- Step 1: Set up early Set up your sleeping area early so it can absorb heat during the day. You should bring a foam pad to sleep on, a sleeping bag designed for temperatures colder than you expect, and a tent that has proper ventilation to prevent condensation building up inside.
- TIP: Choose synthetic fibers for both your clothes and sleeping bag. Cotton traps moisture and is difficult to dry once it has gotten wet.
- Step 2: Eat and drink Drink extra water and consume extra calories during winter backpacking. Food and water are necessary for your body to generate heat.
- Step 3: Do pre-bed exercise Do a few jumping jacks or run in place before getting into your sleeping bag. This will heat up your body, which in turn heats up the sleeping bag. Heat the bag; the bag heats you.
- TIP: Go to the bathroom before you go to bed. Your body needs to use up energy to keep that extra fluid warm, so get rid of it!
- Step 4: Sleep Put a warm, tightly sealed water bottle inside your sleeping bag at your feet to help hold in heat. Never sleep with your face inside the bag, as that will trap moisture. Instead, wear a hat and scarf to keep warm.
- TIP: Put tomorrow's clothes in between your bag and your sleeping pad, and bring your boot insoles or socks into the sleeping bag, to warm them before morning.
- Step 5: Layer up Layer up your clothes in the morning. Your body temperature is at its lowest right when you wake up, so you will need these layers until you become more active.
- Step 6: Eat Eat a full but short meal in the morning. This could include oatmeal, hot chocolate, or anything that is warm. Eat quickly so you don't lose body heat sitting still.
- Step 7: Get moving Get moving! The longer your body sits without activity, the longer it has to lose heat. So get out and get active.
- FACT: As of 2010, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States was minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Prospect Creek, Alaska, on January 23, 1971.
You Will Need
- Foam pad
- Sleeping bag
- Water bottle