What could be worse than waking up at foggy night? After a hectic day in the forest, you must be so tired. You need rest to recharge yourself for the next day. But in a cold weather, if you don’t prepare yourself, it’ll ruin your smoggy adventure.
While doing camping in the UK, I’ve met a fellow camper who shared a terrible winter story. He told that in one trip, at morning he tried to make coffee but even after 10 minutes, he realized that still, the kettle didn’t start to boil.
Immediately he checked the GAS container and found it was filled. When he shared the story with another camper, he figured out the mystery. The canister he was using was not compatible to work swiftly in such cold weather!
Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s not only you, who struggles at frosty climate. Your camping gears also need comfort! Thankfully, now I don’t over pack my bags with unnecessary tools. Rather I invest in few items which are specially made to give me comfort in such cold wind.
Here are 5 tips that help me to keep myself cozy at night on any back-country trip.
1. Plan for underneath support:
The old myth of cold winter is to pile on whatever warm garments you have; put it on the top. However, you are forgetting another biggest enemy. The earth itself absorbed all warmth from your body and leaving you to freeze. So far, the ground is the greatest heat absorber.
Sleeping without a compatible matt underneath your bed is like to challenge the earth to show her soak-up power. So I put some hot insulating Sleeping mattress over the top and put some below. This extra layer protects me from the cold ground.
A pro tip is to choose a pad with higher R-value if the weather is too cold. The higher the numbers, the warmer the pad is.
Some fellow travelers, in fact, carry two. One for underneath and the other inflatable foam is to keep in-between him and his sleeping pad.
2. A hot water bottle is your next best friend in bed:
I carry a hard plastic bottle in base camp. At night when the fizzy air starts blowing, I filled up the bottle with warm water and keep it in-between my legs. The technique is very effective for tent camping to keep you warm until sunrise.
Using this trick, I’ve got pretty good results. I heat-up 1 liter and pour it into platypus bottle before it starts boiling. It remains warm for hours even comparing to other materials like stones.
I’ve seen many campers heat up rocks and use it after wrapping with cotton fabrics. But this technique looks a bit weird to me. I mean you are going to sleep with a 15-pound rock? How ridiculous!
Considering stones, the water has twice volumetric heat capacity(capable of storing temperature) than stones. I wish I could carry two bottles. It’s so useful that if I have any chance to replace any gear with an extra container, I would exchange happily.
However, you need to be careful. If the water is too hot, then your skin might get burn. So if you feel the container is too hot, wrap a towel. This extra layer will protect your leg’s skin.
3. If your bladder is full, wake up and pee:
The body science tries to keep your inside ingredients warm. That’s why when your bladder is full of urine, the body will use more of its energy to keep it warm. So release your pressure as early as possible. This way your body can store more energy.
Besides, it will help you to sleep flawlessly without any disturbance. After all, next day you’ll have to face all new sets of adventure thrills.
Now a day, depending on the gender there are different pee bottles and funnels. You can try few.
4. Avoid bigger tent to remain warm:
Usually while sleeping in larger spaces, the empty area filled up with cool air. And that chilled air soaks up heat very quickly.
So if you are in a group, then probably using larger tent will be a good decision. But as I camp alone, I use small poly-cotton tent. The fabric and size remain warm in extreme cold.
5. Don’t use some cheap sleeping bag:
If you are passionate about bird watching, you probably won't carry a binocular with the blurry lens. Like good quality binoculars, buy some quality sleeping bags.
I always choose close-fitting bags which keeps me warm in cold windy weather. No matter how tempting the summer bag is, it won’t be compatible to work in freeze air.
To weight the warmth ratio, don’t cover your head inside the bag. Your breathing will insolate the hot air and soon you will start feeling cool.
Besides, you may lose a lot of heat because of your head and legs. So, cover your hand and feet with warmer clothes. But make sure your cap and socks are dry enough.
Above all, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. No matter which country you are visiting in the next winter, the above techniques will save you from hypothermia.
Eat healthy and nutritious food which will supply you enough energy. After all, you need strength to survive in cold weather.
My message will be to take good preparation and don’t just start unless you have got the bellow answers.
- 1Have you taken precaution to be protected from fizzy wind?
- 2Will you have to liquefy snow to get water?
- 3Is there any local emergency help near your tent area and do you have their contacts? You might need some during heavy snowfall.
- 4Is there any risk of wild animal attack?
There are obviously hundred ways to be alive in winter camping, but aforesaid are common mistakes that most campers overlook.
Let us know (in bellow comment box) what you did to keep yourself warm in your previous winter camping.