Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Colder weather is upon us.  Knowing how to keep warm and dry may save your life if you are going to do any camping or hiking this winter.  Here are several tips and tricks I use when dealing with the cold.  They aren't in any kind of order.

  • Fill your water bottle with hot or warm water and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag before you go to sleep.  The water will hold heat for a while and keep you warm for a few hours.

  • Know how to make a fire and use that knowledge in a survival situation!  Don't fall asleep next to a fire though.  You don't want to wake up on fire or worse not wake up at all.

  • Cotton is your enemy!  No matter how cold it is outside you will still sweat.  Cotton clothing will absorb that sweat and you will soon be cold and wet.  Stick to synthetics and wool.  At least when wool gets wet it will stay warm.

  • Eat high energy foods and drink plenty of water.  This may seem like common sense but it's important to keep your body working the way it should.

  • Getting out of your sleeping bag in the morning is hard when it's super cold outside.  Put your clothes for the next day in the bag with you so they're toasty warm.

  • Have a good warm beanie style hat to wear.  I usually sleep in my thick watch cap when it's really cold outside.  You can save a lot of body heat just by putting something on your head.

  • Use a sleeping mat.  It makes a nice buffer between you and the cold cold ground.

  • Dress in layers.  This is the most common advice for cold weather camping.  You can always peel off a layer if you get too hot.  But if you don't have anything extra to put on when you're cold.. you'll stay cold.

  • Don't wear the same clothes that you wore during the day to bed.  Even if they feel dry they are not!  Wear fresh clothes to bed or wear nothing!

  • Make sure your shelter is capable of keeping out most of the wind and cold.  If at all possible put your shelter downwind of a safe object that will help to block wind. (i.e. a boulder)

  • Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the temperature you are sleeping in!  If you have a 40 degree rated bag DO NOT try to sleep in 0 degree weather.

Camping and hiking in the winter can be very fun and rewarding as long as you use your brain and stay safe.  I hope this helps some people get some ideas on how to stay warm.  Please post any other ideas in the comments!

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