Camping outside in a tent in winter is not quite simple. During the winter, the temperature can drop below freezing in many areas of the country. To stay warm in a tent and defend against the cold weather, there are many ways you can use to spend a warm night in a tent.
10+ Ways To Stay Warm for Camping
Below are several tips that you should follow to stay warm in your tent, which will protect you from frostbite and hypothermia.
- Check the Weather Before Your Camping Trip
If you are planning to camp in the winter, you want to check the forecast first. If there will be extreme weather such as snow, freezing rain, and strong winds, you might want to postpone the trip.
The cold weather alone puts you at risk. When you combine that with snow, wind, or freezing rain, the risk increases significantly. When you are camping, you should stay updated about the weather.
Severe weather can come in quickly, and staying updated will give you a chance to head home before the severe weather hits.
- Setting Up Your Tent
When you camp in the winter, the ideal spot to pitch your tent is on a flat surface with some protection from the elements.
It is best to clear away the snow before pitching your tent. If you don’t, the snow will melt and then refreeze, which will leave you sleeping on a block of ice by nightfall.
You should also dig down a bit into the ground if possible and sleep in the hole. This will reduce ambient space, and you won’t lose any heat during the night.
- Bring a Friend
It is best to bring a friend when camping during the winter. Not only is the buddy system the safest way to camp, but you and your friend can rely on each other’s body heat to stay warm.
Sleeping close together will keep both of you warm and prevent hypothermia and frostbite.
- Store Your Gear Inside the Tent
During the winter, the less space you have in the tent, the better. If you store your camping gear around the tent’s inside perimeter, it will add insulation, increasing the temperature inside the tent.
- Keep Warm With a Hot Water Bottle
To keep warm at night, fill a stainless-steel water bottle with hot water. If you put it inside your sleeping bag, it will radiate heat.
The best places to put the water bottle include against your stomach, on your inner thighs where your femoral artery is located, and on your neck where your jugular vein is located.
The water in the bottle should stay heated for a few hours.
- Keep Your Boot Liners In Your Sleeping Bag
When you wake up in the morning, the last thing you want is to put freezing boots on. When your feet are cold, your whole body will feel cold.
Before going to bed, put your boot liners at the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep the liners warm. When you put the liners back in, they will warm up your boots.
- Don’t Breathe Into the Sleeping Bag
When it is cold at night, you will be tempted to put your head in the sleeping bag to stay warm. You should know that this is a bad idea.
The moisture from your breath will get trapped in the sleeping bag, causing the temperature to drop.
- Eat a Warm or High-Calorie Snack Before Bed
Before going to bed, you should eat a warm meal. This will increase your body temperature before getting in your sleeping bag. It would help if you also ate a meal high in calories.
Your body needs fuel to keep you warm, and a high-calorie snack or meal will give you the fuel that you need.
- Don’t Hold Your Pee
If nature calls in the middle of the night, you will likely be tempted to hold it. The last thing you will want to do is get out of your warm sleeping bag to relieve yourself.
This is a mistake. Your body burns calories to keep your urine warm, which will drop your body temperature.
As much as you hate the idea, you need to go to the bathroom if you are going to keep warm.
- Store Your Cellphone At The Bottom Of Your Sleeping Bag
The cold weather can drain your cellphone battery. Because you will need your cellphone to stay updated on the weather conditions and call for emergency help if necessary, your phone is essential.
The best way to keep it warm and to prevent the battery from draining is to keep it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. This trick will save the battery on any device that you need while camping.
- Remove the Morning Frost From Your Tent
If you are planning to camp for more than one night, you should remove the morning frost from the tent as soon as you wake up. If you allow the frost to remain on the tent, it will melt and get your gear wet.
Also, the water will refreeze, making your tent feel more like an igloo. If the inside of the tent feels damp, you can turn it inside out during the day, which will dry the inside of the tent, and it will be dry when it is time to get back in.
- Protect Yourself and Your Tent Against Strong Winds At Night
If you are camping with a friend, you should sleep in shifts if there are strong winds. Someone will need to stay awake to check the tent’s rigging.
If you wait too long to fix the rigging, permanent damage can occur, which will make it impossible to stay warm, putting an abrupt end to your camping trip.
- Choose the Right Tent
The tent that you use to camp during the summer won’t necessarily be the best tent for winter. You are going to need a tent with the highest maximum wind rating.
