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 self-inflating insulated mats with synthetic or even down fills that loft out as you inflate 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.