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Cold Weather Camping

Cold is relative term so what applies here in NC may not be the best for say Minnesota.  Its not difficult at all to camp in cold weather (<30 degrees).  The keys are to have the right gear, clothing and food.

  • good sleeping bag.  Minimum rating on the bag should be 20 degrees or better.  A mummy style sleeping bag helps to retain body heat when it is used properly (i.e. close up the top of the bag around your face).
  • sleeping bag insert.  A wool or fleece blanket added to the inside of your sleeping bag can be big boost to its ability to keep you warm.
  • sleeping pad.  These are not about comfort but getting you off the ground.  The foam type pads that are as little as an inch will provide an insulating layer between you and the cold ground.  Air mattresses can keep you off the ground but they are filled air that can also become cold so go with the foam pad.
    Dry warm clothes are a must but you can over do it.  Sweat is the enemy.  Use layers but remove them as needed.
  • knit/stocking hat.  Wear this to bed as well as during the day.
  • thermal underwear (tops and bottoms)  Use a dry pair at night. Don't just wear what you have had on all day already even if they feel dry.
  • thermal socks.  At least 2 pairs will be needed. The idea is to wear a dry pair to bed not a pair that has been worn all day long and has perspiration in them.
  • gloves
  • layers of clothing.  t-shirts, sweatshirts, wind breaker
  • hot liquids  Don't overlook the obvious.  Hot chocolate in the morning is a great way to warm up and get going.  Its good around the campfire at night and during the day.  Soup is a fantastic supplement to lunch and dinner.
  • bed time snack   A candy bar just before bed will give your body a boost and help keep you warm plus wha ho a candy bar before bed!
Staying Warm
  • a tent mate in a 2 man tent 
  • when you take off your coat at night zip it back up and put the bottom of your sleeping bag in it so that your sleeping bag is wearing a coat.  This will help keep your feet a little warmer.
  • wear dry clothing to bed.  Change out of the clothing worn that day into dry clothing.  Dry socks, t-shirt, thermal underwear for bed.  But don't over do it.  Too much clothing can cause you to perspire and you will be cold.
  • wear layers of clothing during the day.  Including a hat and gloves.