Sleeping in the cold isn’t just for when your drunk and can’t find your car. If you do it right it can be downright fun, and that brisk morning air will put lead in your pencil and remind you why you have a job, and a home, and a warm bed.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to get this done right.
- Wear a Hat
Nearly 50% of your body heat is lost through your head, so wear a hat. Ideally this is a looser fitting knit hat and not the hat your mom wore to the last Kentucky Derby party. remember it should trap some air, it’s an insulator.
- Keep off the Ground
The ground is cold, you’re warm, and if you remember even a little bit of high school science you know those two will try to balance each other out, but the ground will win because it’s bigger. Get yourself off the ground with an insulated sleeping pad.
- Wear Your PJ’s
Don’t sleep in the clothes you’ve had on all day. They are cold and likely a little damp. Oh, and that’s shits nasty.
- Shake Things Up
Get your sleeping bag out of its stuff sack as soon as you set up camp, it will let the fiber re-loft, which is important.
- Socks On
Throw on a pair of warm socks. Remember, not cotton, go for woolen socks.
- Pee Before Bedtime
Getting up in the middle of the night to pee sucks, like, a lot. So go pee before you climb into your bag. Also, when your bladder is full and you hold it your body expends energy to do that, making you colder.
- Use Hand Warmers
Throw some hand warmers in your bag with you. If you don’t have any you could put hot water into a tightly sealed bottle, but be ready to throw that out of your bag when it stops giving off heat or it will start sucking the heat out of your body. Spring for the handwarmers, it’s a far better choice.
- Hydrate or Die!
Stay hydrated. Your body will actually be warmer when you are hydrated. This should be done through the day, and throughout your life, not an hour before bed. See #6 above about having to pee in the middle of the night.
- Eat Well, Sleep Well
Have a snacky-snack before beddy-bed. Make it something slow burning like an energy bar. Your body will need this energy to help keep you warm. And a growling stomach at night pisses off the bears.
- Fire The Burners
Whether it’s sitting next to a campfire before bed or doing some light exercise, get your body temp up a little. Don’t go all Jillian Michaels on us, you don’t want to sweat or you’ll be cold, just a few jumping jacks, running in place, or a maybe a pushup or three.
- Snuggle Buddy
If the opportunity presents itself, snuggle up. Mass = warmth, or something stupid like that. Sharing body heat with another is a good idea. Oh, and “staying warm so we don’t die” is a damn good excuse if we say so ourselves.