Winter Camping


Hypothermia sets in at any temperature below 50 deg.F. BSA considers this winter camping, and "wet" cold. "Dry" cold sets in at 16 deg. F and below.

The key to staying warm is staying dry. Make sure your clothes are in plastic bags so they dont get wet Layer your clothes, and only use cotton for underwear, if possible. It is best to use polypro, arctic fleece, etc. If you don't have this, use wool. Cotton, once it gets wet, freezes into the shape it froze in, and won't dry out for days without a standard dryer so use a quick drying alternative.

Don't go to bed with wet clothes. If possible, change into new underwear, PJ's, etc. If your feet sweat a lot, use any underarm antiperspirant spray. This will prevent your feet from sweating and keep you more comfortable.

Drink plenty of water or other non-caffeinated liquids. Caffeine is a diuretic, and will cause you to lose more water than you take in. A cup of coffee will make you lose two. Try warm Gatorade or water, fruit juice, etc.

Keep your sleeping bag dry. What keeps you warm is the air trapped in the insulation. If that gets wet, you will be cold and miserable. Line your sleeping bag with a large trash bag to keep your body's moisture on or near you, and not going into the bag. This is a little clammy at first, but it helps keep you warm. Cover the outside of the bag with an over-cover. This will add 10-15 deg.  F to the bag's rating, and will keep you warmer. When you wake up, take the inner liner out, let it freeze, and shake out the frozen droplets before going to bed the next night. This will keep you warmer and dryer in the long run.

Eat plenty of high-carbohydrate foods, fairly often. Crackers, bread, pepperoni & cheese, etc. This will help your body generate enough fuel to keep you warm.

Keep your head covered. You lose 70% of your body's heat through your head. If your feet get cold - put a hat on!