This type of tent will keep you protected if the wind picks up in the middle of the night.
- Don’t Drink Alcohol
Alcohol will make you feel warmer for a while, but soon, it will dehydrate you. When you get dehydrated, it will make you colder. It is best to avoid alcohol altogether when camping during the winter.
- Jumping Jacks Will Help
If you get into your tent while cold, you will only get colder. Before going to bed, you should do 50 jumping jacks. This will increase your body temperature, which is exactly what you want when you get into the sleeping bag.
Just make sure not to do so many jumping jacks that you start to sweat. Sweating will create moisture in your clothes, causing you to get colder much faster.
- Don’t Eat Snow
Sure, snow is made of water, but it won’t keep you hydrated. In fact, eating snow can actually cause you to become dehydrated. It takes a lot of energy to turn snow into a liquid, which will cause you to become dehydrated.
It is best to bring water bottles for hydration and make sure that the bottle is insulated.
Other Camping Gear To Help You Stay Warm
If you are going to survive a winter camping trip, you will need more than a tent with a high wind rating and a sleeping bag. There are a few other items that you should bring to keep you warm throughout the night.
Closed-cell foam sleeping pad
When you sleep on the cold ground, you can lose a great deal of body heat. Sleeping on an air mattress will help, but it will only insulate to about 30 degrees.
It is best to lay a closed-cell foam sleeping pad under the air mattress for extra insulation. The Walkman foam sleeping pad can meet your camping need.
You can create a radiant barrier on your tent if you duct-tape a Mylar blanket, also known as a space blanket, to the outside of your tent.
This will prevent condensation from building up inside the tent, and you won’t need to deal with frost on the tent when you wake up in the morning.
Water bottle insulator
You need to stay hydrated while camping during the winter. If the water in your bottle freezes, you will have nothing to drink.
To keep this from happening, you can get a water bottle insulator. They are also great for keeping hot drinks and soup warm.
Heated sleeping bag
Heating sleeping bags will keep you much warmer at night. The battery can be charged with a phone charger, and if you set the sleeping bag on high, the battery will last three to four hours.
If you set it on medium, you will have six to seven hours of heat.
Hand and toe warmers
Be sure to bring hand and toe warmers while camping at night. They can be put at the bottom of your sleeping bag if you don’t have a heated one. You can also put them in your socks and your hat while you sleep.
There are a few essential facts that you should know before going camping during the winter. The more you know, the safer you will be.
What temperature is too cold to sleep in a tent?
If you are an amateur camper with typical camping gear, temperatures in the low to mid-40s is too cold. If you are experienced and have good winter gear, temperatures in the 30s are too cold.
If the temperature is going to drop dangerously low, it is best to postpone your trip.
What should I wear to bed when camping?
There is an old camping myth that if you sleep naked in your sleeping bag, it will keep you warmer in a tent. This is not true. There are certain articles of clothing that you should and shouldn’t wear.
Tight-fitting clothes may sound like a good idea, but they will restrict blood flow. It is best to wear warm, loose-fitting clothes. The clothes that you wear should be made of wool or synthetic fabrics.
Cotton clothing absorbs moisture, which will cause your body temperature to drop. Finally, you should wear warm socks, a wool hat and fingered gloves to bed.
What are the signs and symptoms of frostbite?
It is essential that you can recognize the signs of frostbite. This condition typically affects the cheeks, chin, nose, ears, toes, and fingers. In the early stages, the area will get pale, and numbness and tingling can occur.
As the condition progresses, you can develop skin discoloration and water blisters. In the advanced stages, you will lose sensation in the affected area, and the skin will turn blue or black.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia?
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops dangerously low. When you develop hypothermia, you will start to shiver, your coordination will become poor, and you will become confused with slurred speech.
As the condition worsens, you will develop a weak pulse, become drowsy and your breathing will slow and become shallow.
If you are planning a wintertime camping trip, you need to prepare properly. If you don’t know how to keep warm in your tent during the winter, your adventurous camping trip could turn deadly.
As well prepared as you are, frostbite and hypothermia are still possible. If you start to experience the symptoms, it is best to seek medical treatment immediately. It is best to go right away and don’t waste your time packing up your gear. You can always go back for it after being treated by a doctor.