Camping is fun, no doubt, but it can turn into a nightmare if you’re not prepared for possible cold weather. Remember, the temperature can significantly drop even during summer and you can start to feel really cold.
Luckily for you, there are few tricks you can do to make your sleeping bag warmer. This way spending time in it during the night will be pleasant and comfortable, and you won’t have to worry about waking up shaking and freezing.
1. Find The Right Place
The first step in how to make your sleeping bag warmer is finding the proper ground to place your tent or bivy sack. Two important values affect this – R-Value (insulating factor of some material) and U-Value, or thermal transmittance, which measures the heat lost through the material, so the denser the material is, the higher this value will also be.
This means you’d like your U-value to be as low as possible. Adding a tent heater may help, but you’ll still have to make sure that the ground you’re setting your tent at has low U-Value
U-value is the measure of heat loss through a material. The harder and denser something is, the higher its U-value will be. To stay warm, you want to sleep on something with a low U-value. Placing your tent somewhere where are leaves or grass will do, but avoid places with tall grass, as you can’t see what is hidden there, so you may end up having a visitor in form of a snake or some other animal that likes to hide in high grass.
You can also get dead leaves, grass, or pine needles and place them on the ground, then set up your tent above them. They will provide you an extra layer of protection and stop the heat from transferring to the ground. This will also make sleeping on a rock way warmer.
2. Sleeping Pad Inside Your Sleeping Bag
Now when your ground is covered with leaves, it is time to prepare your sleeping bag. One of the biggest problems most campers deal with is the fact that they often roll off the sleeping pad, which leaves your body unprotected and allows the ground to absorb your body heat, leaving you freezing.
To prevent this, there is one quite simple solution, and that is to place your sleeping pad inside the sleeping bag, so it prevents you from falling off. And it will also fill in space, so it will be easier to warm your sleeping bag up and keep it warm. Some sleeping bags have pad sleeves, so the pad doesn’t move.
3. Placing Emergency Blanket Under Your Sleeping Pad
This is one of the most spread tips among the campers. If you own an emergency blanket (and you should), place it under your sleeping pad. It will prevent your body heat from reaching the ground, and reflect what it absorbs back to you, this way making your pad warmer. And it is not heavy, so it is a better choice than bringing an extra sleeping pad, by far.
4. Sleeping Bag Liner Usage
There are sleeping bags made especially for camping when it is cold outdoor, but they can be quite expensive. As an alternative, get a sleeping bag liner. This will most likely add around 10 degrees to your sleeping bag warmth and keep you from freezing, and it is easily affordable.
5. Use Your Clothes And Backpack As A Protective Layer
Sometimes you’ll be camping somewhere where you may not find the leaves, grass, or pine needles, so you’ll have to use something else to place under your sleeping bag to serve as a protective layer. For this purpose, you could use your clothes. Spread it under you so it can separate your body from the ground.
A backpack could be useful If your feet are cold or you have a half-length sleeping bag. Open it, place it under you, and insert your feet inside. It will keep your feet warm.
6. Fill Your Sleeping Bag With Your Unused Clothes
The emptier your sleeping bag is, the harder it will be to keep it warm. You may prevent this by placing your unused clothes and your gear beside you, so there is a bit less space to heat up, so it becomes easier to stay warm.
7. Avoid Sleeping Nude
Yes, it may sound tempting and yes, you’ve probably heard the theories about how sleeping without your clothes on will not only unite you with nature and help you feel it better, but you’ll also feel warmer, but no, don’t do it. The logic is the same as when you’re home – more layers, more warmth.
But, it will not do if you just put on lots of clothes and lay down without any order. You may warm your other parts of your body, like your chests, arms, legs, but if you overdo it, you may end up isolating your body from your feet and your hands, so you’ll start sweating and your feet and hands will freeze.
Remember, the easiest body parts to freeze are your feet and your hands, so put on two pairs of socks and wear gloves, to prevent this from happening and keep your extremities warm. During the winter, think about sleeping in your boots.
