Here’s a sleep myth that we can’t seem to dispel fast enough: When camping, it’s warmer to strip down to the birthday suit and snuggle into a sleeping bag than to sleep fully-clothed. We’re not sure how this pervasive snooze myth got started, but we (and outdoor experts) are here to say: it’s not true!
According to outdoor experts, nude is not warmer. And if you’re camping for more than a single night or so, staying warm and cozy is critical not just to having a good time, but also to staying safe and protecting yourself from the elements. But that’s not the only thing to watch out for while sleeping in the great outdoors. From our Sleep Experts to you, check out our 7 sleep tips for campers.
You hear about dressing for the cold all the time. It works in the sleeping bag, too. Unlike single layers of clothing (no matter how thick they are), layers of clothing help to trap heat and keep you warmer. This is especially true around your core – pay special attention to keeping your chest and mid-section covered and warm.
Stay Dry to Stay Warm
No matter how many layers of clothing you have on, if your clothes get wet (or even damp from humidity), that will pull heat away from the body and cause a dip in your overall body temperature. There’s not a whole lot you can do after your clothes have gotten wet (in this case and only this case, sleeping without clothes might be a warmer option), so make sure that you have at least one moisture-resistant top layer to go over your clothes. Another rule of thumb is to opt for materials that don’t pull heat away from the body. Avoid cotton and stick with polyester blends or even wool.
Buy the right bag.
Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the lowest temperature possible in the area where you’re camping. A summer sleeping bag won’t keep you warm on a winter night, and no matter how many layers you have on when you go to sleep, if your bag isn’t keeping the biting cold out, you’ll never get comfortable.
Get away from that hard, COLD ground. Sleeping directly or even with a thin layer on a cold surface, like dirt or rocks or even grass, will inevitably make you feel colder, too. An easy fix it to use an inflatable sleeping pad or a closed cell foam pad. This will enhance the warming of your bag, and you’ll have a better sleeping surface and a layer between you and the cold ground.
Your feet count.
Plenty of heat escapes our bodies through our extremities, with the most escaping through our heads and our feet. By keeping both covered and cozy, you’ll be able to better regulate your overall body temperature. An old-fashioned hot water bottle is fabulous, but if it’s not practical, take some of your extra clothing (nothing with moisture) and stuff the bottom of the bag. Your feet can burrow in and stay warm. This is especially true for women, whose extremities tend to be colder as your physiology works to keep your core and abdomen warmer.
Get ready for bed.
Even when you sleep, your body is using energy to stay warm – so you need calories to fuel your body temperature regulation even when you’re deep into your REM cycle. First, eat a snack for some extra energy to help your body keep warm throughout the night. Next, warm yourself up a little. Jog around the campsite or do a few jumping jacks. Do NOT work up a sweat! Just enough to warm up your inner core before snuggling in for a good night’s sleep.