Whether you are searching for a 4 season sleeping bag or any other specific models, keep in mind that despite the season in which you are planning to go into the wilderness for days and nights, you might bump into some chilly weather.
There won’t be any fun in going to bed feeling miserable and cold while you are hiking. Nothing is worse than a situation in which you wake up in the middle of the darkness shivering.
Night hours should always be your recharging time for the next day adventures and hence choosing the right way and thinking about how to stay warm while camping will be wise.
Just visualize that you have the warmest sleeping bag to crawl into, putting the zips and then sleeping peacefully thinking that your nest of polyester, down or nylon will guard you and keep you warm from the frosty outside temperatures.
In this write- up, we will walk you through some of the cold weather backpacking tips to help you stay warm while hiking in the cold.
With a very little grounding, you can stay comfortable and warm during sleeping hours. In simple words, those who run cold should go for a warmer bag and compensate. Buy one which will serve the majority of your sleeping hours.
Once you are done with buying your hiking sleeping bag, you can follow the below- mentioned tips for staying warmer and cooler. You can’t ever crawl outside of your sleeping bag and regulate the thermostat to your required levels. However, this is part of the fun and there are lots of things which will keep you comfy during your trails.
Obviously, there are lots of ways to stay comfy and warm; like lighting a fire and so on. But there are many other safer ways than burning the sleeping bag into ashes. Here are the tips to get started with!!!
Pre-Planning Cold Weather Backpacking Tips for Staying Warmer
Outdoor adventures during the winter season are different from that of during summer camping. You must be well prepared to face even the worst climatic weather and short daylight hours by keeping additional gear and skills. Before you start from your home, plan well.
Try to share your hike with some of your friends who are having expertise in snow shelters, snow travel, route finding, etc.
Study the map and know well about the area too. The distance to the destination and how to set up the camp and so on. Also, check for the closest emergency services which are available if something goes wrong.
Check with those who can give you pointers and note down the weather forecast as well.
Know about the trail conditions and if possible avoid those avalanche areas.
Leave the hike plan so that others will know where you will be and when you will come back.
Don’t forget to take your best winter sleeping bag along with other gears in the checklist and take some cash along with you for meeting any unexpected emergencies.
The Science of Staying Warm
In simple words, it is said that staying warm is a perfect balance between balancing heat gain with the heat loss. During sleeping hours, heat gain will be occurred due to metabolism and heat loss comes down due to conduction, radiation as well as convection. Body is considered as a finely tuned machine which can pin 98.6˚F when pushing pixels at the office and push BTU’s schlepping a pack and also during sleeping at night. It is really a magic.
The researchers claim that the body is regulated at high rates and hence it drops down to some level during the evening hours and helps to feel sleepy.
For waking up in the morning, the body temperature will raise up. As per the scientific studies, people have a tendency to wake up when their body temperature drops down to 88º to 93º F. For bringing it back to the normal levels, we use the sleeping bags. They aid in regulating the body temperature by protecting from the external climate. These bags will be well insulated, prevent the cold spots as well as keep away the moisture from your body.
Tips on How to Keep Warm while Camping
Don’t ever think that jumping and clinching into the sleeping bags will provide you with all the warmth you need during night hours. Nevertheless, there are many campers who have memories of waking up in the late night hours feeling colder than the climatic outside. Why is it so? Keep in mind that we feel colder during night hours in the sleeping bag not due to the poor or faulty designed gear, but of course due to the bad habits. If these bad habits continue, then even under -10 º sleeping bags, you will be feeling colder.
There are wide ranges of best sleeping bags for backpacking which is fit for varied climatic conditions. The only things are to ensure the quality of the material for making the best use of it. You can also buy the best 3 season sleeping bag along with the bag liners for getting extra warmth.
The sleeping bag liners can also be used alone during the summer camping. So the question is how to choose a particular model and what are the things to consider. Well, we will help you out in this. Below mentioned are few things which you should consider for staying warm while hiking.
