Meet Dale. Dale knows that being active in nature is the key to year-round well-being. These are some of Dale’s tricks to make sleeping outside in winter a warmer, more comfortable experience.
1. Don’t Be Naked
Dale says you might be tempted to wear a minimal amount of clothing in your sleeping bag. This would be a mistake. Definitely wear a hat to prevent heat from escaping, plus socks and a thermal layer. If you’re still cold, add a layer. If you’re still cold, add another. If you need to, wear all of your clothes.
2. Use a Sleeping Pad
The winter ground sucks the heat from your body, so be sure to have a thick insulating layer between your frame and the snow.
3. Get Sheltered
A tent always works, and the warmest shelters are made out of snow, like igloos and quinzee builds, but if heavy snowfall or high winds are not expected, you can easily sleep outside and use a tarp for cover.
4. Treat Your Feet
Even if your feet feel dry, switching to a pair of fresh, dry socks before going to sleep can instantly make you feel warmer. Consider bringing a pair of socks just for sleeping. If your feet are still wet or cold, put them in your sleeping bag’s stuff sack to reflect your body’s heat before getting in your sleeping bag.
5. The Pee Bottle
You don’t want to take a 2am bathroom break in the snow. Put an empty bottle in your bag to urinate into. Gatorade bottles work well.
6. Fill Your Bag
The inside of your bag is going to be the only warm place overnight. Stash some water inside to keep it from freezing. Keep your breakfast inside, too. Damp gear from the day, like boot liners, socks, and base layers can be stuffed in the empty spaces in your bag. Your body heat will dry them by the morning.
7. The Hot Bottle Trick
If you really want to sleep like a king, melt some snow, bring it to a boil, and fill a hot water bottle to put in your bag as a heater.
8. Seal Up
Seal up your mummy bag’s hood so there’s just a small breathing hole, keeping out both cold air and the moisture from your breath.
9. Position Yourself
Instead of sprawling out, consider curling up — pull your legs close, hug your arms in and center your body’s warmth.
Combine them all, and Dale says, you’re gonna be just fine.
—‘9 Tips For Warm Winter Camping’ was shot and edited by Erik Nelson.