an electric heater plugged into an electrical source.

For this to happen you require electricity, this may not be an option in the outdoors.

Another heating option is using heaters that burn gas.

I do not recommend using any gas heaters inside a tent or any closed environment.

Not because they may cause a fire, because you can quietly die from carbon monoxide poising or asphyxiation.  It’s simply not worth the risk.

We do however recommend using a camping heater outdoors. We have used them on several occasions at night or in the morning in a well-ventilated area.

If you are interested we have an article on the best winter heaters.

Create a wind block

Cold wind hitting your tent will make the air inside the tent colder than it would otherwise be.

Blocking the wind can make a big difference to the temperature inside the tent.

To block the cold wind from hitting your tent place a tarp in the direction of the oncoming wind.

There are many different types of tarp configurations. Just use the configuration that works for you.

Another option for blocking wind is to set-up camp behind an object like a boulder, wall, or trees. If you’re camping in the snow, build a wall made of ice bricks.

Use a tarp under the tent

Placing a tarp underneath the tent will provide some protection from the cold ground. It will also keep the bottom of your tent dry.

Use a tarp over your tent

Placing a tarp over your tent will prevent the cold rain and snow from falling onto the tent.

By preventing the cold rain or snow on being on your tent, your tent and its air will not become cold. Leaving you warm inside.

Use the smallest tent

It goes without saying that the larger the tent the more air inside the tent is required to heat up.

You might be keen on taking your large spacious tent. However, consider taking your smallest tent camping.

By taking your smallest tent camping with the smallest tent the less air required to heat up.

Upgrade to the four-season rated tent

Most backpacking tents on the market place are rated for 3 seasons. Which is fine as most backpackers venture out in the warmer months.

However, If you are planning on going backpacking and camping overnight in alpine areas or windy rough weather you should consider purchasing a four-season rated tent.

A four-season rated tent is made for harsh winter conditions, these tents are built to protect from snow, snow buildup, ice, hail, and high winds.

Use plenty of blankets

Blankets are ideal for improving the warmth of your tent.

When talking about blankets there are the normal blankets you have around your home.

Or there are special camping blankets used to cover 1 or 2 campers whilst sleeping in their sleeping bags.

An example is the SnugPak Jungle Survival Camping Blanket which is designed for colder conditions.

Blankets can also be placed as internal walls, between you and the tent. Blankets, rugs can also be placed on the floor of the tent,

Winter rated sleeping bag

Buying a winter rated sleeping bag will help keep you warm throughout the night.

There are numerous winter rated sleeping bags on the marketplace. Look for a sleeping bag rated for zero temperature and has high down-fill content.

Seek a sleeping bag with Greater than 700 loft. Downfill feathers are better at keeping you warm than synthetic.

Some popular winter sleeping bags are Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF and Western Mountaineering Versalite 10.

NEMO Sonic 0 is another good option. These sleeping bags will cost you less than $700.

Final Thoughts

Keeping warm in winter whilst camping is important if you are wanting to be comfortable and enjoy your trip away. Secondly, its also important if you are wanting to be safe.

Hopefully, our tips on this article will help you to enjoy and be safe on your next camping trip.

If you have any tips we would love to hear from you. Just add a comment below

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this review, you will enjoy our other reviews.

Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads

How to choose Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Best Women’s Backpacking Backpacks

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