If nothing in nature can stop you from venturing into the great outdoors — not even the icy bite of winter — then your main concern should be ensuring you stay nice and warm for the duration of your trip. While it’s not rocket science, there is a science to staying warm in the outdoors, and it starts with proper layering and ventilation. But for keeping the chill at bay as you sleep, here are 3 simple ways to stay warmer in your tent.
Invest in an Appropriate Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags are rated for temperature; when buying a sleeping bag be sure to look for its R-Value, a measurement of the bag’s ability to retain heat. Some bag overestimate how warm they’ll keep you, so a simple trick is to buy a bag rated for temperatures 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than you’re expecting. Fleece sleeping bag liners are inexpensive and can also help you stay warmer in your tent.
Self Heating Gel Pads
Sodium acetate heating packs use a small disk in the center of the pad to start a chain reaction that solidifies the gel pad. This chain reaction creates a lot of energy, causing the pad to reach temperatures of over 130 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. If you purchase self heating gel pads, it’s best to buy multiples; nothing is worse than camping in the wilderness only to realize your heating pad is defective in the dead of night.
Keep Yourself Off the Ground
Have you ever seen a squirrel or raccoon flattening itself along the ground? By maximizing contact with the ground, the body loses a lot of heat through convection. While this is great in the summer when temperatures are toasty, during the Winter keeping your sleeping bag directly on the ground draws the heat from your body. The easiest way to deal with this heat lose is to bring an air mattress, cot, or sleeping pad for your tent. By raising yourself just a few inches off the ground, you’ll minimize heat loss and prevent moisture from seeping in overnight. When all else fails, a thick flannel or wool blanket under your sleeping bag will do the trick.