“I’m so tired but cannot sleep! Can’t feel my feet anymore! My ears are also frozen! To be honest, I am chilled to the bones! I am thirsty and there’s at least 20 meters between me and the water bottle. What? The temperature says 2 degrees outside?!…I will never go camping again!”
If this is something that went through your tired out brain on one of those freezing nights while camping, this article is for you! You are not lost! There is still a chance!
Here are the 10 most useful tips surviving a cold night in your sleeping bag:
1. The sleeping bag
The sleeping bag is of course the main actor of your camping nights, so do not try to save money on that one. A good sleeping bag lasts forever. Unluckily this piece of equipment is one of those items where the price increases rapidly according to its quality.
First of all you have to think about its area of action. In which season do you mostly go camping? How cold will it get? Will weight matter because you want go hiking with it? Do you want synthetic or down? Synthetic is very robust but much heavier and not as warm as down….down is light and warm…but expensive and high-maintenance. For instance, you have to hang it out every morning to aerate it after usage to obtain its functionality and lifespan. So consulting an expert before purchasing a sleeping bag is probably a good idea, to make sure you purchase the right sleeping bag for your specific needs.
2. Size matters
Avoid thermal bridges! Meaning: avoid too much space in your sleeping bag! Don’t buy a sleeping bag that’s too big just because it is so comfy…you’ll freeze your a.. off! It must fit like a shoe! Not too small, not too big. If it’s too big, just stuff a blanket at the bottom to fill the space.
What’s the use of the best sleeping bag in the world if you’ll be sleeping on solid ground? You’ll notice the cold creeping under your skin and curse the moment you decided against a mattress. Self-inflatable, folded or rolled…as long as it feels comfortable for you and isolates you from beneath, you’ll be fine. If you have too much money, invest in a self inflatable mattress from Therm-a-Rest with a lifetime guarantee…you’ll sleep like a king…or a queen!
4. Fine feathers make fine birds
Change your clothes before you crawl into your bed because the things you wore all day are damp and cold. Also put on some cozy sleeping socks if you are ”cold-footed”
5. Don’t stick out your ears
We lose a large amount of heat from our head…just cover it with a beanie to stay warm.
6. Hot water bottle
With a hot water bottle you will survive everything! The only thing that is better than one of these life savers are two of them! Even if you think you would share everything with your partner….you won’t share the hot water bottle. If you forgot to bring one, just fill a bottling jar with hot water, close it tight and wrap it in a blanket, so you won’t burn yourself.
7. Extra blanket
An extra blanket is always a good idea to have by your side. Sleep under it when it’s too cold, lay on it if you like it softer…and if it’s too hot in the sleeping bag, yet too cool on the outside to zip it open, just cover yourself with the blanket to create an ‘in-between’ temperature.
8. Something to drink
Never forget to something to drink in an arms reach. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of a cold night feeling thirsty and parched, forced to get out of the cozy lair, having to run out bare footed into the cold to find something to quench your thirst. But be careful not not to drink too much…having to run to the toilet in the night is also terrible.
9. Jump Jump Jump
It takes quite long to become warm in your sleeping bag when your are already chilled to the bones. Do some quick exercises to warm up the chilled body … but stop before you start sweating.
10. Stuffed animal
A stuffed animal is the best companion you could have in your sleeping bag (next to the hot water bottle). Even if it won’t necessarily help you warm up, it won’t occupy all your space, won’t try to warm its icy feet on you or steal the blanket in the middle of the night….and you it can also double-up as a pillow!