/ Keeping warm camping
Liner, and merino wool thermal set, good socks and a hat should make a big increase in overall heat retained. Also make sure to loft up the sleeping bag
fleecy liners are cheap, and a small amount of clothing can make a big difference. Wear socks. Down/synthetic booties are awesome too, but not so cheap.
Sleeping mag and mat are maybe the most significant kit issues
The blow-up mattress will be comfy but won't insulate much. A foam roll mat will be less comfy but warmer and not bank breaking. For a little more, the cheaper Alpkit mats are great value.
Sleeping bags - best you can afford.
Other stuff - have a good feed that'll keep you fueled all night before you turn in and immediately before you get into your sleeping bag, go do starjumps or run around your tent to get the blood pumping so that you're putting warmth into your sleeping bag.
I would save up for a good 4-5 season down bag. Having spent years using an old 3 season one, it was a revelation.
Not cheap, but *definitely* worth it. Try Alpkit for the cheaper (but still good!) end of these.
If you're really limited on price, using two or three sleeping bags inside one another may help.
* put a cheap karrimat/foam type mat on top of your blow up matress
* make sure you have eaten something
* go to bed warm (sit ups help)
* add a fleece jumper
* take a hotw*ter bottle (your sigg) to bed
* put 2 people in the tent
* you can get some really cheap sleeping bags for under 20 quid, bulky but will do on a budget check all retailers as well as specialists (eg supermarkets/argos/blacks/etc)
eg http://outlet.snowandrock.com/vango-nightstar-250/sleeping-bags/ski-snowboard-outdoor-sports/fcp-pro... and http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/9276213/c_1/1%7Ccategory_root%7CHome+and+furniture%...
It maybe as well thinking about a quality s-bag that will last you - all depends on funds and usage - alpkit do good vlaue bags (and sales are often on all over )
Buy a cheap roll mat and put it on top of your mattress, air beds are very poor insulators!
Or put the mattress on a karrimat. I can't believe I used to sleep on a karrimat. How on earth did my back survive?
Yep- agree with the blow up mattress bit. I once camped with a guy who had one, think it was about april and in the Mamores. I had a 3mm karrimat - and it was warm to the touch on top. His was some cheap lilo-esque thing - and it was freezing cold to the touch. Quite shocking! A foam mat is dirt cheap, the inflatable Thermarest mats are an amazing step up again, but more expensive.
Also, I'd say don't sleep in your clothes - counter intuitive, but I don't and I'm always cosy. Do, however, get a sleeping bag liner - another dirt cheap and very effective thing - stops you getting any damp condensation on you from your sleeping bag (or sweat in summer), and being dry means being warm.
The matress had a small leak and they woke up in the morning with the sweet jeezus holy mother of all things fckt hangover that lasted for about 3 days. They all agreed that morning that they wished they had put a bit more in so they had died rather than woken up to the pain of severe alchohol and carbon monoxide poisening.
things you do when young and drunk...
Get a thin foam camping mat and ditch the blow up mattress. Ditch the duvet. Get a Vango Nitestar 250 sleeping bag (£25-35 depending where you get it). Sleep in that, inside your cheap one (i.e. your cheap one is used as an additional "shell". Ditch the tracksuit bottoms. Keep socks and hat and T-shirt on.
I'm a cold sleeper so know what it's like.
Of what's been said already I'd say the 3 most important are:
karrimat on top of blow up mattress
eat something meaty and/or fatty before bed.
go to bed warm(press ups/sit ups)
Spend your money on the best sleeping bag you can get. Can double up your sleeping bags then if you're still cold.
Even with a thermarest I'll often still use a karrimat to insulate me from the ground.
Cheapest option => do exercise before going to bed that way you are warm when you get in to your sleeping bag rather than cold.
Next cheapest option => get a silk sleeping bag liner.
I'd make sure that your sleeping bag fits, it's no good having a reasonable bag only for you to push the warm air out every time you turn in your sleep. One of the warmest bags I ever had was very snug and pretty warm and even though it was only a 2 season synthetic it was good enough for big alpine routes while wearing just thin thermals, the only problem being the bulk (the bag, not me). However putting too many clothes on so that you are squeezing things in to the bag is also a bad idea as you end up compressing everything thus reducing its insulation properties. You need to strike a balance.
When I went camping as a kid I never had any kind of mattress...
Not much different to now, really. For some reason I always end up slipping off them, especially Thermarests.
Why will that help?
