That chill in the air shouldn’t put you off the great outdoors, it should encourage more evenings around warm campfires and sleeping bag snuggles. Still, it is chilly, and a cold snap could be dangerous so use common sense and take these cold weather camping tips to heart.
- This should not be the winter of your discount tent. Invest in a good four-season tent and sleeping bag—your life may actually depend on it. There’s nothing more miserable than a cold night in a tent, so always err on the side of caution.
- If you are camping with a good friend, zip your sleeping bags together for added warmth or take a blanket.
- Fill your water bottle with hot water from the fire before you go to bed. This can warm your sleeping bag and those cold feet in hurry.
- Bear Grylls goes by the adage; “Two layers on the bottom are worth one on the top,” which means that a good sleeping pad will save the day. There are some winter sleeping pads that contain down which will prevent cold from the ground from spoiling a good night’s sleep.
- Mornings are hard, but getting out of a warm sleeping bag can be brutal. Ease into your day by putting all your clothes for the next day into your sleeping bag. They can provide added warmth and you’ll be wriggling into warm clothes before you leave the tent.
- Invest in a sleeping-bag liner for added warmth. A vapor-barrier liner will prevent water vapor from your body freezing in the upper layers of your sleeping bag. If your bag does get damp, dry it out near the campfire before you hit the hay.
- Pack down snow before putting up your tent. The snow under your tent can shift and melt if it isn’t packed down which can lead to an uncomfortable night on uneven ground.
- Place your tent out of the wind. If this is not possible, use a tarp as windbreak or build a snow wall to provide added protection.
- Titanium, steel, or 7075-t6 aluminum tent pegs are what you need to drive into frozen ground. Staking out your tent properly will help to keep off snow.
Use your Head
- Find a buddy to go camping with. If you must camp alone, let someone know where you’ll be and when they should expect you home. If you are going out of cell range, get a Personal Locator Beacon (PBS) which you can activate in times of distress.
- An insulated sleeve will prevent your water bottle from freezing. Don’t have one? Make one by wrapping duct tape around your water bottle.
- Turn your water bottle upside down in your tent. If it does start to freeze, you can turn it over and the mouth of the bottle will be ice free.
- Keep hydrated! If you forget to hydrate, get yourself a WaterH Smart Water Bottle which monitors your water intake and alerts you when you need more fluids through an app on your phone and a light on the bottom of the bottle.
- Instead of alkaline or NiMh batteries, use lithium ones which perform better in the cold.
- Hyperthermia can happen even at temperatures above zero. Avoid getting wet as this can easily lead to dangerous drops in body temperature. Layer your clothing and, when you start moving during the day, remove the layers to prevent sweating. Watch for symptoms of hyperthermia including disorientation and confusion, lethargy and slurred speech.
- Keep your boots in your tent and your boot liners in your sleeping bag. Leaving your boots outside the tent leads to cold feet and possible frost bite.
- Food is essential. You’ll need calories to keep warm and having a hot meal on a cold day rocks. Don’t go for the instant noodles, you deserve better! Get some great campfire cooking videos here.