Hypothermia is a real threat whenever you’re outdoors. Even if you stay in the desert where it’s supposed to be scorching hot, the nights can easily turn the desert into very chilly, almost, frigid environment. This is during the warmer months. In winter, the outdoors can be especially unforgiving. That is why it is important to learn how to stay warm while camping in the winter and save yourself from the many complications of hypothermia. Here are some pieces of advice for you to ponder.
Play it safe; if you don’t know your body enough
You really have to evaluate how efficient your body is when it comes to managing heat. There are some folks who cannot really withstand certain levels of temperatures while others have fairly thicker forms of anatomical insulation. Unfortunately, only you know the level of temperature that you can withstand without turning into an icicle.
Understand the thermal insulation capabilities of your camping gear
From your clothing to the sleeping bag to the camping tent, these camping gears often have temperature ratings provided by manufacturers. For example, you may obtain a sleeping bag with a thermal rating of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit which simply means you will still feel warm even though the outside temperatures have dropped significantly to minus-40.
In cases where the camping gear doesn’t have thermal ratings, you may want to look at the materials used in its construction. For instance, wool is regarded as the best when it comes to trapping warm and dry air close to your body, although down provides the best insulation as long as it doesn’t get wet.
Wear only appropriate clothing
Forget your favorite cotton t-shirt whenever you’re camping in the winter. Cotton is largely regarded as a sponge, absorbing sweat and preventing the efficient dissipation of moisture into the air. What happens is that moisture literally sticks on your skin, making you feel colder. The best solution is to create a layer of several types of fabric to keep you warm.
You can start the layers with fleece or even wool to help wick the moisture off your skin and keep it relatively dry. You can add a layer of medium weight fleece before topping it off with an insulating synthetic material. Your best option is to get Gore-Tex. Unfortunately, this is quite expensive. Treated fabrics – those that are designed to be water repellent – can provide a more practical alternative.
Don’t forget an appropriate wear for your head, neck, hands, and feet. Wool and/or fleece should work perfectly.
Keep everything dry, especially your sleeping gear
If you happen to be a fan of down materials as your primary form of insulation, it is important to keep these dry as much as possible. Down is an excellent insulator. As long as it doesn’t get wet, you should be fine. As such, if you have a sleeping bag that is filled with down, don’t ever breathe into the sleeping gear as doing so will introduce moisture which can saturate the down filling. It is also important to remove the air from your down sleeping bag upon waking up. This is to help expel any moisture that may have been trapped inside while you were sleeping.
Warm up before hitting the bed
Understand that the insulating sleeping bag and clothing only helps keep warmth close and within your body. This simply means that body heat is essentially a function of the human body. That being said, you may want to warm up first before hitting the bed and putting out the campfire. The reason is that you don’t want to sleep already feeling cold as there clearly is less body warmth for your insulating gear to trap. You can, thus, perform jumping jacks, press-ups, or even sit-ups or any other physical activity that will contract your muscles and generate body heat. Do these just before calling it a night and you should stay warmer in your sleep.
Enjoy a fat-rich dinner
If you’re a fitness buff, you may want to steer clear of fats. But if you’re camping in the dead of winter, fat is actually your friend. This macronutrient packsa lot of energy per gram that it can help your body keep on generating heat even if it’s freezing outside. As such, make sure to eat a late dinner that’s rich in healthier versions of fats.
Surviving in cold weather is all about maintaining an optimum body temperature to support normal physiologic processes. By adhering to these simple tips, you can stay warm while camping in the winter.