Camping can be wonderful when done right and being outdoors in the winter is an unforgettable experience. To enjoy camping in the winter however, it is important to know the best way to stay warm. Because the whole experience can go from magical to miserable pretty quickly if you don’t come prepared.
And being prepared is one of the more important things you need to be when you go camping. It is bound to make your life outdoors more enjoyable if you have the right gear to keep you warm.
“A bad day camping is still better than a good day working“
Social Benefits of Camping.
Some of the social benefits of camping, include, but are not restricted to –
- Fresh Air away from cars and fumes.
- Less Civilisation (loud music, tv and all)
- Better Moods
- Reduced Stress
- More Mobility and Exercise
- Better Sleep
- Bonding time with the family or friends
- Memories created
- Reduced mobile phone usage
- More grilled food and tasty food cooked over a fire
To help ensure that the time you spend outdoors is memorable and extremely enjoyable, listed below are some of the best ways to stay warm while camping this winter season.
Stay Safe when Outdoors
Things can sometimes go pear-shaped when outdoors, so it is important to plan ahead and stay safe. How we go about our days and treat ourselves during the day can have a direct effect on our bedtime experience. So if you get the basics right, you’ll have less to worry about when it’s time to put your head down at night.
Stay hydrated, use suncream if you need to and have a small snack to hand in case you get peckish. While it can be easy to overlook any personal inconvenience when out for a walk or hike, it eventually catches up with you making you cold, tired and miserable at night.
Get Good Thermals and a Great Sleeping Bag
All that protects your body when out in the cold is the thermals you have on and all that protects you when lying on the cold, hard ground is your sleeping bag. Get these two right from the start and you are well on your way to having an amazing outdoor experience.
Avoid skimping on your sleeping bag or else there’s a chance you could wake up in the middle of the shivering cold night— that is, if you can sleep at all. If possible, get an R-value (or temperature rating) sleeping bag that is appropriate for the temperatures in which you are camping. This Hyke & Byke sleeping bag and this Extreme sleeping bag from Mountain Warehouse are two great choices for sleeping in outdoors in Icelandic weather.
Whichever one you choose will serve you well as both of them are lightweight and come with decent down filling and lifetime warranties.
Choose Your Campsite Wisely
Understanding how conducive the environment you plan on setting up your camp is a key factor for keeping warm when camping. Cold air tends to drop to lower levels while hot air rises to higher plains, which means that if you set up camp anywhere that mimics a valley floor; it will act as a wind tunnel and channel severe artic winds your way.
It is also worth noting that the highest points can also be exposed to weather conditions that are windy and potentially dangerous. A happy medium will be to choose a protected mid-elevation point or level plains and avoid the windchill.
Take a Hot Pad to Bed
The heat pad is a classic warm body trick or belly bottle. Boil water on your backpacking stove just before you go to bed, fill up your PVC heat pad and shoot it in your sleeping bag. This improvised heating pad can be tucked in front of your thermals directly against your belly or shoved under your top. It’s a simple way to generate instant heat that will last throughout the night in your sleeping bag.
Eat a Hearty Dinner and Drink Warm Liquids
I don’t know about you, but the amount of delicious, salty, butter-filled food I can eat without shame is one of my favourite things about backpacking and camping in the winter. Research has shown that being outdoors in winter temperatures can require up to 6,000 calories per day for your body.
Plan ahead and prepare high-fat meals that provide more than twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrates. They’re going to warm your body like a furnace inside.
Keep Your Head and Feet Covered and Dry
Heat escapes the body through the bottom of your feet and the top of your head. So pack a fresh, thick pair of hiking socks and a warm hat on your trip and even take it to bed with you if necessary. It will help prevent you from losing body heat and give you that extra insulation where it counts. With that said, avoid sleeping in the hiking socks you walked in, as clammy, sweaty socks will get even colder at night and ruin any chances you had of a decent snooze.
To eliminate the temptation to wear the same socks, get these insulated foot warmers that come with rechargeable batteries. Get two pairs if you plan on using one when out and about and leave the other pair at the bottom of your sleeping bag. Just roll them up in the morning and put them in the sleeping bag. It will also give you something to look forward to at night with a permanently dry pair of socks.
Prep Your Tomorrow Clothes
It’s easy to start the day warm if you plan ahead. Keep all your dry clothes in a decent backpack with a 100% waterproof sealing system. This bag comes with an IP66 Waterproof Rating making it is watertight and dunk proof. It is designed to handle quick submersions if you go canoeing or kayaking – it even floats on water!
Having warm clothes to change into after a day out in the cold, makes the winter weather a lot more bearable.
If you find that your clothes are damp or wet the next day, avoid balling them up in a corner where they retain that moisture. Spread them out on your tent floor or, if possible, hang them up.
