Monday, April 13, 2009

How to Stay Warm at Night

One of the most miserable things that can happen on a backpacking trip is to get cold while you’re sleeping. When I go to bed cold, I tend to stay cold all night long. Here are several ways that I have found to insure that I stay warm all night long.
  • Put on clean socks. You may not realize it, but your feet sweat even in cold weather. Get those damp socks off and get your feet into a clean pair. When your feet are cold, the rest of you is cold. When your feet are warm, it’s much easier to stay warm.
  • Wear layers. Again, make sure that your sleeping garments are clean and dry. Use a couple of layers on your torso if it’s really cold.
  • Wear a bini. Keep your head warm. The scalp is incredibly vascular and a lot of heat is lost through your head, especially since it is usually the only exposed part of your body while you’re sleeping.
  • Get a good sleeping bag. In my opinion, there’s no substitute for a good goose down bag.
  • Use the “bathroom” right before you go to bed. Getting up in the middle of the night when it’s freezing is no fun and you may not be able to warm up again.
  • And finally, my secret weapon… the hot water bottle. On really cold nights, I boil a quart of water and fill my lexan water bottle. Throw that heat source in the bottom of your sleeping bag a few minutes before you climb in, and I guarantee that your bag will be toasty warm. It will warm up even the coldest of feet and will probably stay warm almost the entire night! Just make sure the lid’s on tight to prevent leaks.
Do you have more ideas for staying warm? Let us know!

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