Hello! So I just got back from Hume Lake in Sequoia NF and the temps dipped into the low 30’s (wasn’t on the menu!) and I could not stay warm. I always put a tarp under my tent, but I am thinking of putting an emergency blanket between the mesh top and rain fly. The bottom has air vents so I don’t think condensation will be an issue. Also, purchased soapstone to heat and put in the tent (on a grill pan). I have a cot which I just purchased a sleeping pad with an R value of 4. Not sure if I should double layer the tarp with an extra large emergency blanket under the tent. Any other ideas?
what degree rating is your sleeping bag?
32 degrees. Oh, I also just got camping booties and a balaclava. I’m going to look like a cat burglar.
haha a cat burglar who got tired halfway through and fell asleep. It seems like your bag was right on the edge of comfort for the temperature you were in. I feel like the simplest solution is to just wear more clothes to bed.
Yeah, for sure! What about the double tarp underneath? Will the reflecting pad make any difference?
I’d say double up on your sleeping pad, you only need the extra insulation where you’re sleeping. If you have an inflatable sleeping pad, maybe get a a foam pad and put that under it while you’re sleeping
I’ll let you know how it goes!!! thank you!!
Keeping your head covered will go a long way toward keeping you warm. Also, as Taylor mentioned, a warmer bag or add a sleeping bag liner. I used a bag liner for a camping trip to White Sands in December and it definitely helped with temps sub 30. If you’re car camping, and it sounds like you are, an easy/inexpensive way to add insulation value is an additional foam mattress topper.
White Sands has to be added to my list! Thanks, I haven’t thought about a liner, but I am bringing an extra wool blanket on the next trip which is elevation 5400 ft. I’m def. not a winter camper but in June where the temps were supposed to be in the 50’s at night, then weren’t, I got a great taste of it! I’m trying to retain warmer air in the tent without using a heater, so I’m looking at ways to insulate the tent. And make improvements to my sleep system. Any thoughts on putting an emergency blanket under the tent between the tent and tarp? I’ve also heard of people using tent candles but don’t want to get into anything that can catch fire, silently poison me or explode, lol! I’m also thinking of getting a little pop up tent to keep with my gear in case I find myself in this situation again, to have like a tent within a tent.
Oh, also, I saw your introduction… your set up is EXACTLY what I want… bike, kayak, teardrop, subaru! One day… one day…
Make sure your tent is ventilated so you don’t end up with condensation inside. That will make the cold even worse. You’ll notice that 4-season tents have a fly that comes down to the ground, often create a vestibule, etc. It provides extra protection from the wind and insulation, akin to your tent within a tent concept.
Wear warm, close fitting clothing - wool or fleece underwear, hats, etc. help. Don’t wear the same clothes you’ve worn during the day. Fill a water bottle with hot water and/or pre-warm your sleeping bag.
Some people also recommend a product called Reflectix for insulation. RVers will cut it to cover their windows. You can get it at the big box home improvement stores for about $10 for a 2’x10’ piece and use that on the bottom of your tent.
Awesome! I will be camping this weekend and see what happens!!! THANK YOU!!
Be sure to change your clothes before going to bed. Everything!
Put on dry clothes.
Your body produces moisture which builds up in your clothes. You may not notice it right away, but as the temperatures fall you will.
I’ve used a reflective blanket outside the tent, but put the reflection side in, to keep the heat in, like a reflector oven.
Could possibly help under the tent, but haven’t tried that.
Snuggling with a camping partner also helps! (Sometimes they have 4 legs)
A 32 degree sleeping bag only means that if the temperature gets to 32 degrees you won’t die, it does NOT mean that you will be toasty warm! I have a 5 degree bag and I have never been cold down to 15 degrees, but even then it was right on the edge of being comfortable. There is no just substitute for a good sleeping bag.
Aluminet is the bomb when talking about a tent covering, and it works especially well when you want to keep your tent cool in the morning. I have a 20 X 21 piece that I throw over the tent or over the van. I put grommets in it and fasten it with bungee cords to keep it from blowing away should there be wind. I’ve had it for about 15 years and never go camping without it. It keeps me warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat!
THIS IS GREAT INFO GUYS!!!
I’m going to test the covering this weekend, under as well as one on top. I will be at just over 5000 ft. but the weather shouldn’t get lower than 55. Can’t hurt! The bottom of the tent has vents so I am not worried about condensation. I think after this summer I might have to upgrade my sleeping bag so I can extend trips into spring and late fall. thanks again for taking the time and giving feedback! Happy 4th!
As mentioned above the bag ratings are all optimistic. Add 10+ degrees to any rating for its actual appropriate lower range. Temps in the low 30s in a 30 degree bag? No wonder you were cold!
And you don’t mention a sleeping bag pad. The ground is an infinite heat sink. Without a pad with an adequate R-value (insulation value) no bag will keep you warm. The old adage was twice as many blankets under you as over you when camping.
Winter campers will add a closed cell foam pad under their air pad as part of a cold weather system.
I’ve been in low 30s with an R3.2 pad, 15 degree bag and been toasty. Same setup plus 30 degree bag, stocking cap, fleece top, long johns, and warm socks have also done the trick.
Skip the tent tricks and focus on your bag setup if you’re cold at night.
Getting off the ground directly makes a big difference (pad, cushion). Depending on your “packing in” vehicle, do you have space for some extra emergency blankets? I always pack 2-3 more than I think I’ll need because there is always that trip when I DO need them. I keep summer sleeping bags and a below 32’ bag-I tend to change my gear based on the weather outlooks ahead. If I know the weather is going to be cold, I have a Coleman catalytic converter/heater. It only needs a some air flow and has a pretty stable base. The top of our tent (even with the cover) has the mesh opening (3 season) and I leave a window zip cracked for airflow. Plus our tent hooks to our truck so there is air flow there as well. All of the above suggestions also work. I’ve tented with bare minimum and sleeping in your clothes and wearing a hat with a warmer bag and something between you and the ground will all help. Hot water bottle in the bag is another favorite trick
Hey, I didnt know about this cloth. Very cool Not only camping but lots of other ideas!
Hot water bottle! You can also use a non insulated water bottle full of hot water (just make sure it doesn’t leak. If it gets too hot put it in a sock.