Right Campsite Ground
You all might be aware of the R-value which is referred as the insulating element which any material has. However are you aware of the U-value yet? It points to the measure of heat loss which from a material. The U-value will be higher for those materials which are denser or harder. So in order to stay warm, you will need to pick something with U-value lower.
Make sure that you don’t choose a point where there is high grass except that you wanted to wake up with snakes near your sleeping bags.
Know Your Gear
Knowledge about the gear for your hiking needs is an essential factor in order to survive in low night temperatures for the least equipment. On the other hand, if you are not sure about your gear, then just add more of it.
Double up the bag by placing one inside the other one. If not, you can even start with a warm bag in the first place. You can even fix a foam roll mat or 2 under the inflatable mattress.
Know Your Body
There are a few who sleep warm while some others sleep cold. Gender, fitness, age, experience, body fat rate and similar factors will help to change the level of comfort experienced by the users who are using closely the same gear. If you have not yet been to hiking during the winter season, then buying too many layers will be a wise choice.
Get Back the Shape of Sleeping Bag By Shaking
Shake the sleeping bag well for getting back its shape since it has been compressed inside the stuff sack for the whole day. Fluff it back and ensure that the insulation is well distributed prior to hopping in.
Many hikers are having the habit of rolling off the sleeping pads and then sleep. This will let the coldness from the floor to suck the heat the body emits and this, in turn, will keep you shivering all through the night hours.
A simple solution which majority of the campers does is placing their sleeping pad inside their bag. This has got the effect of filling up the empty space inside your sleeping bag, thus trapping more heat.
Place the Garments In Sleeping Bag
You can fill up the empty space within the sleeping bag with either gear or with the clothes. It will help to give you warmth since there is not much empty space to heat.
Wear a Hat
Head is the part of the body which gives off more amount of heat. You can keep it by using a beanie to bed. You can also make use of the mummy bag’s hood as this may help to keep your head fully covered during night hours.
Use the Right Clothing
The cotton shirts which you wear overnight during summer hiking will definitely ruin you during the winter season. Therefore try to use the right base layers like insulating synthetics or merino wool with some insulating layers on the top. You can even add fleece or woolen hat along with a neck warmer. Keep along with you a pair of thick woolen socks as you can make use of it during night time and ensure that they are dry.
Another important thing to be noted is that you should never crawl into your sleeping bag with the same clothes which you were wearing for the whole day as they might be dirty and damp. Using fresh clothes will give you more insulation when compared to dirty ones since their fibers are not compressed.
Thermal underwear will help you keep warm during the cold conditions. Also termed as the base layer, they will help to trap the warmth against the skin directly and make you feel more comfortable during chilly weather. Ensure that you wear your thermals at least one hour before bedtime as this will guarantee extra warmth while sleeping.
Keep the Bed Warm
If your body is really cold, then don’t jump into the sleeping bag. Make your body produce some amount of heat with a basic workout. After that, your body just needs to keep hold of the heat instead of warming up itself.
Keep Toe and Hand Warmers
There will be a big difference if you could use hand warmers and toe warmers as they will help to stay warm and comfortable at night. A few ounces of these products would certainly be worth for an amazing sleep.
Hot Water Bottle Magic
Keeping a hot water bottle inside the bag will help to stay warm for several hours. You can sleep soundly even when it is well below freezing. Get a hard plastic bottle and fill it with hot water. Now go to bed and keep it in between your legs so that it will hit the femoral artery. If it finds to be too hot for the first time, then wrap it with one of your single layers and then place it between your legs.
Never Cover Your Face
Never try to cover your face with the sleeping bag. It will get the inside portion of your bag damp very soon. Even though your breath is warm, it will fill the inside of the sleeping bag with unwanted moisture content. All you have to do is to cinch up the opening around the face and then keep mouth and nose out of it.
Adding Layers Outside
Buy thin metallic survival blankets and then wrap it around the torso portion of the sleeping bag. If you were not able to buy one, you can do the same thing with your waterproof jacket or anything else which will add up extra layers on your top without blocking the air out from the sleeping bag.
