How to Keep Warm During Cold Camping

October 18, 2014

Cold Weather Camping is awesome. Overheating on hikes and the glaring sun is replaced with colorful leaves in the fall and breathtaking sunsets in the winter. BUT, Cold Camping comes with some responsibility - you need to know how to do it right. One bad night's sleep can leave you tired and achey for the rest of your trip, and a bad day can leave you worse or even put you in danger.

Dan and Ashley's Warm Meal at Grand Teton National Park

With that in mind, here are a few tips from the BioLite Team on how to stay warm and keep your energy up during the fall:


  • Bring a sleeping pad (or maybe two). The extra layer(s) between you and the ground will serve as insulation to keep your body warm. 
  • Double check the temperature rating for your sleeping bag to be sure it can handle the lowest temperature you expect to encounter on your trip.
  • Before you zip yourself in for the night, do a little physical activity to warm the body thus warming your sleeping bag.
  • Make yourself a warm meal! If you want to keep it simple, pack some dehydrated meals and reheat with boiled water. 
  • Gather some extra kindling during daylight hours; cooking times tend to take longer in colder temperatures and searching for kindling in the cold dark is no fun.
  • For good measure, toss in a couple hand and foot warmers. Keeping your fingers nimble is important when you're doing things like tying knots. 


  • While you're warming up your body from the DO section, don’t work out hard enough to perspire. You don’t want moisture to collect in your sleeping bag cooling off your body as your temperature drops.
  • Resist the urge to drink an alcoholic nightcap before heading to your tent. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels bringing warm blood to the surface of the skin causing a warm fuzzy feeling. In reality, this blood flow to the skin is causing you to lose heat faster and reducing your body temperature.
  • Don’t hide your head and face into your sleeping bag to benefit from the warmth of your breath.  It will cause moisture to collect which we have already covered is a major no-no.
  • Don't try to "rough it out;" if your body is cold, it's trying to tell you something. Be prepared for temps to drop when the sun goes down and make sure you've got some extra layers handy.
  • Don't light a campfire just because you're cold - do your research and find out if fires are permitted at your campsite. Even if you're in a non-burn ban area, strict Leave No Trace policies still apply for many parks and grounds.

Scout Leader Peter keep hands warm and sprits high on a cool October night

 And in case you didn't see it, check out our latest Pinterest board for a checklist of the often-forgotten stuff for fall camping.

Got any tips of your own? Tell us about them on twitter: @biolitestove #FallCamping 

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