What you need to keep your camping trip at the right temperature.
- Clothing - Whether it is gloves or hats, layers will always keep the cold off and keep you warm. I’ll take a look at different materials and what will keep you the warmest.
- Sleeping Bag - Sleeping in comfort is essential for any good camping trip. I’ll take a look at temperature rated sleeping.
- Heater - Heating inside a tent is tricky but with these safe, effective heaters you won’t have to worry.
- Tent - Tent insulation is the final layer between you and the cold. Your final barrier should be as impenetrable as practically possible.
Cold Weather Clothing
Hats - A warm hat is essential for proper cold weather living. Here are 3 caps that will help in cold weather.
- Trapper Cap - The warmest of the hats on the list, the Trapper Cap gives full head and ear coverage. With ear flaps that button together underneath the chin, it is the ultimate cold weather hat. Often lined with a synthetic fur fiber, these hats are snug and soft, offering comfort on a long day out in the cold.
- Stocking Cap - Versatile and functional, the stocking cap will provide you with a range of warmth to keep you comfortable. Wool is a natural insulating material and a wool stocking cap will be sure you keep you warm.
- Wool Flat Cap - The final cap is designed for cooler weather as opposed to cold weather. The Wool Flat Cap keeps your head warm but lacks the ear protection of the previous two hats. A fashionable addition to your hat collection and made of wool, the ultimate insulator, the flat cap is a great and functional addition to any camping trip.
Gloves - Keeping your fingers warm is essential in order to enjoy your camping experience. When temperatures drop, your fingers and toes are the first parts of your body to start feeling it and the most susceptible to heat loss. Luckily there are a range of gloves that you can wear that will cover you from chilly to frigid.
- Mittens - The ultimate cold weather hand ware. Mittens create a nice little pocket for all of your hand warmth to gather. According to my advice, Down is the best insulator when it comes to mittens. The problem with Down is it can be pricey and loses its ability to keep heat when it gets wet. Synthetic insulation is not quite as effective as down, but it will keep insulating even when wet.
- Gloves - I have always found fleece gloves to be the best choice when going out into cold weather. Fleece is a water repellent material that insulates well. Glovers are great because you still have use of you fingers as opposed to the confines of a mitten. Living in a cold weather climate, I have never had fleece let me down.
- Fingerless Gloves - My personal favorite, these nifty gloves allow you the versatility of finger use and the warmth of a sturdy covering. You can find them with finger protecters attached, turning them into the ultimate mitten/glove combo. These are available in a variety of materials from fleece to wool.
Wool Socks- Wool truly is a miracle natural fiber and these socks are no exception to the rule. Your feet are just as susceptible to losing heat as you hands and your head, so packing a pair of these will ensure that you have feet that are warm and comfortable.
Long Underwear- If you are in some very cold climates, a layer of long underwear is sure to help keep you as warm. Made of cotton, a fiber that allows moisture to escape but retains heat, this under layer will breathe when you need it to.
Making sure that you're sleeping bag is rated for the weather you will be camping in will make for a much more enjoyable experience. Sleeping bags that are rated below 10 degrees fahrenheit would be considered arctic or winter rated sleeping bags. Unless you are scaling a mountain, you would probably not need a sleeping bag with this type of rating. We’ll take a look at the 3 main categories.
- Arctic - With a thick flannel and canvas design, this will keep you warm in the most frigid of conditions with some being rated down to -30 degrees! The only down fall is the weight, at 15 lbs. this is not the sleeping bag you want to take on a backpacking trip.
- Cold Weather - Cold weather bags are usually of the “mummy” variety. These bags will be rated between 10 degrees and 30 degrees and have a portion of the bag that pulls up and over your head leaving only your face exposed. This allows maximum heat retention in a bag that is lightweight and perfect for backpacking.
- Cool Weather - For something a little more affordable and designed for cool weather, as opposed to cold weather. These are the most affordable bags as you can usually find them starting at $30.
A safe and reliable heater can turn your tent into a cozy hideaway. There are multiple ways to power a tent heater, the two most popular being propane and electric. You could also use a kerosene heater, but this has been all but replaced by the more efficient propane variety.
- Propane - Propane provides the best bet for camping in a tent unless you have an electrical hook-up at your campsite. Though they push out the most heat, you should not run them while you’re sleeping as the heat is based on flame and could start a fire. It is best to use them right before bed and when you wake up in the morning.
- Electric - If you do have electricity in your campsite you could try the more affordable electric heater to keep your tent nice and toasty. With multiple heat settings and the ability to run the heater while you are sleeping, you will be able to have a steady flow of warmth. You will also not have to worry about purchasing new propane canisters, making this a one time investment.
The final barrier between you and the elements is your tent. To find a tent that is made out of a material that offers maximum insulation is key. In my opinion, cotton and canvas are regarded as having the best insulation properties but they do not do well when getting wet. Polyester and nylon are not good insulators but are champions in the rain.
- Nylon/Polyester - These synthetic fibers are perfect for rainy and cool camping. Though they do not retain heat like their natural counterparts, they will keep you dry and they have a faster dry out time.
- Cotton/Canvas - These natural fibers are renowned for their ability to act as effective insulators, keeping heat out on sunny, hot days and keeping it in on cool days. They do have a down side in the fact that they take a long time to dry out when wet. If a person does not take the time to effectively dry them, they will get moldy.
- Insulated - This is the most luxurious option when it comes to keeping warm while camping. A waterproof tent on the outside that has insulation on the inside, taking its design from a house. It is fairly new to the arena of tents and not cheap, with a three person tent running around $500.
Keeping warm while camping is not only smart, its essential to having a positive experience. You can attack heat loss at a variety of sources. When you’re figuring out how to be warm while camping be sure to:
- Pack the proper cold weather clothing. Layers can always be taken off, so bring a jacket or long underwear if you are expecting it to be cool. Also be sure to cover you hands and head using some of the suggestions from above.
- Check the temperature rating on your sleeping bag to make sure it is rated to cover any temperature extremes you may encounter.
- Heaters are a great way to generate heat right inside of your tent. Just be sure that you are using them safely as they can result in a fire if used improperly.
- Tents come in a variety of materials and serve as your barrier from the outside. Be sure to choose a sturdy material that is light enough to carry but retains heat.