Cold Weather Camping is not just about Winter, but Spring and Fall many times also see harsh temperatures as well. My coldest campout was many years ago in mid March when the temperature dipped down to the teens after several weeks of 60° F weather.
Here are some tips when camping in cold, or potentially cold temperatures, without buying a bunch of specialized equipment.
- Layers, Layers, Layers
This is crucial for body and legs. The more thin layers, the more you "trap" the heat near your body and retain the warmth.
- Do Not Sweat
This will make your skin damp and put a moist layer next to your body, which is disaster once you cool down. If this happens, change clothes and put on DRY garments
- Use Two Sleeping Bags
Two 3-season bags with one inside the other will take you to single digit temperatures without having to buy one expensive below zero rated bag. I many times use two sleeping bags with a flanel liner... that's like 2½ bags.
- Use two sets of gloves
One for keeping warm with, the other when working. You will perspire when you work, which makes the "work" gloves moist inside. Once you stop working that moisture will make you cold... so switch to "warm" pair. Don't forget when you start working again to put the "work" pair back on.
- Store your water containers upside down at night
Water freezes at the top, so flip water bottles upside down so when you are ready to use them the next day the ice will be on the bottom when you right side the bottles again.