The one time when it is recommended sleeping naked is in case all your clothes are wet. If you lay down in your warm sleeping bag wearing wet clothes, it will start to evaporate, and you’ll wake up feeling like you’re in the middle of a frozen lake. Lay naked, but make sure you have something warm to cover yourself up – like a blanket or two. Place your wet clothes on the top of your sleeping bag to dry.
8. Do Your Best To Prevent Sweating
The last thing you want is to fall asleep in a warm, cozy sleeping bag, just to wake up shivering later during the night, and this could happen if you put on too many clothes. If your body is too warm it will regulate its temperature by lowering your body temperature with sweating. This will make your clothes wet and turn your night into a real disaster, so be careful and don’t overdo!
9. How Hot Water Bottle May Help
Use one or two empty bottles, heat some water, then pour it inside of those bottles, place them in an unused sock, and spread them along with your sleeping bag. This will heat your sleeping bag. One or two will be enough; anything more may make you sweat and cause the counter effect.
Also, be careful not to pour boiling water into plastic bottles, let it cool off a bit or your bottle may melt and your water may spill. And when closing the bottle, make sure to check there is no leakage, because a wet sleeping bag in the cold night is not as fun as it may sound.
10. Let The Romance Do The Work
Camping is one of the best ways to learn about your friends and loved ones, but it may also be really romantic and cute. If you’re there with your significant other, feel free to snuggle. Body heat is one of the best ways of warming up, and it is way more fun having someone beside you to cuddle.
For this, you’ll need sleeping bags that could zip together or double sleeping bag. It may lower the amount of space available, but it is a price worth paying if you know that you’ll wake up warm, happy, and smiling.
11. Use Your Windshield Protector
During the cold nights, don’t be shy to do anything you think of to stay warm. One of the most interesting suggestions is using a windshield protector as a protective layer. Place it so the shiny side faces up under your sleeping pad. It will reflect lost heat to you. The possible downside is the fact that you may not have this with you because it comes with your car, but if you do – feel free to use it.
12. Enter Your Sleeping Bag Warm
Before you go to sleep, make sure your body is warm, because it is way easier to keep it warm than to warm it up. You’ll achieve this by working out lightly and stretching before you hit the sacks. It will warm up your muscles, and the only thing you’ll have to do is to keep them warm during the night using some of the tricks we’ve mentioned above. Also, eating something with lots of fat and/or sugar will help. Calories will help fight the cold and they’ll provide the “fuel” needed to stay warm.
But to prevent possible counter effects, make sure you’ve changed your clothes before you’ve entered your sleeping bag, because lying down in wet clothes may cause you to freeze thanks to the evaporation.
13. Don’t Forget Your Pajamas!
It may be tempting to go on your trip without bringing your pajamas as it may cause extra weight, but this is not the best idea. Remember, pajamas are made for sleeping, they’re way more comfortable than the other clothes, and it is by far better feeling sleeping in something clean and fresh than sleeping in the same clothes you’ve been wearing the whole day. And dirty clothes don’t breathe so well, so it may be harder to warm Them up.
14. Make An Upgrade To Your Sleeping Equipment
If you don’t want to try these tricks to make your sleeping bag warmer, you may simply make an upgrade to your sleeping system. Visit your local camping store and ask for winter camping sleeping equipment. This should be more than enough to stay warm, without having to do any of the above-mentioned steps. It may cost more, but it will also make things easier.
15. Use Toilet Before You Go To Sleep
One of the most annoying things is waking up in the middle of the night and getting up from your warm sleeping bag to go to the toilet. To lower the chance of this happening, go and pee about 15 minutes to half an hour before you enter your sleeping bag. Then, do it again just before you get in, and you should be alright.
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It may not be something you’ll be thinking a lot about, but staying warm is probably the most important thing you’ll have to do to make your trip comfortable. This article will help you warm up your sleeping bag, so you wake up happy and ready to start the next adventure.