“Peak camping season might be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack your tent away for the year.”
Just like Lauren of The Helpful Hiker blog, we don’t believe that camping is limited to just the warmer months of the year, and that heading into the great outdoors and pitching your tent is an all year round activity. If camping in colder climates isn’t something you’ve thought about before, we’ve asked Lauren to give us her top tips for winter camping and how best to keep warm in a tent.
The peak camping season might be over, however that doesn’t mean that you have to pack your tent away for the year. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t, as there are lots of advantages to camping in the autumn and winter. Firstly, campsites are quiet, meaning that you can enjoy some peace and relaxation without having to queue for the facilities. Also, the days are shorter, meaning you don’t have to stay up late to enjoy the sunset (and they can be spectacular at this time of year), plus you can have a lie in. That’s not to say that there aren’t drawbacks, but I have a few tips and tricks to make sure you stay warm and cosy long after summer has come to an end.
When spending any time outdoors, especially in the fickle UK climate, wearing layers is the most effective way to keep warm. If you plan on spending lots of time outdoors in the cold, a decent thermal baselayer is one of the best investments you can make. If it’s not too cold, a technical long sleeved tshirt makes a great baselayer, with either tights or leggings. Then on top of that a lightweight fleece will help to keep you nice and toasty. I’m a fan of a gilet, and then a big, baggy hoodie to finish off. It might not be the most fashionable look ever, but it sure is warm!
2.Keep your Extremities Covered
When layering up, don’t forget your extremities. Remember warm socks (I find 2 pairs of thinner socks is warmer than one thick pair), gloves and a hat. You’d be surprised by how much warmer you feel if your head is covered.
3.The Right Sleeping Bag
If you plan on camping in the cooler months, it is imperative that you choose the right sleeping bag. Like duvets, sleeping bags have different ratings, and it will make a massive difference to your camping experience if you pick the most suitable one. Sleeping bags are rated one season to five season. For summer use season one or two will suffice, but if you want to be nice and warm on a cold night, you need to look for at least a season three. If you’re planning on camping on frosty nights, a season four might be a good investment. It is also possible to pick up sleeping bag liners relatively cheaply, which add an extra layer of insulation.
Speaking of insulation, remember that a lot of cold air comes up from the ground. When camping, a tent carpet is an easy way to keep out some of the cold. It is also vital to make sure that there is a good insulating layer underneath you when you’re asleep. Airbeds especially can be cold, so a duvet beneath you will make a big difference.
Without a doubt, the best thing about camping is the opportunity to sit around a roaring campfire. Not only does it provide the means to cook, but it’s also a great source of heat. There’s nothing better than getting all wrapped up and enjoying a hot drink around a warm fire. It’s a really enjoyable way to keep warm, plus with the shorter days you can get the fire started earlier. Just remember to keep the flames well away from your tent, and never ever take a fire (including barbecues and stoves) inside your tent, even the porch. Not only is it a massive fire hazard, but the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is all too real.
If I could give you just one tip, it would be not to wait until you feel cold to do something about it. By then it’s way too late! Get wrapped up nice and early and you’ll stay warmer for longer. Once you’re cold, it’s an uphill battle to get warm again.
7.The Old Ways
In these days of high tech gadgets, it’s all too easy to forget about the good old fashioned tricks. There’s nothing wrong with a pair of long johns and a hot water bottle, in fact I positively recommend it!