Do you know that the temperature of your campsite can fall as low as 4 degrees Celsius or even below-freezing temperatures at night or early mornings? Little wonder why it suddenly gets really cold at night, and you realize that even though your feet are well tucked away in your sleeping bag, they’re still freezing!
Whether you’ve been camping for a while, or you simply love to set up your tent in the mountains or forest, you’ll know that the temperature of your surroundings can easily drop.
And regardless of when you decide to camp— whether summer or anytime between fall or spring, this situation cannot be avoided.
In this case, you must stay warm and safe from freezing temperatures as these may even lead to hypothermia.
Follow the tips that will be sharing in this article, and you’ll be able to overcome the issue of cold feet and turn your uncomfortable nights into pleasant ones!
The best method to keep your feet warm in a sleeping bag is to use the hot bottle cocoon, which simply involves preheating your water and pouring it in a water bottle, then placing it in your sleeping bag to warm it ahead your sleeping time.
This will keep your feet warm a good majority of the nights. Secondly, you can consider an internal camping tent heater or insulated pads to keep your feet warm all through the night.
You’ll agree with me that one of the biggest challenges one can face on camping trips, especially during cold winter months is keeping the feet warm.
Leaving your feet exposed may be the start of uncomfortable nights, and prolonged exposure to cold may also lead to numbness or tingling, or even frostbite.
The good news is, this whole situation can be prevented! And that is why we have made this guide to help you and your family stay warm through the cold nights.
Do you often have cold or frosty feet while camping? Do you find it difficult to sleep well in the wild? Carefully go through our ultimate guide to getting a warm foot this season, and you’ll be enjoying your camping trip in no time! Sound good? There’s even more!
How To Keep Feet Warm in a Sleeping Bag
There are several other ways by which you can keep your feet warm apart from the methods highlighted above.
If you don’t want to invest in new warm sleeping bags— as these are quite expensive— there’s always a solution. Below are some helpful tips that will help keep your tootsies warmer in a sleeping bag, all through your trip!
1. Start Warm and Stay Warm
The first step to keeping your feet warm is by starting your trip with layers of warm clothing.
Instead of exposing your feet by wearing causal footwear, you should invest in warm boots, liners, insoles, and other essentials, so that you won’t have to work overtime before you keep them heated or attain that temperature equilibrium that you desire.
You’ll find out that this goes a long way in keeping your feet warm all through your trip. It gets a bit trickier during winter though, but you can just put the liners and insoles inside your sleeping bag at night as it gets colder.
2. Dress Your Feet
It’s safe to assume that you wouldn’t leave your tent in freezing weather while wearing thin clothing; you also wouldn’t go to bed without properly layering your body.
Well, the same applies to your feet right before you go to sleep as well. You must not go to bed without wearing socks. Thicker and bigger socks are known to trap warm air next to your skin while providing enough insulation.
Be sure to invest in lightweight wicking socks, lightweight wool socks, and medium to heavyweight wool socks that will keep your feet warm throughout the night.
Another effective method will be to wear your pair of wicking socks underneath your wool socks to form layers that will help accumulate warm air in between, which will keep your feet warm.
Just like the layering system you use for your body, apply the same to your feet. In fact, in colder temperatures, you may want to consider two to three layers of stockings for your feet.
Additionally, always remember to have an extra pair of socks in your backpack in case you end up drenching them in sweat.
3. Use A Better Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags come in different grades, and picking the best one is very essential for keeping your feet warm.
Some sleeping bags come with thin linings and are not suitable for colder temperatures. Before you select the right sleeping bag, look out for the temperature rating, thickness, and style.
The mummy-style sleeping bag is highly recommended by many experts as this is more effective, and is capable of eliminating any space that may allow cold air to get in.
As for the temperature rating, go for a sleeping bag with a temperature rating lower than what you would expect during your vacation.
Always opt for synthetic filling as this will prevent the build-up of moisture. In case of moisture accumulation, always remember to properly dry your sleeping bag.
And for extremely cold temperatures, you should consider a goose-down sleeping bag, as they tend to be warmer than the others.
4. Choose The Right Sleeping Pad
If you know you’ll be camping in a cold campsite or a colder temperature, then you should consider getting warmer sleeping gear, such as a sleeping pad.
