Warm Up Your Winter Trip
Greetings, fellow camping enthusiasts!
As you all know, June marks the beginning of the dreaded Australian winter.
While it’s true that not all regions of Australia will be hit with frigid temperatures, for those headed to chillier locales in the coming months, the following few tips are for you.
We have divided these tips into three broad categories, consisting of:
- Sleeping Accommodations
Food is one of the easiest ways to raise your body temperature while camping in cold environments.
Food is also very important because insulating products are designed to keep heat in, not create it. Therefore, even a good sleeping bag will have difficulty combatting freezing cold fingers and toes.
When it comes to winter camping, eating late is generally advised. Your body will not be able to generate heat for itself without a lot of energy.
The best type of meal is something particular fatty. This is because your body metabolizes fatty meals slower than non-fatty ones, ensuring a longer-lasting “fuel”.
Do NOT overeat at night, however. If you eat too large of a portion, your body will be dedicating its resources to digestion (as opposed to keeping you warm).
Eating a healthy breakfast is also extremely important when it comes to camping in chilly areas.
As most people know, breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and, like dinner, provides your body with the fuel to get your biological systems running effectively.
A warm beverage is also a quick and easy way to raise your body’s core temperature. However, it is important that you are well wrapped up beforehand.
When humans sweat, the sweat evaporates and ultimately cools them off.
If you are wearing layers while drinking a hot beverage, however, the sweat will be absorbed instead of evaporated, allowing you to heat up without the risk of cooling down again.
Please also remember that alcoholic beverages DO NOT warm you up. In fact, as a depressant, alcohol actually lowers one’s body temperature.
The first thing you should be familiar with prior to setting off on your winter camping trip is your ideal temperature for sleep.
As individuals, everyone has different preferences.
Some people sleep better in a cool environment while others require warmth for a true good night’s rest.
Once you’ve identified your ideal sleeping temperature, this can be used to gauge the sleeping accommodations you will require.
When it comes to winter time travelling, a sleeping bag is the standard bedding option.
However, it’s important to know that not every sleeping bag is created equally.
One thing you should be considering is the rating of the sleeping bag. While Australian winters can seem frigid, they’re really not that bad in the grand scheme of things.
So, you don’t pick something too thick, either.
If you start sweating in your sleeping bag, your insulating material won’t work as well as it should. Down especially is ineffective once wet. For this reason as well, you should never sleep and breathe with your head in the bag, as this too introduces it to moisture.
To pick a sleeping bag with the correct temperature rating for your trip, try to gauge the lowest temperature you’ll be camping in. Take this temperature and subtract 10 from it. This is your ideal sleeping bag rating.
So say, for example, the lowest temperature you’ll be encountering is 0 degrees Celsius. When you subtract 10 from this temperature, you get -10 degrees Celsius. Therefore, you should be looking into a sleeping bag rated at -10 degrees, just to be safe.
When it comes to Australia, most people do fine with a sleeping bag rated somewhere between 0 and -10.
During your winter camping excursion, also remember to dry out your sleeping bag as often as possible. This will provide you the maximum heat during your sleeping hours.
Additionally, shake out your sleeping bag prior to getting in. You want the insulating layer to be as expanded as possible in order to efficiently trap and conduct the warmth of the air.
Also, do not wear thick layers of clothing to bed. These extra layers may compress the inner layers of insulation and actually make you colder than you would be without them.
There is one ultimate clothing rule when it comes to wintertime camping. That rule is to layer, layer, layer.
For example, start with some long johns. Then add some thin sweat pants and a t-shirt. Next, a bigger sweater and some jeans. And lastly, maybe a waterproof windbreaker or jacket.
Layers allow you to account for both temperature increases and decreases. Just be sure that you are not too cold with your full outfit on.
Once you’ve got that part covered, you can always remove a layer or two if you start getting too hot.
When you’re planning your layered outfit, also be sure to consider what types of activities you will be engaging in.
Generally, the more physically strenuous the task, the lighter the layers you will require.
Working out automatically increases your body’s temperature. Therefore, if you’re planning for vigorous activity, you will likely need fewer layers than someone who will be simply sitting around and chatting with friends.
Focus on your extremities (head, hands, feet) as this is where most body heat is lost. Always be sure to have warm footwear, mittens and hats on-hand.
Lastly, when it comes to winter camping, try to avoid cotton clothing at all costs.
Interestingly, cotton can actually pull heat from the body and, as a result, is much better suited towards summer camping adventures.
Whenever possible, opting for waterproof materials and thick knits with liners is ideal.
A few extra tips:
- Invest in a few high-quality floor coverings or caravan rugs. These will greatly aid in keeping your feet (and your whole body) cozy and warm.
- Use this winter camping trip as an excuse to get a little skin-to-skin action from your honey. It’s widely known that this is the most effective method of sharing body heat.
Lastly, if extra cold temperatures are hitting you harder than usual, try putting a well-sealed bottle of hot water into the bottom of your sleeping bag. The warmth of the bottle will heat up your feet, ultimately raising your body’s core temperature.