One of the major things you need to consider when planning a camping trip is what the weather will be like. However, it is important to know more than just the daytime temperature. Did you know that even the desert can get to uncomfortably low temperatures at night? It can become a challenge to stay warm even in some of the notoriously hot climates, so don’t assume that you can get by with a thin blanket at night in the desert.
Here are some ways to stay warm in a tent in any climate and through all weather conditions.
Staying warm can be done in emergency situations by peeling off cold or wet clothes and insulating yourself (preferably with someone else) until your body temperature rises. However, the best way to stay warm comfortably in non emergent situations is to invest in the right equipment. Here is a short list of the equipment that I have found helpful on cold nights.
There are various kinds of sleeping bags on the market at varying price points. The bag that you end up getting will depend on what kind of camping you plan to do and how much you want to spend.
The sleeping bags that I recommend the most for colder weather are mummy bags. They are well insulated and have a hood to keep your radiant heat inside the bag as much as possible. Some are insulated with down, which is very nice but can be expensive. You also have the option of getting one that is a little less heavy duty and buying a liner later if you want to do some colder weather camping.
The down side to this kind of sleeping bag is that it tapers toward the bottom, so if you are someone who feels a bit claustrophobic, it might not be a comfortable choice for you.
Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner will do wonders for a typical sleeping bag. These liners are lightweight, so they shouldn’t be a problem to add to your pack if you are hiking. They provide an extra layer or insulation against the cold.
If you are someone who has a lot of emergency preparedness equipment laying around like a generator, you might want to consider bringing a portable heater on your camping trip. If you are car camping, and don’t want to leave all of your creature comforts at home, it is great to have a solar generator that you can hook up to solar panels to generate power and keep you as comfortable as possible on your camping trip.
However, if you don’t have the budget or the desire to add a generator to your stock pile of camping equipment, you can always use the trusty poor man’s heater: the water bottle. Boiling water is easy enough when you are camping and using a fire in the evening. Fill a hot water bottle with piping hot water, stick it in your sleeping bag, five to ten minutes before hitting the sack, and you will have a warm, toasty place to sleep.
One of the easiest ways to prepare for a cold night on a camping trip is to put on every layer you have. This is your basic “I didn’t realize it was going to be so cold” move that every experienced camper has had in their early camping days.
Even your more experienced campers will do this, because honestly, no one smells super awesome while they are camping, so who cares if you wear all your clothes more than one or even fives days in a row? No one wants to bring their entire wardrobe camping, so using every layer several times is just how camping tends to work.
If you’re really cold, make sure that you have every inch of your body covered that you can. This means wearing hats, scarves, and several layers of socks. You even might need to improvise and put some socks on your hands.
Many people consider not bringing a sleeping pad to sleep on if they are trying to cut weight while hiking. Though mats aren’t 100 percent necessary they are something you never want to leave behind if you can help it.
A sleeping pad will provide a layer of insulation between you and the cold ground. The tent base provides a waterproof layer, but does nothing to protect against the cold, other than keeping out drafts. A pad, on the other hand, will help you keep warm, especially in cold or snowy climates.
In fact, if you are winter camping or camping in a snow cave, having a sleeping pad can be invaluable. A sleeping pad will keep you from getting wet from the interior of the snow cave, which will help you stay warm throughout the night.
Of course, on a less life threatening note, a sleeping pad will also help you sleep more comfortably at night. You never know how rocky or bumpy the ground is until you try to sleep a few hours on it with no padding. Even a lumpy sweatshirt can feel uncomfortable underneath you after the first couple hours.
If you are car camping, and have the space, consider bringing a cot or a rug to insulate even more from the ground.
Find a Friend
Of course, one the the best ways to keep warm is to cuddle with someone. There is no match for combining radiant heat, especially if you are nearing hypothermia. There are even some great sleeping bag sets that can combine into a two person sleeping bag that can make snuggling while camping much easier.
This works best when you bring a significant other, or someone who could fit into this category. It’s best not to make it weird and attempt cuddling when you are unsure of feelings and how they are reciprocated. The wilderness at night is not the best place to have an awkward encounter with someone.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were unprepared for the cold? How did you handle it? What are some of your favorite ways to make your sleeping arrangements more comfortable in any climate?