It’s 7pm and the outside temperature just hit 15 ℉ (-10 °C). We’re desperately trying to stay warm, but as much as our campfire heats my face (I’m almost sitting IN it-, I have the melted soles on my hiking shoes to prove it), my back is painfully 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 water and lenses liquid. We came unprepared and learned the hard way. From then on, we did come prepared.
Tip #1: TENT ($$$)
If you’re planning a camping trip in cold areas and -like me- are not built for a cold anything, or if you just love camping: Invest in a good tent. Really, it’ll pay off. A good quality 4-seasons tent will last you forever ánd will give you the basic warmth you need. We are using the MSR Access 3.
Tip #2: A FLOOR SHEET ($)
A cold floor means cold feet and a cold everything. We found that the coldest air is coming from down rather than from up. Therefore, insulating your tent with this kind of reflective thermal sheet. It’s light-weight, but will make a huge difference. You know, the kind of material that they use for emergency heat-ups.
Tip #3: SLEEPING BAG ($$)
A good sleeping bag is EVERYTHING. Besides your tent, this’ll be your favorite thing in the world in Arctic temperatures.
This 2-person bag is a budget option and we don’t find it warm enough, so we are looking for alternatives. If you’re alone – or love the privacy of your own sleeping bag, you’ll have many more options.
Tip #4: FLEECE BLANKETS ($)
You’re gonna wanna have this, because even the highest quality, warmest sleeping bag is going to have some air come in with your every move (and if you’re unlucky, your partner’s). A fleece blanket will keep your heat in and close all air vents. This is one example, but honestly any fleece blanky will do.
Tip #5: HOT WATER BOTTLES ($)
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 #6: STAY WARM WITH A CAMPFIRE ($)
Make sure to stock up on some logs and fire starters. Especially in places where the sun goes down early and/or comes up late, you do wanna be able to stay warm outside. At the very least to eat breakfast or dinner. Believe me, there is not bigger bummer than running out of firewood ?
Tip #7: EAT! ($)
Go for fatty and full of carbohydrates if you feel cold, because burning the calories will help your body keep warm. Drinking warm fluids (we have a range of tea, and hot cocoa covers warm ánd full of calories) or eating soup will warm you up immediately.
Tip #8: HEATED CLOTHES ($$)
Heated soles saved my life multiple times and if I had to choose, I’d always pick my heated vest over my hubby. These have been me and my friends’ lifesavers. I am still trying to find the perfect rechargeable heating soles and would be super willing to extend into hand warmes / heated socks etc.
Tip #9: 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.
Dress up and get ready before you feel cold. Once you feel cold, it is often hard to warm up again.
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