Before we dive in, let's discuss one important frame of mind regarding staying warm at camp. Insulation doesn't create warmth, it can only trap it, retain it, and slow down created warmth's escape. Understanding this explains why all of our secrets (except the bonus) are about trapping heat.
1) Moisture Resistance.
Moisture might be the number one threat to your warmth when camping, staying dry is key.
Do this by:
- Fresh change of clothes to sleep in.
- Waterproof Down or Synthetic Insulation.
- Vent to avoid sweat/overheating.
- Breathable fabrics with a water resistant coating.
Before you hit the hay, grab a complex carbohydrate snack this will supply the calories your body needs to continue producing heat throughout the night.
Here are a few examples:
- Energy Bar
- Cheese Stick
- Banana and Peanut Butter
- Almonds or Cashews
Hit a quick set of pushups before you snuggle in. A burst of physical activity will get your blood circulating and your heart rate up. This is great for overcoming the first 5 minute shiverfest when you start the night. Make sure you don't break a sweat though (see #1).
4) Fill the Gaps.
Your body has to heat up the entire area contained by your insulation. Therefore, reduce the empty space as much as possible, that way more of your warmth will be reserved for your body - rather than being lost to the air. Try to Pre-Warm your extra clothes then stuff them inside with you to help reduce the empty space.
5) What to Wear.
We suggest a base layer set of merino wool + a wool beanie + medium wool socks. This will keep your skin covered and the wool will immediately wick any moisture away from your body. There are synthetic options that work great too, just don't wear cotton.
Bonus) Add Heat.
At some point you'll run out of options, usually at 2am, and wake up cold. The only way to combat this is to add heat back to your thermal equation. Here are a few options help with that:
- Stoke the fire
- Snuggle up with your partner
- Or our favorite - Switch on your Hot Pocket