6 Tips: How to Stay Warm On Cool Nights
Whether you’re camping or backpacking, nothing can ruin a good day like a restless night's sleep. Even in the summer time it can be cool during the night, depending on your destination. So how does one sleep soundly in the wild? A good start is to have the right gear, but there is so much more you can do if you are not fully prepared. Check out our tips below on how to stay warm on cool nights:
1) sleeping bag
Be sure to pack a sleeping bag with a temperature rating appropriate for your location. If you happen to pack the wrong sleeping bag for the season, layer a jacket, blanket or spare clothes on top of your sleeping bag. Click here to read more about how to choose the right sleeping bag for you.
2) Sleeping Pad
It is important to have a sleeping pad not only for comfort, but to act as an insulation layer between you and the ground, otherwise you will be absorbing the ground's temperature. There are three types of sleeping pads—self-inflating, air and closed-cell foam. Especially when backpacking, weight is crucial, so you will want a super-lightweight air pad (recommendation at the bottom of this page). However, if you are car camping you can splurge on a thicker pad or mattress for more comfort.
You can also add natural insulators (such as pine needles or leaves) between your sleeping pad and the ground to add additional insulation.
3) RAIN FLY
The rain fly that comes with your tent isn't just used to keep the rain out. It also blocks chilly winds and acts as an insulator from the temperature outside. A tent is often made of a combination of nylon and mesh, so without the rain fly the chill will come whipping straight through. Don't forget the rain fly at home!
There is a common misconception among men, and women especially, that simply wearing leggings or base layers will keep you warm. Myth BUSTED. Base layers only trap heat close to your body when wearing a "insulating" layer to create space for the heat to gather between your thermals and the second layer. However, too many layers can also be counterproductive if they are not breathable. Check out this infographic to learn more on how to layer like a pro:
Get cozy for a long night by placing a hot water bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag by your feet. You can also use HotHands warmers for your hands or feet - they are air activated and should last until you fall asleep, if not through the night.
Eat a hearty, high calorie meal right before bed. You will go to bed with a full tank of heat-generating fuel in your system, which your body will work hard at digesting as you sleep. And be sure to stay hydrated!