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Fall will be here (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) before we know it, and that means cold weather camping…
But camping in the cold doesn’t mean that you have to be cold. In fact, there are many simple and effective ways to keep yourself warm while camping in the cold.
Let’s have a look at some of my favorite methods of warming up when the temperature dips.
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One of the easiest ways to stay warm while camping in the cold is to wear multiple layers.
Having a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer like a waterproof and breathable shell allows you to have far more control over your body’s temperature. If you get too warm, you can unzip the outer layer or even take it off, and if you’re active over the course of the day and get really warm, you can do the same with your mid-layer.
The important thing when layering is to be very aware of whether you begin to sweat. If you sweat, you’ll get much colder, so be sure to subtract layers as needed so you stay warm, but not too warm.
Stay Warm While Camping in the Cold by Eating and Drinking Frequently
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To stay warm, your body needs a lot of calories. To maintain your calorie load, you need to eat and drink frequently.
This doesn’t mean you need to stuff your face all day long, but periodic snacking will help keep your body warm. Eating a high-fat or high-protein meal or snack before bedtime will give you the slow-burning caloric energy you need to stay warm throughout the night.
Be sure you drink plenty of water, too. Dehydration limits your body’s ability to keep warm, so consistent drinking over the course of the day is worth the trip outside to use the restroom in the middle of the night – which you should do since your body has to use so much energy to heat the contents of your bladder. Diverting that energy to your bladder will only make you colder, so if nature calls, take care of business!
Warm Up Before Bedtime With a Bottle of Hot Water in Your Sleeping Bag
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One of the worst things about camping in the cold is sliding into a cold sleeping bag. But there’s a quick way to take the chill out of that process…
All you need to do is put hot water in a water bottle (or a couple of them) and place them strategically in your sleeping bag. I like to put one at my feet and another where my core will be.
Not only does this warm up the bag so it’s not so cold to get into, but the hot water bottles will also warm up my feet and core and prepare my body for a warmer night’s sleep.
Stay Warm While Camping in the Cold With a Diesel Heater
If you’re prone to being cold or you simply enjoy camping in cold temperatures, a diesel heater is an excellent way to keep your tent, motorhome, travel trailer, or other sleeping quarters nice and toasty warm.
As I noted in my recent diesel heater buyer’s guide, the key to your success with this tip is to invest in a high-quality heater – not one of those cheap knockoffs with a too-good-to-be-true price.
Why? It’s simple – when you’re cold weather camping, you want a heater that is well-made, reliable, and easy to use. These are features that you seldom find on those bargain-basement diesel heaters.
Besides, cheap heaters are loud, they tend to run rich, temperature control can be difficult, and they often consume fuel very quickly. I don’t know about you, but none of that sounds like fun to deal with in the cold!
As you can see in the images above and below, this heater is built to handle the rough-and-tumble environment of camping in the cold. The yellow case is both rain-resistant and crushproof (plus it’s easy to carry).
That portability is a huge benefit for your cold weather camping adventures – it takes up very little space in your vehicle and you can easily transport it to your tent or other nighttime accommodations as needed.
As an added benefit, this heater blows hot and dry air, which gives you even more comfort because your gear will be dry and warm in the morning.
You get 2.5 amps of draw during normal operation and it runs on 12v power and either diesel or kerosene. You can run the heater for about eight hours on just half a gallon of fuel, so you won’t need to spend the entire night worrying when the heat is going to cut off.
And I know what you’re thinking – won’t you have to get up to change the temperature setting? Nope! Planar Heaters includes a wired remote for your convenience. Additionally, there’s a silencer to maintain quiet operation and the heater can operate at altitudes up to 8,200 feet above sea level.
If 2kw doesn’t sound like enough for your wintertime adventures, Planar Heaters also has a 4kw model that offers 5 amps of draw under normal operation and puts out 13,600 BTUs. They also have a variety of diesel air heater kits that are ideal for people that are DIYers.
These kits come in 2kw up to 8kw varieties and come with everything you need to install the heater yourself. These kits are more budget-friendly, too, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks this is an excellent option. Either way, staying warm while camping in the cold will be much, much easier with one of these heaters.
Ventilate Your Tent to Stay Warm While Camping in the Cold
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Last, but not least, be sure that your tent (or other accommodations) are well ventilated during cold weather camping.
I know it seems strange to increase airflow when it’s cold outside, but it’s important to do so to prevent your breath from causing condensation inside the tent.
By ventilating the tent, it allows your hot breath to escape and prevents condensation from collecting – and then freezing – and turning into frost that then melts and makes the inside of the tent a miserable, wet icebox.
So, there you have it, folks! These tips will help you stay warm, enjoy your cold weather adventures that much more, and they’re all really easy to implement. What’s not to like about that?!