How to Stay Warm While Camping

Nature enthusiasts believe that winter is one of the best times for camping. However, the fear of cold makes many miss the unique camping experience the fourth season of the year offers.

The cold weather can be challenging, but only if you’re not prepared. Today, we’re going to talk about how to stay warm while camping so you can enjoy gorgeous natural sights and sleep well in your tent without having to deal with endless shivers and the fear of frostbite during a winter campout.

Things You May Need to Stay Warm While Camping

You will need the following items to stay warm while camping:

Base layer



Water bottle/container

Sleeping bag

Sleeping pad

Hot water bottle

The 8 Best Tips for Staying Warm While Camping

There is no escaping the cold weather when you’re out into the wilderness. But, there are ways to deal with it. Here are some useful tips from seasoned campers on how to stay warm while camping:

How to Stay Warm While Camping

1. Dress in Layers

The cardinal rule for winter camping is to dress in multiple layers. It gives you greater control over body temperature regulation and also allows you to adjust easily to the changing weather. It’s important to remember that you want to stay warm but do not want to sweat because it will eventually make you feel colder. Sweat cools down when it dries, and this can be a problem when you’re in the snow.

Layering allows you to easily manage body heat according to the changing temperature and activity level by adding or removing layers as per your needs.

For the uninitiated, you should have at least three layers of clothes:

  • Base Layer –Helps absorb moisture from your skin.
  • Mid Layer –Helps prevent the loss of body heat. It is also called the insulating layer.
  • Outer Layer –Offers protection against weather elements like wind, rain, and snow.

These three are the basic layers, but no one’s stopping you from wearing more than three clothes. Layer up with as many pieces as you need to stay warm while camping. A shell jacket can be your best asset during harsh conditions as it traps heat really well.

2. Carry One Extra Base Layer

As mentioned earlier, you want to avoid sweating when camping in winter. But, there may be times when you’ll get sweaty, for example, after a hike or setting up the camp. Always carry an extra base layer for such instances and change out of your sweaty base layer as soon as you can. It will be hard to do in extreme cold, but you will thank yourself for it. A dry base layer will revive your body’s warmth.

3. Keep Your Feet Dry and Warm

There is a lot of information on the internet these days about the “benefits of wearing wet socks to bed”. Even if you believe in it, never try it when you’re trying to stay warm while camping. Your socks tend to get wet during winter camping. Therefore, always carry extra pairs of socks and change into a completely dry pair before nestling into your sleeping bag. You will lose a lot of body heat even if your socks are only slightly damp, and you do not want it when you’re in the wilderness during crazy cold weather.

4. Keep Yourself Hydrated

It may seem like the worst advice when you’re out into the woods in the freezing cold weather because the more water you drink, the more bathroom trips you’ll have to make. But, hydration plays a vital role in maintaining your body functions and keep you warm during the cold weather. Keeping yourself hydrated is also a great way to reduce fatigue.

5. Don’t Hold in Pee

You may want to ignore nature’s call for as long as you can when you’re lying in your cozy sleeping bag, and it is freezing cold outside. But, do you know that it causes your body to spend more energy?  Make that quick trip outside whenever you need to reduce your body’s energy expenditure.

6. Get the Right Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags come with a temperature rating. Simply put, the temperature rating of a sleeping bag tells the minimum temperature to which the bag will keep functioning. However, this may not work for people who tend to run cold. If you’re one such person, it’s better to get a warmer sleeping bag with a lower rating than the temperature you’re expecting during your winter camping expedition. For example, if the weather forecast tells that temperature will drop to 10 degrees at night during your camping days, get a sleeping bag with perhaps 0 degrees rating.

7. Carry Two Sleeping Pads

Sleeping pads create a layer of insulation between you and the ground. The good thing is that their thermal resistance or warmth can add up. This means you can increase the insulation between you and the cold ground simply by using two sleeping pads.

According to experienced campers, the combination works the best is a foam pad and an inflatable sleeping pad. Combined together, they not only provide adequate warmth but are also easier to carry.

Place the foam sleeping pad on the ground, the inflatable one over it, and then place the sleeping bag for the best sleeping arrangement and staying warm while camping during winters.

8. Sleep with a Hot Water Bottle

Place a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag for additional warmth. The bottle will stay warm for several hours amidst all the insulation and continue to work as a heat source.

Some camping experts suggest keeping the water bottle between your thighs, close to the femoral artery, while others recommend placing it in the groin area. You can try both and see which one works the best to help you stay warm while camping in winter.

Our Final Thoughts

Staying warm outdoors can be a struggle during the winter months. But, not so much if you have the right knowledge and gear. With these tips on how to stay warm while camping, you can be sure to have a fun-filled and successful winter campout. So, gear up for your next adventure in the upcoming winter season and experience wilderness like never before.

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