Have you ever planned a camping trip thinking that you have everything under control only to find that the weather goes sideways once you arrive at the camping site?
This happened to me not that long ago, and I learned that it could get pretty chilly in the sleeping bag if you do not have the right equipment.
You cannot control the weather, that much is true, but there are certain things you can do to protect yourself from the cold nights. You might not realize this, but there are a few things that you must take with you just in case you experience some unexpected weather changes.
Now, these things are not only meant for winter camping. Any experienced camper would know that nights can get pretty chilly even during the summer if you are camping on higher altitudes or mountain campsites. Having the right equipment is crucial to keeping yourself and your feet warm.
Some people do not have problems with cold hands or feet. Their bodies are naturally warmer, so they might not need to take any of these things. But for those of you who would rather be safe than sorry, I suggest you take a closer look at this list which features only the most effective yet very affordable things that you can take on a trip to help keep you warm.
Let's look at them together!
How to Keep Your Feet Warm in the Sleeping Bag?
Have you ever wondered why your hands and feet tend to get a lot colder than the rest of your body? Is there anything wrong with them, or is this something natural?
If this happens to you, you do not have anything to worry about. This is your body's natural way of preserving the heat for your vital organs, but the thing is that your body sees your extremities as something disposable. That is why it takes the heat from the hands and feet and it gives that heat to the rest of your body.
I know that you probably might disagree with what your body considers disposable, so I am here to give you a few quick tips on how to keep your feet warm in the sleeping bag.
Hot water bottle
When hiking and having had a long day, you only want to have some beautiful rest. However, that might not be as easy if your feet get very cold. This is something that happens frequently, even for hikers that have expensive quality gear.
If this happens to you, the best thing you can do is place a hot water bottle next to your feet inside the sleeping bag. This is a great way to keep your feet warm for an extended period.
However, the problem with this method is that you might have trouble heating the water. The chances are that you do not want to take extra equipment with you that will heat water, and if that is the case, this method might not be the best one for you.
If you are very new to this camping thing, you should know that there are some heaters that you should look into. They are very effective and meant specifically for camping trips. If you are not on a tight budget, I suggest you look into them and get one for your next camping trip.
Layers of clothes
The worst thing you can do to your body is let it freeze without taking any precautionary measures. If your feet get cold, why not make them better by adding an extra layer of clothes or an extra pair of socks?
Have you ever heard of thermally insulated socks? They are just like regular socks but better because they are made out of thicker materials. This means that they will make your feet warmer and, at the same time, act as a cushion, so the feet are more comfortable in your shoes or your sleeping bag.
Thermal socks come at a certain price; you can always exchange them for regular socks made of wool or other thick materials that will do just as good of a job as thermal socks!
Foot warming gear
Aside from the thermal socks, you can also use them to make your feet warm in the sleeping bag to wear some foot-warming gear. What I mean by this is that you should get a pad or a pouch to put your feet just as you would do with your hands and a pair of winter gloves.
The best thing about this type of pouches is that they are easy to find, very affordable, very lightweight, and you can quickly put them inside of your sleeping bag. They come in various colors and shapes, so you can take your time to choose the one you like best.
Should You Wear Socks in a Sleeping Bag?
I once heard that someone tried to sleep naked in their sleeping bag because they thought that would keep them warm throughout the night. You might be thinking - would this work?
I hate to disappoint you, but sleeping naked is not good if you are in a tent or a sleeping bag and feel cold. I do not even recommend going to sleep without wearing socks, let alone sleeping completely naked.
So, I have to say that keeping your socks on your feet can be crucial to keeping your feet warm during the cold night in the sleeping bag. As I mentioned before, you can even try wearing a few layers of socks if you do not have ones made from thicker materials. Wicking and wool socks are a great idea, but thermally insulated socks are the best thing that you can use for cold feet.
Does Putting Plastic Bags on Your Feet Keep Them Warm?
I was surprised to learn this, but another great way to keep your feet warm is to put plastic bags on them. This is a great method, especially if you are already on your trip and you forgot to pack an extra pair of socks or any socks except for the ones on your feet.
