8 Ways To Stay Warm While Camping In Cold Weather

Don’t let the cool temperatures of the fall season keep you from getting out and camping.  There are great advantages to “cold season” camping, including fewer people, fall colors, and seeing areas in different seasons, to name a few.

With some preparation, most people can stay comfortable in cooler temperatures and keep on adventuring!

cold weather
Don’t let a little cold weather keep you from enjoying your adventures! (Photo by TC Wait)

1. No cotton next to your skin.

Cotton holds moisture and is not at all warm.  Natural fibers like silk and wool are good insulators that have moisture-wicking properties.  Synthetic fibers like viscose, Vætrex, or polypropylene add some technology to their fabrics to maintain warmth (even when wet) with minimal bulk.

They make some really soft wool blends now that don’t itch like you might remember as a kid.

2. Undershirts.

Having a snug-fitting silk undershirt on as a base layer keeps air from seeping in around the skin and wicks away any moisture you may give off while you are out enjoying life.

Additionally, it will lengthen the use of your shirt by keeping the body grime isolated, extending your laundry interval a bit more.

3. Double up on hats.

Most people know to dress in layers, and that includes your head.  Wearing two hats allows you extra warmth, blocks wind, and allows you to take one off if you get warm.  You can even add an ear band if you tend to get cold.

4. Loosen your laces.

You need space around your toes to keep them insulated.  Don’t get boots that are too tight or pinch you anywhere.  Boots that are too tight or wearing too many socks will restrict this air space around your toes and you will get cold.

Sometimes all you need to do is loosen your laces some, or take off a pair of socks and you will have warmer feet.


5. Eat more fats.

Cold weather increases your calorie requirements, so don’t worry about eating—you will burn it off. The important thing if you are trying to stay warm is that your internal furnace needs fuel to do that.  And the best fuel to burn to stay warm is fat.

So put cream in your coffee, butter your toast, and add some cheese and avocado on your eggs.  Take pocket food like trail mix with nuts, your favorite dark chocolate, or smoked salmon and crackers to enjoy on the move.

cold weather
Stay warm in the cold months ahead. Photo by David Clow/Flickr

6. Move.

Sitting still makes you cold, so get up and move.  Yes, it is harder when you are dressed in layers and wearing boots, but if you are cold you need to get your heart going so it can pump warm blood into your fingers and toes.

The more you move, the more your body will be able to adjust to the cold, so get out and walk, run in circles, dance like nobody is watching, whatever you need to do to get your blood moving.

7. Keep dry with 2 sets of things.

Any moisture in your clothing, including moisture from sweat and breathing, will make you feel cold.  Always have a set of dry things to put on, and alternate as you go through different activities in the day.

You only need two sets of a base layer, clothing, gloves, hats, etc to allow you to alternate the set you wear and the set that is drying.

8. Pee.

If you find you are cold and just can’t seem to get warm, go pee.  If your bladder is full (or partially full), your body has to expend energy to keep that liquid warm, which takes away from heating important things like your brain and muscles.

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