Use Your Mummy Bag
If you were indoors, then a space heater would be an option for staying warm but that’s not an option when camping. and that’s where a Mummy bag comes in. They help you stay warm in extreme temperatures and remain suitable for all four seasons of the year.
With the isolated hood, cover your head and be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. But don’t burrow — keep your nose and mouth out of the bag to avoid creating excess moisture as you breathe on the inside.
Change Out of Your Day Clothes
It’s easy to get lazy with hygiene after a long day out hiking. I would loathe admitting how many times I miss brushing my teeth when I am in the Lake District.
Despite this, I always ensure I change and never sleep in the dirty, wet clothes I’ve been hiking in. It will decrease your core body temperature making it hard to fall asleep at night.
Fluff Your Sleeping Bag
The insulation will quickly flatten when your sleeping bag is squashed into a compression sack for 16 hours a day. In 5 degree weather, even a -10C rated sleeping bag can feel cold.
Take time to fluff your sleeping bag and shake your inner insulation as part of your bedtime routine, even checking to make sure it is distributed evenly. If you have time in the morning or on sunny days of rest, having it dry out in the sun may also be a good idea.
Play the Naked Game
No, not that one.
While many people recommend doing a set of 50 jumping jacks to heat your core body temperature before launching into your sleeping bag, I think getting sweaty before lying down is the exact opposite of what you want to do. All the sweat will eventually make you colder than when you first began.
Play the Naked Game instead! What to do? Wear what you expect to sleep in your sleeping bag. Get into your sleeping bag and strip down to your birthday suit from the inside of your sleeping bag. Then try to put all your clothes back on. All that squirming in your bag will generate heat (and good laughs) right where you need it to be — in your sleeping bag.
Alternatively, get this rechargeable heated sleeping bag. Perfect for hiking, camping, travelling it can be recharged via a USB and a power bank.
Warm yourself up
For camping in the winter, there are a key number of things you need to keep you warm, dry, and moving in the cold weather. Most people already know then need the best icebreaker base layers and waterproof shells for men and women that they can find, as ensuring they are lightweight is important – to avoid carrying around too much weight when out and about.
The last thing you need when out camping is to have to waddle around like the Michelin man, trying to get back to the campsite after a day out fishing or hiking.
Below is a list of other things to take camping that will hold you in good stead during your time outdoors
Columbia Men’s Ski Trousers
For camping in extreme weathers, you need a pair of extremely dry, well-insulated ski trousers.
The Bugaboo Insulated Snow Pant from Columbia is an excellent choice for winter camping and ski trips, perfectly matching for a full outfit with the Alpine Free Fall / Gyroslope Jacket.
Such warm and comfortable pants benefit from the introduction of thermal reflective technology from Columbia’s Omni-HeatTM to improve cosiness when out in the cold, while waterproofing from Omni-TechTM ensures that they stay dry and well covered.
They are fully adjustable around the waist and come with an internal leg gaiter and silicone grippers that are designed to prevent any snow from getting in when they take a tumble.
Also, the life of the pants is extended with Columbia’s Ski Trouser, giving you a little extra length to make them last through multiple seasons. Experience unrivalled warmth with the reflective lining and waterproof fabric of Columbia, which means that you will remain completely dry, no matter how many times you crash into the snow. An adjustable waist on the Bugaboo pant prevents draughts while more comfort and flexibility is provided by the bottom leg zips and an internal leg gaiter.
- Omni-Tech™ Legacy Twill 100% Nylon
- Omni-Heat™ Reflective lining 100% Polyester
- 60g Microtemp XF II 100% Polyester
- Omni-Heat™ Reflective
- Thermal Reflective Warmth
- Breathable. Guaranteed.
Camplux AY132 Tankless Propane Gas Water Heater
If you fancy having a hot shower while out camping, then at least get yourself the best selling portable water device online, the Camplux AY132.
It makes it possible to enjoy a private shower whenever you go camping, thanks to the Camplux Outdoor Portable Propane Water Heater delivering a low-pressure startup and endless hot water. Luckily, the days of using filthy camping facilities or just going without a wash are now behind us!
Camplux created a mighty portable shower that you can attach without any problems to the back of your campervan or caravan. It can also be mounted on indoor walls, so it is the perfect accessory to take you down for the day to your beach hut.
If you don’t have enough electricity to hook it up, don’t worry; this camping shower can also run off its two “D” cell batteries whenever you’re not close to a power supply. The batteries have about 180 days of average life.
A gas water pump heats the water, and you can experience a water pressure of approximately 2.8~110.0 PSI. Equally impressive is the hot water production at 2,64 gallons per minute.
