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Cold Weather Camping - 3 Tips for Pushing Your Season and your Gear

Cold Weather Camping - 3 Tips for Pushing Your Season and your Gear

As we get further into fall the temperatures are continuing to drop. While some may be hanging up their gear, many see fall as the most beautiful season to be out and about. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of it while keeping comfortably warm all night long.

A warm sleeping pad is a winner.

First off, you’ll need a good pad if you hope to keep warm into the fall and winter. Most pads on the market, especially ultralight pads, are minimally insulated. When your sleeping bag goes on top, the insulation will compress under you, and almost all insulating properties are lost. You’ll loose heat quickly from below, as the heat conducts into the ground. That being said, you’ll want to invest in a good sleeping pad with an R-value of at least 5, such as our Light Mattress or Flex Mattress.

Layer a little.

There is some difference in opinion within the industry, but almost all experts recommend a layer of long underwear, a hat, and dry socks to increase warmth at night. This is a good starting place, just make sure you wear wool or synthetic, as they will keep insulating even if you sweat. A down jacket is perfect for warmth at night, and can add several degrees of comfort and warmth in colder temperatures. Adaptability is key - if you start to feel hot or cold, make a change. Our Zenbivy was designed for this, with options to open up the side baffles or the foot box to cool down, or cinch everything up when it’s chilly.

Before bed prep.

There are a few things you can do before bed to make your night's sleep a bit better. First off, put hot water in a Nalgene bottle and throw it in your bag to keep you warm. If you wake up really cold, re-heat the water - it'll be better than freezing the whole night. You can shift the bottle to warm different areas of your body that get cold throughout the night. Second, make sure you're eating lots of fatty, hearty foods on your cold-weather outing. Your body burns these slowly throughout the night to keep you extra warm, so the last thing you want is your body to run out of fuel at 3am Lastly, pee before you go to bed so you don't have to get up in the night, you'll be glad you did!

Cold weather camping is a ton of fun, but it's also a little trickier to pull off. We recommend getting out and trying some of these tips, but ultimately it’s best to figure out what works for you. Get a good pad, layer up, and pack an extra water bottle and eat caloric-heavy foods. It'll just take a few trips until you've locked down what you need for the perfect nights sleep in the backcountry.

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