Sleeping bags are rated ranging from -50 degrees up to 40 degrees with thick fluffy down, so why do your feet get cold in your sleeping bag?
Your feet get cold in your sleeping bag due to blood flowing away from your extremities to your core. Your body is regulating its internal temperature to protect your heart and other vital organs.
While your body is protecting your vital organs with its natural process, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your feet are warm and you can sleep soundly while you camp. After many years of camping I have found some things that have worked incredibly well for my feet that can help you too.
How do you keep your feet warm in a sleeping bag?
The Right Socks
Should you wear socks in a sleeping bag?
A question many people wonder is if they should wear socks in their sleeping bag and the answer is yes. Wearing socks in your sleeping bag will keep your sleeping bag cleaner, keep your feet warmer, and make you feel more cozy. The only exception is you should change out of the socks you have been wearing to hike and walk around all day into new fresh socks.
Before you even get into your sleeping bag you need to protect your feet to try to trap the warmth. You can designate clean and thick sleeping bag socks just for sleeping. Getting thick wool socks will help trap as much heat as possible to keep your feet from getting even colder. The idea here is to keep the cold weather out and keep any heat your feet generate in. This alone will not warm your feet in your sleep. To do this you will need the help of external items.
Our Favorite Wool Socks on Amazon
One of the best ways to get a warm foot in your sleeping bag is to get the help from a warm bottle of water. Getting a bottle that is designed to hold hot water, but is not too insulated is key. This indirect heat will help warm your feet as you sleep and will likely make a huge difference as you fall asleep. Since your body is pulling the blood away from your feet you need the external help to generate heat and have warm feet as you sleep.
The downside to this approach is that you will need to carry a bottle and have to heat up water. Typically I like to do the least amount of things when its cold outside, so weigh your options before you pack. Another downside to this is the water bottle can be bulky and it only warms the one side of your feet.
Another alternative to a warm bottle is to use foot warmers in your socks. These little warmers will generate a surprisingly large amount of heat They are small and don’t require you to heat up any water with the same benefit. You can use multiple foot warmer pads to warm the top and bottom of your feet.
The downside is that they may not be as warm as a bottle so you may have to use multiple to get the same effect. Another downside is you’d have to pack many and have trash to pack out.
The tips described here are active ways to keep your feet warm, but there a few other things you can do that are preventative and help limit how cold you may get in your tent.
Other Ways to Avoid Feet Freezing While Camping
The first way to avoid freezing feet is to pick a spot at the campsite that is blocked from winds. Picking the right location will determine if you feel comfortable or very cold. If you have the luxury of picking the exact location, scout out spots that have giant boulders or a wall to block oncoming wind.
One of the most important things to consider is insulation from the cold ground. To help yourself insulate from the ground you need a thick and long enough sleeping pad. You want to make sure your sleeping pad is long enough so your feet are comfortably on the pad and not dangling off. This will keep your feet from getting even colder. This insulation is key for your entire body feeling warmer as you camp.
Once you chose the best spot for your tent and have solid insulation from the ground there’s one more thing you can do. You can block drafts and cold air by using the rain cover of your tent. This will prevent cold air from flowing directly in and it will help trap body heat in the tent. Another thing I like to do is block my sides with my pack or a jacket to prevent any drafts that will flow at the bottom of the tent. This will help cold air from getting to your sleeping bag.
Camping and trying to fall asleep with freezing feet is the worst. I had challenges with this when I first started camping. It wasn’t until I tried using a warm bottle and feet warmers that I was able to sleep comfortably and have warm feet without worry. Try out one of the three suggested solutions and see what works for you.
Camping and sleeping in a tent should be fun and relaxing. If you follow the tips above your feet and body will likely be warmer and you’ll be able to have sound sleep on your next camping trip. Enjoy your next outdoor adventure!