Keeping warm at night in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Few moments tick by slower then a long, cold night. Here’s a few tips to keep you warm and toasty on your next camp out.

Insulate your body against the ground – You lose a lot of heat through conduction. Depending on the time of year or the trip, take two sleeping pads. A foam pad on the ground and your blow-up pad on top of that makes a pretty cushy pad. If you’re traveling lighter, lay down the clothes you’re not using and place your pad on top of that. If you have a ¾ length sleeping pad place your backpack at your feet to keep your legs off the ground.

Many inflatable pads have differing R-values, so check that out. Another good tip is to re-inflate your pad before you go to sleep. You use hot air during the day to inflate your pad. As the air cools down at night your pad will deflate perhaps leaving you on the ground.

When choosing a sleeping bag look at the EN number. This is a more accurate representation of what temperatures the bag will keep you warm at. Down bags tend to be warmer and lighter, but are expensive and don’t do as well in wet conditions. Synthetic bags are less expensive and do better in humid environments but are bulkier. You can also bulk up an old bag by adding a liner. During the fall I line my bag with a light 40degree bag and stay pretty comfortable that way.

Use a hot water bottle or hand warmers in your sleeping bag. These can give off delicious heat at your feet, butt or arm-pits. Hand-warmers often run upto 8 hrs., plus you don’t have to worry about spilling them.

Keep your head warm. Everyone knows we lose a lot of heat through our heads, but we really do lose a lot of heat through our heads. So keep that puppy bundled and those gaping earholes covered.

Use your sleeping bag properly. Zip it up, flip the hood over and cinch it down.

Last but not least….GO PEE. Don’t lay there and think about how cold you will be if you get out of your bag. Your body is spending a lot of energy keeping all that liquid at 98.6 degrees. Just go for it, you’re always glad you do.

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