There is no reason to stay indoors when the weather starts to get cold, but you might be wondering how to start warm in cold weather. With the right gear, a few cold weather tricks, and a positive attitude—winter camping and outdoor adventures can be just as rewarding as any other time of year.
Wear Base Layers to Regulate Body Temperature
Layer your clothing appropriately to avoid being cold. Layers that are too hot will make you sweat, then when the temperatures drop that sweat freezes and makes you cold. But not having enough clothing can also leave you shivering outdoors. The best way to be comfortable in colder outdoor weather is to wear layers that are versatile to changing temperatures. Look for products that use merino wool blends for maximum warmth and breathability.
Climber Melissa Arnot notably wore the Tasc Performance Elevation base layers on her sixth ascent of Mount Everest. On that climb, she became the first American woman (and seventh woman ever) to summit the world's highest mountain without supplemental oxygen and survive. The Elevation base layers are engineered for all levels of activity and climates. Made from a blend of merino wool and bamboo these performance layers will not only help regulate your body temperature transitioning from daytime adventure to the campfire, but they will also stay stink-free (longer than others.)
Eat High Fat High Protein Foods to Stay Warm
When the weather gets cold, you will want to reconsider your diet. Your body needs and wants to store high fat and protein-rich foods. Extra calories are required to compensate the body’s work to stay warm in cold weather. Carbohydrates are the quickest fuel food source to convert to energy and you’ll burn them quickly when exercising and in cold weather. Fat and protein stay with you longer and act as a slow burning fuel. Think of eating in the winter like starting a campfire. You’ll need kindling (carbohydrates) to get the fire started, but also require slow burning logs (fat and protein) to sustain a hot burning fire.
Try NuttZo organic nut butters, which come in single-serving fuel packs that are great for snacking on the go or traditional jars ideal for feeding the entire group at the campground. The nut butters come in tasty flavors like chocolate peanut and power fuel seven nut seed blend (without peanuts).
Also, with the lowest mercury limit of any canned tuna, Safe Catch is the ideal quick protein for camping and eating mid-adventure. The wilderness lovers will appreciate that it is sustainably caught and artisan cooked without preservatives or additives. Pure tuna served in the great outdoors. Try a scoop of Safe Catch tuna on a cracker with sliced shallots and a squeeze of lime, or roll up in a tortilla and top with your favorite fresh ingredients.
Drink Hot Beverages Without the Caffeine
Hydration is important even in cold weather, so you’ll want to make sure you are still taking in plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Warm drinks not only warm your hands while holding the cup, but they can also raise your inner body temperature. But popular hot beverages like coffee and tea are diuretics that will dehydrate you. Choose drinks that are un-caffeinated like herbal teas, hot water with lemon and honey, hot chocolate, and apple cider to warm up.
If you are in need of some electrolytes to rehydrate your body after or during a day of adventure, try a Skratch Labs hot exercise sports drink.
Down vs. Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Your sleeping system is of course a key element to staying warm at night while camping and there are a lot of options for comfort. Don’t underestimate the value of a good foam pad, underneath an air mattress for supreme comfort and insulation from the cold ground. A tent engineered for all weather conditions and that is highly breathable is also important if you are tent camping. But we all know the coziest element of our sleep system is the sleeping bag. You might be wondering: should I buy a down or synthetic sleeping bag? That's a good question and the answer is: it depends.
If you know that you will be camping in dry conditions, a down-filled sleeping bag is superior for comfort and warmth. But—and that’s a big but, down does not retain heat when it’s wet. If you are camping in a damp climate a synthetic sleeping bags your best bet. Whether you choose a down or synthetic, make sure to purchase a sleeping bag with a temperature rated for colder weather than you expect to camp.
A cold sleeping bag can take some time to warm up with just your body heat, so pre-warming your bag is a nice way to get cozy at night. Boil water and put it in a watertight container. Place the hot water container in your sleeping bag 20 minutes before going to bed. (Let the water cool down a little and then double check that the container is completely sealed before putting it in your bag.)