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How to Keep Warm Sleeping Outdoors

How to Keep Warm Sleeping Outdoors

Guest Post by Megan P. Howard

Sleeping outdoors has the potential to be an absolutely magical experience that connects you to nature in a whole new way! However, your enjoyment of the evening largely hinges on your preparedness for it. Even if you’re camping out in your backyard, you need to plan ahead.

Now that fall is here, and the weather is getting cooler, it can get pretty chilly when the sun goes down.

If you’re not adequately dressed and equipped for the cold, what should have been a wonderful evening under the stars can quickly become a miserable, regrettable one.

To help you stay warm sleeping outdoors during fall, we’ve compiled a list of simple strategies that will keep your toes toasty and your body snug all night long.

Keep Your Head Warm

Your head is the one part of your body that a sleeping bag doesn’t shield from the cold. It’s also one of the most vital areas to keep warm, as heat leaves your body predominantly through your head and feet.

A beanie is first prize. But if you don’t have one, then wrap an extra scarf, fleece, or t-shirt around your head when it gets chilly. A hoodie is also an option, just watch those strings!

Don’t forget to ensure that you can still breathe comfortably through the multiple layers and your sleeping bag.

Insulate Your Feet

Just like insulating your head helps to stop heat from escaping, keeping your feet warm is another effective method of preserving body heat.

From the afternoon onwards, wear thick socks and shoes that insulate your feet and keep them warm and dry.

Keep your shoes on until the moment before you climb into your sleeping bag to ensure you remain as cozy as possible throughout the night.

If you plan on sleeping outdoors for multiple nights, it’s worth investing in a few pairs of quality socks designed for both comfort and heat retention. No one likes cold feet, and when you’re sleeping outdoors, they are even more unpleasant. Fortunately, a great pair of socks easily remedies this.

At Socks Addict you’ll find a fantastic range of socks to suit your every need. You can keep your feet warm in style with any of our high-quality socks for men, women and children. Frozen feet in fall will be a thing of the past!

Think Ahead

It’s important to remember that it's much easier to maintain a certain level of warmth than it is to attain it.

It can be challenging to warm up outdoors once you are already cold. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you change into your warmest clothes while the sun is still up, and your temperature is still comfortable. Set up your sleeping arrangement in the sunlight to minimize unnecessary admin once it gets dark and cold.  

Warm Water Bottles

A hot water bottle is truly the greatest companion on any outdoor sleeping adventure. If you have a small pot and a camping stove, then it’s certainly worth boiling some water right before you go to sleep and tucking the hot water bottle into your sleeping bag.

If, however, you cannot bring a hot water bottle on your trip, then there are alternate solutions. You can fill an empty plastic bottle with moderately warm—not boiling water—and use this as a make-shift hot water bottle for the evening.

Insulate Your Bed

It’s important to note that most of your heat escapes through the surface that you sleep on—not just into the cold air above you.

When you’re sleeping outdoors, you don’t have the comfort, luxury, or insulation that your usual mattress offers. However, you can increase the warmth factor by laying down an inflatable hiking mattress or putting a yoga mat on a towel. This will minimize heat loss throughout the night, while also maximizing comfort.

It’s also important to carefully choose the surface you sleep on. While grass is comfortable, it will attract condensation throughout the night—making for a cold and wet morning. Sand, on the other hand, is not necessarily as comfortable, but it’s generally a lot warmer and less prone to damp.

Avoid Moisture

Any moisture will condense under cold conditions. Once it’s condensed, temperatures decrease. If this condensation forms under your sleeping area, or drips on your head or sleeping bag, you’ll likely feel very cold, very quickly!

To avoid this chilly surprise, don’t sleep on vegetation without some form of ground cover to protect you. It might also be worth placing a plastic covering over your sleeping bag to prevent any moisture from seeping in.

Take a break from your busy schedule and enjoy a night under the stars! Fall is a fabulous time to sleep outdoors and the crisp night air makes it feel extra refreshing. Add a pair of socks that keep you warm from top to toe, a cup of cocoa, and some s’mores and it’s even better.


Megan P. Howard
Author Bio: Megan started her writing career specializing in educational copy in the fitness industry, covering a wide range of topics. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking the outdoors or signing up to run a 5K.
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