How to Deal with Cold Nights at the Campsite

Nothing ruins a camping trip like getting cold.  When this happens, many campers choose to just stay around the campfire in hopes of getting warm.  While this does seem to be a good idea, many campers have been injured when their sleeping bags caught on fire.  Instead of taking this chance consider the following suggestions.

Choose the right sleeping bag.  If you are winter camping, one will need a appropriate type of sleeping bag.  Do not try to get by with a lighter weight, summer bag.  Winter sleeping bags are designed to hold heat in.  As a “Golden Rule,”  if the area’s winter temperature is normally -15 below, then you will need a bag that can go 15 degrees cooler.  In this example, this means you will need a sleeping bag that is rated to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

To utilize ones natural heat source, you will need a mummy style bag.  This type of bag has a hood that goes over the head to reduce and conserve heat loss.  You will also need to make sure that the bag has a draft tube along the zipper and a draft collar along the hood.

The type of filling that is used in the bag is not that important while the fit of the bag is.  The mummy bag should fit tight with your clothes on but keep in mind that this type of bag is designed to be used in while you are in your undergarments.

If you do not have a mummy bag or cannot afford one, do not cancel your trip.  A three season bag can be used with a few additions.  This includes a vapor barrier liner, bivy sack, and an overbag.  This overbag can be a simple summer weight sleeping bag.  To compensate form loss heat out of the top of the head, add a winter hat.

To keep moisture away from the body, consider adding a foam pad. 

Consider your evening meal.  While this may seem odd, a meal high in protein will help keep you warm throughout the night.  One technique to use is to place some of your frozen meat and cheese for the next day’s lunch in you sleeping bag.  If you get hungry during the night, you will have a thawed snack and a warm meal for the next day.

Consider what you drink.  Never drink anything cold.  It takes additional energy to keep the body warm after drinking cold drinks.  To add choice to the drink menu, consider nontraditional drinks beyond coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.   These include hot Jello, hot orange breakfast drink, and hot flavored water.

For some individuals, camping out in the cold is not their cup of tea but with a little preparation one can enjoy a cold weather camping trip regardless of the outdoor conditions.