5 Tips for Staying Warm in the Backcountry in Winter

I'm the kind of person who always feels cold at night when backpacking. The sun is down, I need to dress warmer immediately! After years of backpacking and camping, I learned some techniques for staying warm in remote areas overnight. No need to freeze all night! These suggestions are for those country girls (or men) who need extra warmth at night during backpacking in spring, summer and autumn. Although these suggestions are also useful for winter camping, winter camping does require additional preparation and equipment, so be sure to keep this in mind when you plan! Let's delve into this list.

5 Tips for Staying Warm in the Backcountry in Winter

1) Use a sleeping bag cover (or wear a hat)

When you want to keep warm at night, the hood on the sleeping bag will be very different! Most backpack sleeping bags have hats and collars, but many people don't use them. The hood and collar of the sleeping bag can simultaneously seal all the warmth downward. In this way, when you walk around at night, all the warm air will stay in your sleeping bag. Believe me, this is important. If you have not used these features of your sleeping bag, use them! Now if your sleeping bag does not have a hat, you can try to bring a hat, it will definitely help! Sometimes I even wear a hat in my sleeping bag on a cold night.

2) Use a hot water bag

I think this is the best advice on this list, but it is also the most dangerous, because you definitely don’t want to drink water in your sleeping bag. To do this, you need an extra water bottle that can withstand boiling water and an extra sock. You can't use any old plastic water bottles here! That would be a disaster because it will melt. To make the "heater", make a pot of water just below the boiling point. No need to keep boiling. You need enough water to fill your hot water bottle. Carefully pour boiling water into a hot water bottle and close the bottle cap. You must be sure that no water will leak from the bottle before you can move on. Next, pick up your socks and stuff the water bottle into the socks.

3) Have a substantial meal before sleeping

Your body is like a stove. When you eat, your body can convert the food into energy needed to keep warm at night. I noticed that when I had a good dinner and added a little extra fat to the food, I would be warmer at night and eventually sleep better in remote areas.

5 Tips for Staying Warm in the Backcountry in Winter

4) Urinate before going to bed

Even if you think you are not necessary, I suggest you try it! Most of the time, when I am camping, I enter the tent and read or hang out for a while before I actually go to bed. This is annoying, but I force myself to get out of the tent and pee before I really want to sleep. That's why-getting up in the middle of the night, letting out all the warmth in the sleeping bag, and standing outside in the cold is a terrible thing. During the cold backpacking trip, I try to avoid doing this!

5) Bring dry socks and clothes to sleep

Sleeping in dry clothes is the key! When I go backpacking, I always bring an extra pair of socks to sleep, so that I don’t have to wear stinky socks to sleep all day long. Besides, I always wear a shirt and pants to sleep. I like to wear warm underwear when I go to bed at night. If you are skiing or snowboarding, the basic layer you wear will be perfect here. If it rains during the day or I sweat a lot while hiking, I know I can take off all the wet clothes and put on clean dry clothes at night.


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