Essential Items to Keep You Warm and Cozy This Winter – Part 2

by Emily Hammell:

Happy Winter everyone! How are y’all handling the snow and ice this blustery winter season so far? Have you ever wanted to camp or hike in the backcountry during the freezing winter months but you’re afraid you won’t stay warm enough? Well, I have some tips to share with you so that you can endure that pesky winter weather and still have your cooool adventures!

From the entry-level outdoor enthusiast to the backwoods professional, most of us have one piece of gear that we can use to stay warm while winter camping. A Nalgene bottle!

One of my favorite things about my Nalgene bottle is that they are leak-free, making them perfect for heating. Before you go to sleep at night, boil some water. Fill your bottle up with the hot water and that’s it! Now you’ve got a small radiator you can shove into the bottom of your sleeping bag, to keep your toes and legs warm all night. What an easy fix!

Now, the right temperature sleeping bag is always a must-have while camping. Make sure you follow your sleeping bag temperature rating. If you have a 20-degree sleeping bag, that means 20 degrees Fahrenheit is a rating for survival, not comfort! We usually round up 10-15 degrees for the comfort rating. (ex. A 20-degree bag would typically have a comfort rating of 35 degrees but keep in mind that it also depends on the person. Are you a cold sleeper or hot sleeper?). You can also add more warmth to your bag if you need to with a simple sleeping bag liner. I just acquired one of these little bad boys myself and the warmth-to-weight ratio is amazing.

I have a zero-degree sleeping bag (because I love to be extra warm when I go camping during the winter) and with my new sleeping bag liner added to my bag, I am so much more comfortable and warm! The liner is small and compact making my life easier on trail and I don’t have to spend extra money on a new bag that’s rated higher/warmer than mine. Typically, a liner can raise your sleeping bag temperature rating by 10-15 degrees. Having a liner not only saves me money and space, but it also keeps my sleeping bag from getting dirty inside at night. This is definitely a must-have for winter!

Speaking of sleeping at camp, invest in an insulated sleeping pad, preferably one with a high R-value. The higher the R-value of your pad, the greater it will resist your heat transfer and keep you insulated. One of the main ways to lose your body heat at night is laying on the cold, hard ground. Doing this literally sucks all the warm air away from your body! If you have a proper barrier like an insulated sleeping pad between you and the cold ground, your pad will help your body stay nice and warm, reflecting that heat right back to you. This is definitely a step I would not skip. You can also get a “closed-cell foam” pad to put under your inflatable pad. Doing this will add extra warmth to your sleeping experience and will also protect you from rocks or anything on the ground that could potentially puncture your precious pad!

Now let’s discuss layers and no, I don’t mean those fluffy, buttery croissants you’re dreaming about! I’m talking about a winter clothing layering system! In the outdoor industry, we are always reminding everyone to layer up properly. What does that mean exactly? Well, first you should have a thin layer that is close to your skin that is moisture-wicking. Merino wool is one of the best base layers you can get. It regulates your body temperature and wicks the moisture off of you simultaneously. Your second layer will be your “mid-layer.” This could be a lightweight synthetic fleece or lightweight jacket of some kind that traps your body heat in while allowing moisture to escape. Lastly, you want a heavier layer like a down jacket with a rain shell over it or even a heavier jacket like a gore-tex parka. Keep yourself warm out there and remember hypothermia is no joke and could easily catch up with you when you least expect it!

If you still can’t get warm, last but not least, the most important lesson of all is to just keep moving. Right when you wake up early, do some push-ups or some jumping jacks while your water boils for coffee or tea. Get moving and stretch! As long as you get the blood flowing and heart rate up, you’ll stay toasty. And don’t forget to snuggle up to the ones you love next to a fire. That always helps me!

Thank you for hanging out with us at Footsloggers. When you support us and our company, it fuels us to keep doing what we love, which is to help you do what you love! Keep us updated on your adventures and stay safe and warm this winter season. We love you fellow Sloggers. Gear Up and Get Outside!