Winter is coming up on us quickly this year and it seams like more and more folks are looking to get out and do some cold weather camping this year. Each year as more folks experiment with winter camping we get many questions about keeping warm as possible with our gear. The first steps is understanding how to stay warm in cold weather. Most of this comes down to understanding how humans stay warm more than the gear in your pack.
Here is my breakdown on priorities of warmth.
#1 be well hydrated. Blood flow is massively impacted by dehydration. Extremities and skin surface get chilled much quicker when your not as well hydrated.
#2 good calories balance between sugars, fats, carbs, and protein. Sugars warm you up, a piece of chocolate is great just before bed. Carbs and protein takes longer to break down and keeps the engine running. And fats like those in olive oil or butter can help to get the metabolic motor running.
#3 Clean, dry and and loose fitting clothes. Do not wear socks or base layers that fit tightly. If your socks are tight at all, even a little you are better off without them. Down socks can make a big difference in keeping the toes warm. As will a good warm hat.
#4 get up and take a leak when you need to rather than staying in the covers when you need to go. Your body has to maintain the warmth of that fluid and is expending energy on that. When you get up though take a drink of water, if your not in bear country (assuming you can keep food safe and readily accessible) a bite or two of chocolate and then hop back under the covers.
#5 Hot water bottle trick and or the cem hot packs. Put them someplace where they will help keep your core warm and pumping hot blood. I will sometimes put a hot cem pack on the small of my back near the kidneys if it gets really cold. You will be pumping good hot heat though your system.
Once you account for these 5 factors you will stay warmer than if you ignore these cold weather priorities.
Next up (and here is where Arrowhead Equipment is here to help) Keep your feet warm.
Insulate your lower legs with a high quality Foot Pad. A high quality foam foot pad can help to make a huge difference in your comfort. Cool feet will make you feel cold faster than most other areas. As your feet are the farthest from your core if they are chilled they are your body is pumping more blood flow to them to try and compensate and bringing that colder blood flow back to your core. Insulating your feet well from the cold will make a measurable difference in your comfort.
Keep your Head Warm. Our Bear Pillow gives you a warm spot to lay your head down nightly. A Cold noggin again will cool you down fast. Between a large surface area and very little muscle your head can chill in a hurry. Many underquilts are made to ride from your shoulders down, leaving your head exposed to the cold air below. One of our Pillows provides insulation and comfort to help you rest soundly through the long winter nights.
I hope that helps to keep you warm though the cold months.
Paul @ Arrowhead Equipment
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