Every month in the Center's eNews, we pose a difficult Leave No Trace ethical and skills based situation for readers to comment on. Below is the October situation and your responses.
What would you do?
You are planning a fall camping trip. Despite the warm temperatures during the day, you know it will get cold overnight. What are five things you can do to Plan Ahead and Prepare to ensure you stay warm as you sleep?
Here's what you said:
Having a sleeping bag with a hood helps - but if not, a warm hat or hooded sweatshirt works. I carry extra emergency space blankets and small blue tarps. Besides having a ground cloth, putting a layer of something down inside the tent works great too. As a long time Girl Scout volunteer, I have put tarps over girls in their tents when they were cold and that trapped the heat in. The next day, the sleeping bags may need to be hung up outside to dry out from the condensation. As an outdoor trainer (and LNT trainer) for Girl Scouts, we always tell them that in addition to changing into sweats to sleep, to change their socks and underwear before going to bed. Wearing the clothes you wore all day and sweated in, will take away some of your body heat. Once I was sleeping alone in a tent, the temps dropped and it snowed unexpectedly. I got cold and pulled out my poncho and wrapped it around me inside the sleeping bag. I have also used a large trash bag and slid my sleeping bag in it to trap the warmth. If car camping, I bring an extra light fleece blanket to increase the warmth of my bag.
Hope this info helps someone. Thanks.
- Joyce Quinn, Chino Hills, California
Have a sleeping bag that is rated better than the temperature you expect and fluff it up good.
Wear a hat or hooded sweatshirt if your bag does not have a hood.
Wear warm sleepwear to bed but not the clothes you wore during the day. They are moist.
Wear warm socks to bed...I use down booties as well.
Have good insulation under you.
If you need to go during the night, do so. It takes extra body heat to keep urine warm.
If you are going to take your canteen to bed with hot water in it, be sure it does not leek.
Share a small tent that is well ventilated with another person.
Pitching your tent next to south facing rock wall will reflect some warmth.
Put the next days clothes in your sleeping bag up keep them warm.
Eating a high energy food before bed might help.
This is what we teach our Girl Scouts!
- Marj Eby, Horsham, Pa
Here's what we said:
Fall is a special time to enjoy a camping trip. There are less crowds than the summer months and the environment begins its transition into winter. As the nights grow cooler, here are a few tips to keep you warm and toasty in your tent:
- Bring warm clothes. If you begin to shiver, you should put on more layers and move around a bit. If you are still cold, get into your sleeping bag to warm up.
- Eat a warm dinner with plenty of carbohydrates and fats. Your body will have to work harder to digest these foods, creating more heat internally.
- Drink warm fluids throughout the evening.
- Oops, you drank too much and have to urinate in the night. Designate a clearly labeled bottle to urinate into in your tent, thereby avoiding exiting your tent in the frigid temperatures. Ladies- there are specifically designed funnels that will work with your anatomy!
- Before bed, heat up extra water and fill a bottle to use as a “heating pad” in your sleeping bag. Or, if you have a campfire, try heating rocks at the fire’s edge to achieve the same effect. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Remember, if all else fails, bring a tent-mate to snuggle up to and stay warm! Happy Fall camping!!