Of course, you’ll need your sleeping bag, but it is usually incomplete without the right sleeping gears. You can have a warm 4-seasons sleeping bag and still be cold if your sleeping pad is bad. A good sleeping pad will help you stay warm at night.
Sleeping pads are a necessity because not only do they act as an insulating barrier against the cold floors but they also keep you cozy and warm all through the nights. This way, the ground doesn’t suck all the heat from the tent and also from your body.
Additionally, sleeping pads come with a feature known as the R-value, which is only a measure of how much insulation they offer. A good sleeping pad will have an R-value of at least 2 or 3. Anything less than this is not very warm and should be avoided.
5. Spread Extra Clothing for Your Underfoot
As you already know, your feet get cold more easily than other parts of your body since they are at the extreme ends of the body, and are further away from the heart.
Even inside a sleeping bag, they remain far from the body’s core— which is the major source of heat and tends to get colder easily. Also, if the ground underneath your sleeping pad is cold, your feet can get colder.
In this case, you can keep your feet warm by piling some extra clothing under the foot end of your sleeping bag. That way, you’ll be providing more insulation against the cold floor and it’ll be comfier to sleep in.
6. Use Bag Liners
Another way to keep your feet warmer in your sleeping bag is by raising the temperature in the bag by a few degrees. How do you do this?
A quality sleeping bag will definitely keep you warm and give you that temperature equilibrium that you want, however, you can make it even warmer by using a bag liner.
Even the slightest changes will make a big difference, so raising the temperature of your sleeping bag by 2° Fahrenheit will go a long way.
You’re wondering what a bag liner is? A bag liner is simply a lightweight material that is used to line your sleeping bag to make it warmer.
But that’s not all; bag liners also help to prolong the life of the sleeping bag by acting like a protective layer against dirt, abrasions, and wears. These liners are capable of adding extra degrees of warmth rating to your bag and will help make your feet and body warmer.
Good thing is, they’re even very affordable and can be purchased easily. So if you’re looking to increase the warmth around your feet, a bag liner is an option to consider.
7. Chemical Heat Packs
Chemical heat packs are a great source of heat, and they are made of chemicals such as calcium chloride which are generally known to emit heat.
These heat packs are lightweight, easy to carry about, very cheap, and are effective for keeping your feet warm for hours. If you hear the word “chemical”, you might think that these heating gears are harmful; however, chemical heat packs have no side effects whatsoever and are sold for less than 20 dollars.
The only problem is that this pack can only keep the feet warm for about 2 hours and nothing more. So you have to get 4 or 5 to last you for the night, and you also have to switch them at intervals.
All these might seem like a lot to do, but if you don’t mind they can be quite effective in keeping your feet warm.
8. Your Food
I don’t even know why I have made this last on the list when it should probably be among the first few. This is because, the kind of foods you eat while camping in cold weather is very important in helping you stay warm— or not.
Once in your sleeping bag, your body becomes the major source of heat, and the bag is designed in such a way that it can contain the heat that the body emits.
What you may not know is that this heat generated is a by-product of the reactions that occur in the body.
So eating food that is high in fat right before you go to bed would definitely fuel the body’s furnace all through the night, allowing you to enjoy a warm and cozy night.
It is also recommended to bring along some easy-to-eat snacks such as a candy bar, dark chocolate, or hot drinks with lots of sugar in them, just in case you suddenly feel cold in the middle of the night. These will help give your body that energy boost it needs to reheat itself.
9. Clean Up
After every hiking day or a day in the mountains, wash off the dried sweat from your body as this can act as a heat conductor once it gets colder.
Once this occurs, your body gets more chilled and your body temperature may drop. Cleaning up right after you sweat will make you feel much better.
You may even decide to swim in lakes or splash some water all over your body, or at least wet a small towel or other cloth (wet wipes can also do the trick) to wipe yourself clean and dry.
You may not think that they are necessary but pajamas are worth bringing along on your camping trip. One of the main benefits of sleeping in your pajamas rather than your regular clothes is that you won’t have to endure the smell from the stinky clothes you hiked in all day.
Another reason why PJs are essential is that your daytime clothes may be a bit wet even though they don’t appear so, since they trap some condensation and sweat from your body.
Wearing damp clothes to sleep will only make your body lose heat and become colder.
