Camping In The Winter - How To Stay Warm

Have you ever considered camping in the winter?
You may think that sounds like an absolutely ridiculous idea, but it may not be quite as bad as you may think. Waking up in a rural winter wonderland, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life can be a magical experience, not to mention one that for many people is an affordable alternative to more expensive holiday based accommodation. The main concern for people about camping outdoors in winter is how they stay warm, so let's dig in.


Keeping warm and comfortable while camping is the key to an enjoyable experience, and layers will become your new best friend. Layers help to trap the heat in and can also be put on or taken off as and when the weather changes. The key to layering:
  • The base layer
    Your base layer is like your second skin, stay clear of cotton as cotton traps moisture and can get cold. Instead, stick to merino wool or synthetic alternatives. If it’s really cold out you may want to wear more than one base layer.
  • The mid-layer
    Your mid-layer is your insulating layer and could be a fleece or some fleece-lined trousers. For extremely cold temperatures a down jacket can be worn in addition to a fleece layer for extra warmth.
  • The outer layer
    Your outer layer is what keeps you dry and so invest in some waterproof trousers as well as a waterproof coat. Remember to take this layer off before you get in the tent to avoid making everything else wet.
When thinking about layers, don’t forget your feet! Wear a thick pair of socks with a thin pair underneath and remember to bring plenty of pairs to swap into if things get damp. To give your feet a head start on getting warm, you can put your socks in your sleeping back with you at night, or use a pair of boot warmers to pre-warm your shoes.

Finally, top off your outfit with a hat, gloves, and scarf. You can lose more than half your body heat through your head, so find a waterproof and windproof hat for outside, and a nice knitted one to keep you warm inside the tent. Apply this same principle to gloves, and have a pair for outside, and a pair for inside.

Heat your body from the inside out with high energy hot meals, such as stews, a filling pasta dish, or hearty porridge. You can find some great camping recipes over on the Roving Foleys blog.
What to do at night
Temperatures can plummet at night, and as you are inactive it can be the hardest time to stay warm. In addition to all of the layers listed above, you will want to ensure that your sleeping bag is rated for outdoor use in winter. Don’t put your head inside, no matter how cold your nose gets as this can cause moisture to build up inside your sleeping bag from your breath. Instead, wrap a scarf around your face. To keep your feet toasty, sleep with a boot warmer in the bottom of your sleeping bag. 

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