Cold Weather Camping Experience


Cold weather camping. Bundle up in the sleeping bag or not?
Question owner: Shawn Chris

Connor 6 years 46 Answers 2687 views 0

Answers ( 46 )

  1. I second that. ^

  2. The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is with hat top bottoms and socks on.

  3. Down is best for warmth and light weight but don’t let it get wet

  4. Yup – sleeping bag in the Best Western… lol

  5. Sleeping bag socks light an take your bag too like -10

  6. Also, keep some of those chemical body warmer things on hand. Or a good Nalgeen type bottle full of hot water, inside a ziplock bag. Toss in sleeping bag, toasty warm. Plus your water won’t be frozen in the AM. Oh a hat is key!

  7. A well insulated sleeping pad too.

  8. Ok thanks for the input. I pretty much figured it out now. Thanks again everyone.

  9. But the best, lightest down bag you can afford. I sleep cold so for me I go with a bag rated 20 degrees colder than what I expect to encounter. You can wear dry clothes in it, that helps.

  10. I live in SoCal so I use a tarp, air mattress, and warm bag. I never ran into rain or snow…had similar luck in NorCal summers. I prefer stars over tent.

  11. Wear everything you got.

  12. 900 count down.

  13. If your PJs or long underwear don’t have loft they won’t help keep you warm.

  14. Naked in the sleeping bag. At most, thin synthetic garments. Trust me on this one.

  15. I strip down to synthetic base layer. If I have room I keep clothes inside bag so they are warm when put on.

  16. Not to be a jackass here but all things being equal you will be warmer if you wear dry clothes inside the sleeping bag. It is not true that less clothes equals warmer. That idea defies both common sense and science. More insulation is more insulation.

  17. I love camping in the middle of winter

  18. It is loft not layers though layers can make loft if done correctly

  19. Being toasty in the bag, there’s nothing better. Just make sure you don’t wake up needing a piss at 4am. Winter camping is massively over romanticized.

  20. fastest way to get warm in a bag is naked and put your head in there and let your breath warm it up.

  21. Cover your body in Crisco. Works for me every time. And I mean every nook and cranny. Yeah, that cranny too.

  22. Rufus, that was funny. Props! Clothes in bag for me. And make sure you have a bag dated for that weather type. Camp on!

  23. Merino base layers, silk sleeping bag inner, a half decent sleeping bag and a thermolight and you’re sorted.

  24. On the subject of needing a piss at 4am… take a 1 litre wide necked bottle as a pee bottle, usually big enough for 2 pees during the night. And if you do need another pee, you only have to stick one arm out of the tent to empty it, Needing a poo at 4am is a whole different matter!

  25. Just don’t confuse your water bottle with your pee bottle!

  26. That’s why Nalgine makes yellow ones.

  27. I have a blue nalgene for my pee bottle but always clear drink bottles for that reason

  28. Less is more. You need air between you and the bag. Wearing clothes restricts that. A single base later, wool or synthetic, hat, fresh socks. 10th Mountain Division. Trust me.

  29. I have a candle lantern that I hang in the tent on cold nights . It will raise the temp about 10 degrees in a 7×7 tent

  30. The reality of it all is, everyone handles cold differently. Being from SoCal, I avoid the cold like the plague. My body isn’t made for it.
    On the other hand, I seek out 110° plus weather for dune riding on the Mighty KLR when ever I can.
    I like to use my First gear one piece winter suit to sleep in, in cold weather for various reasons.
    First, I can wear it while riding in cold weather with a heated jacket plugged in.
    Secondly, it rolls up into a very tight roll about half the size of most sleeping bags.
    Thirdly, I Scotch-guard it so it becomes highly water proof yet still pretty breathable.
    Fourthly and most importantly, I move and roll like a tornado in my sleep and it moves with me in cold weather.
    Fifthly, it’s legs zip to the hip and the front zips down to the lower belly so venting of too hot is very simple.