While no doubt all of the above advice is valid, a good point (which I think I read on here) is: No matter how good it is you warm the bag, the bag does not warm you.
In other words if you're cold when you get in you've got your work cut out getting warm. Set yourself up with a stove or premade hot drinks which you can have once you're inside your bag.
> While no doubt all of the above advice is valid, a good point (which I think I read on here) is: No matter how good it is you warm the bag, the bag does not warm you.
I think that's fairly obvious.
The point being getting warm is more difficult than staying warm
There's an interested article on Andy Kirkpatrick's website on staying warm, after a quick skim I can't find it but it's there somewhere. I remember it being useful.
Probably best investment is a sleeping bag that closes round the head and neck. Keep all your clothes on.
I'd second the recommendation of a silk liner. My sleeping bag is a bit rubbish but with the liner I'm usually fairly toasty. Making sure your sleeping bag is the right size for oyu is good advice - the main reason mine is so cold is because it seems to be designed for a big fat man so I lose a lot of heat.
Alternatively, if you're camping from the car just chuck in a spare duvet!
Smaller tent, more people.
I always have the issue too of sleeping bags being too big, even the short length ones are HUGE for me. I have found that stuffing all the extra at the end into the stuff sack, and my feet in along with it (assuming it's not a tiny stuff sack), keeps me toasty. Adding a bivi bag to the mix could help too, I find it works better than a liner (assuming weight is no issue, which I am guessing it's not if you are carrying an airbed!)
A tip for this is to take a belt and cinch it round the bag at an appropriate distance from the foot of the bag.
Mine is too big length wise (which is fine, you can fold the bottom over to shorten it) but the main problem is it's way too big width wise, which is rather more problematic to fix. I'm planning on replacing it with one of the Mountain Hardware Women's Lamina 20 bags as I've tried my partner's and it's a lot warmer than my ginormous Snugpak Softie.
A good down sleeping bag can easily have a useful life of 30 years or more. It's a long term, but very worthwhile, investment.
When you're curled up shivering at 3.00am in a tent four hours walk from the nearest road, the fact that you saved twenty quid (or 50 quid, or 120 quid) on your sleeping bag a couple of years previously somehow seems a bit trivial ...
Sounds like you need to spend money on the things you lie on, not the things you lie in or under.
Ditch the blow-up mattress and get a proper camping mat and/or a proper self-inflating mattress.
> A good down sleeping bag can easily have a useful life of 30 years or more. It's a long term, but very worthwhile, investment.
Having used an airbed in cold weather I'd go along with what many have said - get a foam sleeping mat and stick it on top. Airbeds are crap insulators but *are* comfy. Foam mat insulates, airbed cushions.
If your sleeping bag isn't a mummy shaped one that you can cinch up around your kneck/face then you'll be losing a lot of heat there. So if you can afford a mummy shape bag then go with that.
Going to bed warm is another top tip, but using something as a hot water bottle to warm the bag and leave you warm before you drop off to sleep.
On a serious note. My husband and me camp a lot. When I'm alone I freeze, when he's all cuddled up to me I'm so hot I have to have the tent flap open! but if you don't have the option of more people in your tent, get yourself a thermal mat and take a hot water bottle with a furry cover!
In my experience you can buy the best available down sleeping bag and still be cold if you don't have good insulation under you. Conversely a crap sleeping bag can be perfectly adequate if insulation under you is good such as a Karrimat or better thick foam pads.
If there is a Wilko near you, take a look in. My local branch has 75% off all camping and camping-related gear, and they have some "Thermarest" style mats and sleeping bags and so on, which might not set the world alight but will work out VERY cheaply and see you reet for a while.
I just bought a 3-man tent, a barbecue, a cook set, a steel mug and a mosquito net for my head. £18 the lot!
A sleeping bag should be used as part of a system which includes clothing,
shelter, food, drink and sleeping mat
Always change clothes at the end of the days activities even if you dont feel damp / sweaty get dry and warm!
Make sure it has a hood with a draw cord
Consider a Liner
Very important to insulate between you and the ground!
Closed cell is best on frozen ground, inflatable for comfort (or both!)
Spread spare clothing on top of mat if necessary
Dont pitch in hollows or valley floors cold air sinks
Make sure your tent is adequately ventilated to prevent condensation
Food and Drink
Hot substantial meal and hot drink
It is easier to stay warm than get warm get in sleeping bag early
Get into sleeping bag with clothes on then remove as you get warm
Wear warm hat, gloves and socks
Lay jacket on top of sleeping bag
Make a hot water bottle
If you wake in the night and are cold do something to about it put on clothes, exercise, food etc.
