One of the challenges of outdoor recreation is staying warm. Even if the days are warm, nights can be downright frigid at higher altitudes. For those who plan to stay in a sleeping bag overnight, here are some ways to stay warm.
Keep Yourself Off the Ground – Direct contact with the ground can lead to a night of shivering. Stay off the ground by adding some insulation underneath your sleeping bag. A lightweight sleeping pad makes for a good insulator. If you find yourself without one, dead leaves packed in stuff sacks work well. Place them underneath you in a tent for a good insulating substitute.
Cover Your Head – A lot of heat is lost through our heads. Bring a hat to wear to bed. You might also consider a sleeping bag that comes with a built-in hood. The hood wraps around your head while leaving your nose and mouth exposed.
Change Your Clothes Before Bed – Over the course of the day, your clothes will accumulate dirt and moisture. If you wear them to bed, you spend extra energy trying to warm your clothes up. Try to change your clothes as much as possible before hitting the sack.
Keep Your Nose and Mouth Outside of the Sleeping Bag – Breathing into the sleeping bag allows moisture to get in. This moisture will make the bag and your clothes damp and cold.
Put on Some Socks – If you have trouble keeping your feet warm in your sleeping bag, put on a pair of thick socks. The best kind of sleeping bag socks are those made out of fleece or wool. Use these only for sleeping in.
Warm Up Some Water – If you have some extra water bottles, think about filling them with hot water and placing them in your sleeping bag for added warmth. Be sure to cover them with clothes or towels first.
Stay Hydrated – Staying hydrated is a good way to stay warm. Your body needs extra water to produce heat. If you have to go in the middle of the night, don’t hold it in. Holding it in only makes you colder.
Fuel Up – Eating a pre-bedtime snack can help you stay warm. Choose slow burning fatty snacks like chocolate.
Get Moving – Get in some physical activity before bedtime like jumping jacks or pushups to warm yourself up. Just be sure to stop before you break a sweat.