A cold night spent shivering in your tent can ruin even the greatest outdoor adventure. Luckily, we’re here to help. Whether you’ve pitched up on a campsite or high in the hills, the following tips will ensure that no matter how much the mercury drops, you’ll be sure to stay warm while camping and enjoy a decent night’s sleep. Part of it is about being properly equipped for cold weather – there’s no substitute for decent kit, though it doesn’t have to be expensive – but we’ve also included a number of tips gleaned from many nights spent under canvas to help you stay snug as a bug in a rug.
Invest In a Decent Sleeping Mat
A good sleeping mat is as important as your sleeping bag, as it insulates you from cold ground that otherwise robs you of precious body warmth. Sleeping mats are rated with a R-value – for cold-weather camping, look for a mat with a rating of at least 3.0. The warmest options are inflatable insulated mats with synthetic or even down fills that loft out as you blow up the mat. They’re not cheap, but well worth the investment if you plan to do a lot of cold-weather camping.
Take a Warm Sleeping Bag
For cold-weather camping, you’ll need a three or ideally a four-season sleeping bag. The warmest and lightest option is a down bag. Traditionally, these were very expensive, but recently a couple of brands have produced much more affordable options, like the Summiteer Glow-worm series and the Alpkit PipeDream series. Again, if you get cold, it’s worth investing in a good down bag with a decent fill weight (600-800g) and fill power of at least 600. But if these are out of your price range, then don’t worry – there are other tips and tricks to boost body warmth. One is to use a liner inside your sleeping bag, which is a good idea anyway, as it helps to keep the inside of your bag clean and prevent the build-up of dirt and moisture that can a) make your bag smell and b) stop it working so well.