Even though you have been camping in the cold weather before, still, camping with no preparation is something to avoid. Here is the experience of camping at Mount Laguna. If we have done car camping that we even cannot count with a lot of collection of our essentials, for this one, we did not have any good preparation. We just brought some extra layers since the weather may drop down into 20 degrees. We were no worried at all.
In the end of the night, we still did not want to leave the campfire. We still awake and freezing, rustling outside to start the fire again. The rest of the night, we stayed up all the night until the sun came out. This was a bad experience to us. When we left the campsite, we baffled and wondered why we were so cold. We thought we have prepared everything. We brought clothes, air mattress, best sleeping bag. After talking to friends who have been spending nights and camping in the negative-degree weather, we understood that we were doing a lot of mistakes.
So, we do not want that experience happens to you. In case that you have a plan on camping in the colder weather, we hope these tips can be the valuable information for you.
1. The matter is more than just sleeping off the ground
When you go for camping, you may concern on how to avoid sleeping on the ground. It is so cold. When you are backpacking, sleeping pads are enough. When you are car camping, you will need super cushy air mattress. But, you are picking the wrong choice if it is all about the winter camping.
The rate of sleeping pads depends on the R-value from 1.0 to 8.0. R-value is the insulation measurement. A sleeping pad with the R value of four or more is what you need. It is better to use 2 full-length pads so you can keep yourself warm.
2. Turn your water bottles
Liquids were frozen. Fortunately, we were leaving so that there were no problems. Water with the unique properties always freeze from the top down. Therefore, we recommend you keeping the opening of the container facing down. We hope it can prevent the water from freezing completely.
3. Right combo of socks
This is also important to know. You may think that wearing more layers of socks will help you feel warmer. That is not necessary. If your socks are too tight in your boots, it will stop the circulation to your feet so you will experience cold feet.
The right thing to do is to wear the thin layer next to your skin and then add another layer over it. The thickness of the second sock based on how it fits in the boot. In addition, you can go with merino wool or the synthetic fabric. Avoid choosing cotton. Another useful lesson is to have extra pairs just in case they are wet.
4. Understand how to use your sleeping bag properly
It is crucial to make sure that you have the right sleeping bag for your camping. We recommend you to have a bag that is rated for 10 degrees F at least, lower than the coldest temperature. You can even always vent the bag if you need it. Once you have the right choice, it is important to know how the sleeping bag works for you. A good sleeping bag should trap in the heat that you are giving off. It is a big mistake when you are so cold and then bundle yourself in multiple layers of pants and jackets before getting into the bag. Therefore, it is better to sleep in just a base layer to make sure that the heat will warm the bag up. Otherwise, you keep all your heat within your clothes and no heat goes to the sleeping bag.
If you want to add extra warmth, it is better to sleep with your next days clothes at your feet and then fill up the extra space in the bag to keep it warmer. In addition, your clothes the next day will not be freezing cold. You can even put a bottle of hot water at your feet. Alternatively, you can use hand warmers that are always handy if you are in the cold weather. If you are running on the cold side, the sleeping bag liner will add to 15 degrees of extra warmth, as well. The last point is to bury your head in your sleeping bag and avoid breathing in your bad. Doing this way will make it colder because of the moisture from your breath that cannot support all heat your body is trying to save.
5. Layer your clothes
Just like socks, it is about the scientific reason on how to layer your clothes. It is more than just putting on everything on your own. You want to get the right layers and then change based on your activity.
A base layer means the layer next to your skin. Go with synthetic or merino wool fabrics. In addition, you should avoid cotton as much as you need. The layer should wick any sweat to the outer layers to evaporate.
The next layer is the insulating layer to keep in your heat. Fleece and goose down jacket can be the choice. For the outer part of the layer should be waterproof, breathable, and windproof layer. You should go with core vents and underarm so you can allow any excess heat or moisture. If you have no worry about the rain, this pullover can be a perfect choice to stay warm.
So, we are sure that every trip offers its own lesson and experience to learn. Therefore, we hope you can get something from our experience. We promise to keep sharing all tricks we have learned from our trip. Hopefully, you can use them as the hint to keep you comfortable with your trip and avoid the same mistake we just made.
Do you have another winter hack? Let us know so it we can share with more people to help more.