After a good day of hiking, once in his sleeping bag, we only dream of one thing: a good night’s rest warm. Still, it does not always happen like that. Who has not had an unpleasant feeling of cold that prevents him/her from sleeping or waking up during the night?
Without a heat source nearby, it’s hard to warm up once you’re cold and a night of shivering in the bottom of your sleeping bag is not the most relaxing night. This problem is common and, is partly related to the fact that on the hike one usually has to wear one’s sleeping bag and one tries to optimize one’s weight – one cannot take the comforter that one typically uses at home.
However, this is not the only cause; there are good practices to optimize the feeling of warmth once in his sleeping bag and some practices that it is better to avoid the risk of spending a night to be cold, even with a “warm” sleeping bag. Below are the 12 ways in which you can spend a warm night in your sleeping bag:
1. Have a suitable sleeping bag
It is not enough to choose the temperature indicated by the manufacturer for an overnight stay warm. The insulation of your sleeping bag must be adapted to the weather conditions, so this is the first thing to consider. Without a minimum of insulation, the following tips do not allow for “miracles.” That said, as we will see, the sleeping bag is not the only way to isolate oneself from the cold.
The size of the sleeping bag is also essential; a sleeping bag too small will be compressed and will not isolate well while a sleeping bag too big will have cold spots.
2. Unfold your sleeping bag as soon as possible
To reduce their size once stored in the backpack, the sleeping bags are usually compressed. That’s why when you prepare your “bed,” try to unfold your sleeping bag as soon as possible to give it time to recover from its emotions and re-inflate. It should be kept in mind that it is the air trapped in the lining (down or synthetic fibers) that insulates from the cold.
3. Isolate yourself from the cold of the ground
It is almost indispensable for not being cold unless the soil is hot enough – which is quite rare. You should know that under the weight of your body, the sleeping bag is crushed, trapped little air and can not isolate much of the cold soil.
The perfect method to do this is by using a mattress, but it can also be done using natural means too, such as by putting twigs or ferns under his shelter or by choosing to pitch a tent on thick, dry grass rather than on mineral soil.
4. Dress properly
Dressing well does not mean stacking all the clothes you have on hand. We must focus on dry garments, breathable, and respect the first two layers of the system of 3 layers. This often results in long undergarments in synthetic or merino wool on the skin and possibly a fleece or equivalent on top if it is not enough (high and low). Be careful not to get too dressed at the risk of sweating in your clothes and getting cold afterward.
5. Use a bag sheet
As long as we talk about insulation, know that it is possible to use a sheet of the bag inside its sleeping bag, preferably silk and not cotton to gain a few degrees if necessary. This also makes it possible not to dirty your sleeping bag and to preserve its performances. There are also thermal bag sheets that save more than a few degrees and allow more versatility.
6. Cover your head
You probably know that the head removes much of the body heat. If you are cold, try to cover your head with a hat, the hood of your sleeping bag or even a turban made with a garment – the “heat gain” is always surprising.
7. Warm up your feet
Some people have difficulty sleeping with cold feet. If you are in this case, you probably know it. Therefore, do not hesitate to sleep with socks quite “hot” and to rub your feet to warm them.
8. To urinate if necessary
We stay in glamor, but it’s for a good cause: a good night’s warm. When you’re inside your sleeping bag, and you want to urinate, the first reflex is to say “it will wait” because we think of the path of the fighter by which it will have to pass.
The body consumes much of energy, keeping the urine warm while it could use that energy to warm other parts of your body. That’s why It is advisable you find the courage to pull yourself out of your sleeping bag and carry out your mission.
For men, there is an alternative that needs to be negotiated with your teammate if you have one: use a container to avoid going outside if you sleep in a tent. Be careful not to spill; we have seen that moisture is not welcome.
9. Protecting yourself from the wind
The wind factor is something not to neglect at night. Try to guide yourself from the wind and avoid drafts – which “push” warm air away from you. During a camp, choose your location strategically according to the wind and shelters/windbreaks available. If you sleep in a tent with a double roof, also think of stretching the outer fabric to leave an insulating air space between the inner material and the double ceiling. Do not forget to close the tent either; it is a mess to spend a freezing night to realize in the morning that the entrance has remained open – something already experienced.
10. Optimize the excellent position in his sleeping bag
Here, we concentrate on a point that may seem ridiculous, but all those who have spent cold nights will understand whats this mean because the difference between a good night and a bad night is sometimes not very important in these conditions.
Most hiking sleeping bags are narrow and fitted to avoid cold spots. They are also made to rotate with the sleeping bag and not in the sleeping bag. In the same way, if you sleep together (very likely if it’s cold), do not a group in the sleeping bag, but group the sleeping bag with you. The goal is to avoid compressing the sleeping bag in some places where the cold may enter.
11. Limit air exchange between inside and outside
Limit air exchange between indoor and outdoor – sleeping bag If too much air circulates between the outside, and the inside of the sleeping bag, the energy spent on heating the air inside the sleeping bag is not very useful. It’s like when a person comes in a bed and lifts the quilt a bit hard.
To limit the air exchange, the idea is to use the collar and or hood available in some sleeping bags and adjust them with the help of the drawstrings. If you do not have a collar, you can try to make a “cap” by wearing a garment in a sling. The idea is to have only the nose and mouth on the outside of the sleeping bag.
12. Increase your body temperature before going to bed
If you’re getting a little cold before going to sleep or planning a refreshing night’s sleep, It is advisable to try to raise your body temperature (without sweating) before going to sleep – the idea is not to lose it between hiking and bedtime. This will enable you to fall asleep faster, and it is usually easier to do so before getting into your sleeping bag. All meals are excellent; you can run on the spot, jump, dance, gesticulate, etc.
Once in your sleeping bag, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to warm up, try to contract all the muscles of your body (or a maximum) for a few seconds then relax, then contract, etc. This will produce a little energy that will warm you up.
In conclusion, If you read this content, I believe it allows you to spend warm nights in your sleeping bag to get off to a good start the next day.