You’ve read countless reviews, watched many videos on sleeping bags, and chose the best temperature rating sleeping bag and yet as you lie there in your tent and are still feeling cold. Feeling cold in your sleeping bad can lead to a restless night where you’re tossing and turning. Having a restless night is no fun on a camping trip, so what can you do make it warmer in your sleeping bag?
To add warmth to your sleeping bag make sure your sleeping pad is large enough, add a sleeping bag liner, layer up on clothing, and add either a warm bottle of water or heating pads.
Being able to add heat up your sleeping bag and feel warm will help you get a good nights rest. There are some things you can do with your tent setup to avoid unnecessary cold drafts, specific items of clothing to add to your layering system, and what to watch for when adding a warm bottle or heating pads.
Ways to Warm Your Sleeping Bag
Before you add things to your sleeping bag you want to make sure you place your tent in an ideal location that has minimal wind blowing into your tent. This air can blow any heat right out of your tent if you are setup in a drafty area. Place your tent by a large boulder or wall if possible. This will completely block wind from that direction.
Preventing unwanted air is key to maintaining a warm tent. It doesn’t matter what you add to your sleeping bag if you have cold air blowing into your tent, so finding a good tent location is key to feeling warm in your sleeping bag.
Covering Your Tent
Once you have a good spot to place your tent and your tent is setup, the next thing you should do is cover your tent with the rain fly. Covering your tent with a rain fly will help block wind from entering your tent. Also any body heat and warmth already inside of the tent will be trapped in. Covering your tent makes a huge difference in terms of how warm the inside of your tent feels. This will lead to being much warmer in your sleeping bag.
Now that you have your tent in a good location and your rain fly is covering your tent, there are still some areas where wind can get through. There have been times where I have been laying down only for a cold draft to enter my tent. The last step is to use your pack and your rain jacket to block any openings to prevent smaller drafts from going into your tent.
Having a cold draft no matter how small blowing on you at night will make you feel cold, even with the warmth of a sleeping bag. Blocking these small areas with your extra gear will help make a big difference and make you feel warmer.
Gear To Add Warmth To Your Sleeping Bag
With a solid tent setup and minimizing wind drafts entering your tent, the next thing to consider is your sleeping pad. Make sure your sleeping pad is long enough so that your feet or head are not touching the group. The ground is very cold and dissipates any body heat that touches it, so its important to have a big enough sleeping pad. If you still feel cold check the rating of your sleeping pad. You may need a thicker or higher rated sleeping pad to help your body maintain its warmth as you sleep.
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Sleeping Bag Liner
The one item that can help you add warmth to your sleeping bag is a sleeping bag liner. Sleeping bag liners are essentially a thin sleeping bag that goes inside of the sleeping bag. They will typically add at least 5 to 8 degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag. This is a quick and easy way to add warmth to your sleeping bag.
Another great benefit of sleeping bag liners are they will help extend the life of your sleeping bag. They help keep your sleeping bag cleaner as your sweat and body oils will be on the sleeping bag liner instead of the sleeping bag. This means you only need to wash your sleeping bag liner instead of the sleeping bag itself.
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Another option to adding warmth to your sleeping bag is to layer up. For your feet make sure you have thick wool socks to help maintain warmth in your feet. For your legs you can wear long johns or extra leggings for added warmth. For your upper body you can wear either a fleece jacket or down jacket to help insulate and maintain your body heat.
Layering up while sleeping will make a big difference in warmth in your sleeping bag. Although sleeping bags have temperature ratings, sometimes they do not do a good job of holding your body heat close to you so it really helps to add layers of clothing to keep that heat central.
Extra Items to Add More Warmth To Your Sleeping Bag
If you still feel cold and want to add more warmth then its time to use external heat forces. Some people just run colder and need help with heat generation. The first item you can use is heating up some water and adding it to a heat resistant bottle. Once you have the bottle. touch it so its not too hot against your skin. Add cool water as needed to help lower the temperature. Once you have the warm bottle you can add it to the inside of your sleeping bag.
Having the bottle inside your sleeping bag will help spread heat from the water into your sleeping bag. You can have multiple bottles and have one near your feet, one hear your face, and one year your torso to feel warm all over. The downside to this method is you have to bring extra bottles and you need to heat up water, but its worth it if it helps you stay warm at night and fall asleep.
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An alternative to using warm bottles is to use heating pads. There are heating pads for hands, feet, and body. These heating pads can last a few hours and help generate a ton of heat to help you stay warm in your sleeping bag. This is a quick and easy way to get warmth as you sleep.
The major downside of heating pads is the trash and lack of reuse ability, however if you are feeling cold they will get the job done.
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Covering Your Face
Something many people don’t think about when they’re laying down in their sleeping bags and their face is exposed to the cold air is that they are exhaling a lot of body heat with each breath they take. The heat from your breath can be redirected back to your sleeping bag by covering your face and exhaling into your sleeping bag. This can help add more warmth to your sleeping bag over night.
Laying there in your thick sleeping bag and tossing and turning due to the cold is no way to relax on a camping trip. We went over things to think about when setting up your tent and ways to minimize unwanted wind and drafts to keep the inside of your tent warm. We also went over how your sleeping pad, sleeping bag liner, and layers can impact the heat and help you stay warm. Finally we went over external heat sources to warm your sleeping bag even more.
Feeling warm and cozy in your sleeping bag can help you get a good nights rest and be energized for your outdoor activities. Use the strategies and tools above to help you stay warmer and sleep better on your next camping trip. Enjoy your next outdoor adventure!