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The Wilder Blog

Tips for Staying Warm While Winter Camping 

by Alissa Ward 14 Jun 2022

Venturing out with shorter days of sunlight and colder temperatures can be daunting, but with the right gear, testing your gear in a low risk environment (somewhere relatively accessible if you need to get out quickly) gives you the opportunity to dial in your gear and enjoy backpacking year round. 

Our Top Tips for Staying Warm While Winter Camping 

1. Change out of sweaty clothes and into dry ones + insulating layers 

Once you get to camp, having spare dry clothes (stored in a dry sack) to change into will help keep you warm. When you have set up camp and before you consider making dinner, opt to do a quick change. Although it may be difficult to convince yourself to change in the moment, switching to dry clothes revives your warmth, including changing your socks. Add insulating layers atop until you feel comfortable and ready to tackle camp activities before bed. 

2. Keep your Tent Vented 

Your breath releases hot vapour inside of your tent. Once these droplets make contact with your cold tent fabric, this collects condensation, which then freezes. Using the ventilation of your tent helps to prevent the condensation from freezing and then eventually melting and dampening your gear, leading to a potentially miserable experience. 

3. Stay Hydrated and Snack Lots before Bed 

Aim for warm calorie-dense meals that won’t take a lot of time to cook or require much clean-up. Making one pot meals or freeze-dried/dehydrated meals ensures you are not exposing yourself to the elements for longer than necessary. Your body burns calories to stay warm, so constantly snacking will help keep your body warm. 

4. Extra clothes in your sleeping bag 

Any layers that you aren’t wearing can be added into your sleeping bag to help keep you warm. If you have extra space at the bottom of your sleeping bag this is great place to store them. The benefit of this is that if you are planning to wear these extra clothes the following day they will already be warm from your body heat. 

5. Keep Your Backpack/ Boots in Your Tent 

If you have the space, storing your gear inside of your tent will help prevent any unwanted guests getting into your gear as well as help keep your gear a bit warmer than if it is left outside of your tent or in the vestibule. 

6. Use a sleeping bag liner to add additional heat 

Sleeping bag liners not only help with keeping your sleeping bag clean, they can also add multiple degrees of warmth to your sleep system depending which one you bring. View our range here.


7. Dial in Your Sleep System 

Many people will sleep overly warm or on the other end of the spectrum and quite cold. On top of this, there are numerous variables to staying warm. Having a sleeping bag that appropriately tackles the conditions, the layers you wear inside of it from head to toe, as well as the sleeping mat you use will all factor into how warm your overall sleep system is. 

8. Avoid Long Stops for Lunch Breaks 

Try to opt for shorter and more frequent breaks to snack/ eat a pre-made meal rather than a full-blown stop. Stopping will give your body the opportunity for any of your sweat to begin to cool down. If you do decide to stop, be sure to add on an extra layer and then take it off before moving again to avoid getting “sweaty-cold.” 

9. Keep Battery Operated Items Warm 

Cold temperatures can suck the life out of your battery operated products. Items such as your phone, headtorch, GPS, and battery pack will lose power less quickly if stored somewhere warm like your sleeping bag or in a pocket close to your body when not being used. 

10. Sort Tomorrow’s Drinking Water Today

Although it may seem like the last thing you want to do, ensuring your drinking water is ready for the following day helps set yourself up for a more enjoyable experience. Especially in areas where you need to treat water, adding tablets the night before or boiling water and allowing it to cool in drink bottles overnight is much more time efficient than having to do it all in the morning when spirits may not be high and you are itching to get on the trail. There’s not much worse than being cozy in your sleeping bag and knowing you have camp chores before you can pack up and set off for the day. 

Top Hiking Winter Products 

  1. The North Face Nuptse Mitts
  2. Patagonia Better Sweater Beanie
  3. Garmin Inreach Mini 2
  4. Arc’teryx Cerium (Mens | Womens
  5. Icebreaker Thermals (Mens | Womens
  6. Wilderness Wear Three Capes Hiking Socks 
  7. Ether Light XT Extreme (Mens | Womens
  8. Sea to Summit Spark | Flame 
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