The perfect scenario is to enjoy a day of camping and then settling down to sleep at night when the weather is warm, balmy and clear.  Heck, you may not even need to zip up that fancy new sleeping bag.  That sounds nice, right?

The fact is that it may not be warm and comfortable, though. And, heck, warmth is relative.  I can remember, when in the Army, we would work all day in 109 degree heat and then try to sleep at night in 77 degrees…and it felt like it was freezing out.  We were so snuggled up!

Hiking and camping in cold weather brings about different challenges.  These might help, particularly if you seem to be cold in the comfort of your own bed.

  1. Eat Before Bed.  Eat light, but try having some food right before you bunk down.  The digestion system starts the body in a passive manner.  This internally warms you and helps you sleep comfortably.
  2. Drink A Hot Beverage. Stay away from caffeine for obvious reasons.  Also, don’t drink anything with alcohol in it as it will dilate the blood vessels and contribute to heat loss.
  3. Exercise a bit. If you do too much working out then it could make you more wide awake but a little bit of activity will warm the body and help you sleep warm and comfortably.
  4. Long Underwear, Clean socks and Warm Weather gear. You can wear a lot of sniffle gear like thermals, clean, dry socks, and even a neck warmer to retain as much as the body heat that escapes from all the important places.
  5. Knit hats are your friend. Lots and lots of body heat escapes from the head (something that I’ll never forget since the nuns always reminded me of it during recess almost every day).  Thinking of it this way, if you get too warm during the night then you can always take it off whenever you’d like.
  6. Close up that bag! Don’t just zipper all the way but also pull the cinch cord around your head at night.  This prevents heat from leaking out of the top.
  7. Sleeping Pad are your friends, too! The ground is cold.  So whether you’re sleeping off the ground thanks to a great camping hammock or if you’re directly on the ground in a tent, a sleeping pad will provide a much appreciated additional layer of insulation.
  8. Here’s an awesome tip! To reduce the amount of space in a sleeping bag that needs to be warmed try stuffing dry clothing into it with you.  This drastically reduces the amount of work your body has to do to heat the area around you inside the bag.
  9. Drastic, but effective methods. Place a warm bottle of liquid or a heating pad near the core of your body (preferably between your legs and femoral arteries).  This is pretty awesome.
  10. ABOVE ALL, you’ll never have any of this stuff available to you if you don’t adequately prepare for your camping trip. Make sure that you realize that weather could go from great to downright bad (and cold!).

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