Including having a shower with this water heater, if you need to clean your dog or horse, it also comes in very handy. You’ll be able to clean most things, even if they’re not all that close to the actual furnace, thanks to the five-foot hose.
There are just a few things that you need to keep in mind when you use this shower. First of all, using it above 2,000 ft elevation is not recommended. But, not only that but when you want some drinking water, the gas water heater can not be used.
This water heater is made of durable materials–metal, iron, and copper. That means it’s going to be easy to clean before you store it away in the winter, and it’s also going to be convenient to clean it while you’re travelling with it.
This is a compact tankless water heater with a value for money and is ideal for making your outdoor shower on camping trips or for washing dishes. From this little water heater, you’ll get a lot of use.
- Lightweight and compact design
- Safety shut off features like oxygen depletion, anti-freezing, and overheat protection
- Requires very low water pressure to operate
- Can be used indoors with proper ventilation
- One year warranty
Garden mile® 10Kw Industrial Heater Electric Fan
It’s not easy to economically heat the work areas. For example, there are quite broad traditional industrial spaces. Also, factories have plenty of openings that cause outside air to cool. To keep such a space warm, you need a lot of energy.
With an Electric Fan, the Garden Mile ® 10Kw Industrial Heater is designed to heat spaces using openings that allow cold air to enter. When running smoothly, it does this.
- Automatic Overheat Protection – The Garden Mile ® 10Kw Electric Fan Assisted Space Heater comes with an integrated overheat protection system to increase the safety of the fan heater and minimize the risk of accidents. It dramatically increases the safety of indoor use.
- Powerful Heater – The space heater with air consumption of 320m3 per hour is rated at 10kW. This performance is enough to heat a space of 200 square meters. With this space heater, you can keep warm.
- Runs Efficiently – The space heater assisted by the Garden Mile ® 10Kw Industrial Heater Electric Fan operates efficiently. It consumes only 0.73KG per hour, enabling you to heat your space economically.
- Easy To Use – It comes with an easy and secure system of ignition. Therefore, turning the unit on is simple and straightforward.
- Uses Propane And LPG Gas – It can use either propane or LPG for this space heater. It is designed to be flexible in terms of fuel without losing efficiency. If in your local area, propane is cheaper and easier to access, you can use it. The same applies to the LPG. Importantly, it comes with appropriate regulators for this space heater.
- Effective heater when heating small spaces
- Relatively quiet
- Efficient and economical heater
- Comes with safety features that reduce the risk of accidents occurring
- The two-metre electrical cable is not shorter than what some people need, so having an additional extension socket will come in handy.
COSTWAY Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
For your everyday use, an outdoor gas fire pit is a must-have item. This Costway gas fire pit contains 1 x gas fire pit, 1 x propane tank hose with reduction valve, lava rock set, instructions (not included in the propane tank). Asides from taking it camping, it can also be used as a great decoration for your garden party with its smooth black painted exterior.
A great option for heating up those marshmallows after a long day, this portable gas fire pit from Costway also delivers uniform heat all around, keeping everyone warm.
It is well accepted that this gas fire pit is a perfect addition to any garden or camping group.
Wide versatility: This portable fireplace is the perfect outdoor fireplace for camping, motorhome travel, beach parties, outdoor family gatherings, etc. The open and interactive design creates a warm and pleasant atmosphere for you, enhancing your family or friends’ relationship.
Environmentally friendly and safe heating system: This fire pit uses environmentally friendly propane fuel with CSA certificate, which, even during most campfire bans, ensures safe use. Without smoke and sparks, it burns clean, providing warmth while helping protect camps and forest areas.
Compact & Portable Design: The Travel Fire Pit is lightweight and portable, which can be raised easily with just one hand. And compact appearance without too much space is convenient for processing. You can put it in your car’s trunk and take it wherever you want to go.
Sturdy and Durable Construction: Made of solid iron with black powder coating, this portable fire pit is weatherproof and rust-resistant for long-term use. The fire bowl’s foundation is robust and secure, while a damp cloth makes the smooth surface easy to wash.
Complete Fire Pit Kit: This fire pit includes a lid with straps for easy transport and storage, while your standard propane tank (not included) can be extended by the 10 FT long hose with regulator. Comes with a tank stabilizer ring and lasting rock lava stones, this fire pit will help you enjoy a warm and safe outdoor experience.
- Enamel material, solid and durable structure with smooth black painted
- Length of propane tank hose 10ft
- Excellent square heating system burns clean and smokeless
- Low or high heat power can be adjusted according to your needs
Hopefully, in the winter months, the items listed above will help you stay a warmer than the last time you got caught out. However, don’t forget the essentials – gloves, scarves and beanie hats. On the flip side, if everything seems to complicated to plan ahead for and you prefer walking around with goosebumps to stacking up – then the warm weather will soon be here.