How to Sleep Warm When Backpacking and Camping

Being cold while camping or backpacking isn’t fun for anyone. It can quickly ruin an otherwise great trip. If you’re someone who consistently gets cold when you’re trying to sleep in the backcountry,you know this first hand. Before shelling out money for a warmer sleeping bag, try one or more of these tips to help you sleep warmer.  

tent in snowy conditions.

Sleep Clothing

Wearing thick or bulky clothing seems like a good idea, but bundling up can prevent you from getting warm in a sleeping bag.. Try sleeping in a good base layer and one or two pairs of socks. 


Do a few jumping jacks before climbing into your sleeping bag. It doesn’t need to be jumping jacks, any exercise will work. You don’t want to work up a sweat, that’ll make you colder, just do enough to warm yourself a little before going to bed. 

Down Booties

If your feet never seem warm enough, try a pair of down booties. THey’re more insulating than socks and many people find that they’re the secret ingredient to keeping toes toasty warm. 

Eat something

Snickers bar is good fuel to sleep warmer in cold weather

No fuel= no fire. Carbohydrates will cause your body to produce heat as it turns carbs into fuel. Try eating something like a Snickers or a few packets of peanut butter before bed. 

Try Hand/Foot Warmers

Adding hand or foot warmers to your toe box can add some much needed warmth to your feet. They can also be used in your thigh or shoulder areas. 

Add a Hot Water Bottle

Dont want to buy or carry extra gear? Ditch the warmers and just use your water bottle. You can put boiling water in a nalgene bottleand toss it into your bag. MAke sure it’s sealed tightly first! You can also put hot water in a normal water bottle and place the bottle into a sock for the same effect. 

Use Your Down Jacket

A down jacket doubles as extra insulation

No, don’t wear it. Wearing it will compress the down on your bottom side making it ineffective. Instead, tuck it over your torso, inside your bag, to add an extra layer of down insulation.

Check Your Sleeping Pad

A quality sleeping pad is necessary to put insulation between your body and the cold ground. THe higher the R value, the warmer it will be. You can also try doubling up your sleeping pads, though this doesn’t always work well due to sliding.  

Try a Bag Liner For Extra Warmth

A sleeping bag liner does more than help keep your sleeping bag clean. THe right liner can add to the temperature rating of your bag. Liners come in a variety of materials ranging from silk to fleece. It shouldn’t be hard to find one that’s comfortable for you. 

Keep Your Face Out of Your Sleeping Bag

Putting your face in your sleeping bag causes moisture from your breath to enter the bag. Moist air zaps heat and is hard to warm up. Keep your mouth and nose outside the bag to stay warmer. If your face is cold, you can wear a scarf or balaclava to keep it warm. 

Do you have a trick for staying warm on your backpacking trips? I’m that person that is always cold, and I’d love to hear it! Shoot me an email and tell me how you do it.