Despite Australia’s reputation for being a really hot place, which it certainly can be at times, it gets really cold if you go camping during winter.
No one likes being outside in uncomfortably cold weather, which deters a lot of people out there from doing some winter camping.
But there are ways you can go out and enjoy camping as you would during the warmer times of the year but not freeze your bum off either.
Mars Campers can recommend some really effective tips for you to keep warm while camping in winter if you’re staying in a camper trailer.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself and not have to deal with the cold weather the hard way.
This tip is a very obvious one, but it needs to be said. Generally speaking, it’s not hard to start a campfire, but it’s harder to do it in a cold environment.
This is because objects outdoors are damper than they would be in warmer weather.
Unfortunately, this means that the wood you would use to light a campfire is damper too, as it retains moisture.
When you first arrive at your campsite, find a suitable spot for you to make a campfire. Many campsites have an established fire pit, but if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have to build one with rocks.
Don’t light the fire near any trees, plants, or low-hanging branches so they don’t catch fire, and definitely away from your shelter.
Try to collect the wood at the start of your trip, as it will have time to dry making it better to use to start the campfire. Using wet wood will create a lot of smoke, which is very annoying and makes it difficult to cook.
You should also gather dry kindling, like sticks, twigs, and large pieces of bark that will help keep the campfire going.
The main reason you’re going camping to begin with is to explore the great outdoors. Australia has countless scenic locations for you to explore all year round, as every place has something unique to offer at different times of the year.
For winter camping, you must stay warm and dry. Wearing layers of warm, bulky clothes are vital for ensuring you stay both warmth and comfort for when you are outside exploring the outdoors. A good rule of thumb is about three layers.
For starters, with the base layer, which is the underwear layer that you wear directly on your skin, you should consider wearing fabrics like wool or polyester that keep perspiration away from the skin. If you’re going winter camping, midweight long underwear is ideal.
The middle layer you put on is your insulating layer that retains body heat. These thick clothes are often made from merino wool or insulating synthetics. Fleecy jackets and pants are great, as well as thick socks, will keep you warm throughout your trip.
For your outer layer, make sure you are wearing a waterproof jacket and pants. They should be fully waterproof, as opposed to being just water-resistant, as you can suffer from a serious chill if moisture gets into your inner layers.
This will also help you fight the elements, specifically against rain, wind and snow — for more on the best places to see snow check this out. Keep in mind that these clothes should also be breathable to allow the perspiration around your based layer to escape.
Obviously, it’s colder at night than during the daytime. Therefore, if you’re out camping during winter, then you must make sure that the sleeping bag you bring with you is top notch.
Trust us, you really don’t want to be staying out in the middle of nowhere and shivering in the tent attached to your camper trailer when you’re trying to sleep.
Before you go camping, make sure you have the right type of sleeping bag to help you sleep in the type of environment you’ll be staying in.
Look up the type of overnight temperatures your camping destination experiences so you can prepare yourself. Also, make sure the sleeping bag you buy is made for winter use, not summer use.
A down sleeping bag is great for providing insulation. However, if you’re likely to experience damp conditions at the place you’re going to, then using a synthetic sleeping bag would be better.
Using silk or thermal sleeping bag liners can help keep you feeling extra warm too, and they don’t add much bulk to what you have packed either.
Sleeping bags have a rating system to show how well insulated it is, therefore how warm you should feel when sleeping in it. Look at these to know what a sleeping bag can offer you.
Besides wearing the right clothes throughout the day, you’ll need to be prepared to wear something that will keep you warm during those freezing cold nights.
Fleecy or wool pyjamas are the best option to wear for winter camping. Like with your daytime clothes, layering is highly recommended.
How many layers you want to put on is up to you, as that will depend on how strongly you naturally feel cold weather, as well as what the temperature is and the quality of your sleeping bag.
But in any case, wearing merino wool will certainly help. Don’t wear anything cotton as that will absorb moisture.
Besides all that, wearing a zip-up hoody, thick wool socks, and a beanie are also good ideas. Using a hot water bottle cannot be recommended enough for sleeping out in the cold as well to get warm quickly.
Besides wearing sleepwear that will keep you warm, try to get yourself warmed up before you go to sleep.
Although your sleeping bag may be the best available, you should get your body warmed up before hopping in. Otherwise, you’ll still feel cold throughout the night.
The solution is quite simple really; just do some easy exercise to warm up. Go outside and do about 50 star jumps, go for a walk, or jog in place. If you have kids, they could play chasey, which will make it fun for them.
Try your best not to get sweaty though, as that will make you feel uncomfortable while you sleep.
Doing any of these will increase your core temperature, which will really help you when you want to get a good night’s sleep, no matter how cold it is out there.
Some animals are known to eat a lot before hibernating during the winter so they can keep warm while they sleep throughout the cold season. When you’re winter camping, you should do the same thing and eat a lot before going to sleep.
Eating a hot, fatty meal will help to keep you feeling warm for the night. This is because your body will generate heat while digesting food, and fat is metabolised slower than carbs are, meaning the warmth it produces will last longer.
Meal ideas that are perfect for this are bangers and mash, mac and cheese, soup, tea, and hot chocolate.
Another way to think of it is that you should eat about 500–1,000 calories per day in order to keep warm.
Once you’ve gone to sleep after eating a big meal, your body has processed it and burns through a high number of calories so it can build up body heat that will get your warm and comfy when you’re out in the cold.
Plan what foods you will eat with this in mind before you leave home.
You should pack some sugary snacks with you too to eat as a snack at night. These include chocolate, lollies, energy bars, and anything similar. These will help increase your warmth.
However, make sure you these snacks are stored in your bag, or even with you in your sleeping bag, as they can get rock hard and inedible if left out in the cold.
Having said that, try not to eat too many sugary treats. Besides being unhealthy, sugar will only give a fast spike up of energy and warmth. Eventually, your body temperature will suddenly drop and cause you to possibly feel even colder than you were before.