    Motorcycle Camping

  31. Hotel. …… silly question

  32. I second a Clean, dry base layer, clean dry socks and a wool hat.

  33. I sleep on top of a down jacket so it’s warm when I get up and throw it on.

  34. As with many things, there are a number of factors at play. Based upon my own cold weather back country ski camping trips and information from people that spend extended periods camping in the arctic in winter temperature, here’s what I’ve been able to ascertain.
    As the ambient temperature gets colder, the location of the freezing zone goes from outside the sleeping into the insulating layer of the sleeping bag. If the ambient temp is not too cold, say -3C, the freezing point will not penetrate the bag. As it gets colder, the freezing point will migrate into the loft of the bag. For example, the outermost layer of the bag may be at -5C and 1/2 inch into the loft may be at 0C and then warmer as it gets closer to your body.
    The human body constantly gives off moisture and this moisture migrates through the loft of the sleeping bag. If the ambient temperature is cold enough, that moisture will hit freezing temperatures before leaving the confines of the sleeping bag and condense and freeze into the insulation of the bag. This is not a problem for 2 or 3 nights of these conditions, but soon the sleeping bag insulation will become saturated with frozen water vapour and lose its insulating qualities.
    To mitigate this, long-term cold-weather adventurers line their sleeping bags with a moisture-proof liner that keeps all the moisture inside the liner and away from the sleeping bag. This is, of course, clammy and uncomfortable if sleeping naked, so the solution is to wear a thin synthetic layer so it doesn’t feel as moist. A thick layer, in this case, would be counter-productive as it would accumulate a lot of moisture and once you left the confines of the liner, your thick layer full of moisture would freeze. The thin layer also freezes, but it is not as critical because once you put it on again in the evening, it quickly thaws out from your body heat. You can also wear it for a few minutes after you get out of the sleeping bag in the morning and your body heat will evaporate the moisture. Also, when you exit the sleeping bag in the morning, you need to invert your liner, let it freeze and the brush the frozen moisture off the liner.
    So, in summary, if it is not extremely cold or it is cold and you’re not spending more then 3 or 4 days out there, the normal thermodynamic principles work and are not too affected by the frozen, condensed moisture. So go ahead and wear your warm clothes, down jacket, etc. inside your sleeping bag. As long as you haven’t overheated during the day and laden your clothing with sweat.
    If it is very cold and you’re out for more than a few days, it is better to not count on the insulation of your clothing and instead get a warmer sleeping bag and line it with a waterproof liner and wear a thin sleeping layer.
    This is the same reason that wood-frame houses have a vapour barrier inside the insulating layer. If this vapour barrier were not there, the insulation would get saturated with condensed and partially frozen moisture.
    Whew…. hope that helps someone. YMMV. 😉

  35. Yup…+1 on whatever Trent said

  36. The less clothing layers the better. If you start sweating, you’re gonna have a not so fun night.

  37. Hot coffee!

  38. silk liner in the sleeping bag

  39. Put a liner in your sleeping bag and then in a goretex bivy , and get off the ground as most heat loss will be through contact with the floor

  40. Just try it both ways and choose what you prefer. I personally use a Modular Sleep System (military issue; 2 bags + bivy) and sleep in just underwear. Super cozy and warm down to 0F or lower. I’ve tried wearing various layers of clothing and it’s colder and uncomfortable for me… Sounds like everyone has varying opinions on it.

  41. Get a four seasons bag. And small tent

  42. Bring a fat chick or a hairy dog.

  43. Smaller tent = warmer tent, use your tent fly, a tarp underneath to block out some ground temps. I sleep on an air matress, and I use a mummy bag, sometimes with a liner and if I have to, I like my riding gear over the top of me like a blanket.

  44. Sleep naked or in your skivvies keep your clothes for morning in the sleeping bag with you . Dress in side the bag in the morning. But the fat chick idea works too. LOL

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