How to Make Cold Weather Camping Cozy
As a Floridians, we are spoiled with relatively warm weather year-round. When we see an impending cold front headed our way, we’re faced with a choice to either bundle up on the couch with Netflix or face the cold and set out for adventure.
Next time it gets a bit chilly, head outside with these tips to keep you cozy when the temperature outside drops. We challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and experience a night under the stars in the crisp outdoors with these tips to help you prepare for a cozy and comfortable camping adventure.
Layer on the Warmth
Once you’ve decided to brave the chilled air, it’s time to begin planning your trip and evaluating your pack list.
Let’s start with clothing. Layering is important to consider when stepping into the bitterly chilled air and striking out on your adventure. Preparation of a clothing layering system should consist of three layer to ensure your comfort level remains optimal. Consider layering your socks as well to insure that your toes stay warm during your hike. A thin polyester sock followed by a thicker polyester or wool sock should do the trick.
Base Layer – Establishing a base layer that helps manage your perspiration, while maximizing insulation is key. Clothing made up of fabrics such as merino wool, polyester, cotton, and nylon are wonderful selections for this first layer.
Second Layer – When considering your second layer, insulation is a must. Choices in fabric that are optimal for this purpose include wool, fleece, goose down and synthetic insulations.
Outer Layer – Finishing out your clothing system with a loose outer shell that allows for protection against precipitation and wind will enhance your comfortability. Brand names and products that offer the best solutions for protection against the elements are Gore-Tex, PU-ePTFE, Pro Shell, Paclite, and Performance.
Sleeping Warm and Cozy
Now that you have your clothing system on lock, let’s focus on how to stay warm when the sun sets.
Sleeping bags are rated based on warmth. A temperature rating identifies the lowest temperature at which a bag is intended to keep the average sleeper warm. The keyword here is “average.” If you know that you are cold-natured, be sure to take that into consideration. We recommend choosing a bag with a slightly lower degree rating than the temperature outside, since the ratings are intended to indicate safety from hypothermia and not comfort.
To prevent hypothermia you need to keep your body both warm and dry. For this reason, you should never put your head inside your sleeping bag. The moisture from your breath will actually keep you colder longer, rather than keeping you warm. Additionally, if your sleeping bag is too warm, unzip the side a little bit before you start to sweat. That way, your sleeping bag will stay nice and dry.
Adding a sleeping pad or cot to your repertoire in order to keep your body off of the chilled ground. Sleeping pads are used to keep warmth circulating back to your body, instead of escaping into the ground. A sleeping pad with reflective material will help keep you toasty throughout the night.
Sleeping inside of a tent, as opposed to in a hammock or cowboy-style, will keep you about 10 degrees warmer as well. You can use a tent-safe candle, such as the UCO Light, to increase the warmth another 10 degree or so. Be sure that the candle is tent-safe and you blow it out before going to sleep to prevent fires.
The More the Merrier
A solid camping trip can be an enjoyable experience whether it is done solo or with a group. Since we are discussing ways to stay warm during your trip, we recommend coaxing some folks to join you on your excursion. Your companions can help with retaining warmth in the tent. Be sure to ventilate your sleeping quarters to limit the amount of condensation your hot-aired friends are putting out. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a dew soaked sleeping bag when it is 30 degrees outside.
If you decide to go solo on your trek than there are a few trick to keep warm while steeping. Pack a few Grabber hand warming pack to toss into your sleeping bag to get it warmed. You may also choose to heat up water and fill your water canister and use it for warmth while you sleep, keeping it close to your body.
Warmth From Within
Hot cocoa, instant coffee, and dehydrated meals that can easily be warmed up with hot water, will help keep you warm from within. Heating water will require a camp stove or the ability to start a fire. We recommend carrying along a camp stove with a butane mix, such as a Snow Peak Gigapower Stove, that is easy to light. If you find yourself in windy conditions, you may need to use a windscreen to block the wind from keeping your flame lit.
Winter camping can be a wonderful experience if you follow these tips! With the decline of pesky bugs, fewer folks in parks, and better views due to the lack of overgrown foliage, you may just fall in love with Winter camping!
What are you waiting for? Join us on our next excursion.