You know how feet can sometimes get sweaty, and that makes your socks unpleasant to wear. If this happens to you, make sure to replace your wet socks with a dry pair. If you do not have an extra pair, then resort to alternative measures - hence, the plastic bags.
How Do You Stay Warm in a Sleeping Bag?
Several great ways could help you stay warm in your sleeping bag. Here are some of the most effective ones that I would recommend for everyone to try out:
First of all, if you are planning on camping in cold weather, make sure you invest in suitable gear for that kind of weather condition. It would help if you are looking for a sleeping bag and tent made from thermally insulating materials, lightweight and waterproof but still not expensive.
Aside from a good quality sleeping bag, another thing that you can buy to keep yourself warm is a sleeping pad. These pads act as an insulating barrier to keep warmth in the sleeping bag. They are also not expensive, but they are very effective at keeping warmth in your sleeping bag.
Pajamas/Extra pair of clothes
Another good idea that I can mention is taking a pair of pajamas with you on your camping trip. I love this option and have used it on several of my trips. My pajamas are not that heavy to carry, but they come in very handy when I want to take off my sweaty hiking clothes and sleep in something warm and fuzzy.
If you are not into pajamas that much, you can also go for a base layer which is a layer of clothes that you usually wear under your regular close and it is great for keeping your body warm. This layer will provide you with warmth and regulate your body temperature and keep your body dry even if you get a little sweaty.
How to Increase Sleeping Bag Warmth?
Let's say that you have tried everything you can think of to make yourself warm when you are in your sleeping bag. Now, you wonder why nothing is working and why sleeping in your sleeping bag is getting less warm on each trip?
Do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Here are some helpful tricks that can increase the warmth in your sleeping bag:
Wash your sleeping bag
Many people do not realize that there is specific care that goes into the sleeping bag if you want to make it last longer. Every time you sleep in it, the oils and sweat from your skin, as well as the moisture in the tent itself, can cause the sleeping bag filling to get all clumped up. If this happens, your sleeping bag might not be able to reach the same warmth as before.
However, this does not mean that you need a new sleeping bag - just that you need to clean it! It is the best way to restore the warmth and even increase it in some cases. All you need to do is put it in the water on a gentle cycle and then dry it out completely.
Wear a beanie
There are many other ways to increase the sleeping bag warmth - using a thermal layer under it, placing a hot water bottle at your feet, wearing a base layer or some thermal clothes, using an extra pair of socks, and even wearing a beanie on your head!
Wearing a beanie while you are in your sleeping bag can make your whole body warmer because your head carries a lot of the warmth of your body. Approximately 30% of your body heat can escape through the head if you do not have a hat on. This is why beanies are extra helpful for cold trips!
Have a bigger lunch
I would also recommend that you simply have a bigger lunch or dinner before you go to sleep. When you eat something high in fat or carbohydrates, your body will need to work extra hard to digest it. That means your body will work all night, and by doing so, it will keep you warmer as well.
Snuggle up to your partner
Last but not least, I want to recommend my favorite way of keeping warm in a sleeping bag, and that is by snuggling up with your partner. It does not have to be a romantic type of snuggling - if it is, then good for you, but you can also benefit from sleeping next to someone who has a naturally warmer body.
If you have two partners sleeping with you in your tent, you can always sleep between them. If you have one person in your tent with you and they feel warmer, you can ask them to take the windy side of the tent and sleep on the other side. Teamwork at its finest, am I right?!
I have been there; we have all been there - there are just some things that you have to learn the hard way when it comes to camping. I know that you must have read everything possible to prepare for a camping trip, but an article cannot prepare you for the cold night in your sleeping bag. You have to experience it to know it truly, and only then will you learn what it takes to keep yourself warm in that kind of situation.
I hope this guide helped you learn more about the nature of camping and how to make it more pleasant. Follow the tips and tricks you read here, and you will have no problem keeping yourself warm and cozy the next time you visit the great outdoors!