Use Thermal Liners
Check for the rating of your sleeping bags. If you are a cooler sleeper, then try to add cotton, silk or a fleece liner instead of buying another sleeping bag. There are wide ranges of liners available on the market and the most picked one being the silk and cotton versions which are manufactured by Sea to Summit.
The thermal liners are designed using the same material as that of the thermal underwear and are meant to increase the warmth of the sleeping bags. By adding the right kind of liners to your bags, you can make the best use of it during winter season along with using on its own while in the average conditions as well.
You can even buy removable liners as they may help to your bag cleaner, thus filing it in a more good condition.
Have Food Before Bed
Before it is time for you to get into the sack, fuel up your body with some food and drinks and ensure that you are well hydrated. It is highly necessary to properly nourish your body to keep itself warm during sleeping time.
Pee If You Wake Up In The Middle
If your bladder is filled, then your body will try to expend more amount of energy for maintaining the liquid warm. If you empty it, then the body requires only less energy to stay itself warm.
In addition to this, it will also help to get back to a sound sleep without the thinking of needing to pee. If it is too cold to pee outside then you can even make use of collapsible pee bottle. Women can make use of a pee funnel for peeing into the pee bottle.
Choose a Well Rated Sleeping bag
Ensure that you know well about the climatic conditions where you are planning to hike and set your camp. If it is really cold out there, then try to bring a 0º or a 20º sleeping bag as it will make a big difference.
Get Extra-Warm Sleeping Bag
If you are a person who can’t tolerate the chilly weather outside, then spend some extra bugs on buying an extra warm bag. Majority of the temperature ratings in a sleeping bag is based on the temperature at which they function.
However, it is not necessary that it would provide that comfort which you are looking for. Hence if you are sure that you will run cold and is expecting 15-degree at night, then get a 0-degree bag to keep yourself warm.
Place Extra Gear Below Sleeping Pads
At times sleeping warm is just a balance between you and the ground. Consider taking with you two sleeping pads (one inflated and the one other foam) and place the foam one at the bottom and the inflated one to be placed in between the foam and the sleeping bag. You can even keep the other flattish pieces of your gear in between the sleeping pad and ground.
Insulation Filling Is Important
The insulation properties of a bag functions by trapping the air, thus getting maximum loft by properly shaking the bag before you go to bed. You can achieve this by getting the best down sleeping bag.
With the down bags which are light in weight, do the same by keeping the bag upside down since the filling would be encouraged to collect in the upper portions of the sleeping bag where insulation is needed the most.
On the other hand, ensure that the adding up of any extra clothes within the bag will not have the same effect of compressing the filling of the bag. The overall performance of the bag will be improved by taking out all the thicker layers. Keep in mind to avoid the usage of down bags within the narrow bivvy bags for this same reason. If needed, keep the bivvy bag on the top.
Ensure Dryness of the Sleeping Gear and Protect it Well
Keep the bag away from the moisture or any other kinds of stuff will get it wet. Avoid placing the head inside the bag since it would introduce moisture inside the bag and keep it damp for the same reason.
After use, squash all the air out for expelling body moisture and then dry the bag fastidiously.
Be really mindful regarding your bags as they are the only ones which will keep you comfy and warm during night hours. Make use of a sleeping pad to keep it off from the ground.
Make sure that you don’t wear any wet clothes to bed. Air the sleeping bag prior to packing it up. A dry sleeping bag is a warm bag.
Winter camping would turn to be really miserable if you don’t have the right gear and a good quality sleeping gear.
On the other hand, it can be the best one and the most memorable experiences of all if you know all the techniques to survive outside in such climatic conditions.
By having the right food, insulation, and clothing, you can make the chilly nights snooze soundly. It doesn’t matter how old the sleeping bags are, by following the above tips, you can get the best performance out of it. Hopefully, you will enjoy your night’s sleep!