Not everyone has the money to upgrade their sleeping bag, so a lot of the times we have to make do with what we already have.
I’m going to explain to you inside this article – exactly how to make your sleeping bag warmer.
Most of the time we don’t expect the extreme cold temperatures that the chilly nights give us, and other times we think our sleeping bag is going to be good enough for when they do come.
But of course this is never the case. Learn my favorite techniques that I always use when I’m about to camp through a cold night.
Wear A Hat
The easiest way to combat the extreme heat loss (through our head) is to wear a beanie.
You can then enjoy the benefits of having a snug hat on your head to help you feel toasty warm during the chilly night.
Wear A Balaclava
If you are still feeling cold after putting on a beanie, you should also consider wearing a balaclava.
Since a lot of our heat is lost through our head AND the ground, it’s only necessary to ensure our head is properly insulated too.
Wear Socks (But Not Too Tight)
Yes you can wear socks, but keep in mind that you should only wear 1 pair, or 2 pairs if your socks aren’t the best.
If you wear more than 1 pair you might actually be cutting the blood circulation off to your feet, making them feel colder than if you only had one pair on.
Just make sure they aren’t too tight, if you do decide to wear 2 pairs, and it will be okay.
To avoid this from happening all together, you can always just wear one.
You should also leave space between your toes and your socks, keeping the heat trapped inside.
It’s like your socks having their own mini sleeping bag! No, that bad? Okay (lol).
You should be able to see a trend going on here.
And that’s because the secret is to cover up your sensitive areas as much as possible.
Implement these methods together with the ones outlined below and I guarantee you will feel so much warmer.
Neck, Head, Ankles, Hands/Wrists: Cover them up and you will notice a drastic improvement.
Eat Before Bed
Preferably carbohydrates. You’re probably asking: “how the hell does this keep us warm during the night?”.
Well our body burns fuel (food) as it heats us up. When we give our body more fuel we are making it easier for our body to keep us warm!
Keep Clothes Loose But Layered
Although it will be a better option to wear minimal clothing (a singlet or t-shirt, socks, and underwear).
You may still feel cold just from that small amount of clothing, especially if you are in really cold conditions. If you do decide to put extra clothes on, make sure you keep them loose.
90% of the population still don’t know why their expensive winter sleeping bag won’t keep them warm when it’s designed to do so.
A sleeping bag is designed to trap heat in and keep you feeling toasty warm.
When you wear a bunch of tight layers inside your sleeping bag you’re stopping the heat from hitting your skin.
So you are left feeling cold, while all the warm heat is floating around inside the sleeping bag.
A rule of thumb – You ARE allowed to wear a lot of layers, just make sure they are loose and allowing the heat to circulate throughout the bag and touch your skin.
Thermal underwear work incredibly well, they are the warmest pyjamas you will ever need while out camping in cold conditions.
That’s because they trap the heat and hold it up against your skin, making a massive difference than normal underwear or pyjamas.
Use A Hot Water Bottle
A hot water bottle works well. But if you can’t get your hands on one, simply use a drinking bottle and fill that up with hot water (making sure it’s absolutely leak-proof first!).
Place it inside a sock and you’re ready to go.
Put the drinking/water bottle between your legs, keeping your thighs warm.
That warmth travels down to your feet too. Yes, it really does 🙂
Double Up Your Sleeping Pad
You can get even warmer simply by using a self-inflating sleep pad in conjunction with a foam sleeping pad.
Furthermore, stuff some clothing or an extra blanket under it to provide more insulation.
To take it even further, you can place your backpack under your legs (this method works surprisingly well).
Use A Thermal Liner
You can push your sleeping bags temperature rating up by at least 10 degrees JUST by using a liner.
These are a great alternative, especially if you don’t want to pay for another sleeping bag.
Place A Blanket Over Top Of You
Why not put those extra blankets to good use? You can really increase the temperature by placing a blanket over top of you while you’re in the sleeping bag.
And keep one under your sleeping pad if you haven’t already.
If you only have one, I would recommend you keep it under your pad, not over top of you.
Share A Tent
This can significantly increase the amount of heat that gets trapped inside the tent.
When you share a tent with someone else, a lot of the heat gets trapped inside of it.
And when you have more people in the tent, more and more heat gets let off, ultimately making it easier to get warm 😀
Wash Your Sleeping Bag
Over time your sleeping bag will collect oils, moisture, dirt, making it look skimpier than it first did when you bought it.
If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to wash it.
This will restore it’s insulation abilities again, well most of it anyway.
And avoid storing the sleeping bag by folding it, I would rather you store it loose. That’s because too much compression on the bag can and will damage it over time.
My Final Thoughts
You don’t have to use every single insulation technique in this article.
Just remember, when you’re trying to keep warm in your sleeping bag you should really focus on the most important factors.
- Covering up your sensitive areas (head, neck, feet, hands)
- Putting an extra sleeping pad down
- Keeping your clothes loose but layered
- Having a hearty meal right before bedtime (this method works surprisingly well)
- Using an extra blanket or 2
If you follow and implement these tips above while the night is full of chill and cold winds, I have no doubts that you will be left feeling extra toasty inside your low-quality sleeping bag.
Because these methods have been used by me and thousands of other camp goers from around the world – you can’t get better than proven techniques!
Good luck out there.
Comment below and let me know what your favorite tip was 😀