It’s 7pm and the outside temperature just hit 15 ℉. We’re desperately trying to stay warm, but as much as our campfire heats my face (I’m almost sitting IN it), my back is freezing off.
So… yeah. This might be the reason we’re the only ones in this Canyonlands campground.
That night in the middle of December I didn’t sleep at all and woke up to frozen lenses liquid. We came unprepared and learned the hard way. From then on, we did come prepared.
Tip #1: TENT ($$$)
If you’re planning a camping trip in cold areas and -like me- are not built for a cold anything, or if you just love camping: Invest in a good tent. Really, it’ll pay off. A good quality 4-seasons tent will last you forever ánd will give you the warmth you need.
We are using the MSR Access 3.
Tip #2: SLEEPING BAG ($$)
A good sleeping bag is EVERYTHING. Besides your tent, this’ll be your favorite thing in the world in Arctic temperatures.
We’re now using this 2-person bag. If you’re alone – or love the privacy of your own sleeping bag, you’ll have many more options.
Tip #2.1: FLEECE BLANKETS ($)
You’re gonna wanna have this, because even the highest quality, warmest sleeping bag is going to have some air come in with your every move (and if you’re unlucky, your partner’s). A fleece blanket will keep your heat in and close all air vents.
Tip #3: STAY WARM WITH A CAMPFIRE ($)
Make sure to stock up on some logs and fire starters. Especially in places where the sun goes down early and you do wanna be able to stay outside for a bit longer – at the very least to finish your dinner!
Tip #4: HOT WATER BOTTLES ($)
Because: They are easy, cheap and awesome. You can go for a very comfy hot water bottle like this or a safe hard one like those of Nalgene.
That night we improvised with aluminium bottles, we had to, but it can break and I do not recommend that!
Tip #5: EAT! ($)
Go for fatty and full of carbohydrates if you feel cold, because burning the calories will help your body keep warm. Drinking warm fluids (hot cocoa covers warm ánd full of calories) or eating soup will warm you up immediately.
Tip #6: LAYER UP ($)
Yes, I’m talking 2 pairs of socks. Yes, I’m talking thermal underwear ánd regular clothes ánd a winter jacket. And YES, I’m talking hats – and if necessary gloves.
Tip #7: A FLOOR SHEET ($)
A cold floor means cold feet and a cold everything. We found that the coldest air is coming from down rather than from up. Therefore, insulating your tent with this kind of thermal reflective thermal sheet, will make a big difference. You know, the kind of material that they use for emergency heat-ups.