By: Blonde Two

Down here in Devon we’ve recently noticed a drop in temperature but, with 4 nights of my 50 sleeps for 50 years to go I’ll still be getting outside and doing a bit of autumn and winter camping. Lots of campsites (I have recently discovered) close for the winter but, with Dartmoor and its wonderful wild camping areas on the doorstep, there’s no excuse to stay inside. Here are my top ten tips for staying warm when camping in the winter.

Warm winter camping

  1. Remember that the ground is a cold place to be. Camping mats don’t have to be expensive and even a foam one will make big difference to the amount of heat you lose into the ground.
  2. Invest in a good sleeping bag… and then look after it. Check out the season rating before you buy but don’t be afraid to buy second hand to save a bit of money. Giving your sleeping bag a name can help keep it on your side.
  3. Keep dry. Wet kit will make you lose heat more quickly. Make sure your tent or bivvy bag is in good condition but don’t be afraid to repair rather than chuck away.
  4. Fashion a hot water bottle from a metal Sigg bottle and a thick sock. Warning, put the sock into the bottle before you start pouring the water in. (Thanks here to Su for pointing out that the bottle should, in fact, go inside the sock!)
  5. Wear lots of layers. It’s far better to wake up a bit warm and have to remove layers than wake up shivering and lose even more heat scrabbling around to find extra clothes. My recommendation would be merino layers and a down jacket.
  6. Choose a rainy night. Cloud cover keeps some of the land heat in overnight so, although sunny days make camping tempting, a clear night sky will be colder.
  7. Invest in or make a sleeping bag liner. These take up relatively little space and add a good few degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag.
  8. Always have a dry set of clothes for sleeping. This applies in wet weather but also if your outing has made you sweaty. Even a wet bra can chill you down overnight so take it off and warm it up at the bottom of your sleeping bag until the morning.
  9. Have a safety wee. You feel the cold more if you need a wee and getting out of your sleeping bag at 4 in the morning will only cool you down. Have a wee… and then have a safety wee… just in case.
  10. Take a friend… preferably one that gives off plenty of heat (Mr B2 is very good at this!)

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