Being cold sucks.
Waking up in the midst of a night, cold to the bone, freezing your butt off and clanking your teeth is never fun. Normally, one can avoid this situation by doing some research on what conditions the given trail will put one through and by bringing an appropriate sleeping system. Also, by checking weather apps like Accuweather to have a faint idea how the following days are going to break down.
But, you know this stuff.
I reckon that you are aware of the basics of putting together a proper sleeping system:
- Sleeping pad with a high R-value (measure of thermal resistance)
- Sleeping bag or quilt with a true-to-rating temperature
- A shelter that decreases or eliminates wind impact AND covers you from rain
But even though you have compared the average temperatures on the trail since 1950 to present, checked the weather forecast on five different apps and tried every solution your imagination could bolster, things can still take a turn for the worse and you could get cold in the night.
NB: Your sleeping bag will probably be one of the priciest items in your setup. And this is rightly so because the sleeping bag is essentially what will keep you alive if things go bonkers. However, not everybody has the $$$ to buy the high-end bags. So, let's talk about...
13 Tips To Stay Warm In Your Budget Sleeping Bag
Wear socks designated to your sleep system (not the sweaty ones you've hiked in).
Wear a beanie to sleep.
Wear gloves to sleep.
Wear extra layers designated to your sleeping system.
Slip your legs into your backpack liner/rain cover to create an extra layer.
Slip the foot box of your sleeping bag into your backpack for yet an extra layer of isolation.
Prevent drafts in your sleeping bag - tighten it up.
Prevent drafts in your shelter - take your time to set it up probably and find a spot with less (or free of) wind.
Consider a bag liner. Cheaper than buying a new bag and can add 5 to 10 degrees of warmth to your system. Can also be used on its own on hot summer nights.
Boil water, fill your bottle with it and tighten the lid. Put the bottle in between your thighs.
Eat. Fuel the furnace. Your body needs food to keep you warm.
Pee. Your body spends a lot of energy on keeping your urine warm. Letting it go will spare resources, even though, crawling out of your tent in the night isn't nice.
Move. Do some quick calisthenics such as push-ups do warm your body.
And in those words - it's a wrap! I hope that you found these tips useful. And - keep a lookout for garage sales or end of season sales, you might find a really good offer on a more expensive sleeping bag that will offer you better base warmth.
Want more gear talk like this?
Read WildStray's other articles on gear talk:
- Hiking Gear Lists: Two Ways To Make Them (+ a Free Download)
- Ultralight Hiking: Benefits and Concerns of Going Ultralight
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