Consider a pee bottle?
> Having used an airbed in cold weather I'd go along with what many have said - get a foam sleeping mat and stick it on top. Airbeds are crap insulators but *are* comfy. Foam mat insulates, airbed cushions.
That rather depends on the airbed. If you get an Exped (sooo comfy) then the down ones have about 4 x the insulation of a karimat though they're quite bulky and heavy but even the ultralight range has about the same insulation as a karimat with the advantage of packing smaller and being lighter.
Better insulation first up. I love my silk inner too, it is amazing how warm this is, don't bother with a fabric inner if you are going to get one just go straight for silk.
* Well pitched tent, i.e. sharp end (if it has one) pointing to the wind
* Karrimat (closed cell foam is much better insulation than an airbed, and if you're camping on grass or snow you certainly don't need more for comfort)
* Half decent sleeping bag/sleeping bag liner, but October in Dartmoor is barely 2 season - call it 3 to be on the safe side
* Set of thermals to sleep in
Calibrate in the light of your own experience - you're not going to die of hypothermia.
I think a self inflating foam type mat will change your life.
cheap and cheerful, good customer serivce and 95% as good as a thermarest!
Someone else mentioned sleeping bags don't warm you up- this is so true- you need to warm yourself up before you go to sleep. Some others swear by sleeping with no clothes on, as wearing extra stops the bag from warming up.
Anyway- saw this and thought of you...
As already said - a hot water bottle - ffs NOT your sigg, but any plastic one - it will usually last through a night, but it certainly keeps you warm & gets you off to sleep.
I also couldn't believe the warmth improvement from sleeping in a one man tent compared to my big 'comfortable' 2/3 man.
For the minimal effort these are two great improvements
Eat way more before you go to bed.
Another vote for going to bed warm. Eat a warming meal before bed. If you are cold when you get into bed, do situps in your sleeping bag until you are toasty.
Another vote for a hot water bottle. If you are not carrying it, I would get a real hot water bottle. If you decide to use a drinks bottle, be careful. A metal bottle can become very hot to the touch - burn risk - so make sure it is well wrapped up.
I find that wearing more clothes in bed keeps me warmer. This idea of being warmer when you wear less has never worked for me.
I have also used an extra cheap sleeping bag. You can get them for under a tenner. Put one under you and one over you like a quilt - makes a big difference to your warmth.
If you decide to spend more money, the biggest improvement will come from buying good insulation to lie on. A good mat makes a big difference to warmth. As has been said, a cheap answer is a closed cell foam mat to go over your blow up mattress.
Eat plenty of food, your body needs food to convert it to heat.
Don't drink any alcohol
Drink plenty of water
Buy a decent sleeping bag
Use both closed cell and inflatable together with the closed cell underneith. Stops on inflatable frombeing punctured and lieing on top of the inflatable is more comfy than the other way round.
There's no such thing as cheap kit. Cheap kit has a short life, and you need to buy it again soon.
My down bag is 20 years old (Rab) and good for most seasons - though I wouldn't do a full winter night out in it anymore. When I bought it I winced, but look back and laugh. Well worth the money.
Good kit discounted in the spring sales though ... now that's another matter.
If you add the cost of kit to the overall holiday costs its nothing. I spent a few days sweating over the £150 I needed to spend on some new climbing kit, then realised the holiday I was going to use it for was costing just over £1200 (for the whole family). I bought the kit. It was a low cost holiday essential - a bit like the cost of a guide book and map.
How much did you spend in petrol getting to the mountains?
I would think about this problem systemically. Currently cheap sleeping bag and low ground insulation are making you chilly. As others have pointed out, you warm up the bag, not the other way round! So make sure you're not cold already by the time you're going to bed, if you are it's star jumps time!
My ither advice is to think about which components are contributing the most to your heat loss. My guess would be the air mattress is your weakest point. The earth is trying to make you the same temperature that it is and you're a lot smaller so you're only going to lose! Best off improving your insulation there.
Finally, if you have cold extremities then warm up the core to provide the rest of you with warm blood to heat it all back up. So if you do suddenly feel flush then it might make sense to get yourself a decent base layer to wick away moisture and keep your torso lovely and warm.
I agree with the advice - filling a sigh with boiling water and putting it in some clothes helps.
Snuggling up to another warm body (human or dog) can also help as long as they don't squirm or create drafts....
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