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how to stay warm when camping in the winter

How To Stay Warm When Camping In The Winter

Keeping Heat In And Cold Out

Camping during winter is understandably a challenge due to the cold. Temperatures are often below freezing and the thought of winter camping might already have you shivering. But camping in winter is often necessary for overnight ski tours, catching the northern lights or snowshoe adventures.

Therefore, it’s important to know how to keep warm when camping in the winter. Being able to keep warm will significantly make your winter camping experience better. Therefore, we’ve come up with this article to discuss how you can keep warm when camping in the winter.

Always Layer Your Clothes

The first rule to dressing during winter is to dress in layers. It’s the same when it comes to winter camping,

Always dress in several layers, such as a base layer, middle layer and outer layer, as you will have more control over your body temperature.

This is because you can add and strip layers according to how cold or warm you feel.

It might seem weird but sometimes, you would want to strip layers if it gets too warm.

This is because you would want to avoid sweating. Sweating cools your body as it dries and hence, this can leave you feeling even colder.

Therefore, the best way to ensure that your body temperature is kept at an optimum is by having multiple layers that you can add and remove as needed.

Pack an Extra Base Layer So That You Can Change Out of Those Sweaty Clothes

As mentioned previously, you’d want to avoid sweaty clothes.

Sweaty clothes will only leave you feeling colder as the sweat dries.

Therefore, when you reach your camp, it’s important for you to change out of your sweaty base layer into a new set.

Having an extra, dry base layer set will have you feeling warm and cosy as you settle in for the night.

Remember, this includes all of your base layers so do change your socks too!

Double Up on Sleeping Pads

If this is your first winter camping experience, you might not know much about how helpful a sleeping pad is.

Essentially, a sleeping pad protects you from the snowy, cold ground.

The sleeping pad serves as insulation from the ground.

Thankfully, the insulation of a camping pad is cumulative so loading up with two pads adds double the insulation and warmth.

The best sleeping pads to double up with would be an air sleeping pad that comes with reflective fabric and is meant for winter use.

This setup will keep you warm throughout the night and it’s light and packable too! 

Layer Up Your Sleeping Bag With a Quilt

Another great way to add warmth to your sleeping environment is by layering your sleeping bag with a featherweight quilt.

The featherweight quilt will add some extra warmth to your night and thankfully, it isn’t all that heavy.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry that the quilt will add too much weight to your pack. It’s lightweight and easily packable and should fit perfectly into your pack. 

Snuggle Up With A Hot Water Bottle

One tip often mentioned is that you could fill a bottle with hot water and place it around your toe area for extra warmth.

However, a better idea is to place the bottle of hot water on your core region instead.

Your core region has blood that flows all over the body and hence, placing your bottle around your core would heat blood that goes all around your body.

This would allow your entire body and its extremities to warm up quickly.

This is much more efficient compared to placing it near your toes.

However, do remember to cap your bottle properly and tightly.

You would not want hot water spilling all over you.

It would burn you and leave you wet.

Wear a Balaclava To Sleep

Your head is most exposed to the elements and unsurprisingly, it is where you lost a great amount of body heat.

Therefore, a good way to retain body heat is by having your head covered.

Jacket hoods and beanies are an easy way to do so but they might slip off whilst you’re sleeping.

Therefore, a good solution is to use a balaclava instead.

A balaclava would help retain all your body heat whilst leaving holes for breathing.

On top of your balaclava, you could have a jacket hood or beanie as well – this would only bring extra warmth which you’d be wanting. 

Ensure Your Tent Has Airflow

Surprisingly, you wouldn’t want your tent totally zipped up.

You would think that’s what you’d want as you’d want to trap all the warmth in.

However, ventilation and airflow are actually really important!

This is because any water droplets present in your tent would condense and freeze on the inside of your tent.

Therefore, your tent will gradually become an icebox over the course of the night if there is no airflow.

As such, always remember to ensure that your tent has airflow.

Eat and Drink Often

Burning calories helps to keep you warm and so, it is important to eat often.

This will help your body keep you warm.

It’s also important to be eating high-protein and high-fat foods as they burn slower than your high-carb foods.

In other words, they’d be able to keep you warmer and full for longer. 


Drinking water and keeping yourself hydrated is also important.

If you are dehydrated, you will have a much harder time keeping warm.

Drinking water will also help to keep you energised!

Of course, drinking too much water might mean that you need to pee much more often and this can be very off-putting for some.

This is especially if you have to pee during the night.

However, it is important to still keep yourself hydrated.

Make Use of Heat Technology

Technology has come a long way and there are a great many different advancements in terms of heat technology.

These can be in the form of heated gloves, hand warmers, and heated boots.

These can all help to keep your extremities warm and cosy.


It’s important to keep warm when camping during winter.

Keeping warm will ensure that the camping experience is enjoyable and you will have enough energy for any activities you engage in.

With this article, we hope you will have good ideas on how you can keep warm when you camp.

Happy camping! 


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