Buying a series of sleeping bags for all types of weather is relatively unheard of in Australia. For most of the year it’s quite warm and even winter can be pretty mild, however sometimes it does get really cold which makes our 3-season sleeping bag feel like a thin blanket. I’ve you’ve ever been camping on a rainy winter’s night then you probably spent a good couple of hourstrying to make your sleeping bag warmer. Maybe your sleeping bag has gotten colder over the years?
It’s important to remember that sleeping bags are designed to prevent the loss of heat as opposed to trying to warm you up. So how can you do this on a freezing winter’s night?Rather than buying a 4-season sleeping bag just for a few weeks of freezing temperatures, we’ve decided to give you our top 7 tips to make your sleeping bag warmer on frosty nights.
Wash your old sleeping bag
One of the most common reasons why your sleeping bag seems colder than it was before is because it needs a good wash. The more you use your sleeping bag, the more moisture and oils from your skin get caught and cause the stuffing to clump together which prevents the it from ‘fluffing up’. By washing your sleeping bag properly, it will easily puff up and trap more air to create a toasty barrier between you and the cold air outside.
Air mattress/sleeping mat
Another reason why you haven’t been able to warm up in your sleeping bag is because your ‘yoga mat’ style sleeping mat doesn’t provide enough insulation. The ground gets very cold on chilly nights so it’s paramount that you bring an air mattress or sleeping mat that has a decent R rating. The R rating measures how well the material insulates and you should aim for a sleeping mat with at least an R4 for cold nights.
Buy a thermal liner
Arguably the best way to warm up a 2 or 3-season sleeping bag is to buy a removable thermal liner. Not only can you use them when camping, but they’re also great to use in hostels when you’re unsure of the cleanliness of the sheets! When the conditions are colder than your sleeping bag’s rating, a silk or cotton thermal liner will quickly warm you up. Not only do they keep you warm, but they also keep your sleeping bag clean and can be removed when needed.
Whenever you camp in cold conditions, you should always bring thermal underwear with you. Acting as a base layer, thermal underwear traps warmth directly against your skin and make an enormous difference in cold weather. It’s best to put them on at least an hour before you go to bed so your body is already warm once you get in your sleeping bag.
Cooking pasta for dinner? Instead of throwing out the boiling water, simply put it in a water bottle which you can place at the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep your feet (and body) warm. Don’t wait until you go to bed though, place the water bottle in your sleeping bag after dinner. You need to be careful not to kick the lid off in your sleep though, so ensure you close the water bottle tightly and place it inside a sock.
Speaking of pasta, eating a decent meal for dinner will keep your body warm during the night as it uses energy to digest your food. Carbohydrates are the best food types to keep your body burning fuel throughout the night. Be careful not to eat too much though, and don’t add too much garlic to your meal or you could wake up with indigestion!
Body warmth has been used for thousands of years to keep people warm during the night, so if you’re camping with your partner, consider purchasing a double sleeping bag which will keep you both much warmer. Also, sleeping on your side minimises the amount of contact you have with the ground which reduces the level of heat loss.
It really doesn’t matter how old your sleeping bag is, or if it’s not rated for the conditions you’ll be sleeping in, the above tips will ensure you get the best performance from your sleeping bag so you can get a good night’s sleep on those frosty winter nights.
If you need any camping gear or equipment to make your next trip more comfortable (or warmer!), get in touch with the professionals at TJM Australia by phoning 07 3865 9999.