Dirty clothes don’t breathe as well so you might feel colder wearing them to sleep. However, your dry and clean pajamas will keep you warm— especially when you wear those made from wooly materials.
11. Snuggle With Your Partner
Now, this boils down to body warmth as some people naturally have more body warmth than others. If you’re sharing your tent with a partner who does not get cold easily, you can ask them to sleep on the windward side of the tent.
If they have more body warmth than you do, position your sleeping bag close to theirs to benefit from their body heat.
In case you have two warm-sleeping partners, you can ask to sleep between them or better still, move your sleeping bag close together to keep warm.
Personally, I like to cuddle my little brother when we go camping in the cold seasons. There isn’t much room, but we both warm up quickly and benefit from each other’s body heat.
He’s like my little space heater lol. Just find a method that works for you!
Understanding What Happens To Your Body When It Gets Colder
It is important to know that certain changes occur in the body when it gets colder. While these changes may seem normal, there are actually some reasons behind them.
When the temperature of your surroundings drops, the body immediately responds to this by decreasing the blood flow to the feet and hands, hence the reason why your extremities are often the first to get cold.
This change is simply the body’s way of protecting your vital organs in the body since the feet and hands are disposable parts that the body can survive without.
However, the heat can be redistributed if the body is properly layered and other measures are made to keep the feet warm. This way, the blood will begin to flow to the extremities, and heat is then produced.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is It Warmer to Sleep Naked in a Sleeping Bag?
The implied answer to this is NO. No, it is not warmer to sleep naked in a sleeping bag. There’s a myth that sleeping naked in a sleeping bag will keep you warmer than wearing long underwear; I really don’t know how this even started but it is very wrong.
Sleeping bags are designed to trap the heat that your body generates and prevent them from escaping. By wearing some clothes when you sleep, you increase the insulation between your body and the cold air outside.
This automatically makes you warmer than exposing your body when you sleep naked.
2. Does Putting Plastic Bags on Your Feet Keep Them Warm?
Experts have actually found another way to keep the feet warm. Cold-weather cyclist claim that placing a piece of paper or cardboard under your foot, or wrapping plastic bags around the foot before putting on a shoe can help keep the feet warmer.
Some even argue that wearing about 2 layers of nylon before an outer layer of socks works very effectively.
Although I haven’t tried this method I understand how it can work in keeping the feet warm. However, there might be a case of the feet sweating because nylons do not have pore space and cannot absorb moisture.
3. Do sleeping Bags Lose Warmth Over Time?
It’s totally normal for sleeping bags to lose warmth after some time. How long your sleeping bag stays warm depends on how frequent you use it, how you maintain and care for it, how hard you are on it, and the storage method.
If you’ve been using your sleeping bag for over a year or two, it will naturally flatten out and lose its fluffiness as well as its warmth.
When this occurs, the insulation power or rate also reduces since it can’t trap as much warm air as it used to, to keep you warm.
The bottom line is; your sleeping bag— just like a regular pillow— can flatten out and lose its heat rating over time.
This is why you must store it properly in such a way that it breathes and goes back into a limp bag. If you think you’ve been using it long enough, you might want to consider a new sleeping bag.
4. Are There Sleeping Bags For Feet?
There are different foot-warming gears available on Amazon. These foot warmer heating pads look very similar to a mini sleeping bag, only that they are made for the feet to keep them warm in cold weather.
The foot warmer heating pad comes in form of a pouch where you can slip your feet into, and it is intended for people suffering from poor circulation and other health conditions, as well as cold floors.
There are even designed to fit two, so it also saves you the stress of deciding who the coldest is. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about your extremities— fingers, feet, nose— getting cold.
Sleeping bags are essential in keeping you warm. However, your extremities tend to be colder once the temperature of your surrounding begins to drop.
When this occurs, you might begin to experience numbness, tingling, or even frostbite. This is why you must always keep your feet warm.
All the tips that we shared above will help you stay warm even on the coldest nights, and will help you enjoy a comfortable trip.
At the end of the day, it’s only ideal to be prepared for any situation or emergency while in the wild.
Pack your water bottles and fresh cotton socks to keep your feet warm, always have your clothes on, consider sleeping pads and other heating options, and only eat hot foods and drinks, as well as high-calorie foods right before going to bed.
Finally, avoid low-quality sleeping bags that lose their warmth very quickly, and always go for bags with good ratings.