A warm sleeping bag is the first thing most consider when heading off on a camping trip. No one wants that sensation of cold feet and a running nose as the mercury heads south during the nighttime hours. To ensure that the shivers don’t keep you awake, here are some quick tips on how to stay warm in a sleeping bag on your next camping trip.
There’s no need to spark up the stove inside the tent on a cold night. There are many surprisingly simple options available that’ll help keep you warm while camping. And just in case you were ever tempted to break out the stove, know that it rarely ends well! A fire inside the tent and melted zips will make for a disastrous camping experience!
On a cold night, a warm drink can help you feel warm. Just ensure its caffeine-free if you actually want restful sleep. Alcoholic drinks tend to dilate blood vessels and provoke increased heat loss, so they’re often best avoided. For most people, hot chocolate or herbal tea can work wonders.
Thick socks and long underwear can provide you with an extra layer of insulation. Very often your feet will be the first to feel the cold, and once they do it’s often hard to take your mind off the sensation.
On the upper body, on colder nights it’s always recommended to wear a warm hat. You tend to lose much of your body heat through your head and this adds an extra layer of protection where it’s most needed. If it gets too warm during the night, then you can simply remove it. Remember, by layering up at the extremities, you’ll stay warmer for longer.
A water bottle filled with hot water can help tremendously in generating heat within the sleeping bag. The heat it gives off will be easily trapped within a high-quality warm sleeping bag. This can contribute greatly to ensuring you stay toasty throughout the night.
Stuffing some dry clothes inside can help warm your sleeping bag. It aids greatly in reducing the amount of space inside that your body has to heat. Wooley jumpers work great for this as their fluffy nature tends to trap air and hence insulate better.
You don’t want to let any extra warmth that your body generates seep off into the ground beneath you. Placing a closed-cell foam pad between a warm sleeping bag and the ground aids greatly in reducing the heat lost through contact with the ground.
On those particularly cold nights, doing a little movement before settling into a warm sleeping bag can help warm the body up. You don’t want to do so much so as you dump cortisol into your blood and find yourself wide awake staring at a tent roof in the subsequent hours. A few sit-ups or jumping jacks before settling in can often generate some extra heat within and help ensure a snug night.
Another way to help ensure a warm sleeping bag is to be prepared. On those cold nights, the last thing you want to have to do is get out of your sleeping bag and attend to something. Once you’re in your sleeping bag, try and ensure you stay there.
Make sure you pitch your tent on a flat surface that’s free from any sharp objects like pointed rocks. The last thing you want on a cold night is to be lying uncomfortably in your tent unable to sleep. Worse yet is having to get out of a warm sleeping bag and having to move your tent!
You should try and relieve yourself immediately before climbing into your sleeping bag. If you’ve refrained from excessive fluid intake in the preceding hours, then you should be able to last until morning. Bathroom breaks during the night mean you’ll have to venture outside and readjust to the colder temperature of your sleeping bag upon returning. And on cold nights, this may take a while.
If you know you’ll have to get up for a midnight bathroom break during the night, then leave a pair of shoes by the door that you can slip into to help make the time you spend outside as short as possible.
Let your body know it’s time for bed. If you have a nighttime routine at home, then try and follow it as best as you can while camping. Do you brush and floss before bed? If so, then doing it sends a message to your body that it’s time for bed.
Several natural supplements can help ensure a relaxed state of mind in the hours before you settle in for the night. If you’re not a habitual camper, then the new surroundings may trigger racing thoughts that’ll keep you awake longer than normal. Natural supplements such as magnesium and ashwagandha can help prime you for deep sleep, one where a subtle drop in the overnight temperature won’t wake you!
Whether you’re kept awake by the snores of a fellow camper or the sounds of an animal rustling outside, then earplugs are an essential piece of your camping kit. They help block out those sounds that can pull you out of a good night’s sleep, and of course, once you’re sound asleep, then you’re less affected by the slowly falling nighttime temperatures.
At Decathlon we stock a range of sleeping bags for every season. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and ratings. But if you are one of those who packed a 3-season sleeping bag for a cold night in the depths of winter, then now you know that all hope is not lost!