Tent camping is the ultimate in freedom. With a car and a tent, you can sleep just about anywhere. A flimsy cave made of nylon is far from luxury accommodations--especially when the mercury dips and your only source of warmth is a campfire. There's a fine line between fun and misery when camping, and you're bound to cross it if you aren't properly prepared to camp in cold weather.
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Things you need
- Cold-weather rated sleeping bag
- Thin, inflatable sleeping mat
- Warm clothes
- Warm hat
Choose a sleeping bag that is rated at least -9.44 degrees C colder than the temperatures you plan to camp in. For example, if you expect the temperature to drop to -1.11 degrees C, you should have a bag that is rated to -9.44 degrees C or, preferably, even lower.
Blow up a thin, inflatable sleeping mat and put your sleeping bag on top of it. This small layer of air between you and the ground will help you stay warm while you sleep, which is when you're most likely to get cold while tent camping.
Put on several layers of warm clothes before you get cold. It's much easier to stay warm than it is to try to warm up after you're already chilled.
Put on a warm hat and keep it on even once you go to bed. This is one of the best ways to retain body heat.
Light a campfire before the sun goes down and sit close to it. Be sure you have plenty of wood to feed the fire as night falls, as the temperature will continue to drop.
Move around the campsite if you start to feel cold, because this will get your blood flowing to help keep you warm.
Stay out of the wind as much as possible, because it robs your body of heat.
Tips and warnings
- If you're camping with someone else, huddle up close to them to share body heat.
- Use caution when lighting a campfire, and be sure it is completely put out before you leave camp or go to sleep. Heed fire cautions and regulations in the area where you are camping.
- Do not attempt to camp in a blizzard or other harsh winter conditions. Even with preparation, extreme cold can be dangerous, or even deadly.