If you’re an experienced camper who’s been accustomed to the outdoors for years, it might be time to look for a new adventure. You may have considered camping in cold weather with all its challenges.
As you probably know, tent camping in 20, 30, and 40-degree weather requires special arrangements. You’ll need to pay close attention to your tent type, gear, clothing, and more to ensure your comfort and a good night’s sleep.
For this reason, we’ve created this guide to help you understand what you should do in each one of these scenarios.
The first thing you should know about camping in 20-degree weather is that it definitely isn’t easy. It’s not for beginners. You must have a strong camping background, especially in cold weather, to ensure your safety.
If you aren’t equipped with appropriate gear or aren’t aware of the right mannerisms you should follow in this weather, you can face multiple issues. For instance, not staying warm enough in 20-degree weather might lead to frostbite.
Now, let’s discuss how you can prevent this from happening.
To test the quality of your gear and how it can withstand the weather, you must use it at warmer temperatures first. Therefore, it’s best if you start camping in 30 or 40-degree weather to make sure all your equipment will be able to protect you.
As a result, when you camp at 20-degree weather, you’ll be prepared to some extent.
Before picking up your tent or sleeping bag, you must focus on what you’ll be wearing. In this weather, even a sleeping bag that’s designed for cold weather might not be enough to keep you warm.
Invest in a high-quality thermal base layer and a breathable mid-layer to trap your body warmth. Make sure that they’re made of wool or fleece, but stay away from cotton. It absorbs the moisture, which will result in you feeling colder.
We also recommend that you consider getting the following products.
Pro tip: Remember to check the rating of each product to make sure it matches this temperature. To be more certain, you can go for clothes rated for lower than 20-degree weather.
Most people would go for a 4-season tent to make sure that it withstands this weather. However, a tent only works to keep you safe from harsh winds, snow, or rain. It might not be able to chase the cold away.
Yet, there are a few things you need to consider before buying your tent if you intend to camp in 20-degree weather.
Don’t go for a large tent. This extra room will take a long time to warm up, which equals a restless night. Instead, go for a small tent that will trap your body heat and, therefore, make your sleep easier.
Even though a single-wall tent might be fine to use in summer, it might not be the best option for camping in 20-degree weather.
This is because one-layer tents don’t have much ventilation. Therefore, condensation will form inside, which means extra moisture that could make you feel colder.
For this reason, you may want to pick a tent with 2-layer walls and enough ventilation to keep that from happening.
As we previously mentioned, camping in such conditions requires you to trap as much body heat as possible to remain warm. Therefore, sleeping on a mattress isn’t an option, nor is using any type of sleeping bag.
Instead, you’d better invest in a mummy sleeping bag. Let’s find out how you can pick the right one for this weather.
If you take a look at sleeping bags for cold weather, you’ll notice that each one has a rating. These ratings should let you know which one is right for which temperature.
Still, even with a suitable rating, camping in 20-degree weather might be too cold to count on only one bag. So, we suggest that you sleep in two sleeping bags, one rated for 15-degree weather and the other convenient for 30-degree weather.
Another thing you can do to make yourself warmer is to drape a few blankets over your sleeping bag. In this weather, you may want to focus on heavy blankets instead of breathable ones.
While this weather is still cold to make you uncomfortable at night, it might be easier to manage than 20-degree weather.
Let’s find out how you can do this.
In this weather, you’ll still need to layer up to keep the cold at bay.
Wear a suitable base layer and mid-layer, but make sure they aren’t too heavy to make you sweat. If that happens, this added moisture will eventually cool up and make you feel cold.
We also advise you to bring along your gloves, hat, earmuffs, socks, and sweatpants. Yet, when it comes to a jacket, you might want to limit your choices to a raincoat and a light jacket.
This is because it usually gets warmer during the day.
Like we’ve previously discussed, it’s the size and design of the tent that you should be looking for. It shouldn’t be spacious not to allow cold drafts inside or take forever to become warmer.
Also, make sure that it comes with proper ventilation to prevent condensation. Plus, if you’re camping with your friends or family members, each person’s body warmth should keep you all warm and cozy.
When camping in 30-degree weather, you won’t need to be wrapped in two sleeping bags. Instead, you can sleep in one and combine it with a sleeping bag liner or a sleeping pad.
We suggest that you go for a bag that’s rated for below 30-degree weather. This way, you’ll be sure of its ability to keep you warm at night.
Another tip that you might find handy is to never choose a sleeping bag that’ll make you too warm. Buying a product that’s designed for, let’s say, 0-degree weather will cause you to sweat.
When your sweat cools up, you’ll start to feel cold again.
At nighttime, 40 degrees can be described as cold. However, you should be able to camp in your tent without having to wear multiple layers or invest in heavy gear.
Remember that a temperature of 40-something degrees is still cold enough that you’ll need to stick to your base and mid-layers. You can also grab your favorite fleece PJs along with your socks, gloves, and hat.
However, you can go for lightweight versions instead of heavy wool. Besides, you’ll probably need a light jacket or hoodie for the crisp winds.
Instead of wearing too many layers during sleep and risking becoming too hot, you can wear fewer clothes and get inside a reliable sleeping bag.
Make sure that your tent size matches the number of people on your camping trip. As long as you don’t leave much space in your tent for air drafts, you should be able to get warm pretty quickly.
Plus, don’t forget that ventilation is key for a dry tent interior.
Pro tip: If it becomes colder later into the night, you may want to keep a hot water bottle next to you.
When camping in 40-degree weather, you’ll only probably need to buy a mummy sleeping bag. Just remember to pay attention to its rating.
You might not need the additional warmth of a sleeping bag liner. Yet, you may prefer to use a sleeping pad as a barrier between you and the cold, hard ground.
It’s also a good idea to pack a light blanket in case it gets colder at night.
Pro tip: Don’t sleep with your head inside the sleeping bag. Your own vapor will create moisture around your head, which will make you cold. Instead, you can wear a hat.
Tent camping in 20, 30, or 40-degree weather might not be easy, especially for beginners. You must have enough knowledge of how to set up your tent in these conditions to keep it from falling down.
As a general rule, the success of your experience depends on your clothing, camping gear, and tent type. It isn’t about buying the most expensive products, but rather about making sure that everything you get has the right rating.
Last but not least, here’s a piece of advice that you should keep in mind. Remember to always check the weather forecast before going camping. Knowing all the details about your camping spot will help you plan for your stay.