How To Stay Warm While Camping In Winter

keeping warm while out camping in winter

According to the National Weather Service, if you're standing outside, with no warm clothes on, in zero-degree weather with a wind speed averaging around 15 mph (24 kph), you've got a measly half hour before you're in danger of frostbite!

All this may sound a bit extreme and depending on your trip it may very well be. 

The main aim of this article is to prepare and inform you with the right knowledge so that you are better equipped at keeping warm while out camping in winter. 

10 Tips To Keeping Warm While Camping In Winter

1. Layer up before you get cold.

As soon as you notice the temperature starting to drop, get into your tent and find some extra clothes to put on. You need to layer up. The reason wearing multiple thin layers keeps you warmer than a single thicker layer is because warm air is essentially trapped between the layers, acting as an insulator.

2. Bring a hot water bottle with you.

We are sure at some point in your life (probably when you were a kid), you've experienced the heat bearing joys a hot water bottle can bring. Just because you are going camping doesn't mean you should leave the old dusty hot water bottle at home. Bring it with you! Make sure you also bring a pot to boil water in.

3. Sleeping bag liners are a must.

Look into investing in some silk sleeping bag liners, they are said to be even warmer than the traditional fleece ones. However, some say that silk liners can be somewhat less durable than fleece.

4. Don't use a massive tent.

getting cold whilst camping is not fun

If you plan on keeping warm in a tent, then please do not use this thing. Unless you are a family of say, 10 people. If you are just a couple, small family or solo camper, consider downsizing your tent. If there is less open space, your tent will warm up faster.

5. Use the right sleeping bag.

We cannot stress this enough, choosing the right sleeping bag will be one of the best investments you'll ever make. It'll literally mean the difference between freezing and staying warm in your tent. You are looking for a 3 season sleeping bag (unless you are camping in the North Pole). It may be tempting to buy a cheap sleeping bag at first and just put an extra duvet on top. Trust us, it won't keep you warmer than technical sleeping bags designed for cold weather would.

Bag Type Temperature Rating (°F)
Summer Season +30° and higher
3-Season +15° to +30°
Winter +15° and lower

6. Avoid going to bed cold.

staying warm while camping in winter

If you get into your sleeping bag cold, keeping warm naturally becomes more tedious. The body takes time to heat up once it's cold. This is time you may spend losing sleep hours. Before slipping into your sleeping bag, drink something warm, do some star jumps, run to the bathroom or alternatively do some ridiculous zen jumps to get your core body temperature up.

7. Insulate from the ground up.

Use a tent carpet or some rugs to layer underneath your sleeping area. This will do two things, 1. it makes the ground that much softer ;) and 2. it will stop cold from leaching through the ground into your tent.

8. Bring extra blankets.

If you can afford the extra weight and have the extra space then by all means bring along some extra blankets. There's nothing cosier than stuffing your tent full of blankets and pillows, add in some fairy lights and badabing badaboom you're a legit glamper.

9. Use a portable heater (with extreme caution).

Using a portable heater is of course one of the more effective ways to staying warm in a tent. We do not recommend keeping these heaters on while you sleep, rather turn them off just to be safe. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's guidelines to insure your safety while using these products. 

10. Keep your tent ventilated.

Most people don't realize that you need to keep your tent ventilated. The heat from your body and breath can cause condensation to form inside your tent. Condensation = dampness = chilliness. By ventilating your tent properly you can avoid condensation from building up. 

Final thoughts

Staying warm while camping in winter is pretty much critical to the overall enjoyment of your trip.

Trust us, getting cold whilst camping is not fun, we highly recommend you take the necessary steps in order to insure optimal body temperatures. 

One tip we never mentioned on our list would be to create a fire (should the elements allow you too). A fire will help warm up the immediate surroundings but is unlikely to stretch far and wide.

Therefore we recommend using a combination of the tips we listed for the best results.