10 tips to stay warm when camping in cold autumn and winter weather

Autumn and winter are coming and going on an adventure should be still not out of the question. In fact, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation. That is why I write this article, in order to let you enjoy adventuring in autumn and winter as much as you enjoy it in the summer. Are you ready to pack your tent and go for a microadventure?


Here are 10 tips to remember when cold and rainy circumstances aren’t stopping you from going out there to escape daily life for a bit.

1. Moisture is the biggest enemy of warmth

What is keeping you warm, is your body and not your clothes. Your clothes system is there to keep you warm and keep moisure outside.

2. Three layer system

The first layer is to drain sweat to the next layer. The second layer is to keep the body warm an the third layer is to protect you from wind and water. This whole system is why I prefer to wear layers because you can vary between them. For example when you’re cycling you can start with all three layers and remove one after 30 minutes.

Add a down jacket to this three layers if it’s really cold, between a brake or in the evening it should keep you warm.


3. The material of your clothes

Avoid clothes made ​​of pure cotton. This type of material will absorb moisture and that will make you cold. Synthetic materials are not holding moisture and will dry very soon and that will keep you warm.

4. Fuel for the body

Eat and drink to stay warm. Preferably in small amounts. That will help to keep things going in there.

5. Go to bed warm

You’ve been cycling all day, camped out and let your body cool off at a campfire. After that you’re going for a sleep. Your sleeping bag is to keep you warm not getting you warm. In any case make sure that your body is warm. Jump around for a bit or do some jogging before you crawl into your sleeping bag.

In cold circumstances you can choose to use a scarf and hat to keep your face warm. Particularly with a bare head in the night you can lose a lot of body heat.

sleeping bag

6. Keep your sleeping clothes dry

As I mentioned to jog around for a bit before going into your sleeping bag, just remember to not get wet. Don’t sweat as you go into your sleeping bag. On the road it also can be better to sometimes lose your ambition to go fast because it’s dry and warm or wet and cold. Wet and warm in winter isn’t happening.

7. Put clothes around you in your sleeping bag

If you put your clothes on than you create almost no air between your body and the clothes. What you can do is to put clothes between your body and sleeping bag. In this way you create more insulation and that will keep your body warm.

8. Use free newspapers

If you’re still shivering from cold in your sleeping bag use newspapers for makeshift insulation, but also as disposable towel for drying your tent and other equipment the next morning.

9. The tea light candle

Not only atmospheric light but also a source of heat. If you put one in your shoe you can bring it into your tent and that will heat some air.


10. Grow your hair

If you make sure that you have a lot of body and face hair than you look – as a man I should say – not only very handsome but also the hair will help you to keep your body warm.

Adventuring in autumn and winter can be very miserable. Not only think about the cold but also think about the benefits it has comparing to the summer. Enjoy beautiful landscapes while you’re not annoyed by mosquitoes. Happy adventuring and stay warm!

Any experience in autumn and winter camping? Please share your thoughts for future reference in the comment section.

  • Henk van Dillen

    Just found some more helpful ideas

  • Henk van Dillen

    Just found some more helpful ideas…

  • Marta

    Brilliant tips! Never thought about the tealight candle in a shoe, and taking clothes off but having them around… when trying to keep warm in proper winer cold every little tip can prove unvaluable. Thanks

    • Henk van Dillen

      Thank you Marta. I’m really glad you like them. I hope they’ll make your next night out more comfortable!

  • Jan Makker

    hallo Henk, welke slaapzak gebruik jij op de trip naar Singapore? ‘s Morgens is ‘t toch vaak nat inpakken. Condens en/of regen. Kun je e.e.a. beetje droog houden?

    • Henk van Dillen

      Ik gebruik deze wat de duurste investering was van al mijn spullen, zelfs duurder dan mijn fiets http://m.bever.nl/bever-ruska-5-slaapzak-mbaac22005?id_colour=3013

      Met regen, wat ik de afgelopen week continu heb gehad, is het goed te doen. Het is een hele fijne slaapzak die snel droogt. Ik pak hem in in mijn tent en stop er nog een extra waterdichte zak omheen. Zo gaat ie op mijn fiets.

      • Jan Makker

        hoi Henk, ik zou zelf een slaapzak kiezen die “wat meer kan hebben”. Maar ‘t is ook best wel persoonlijk. In maart stond ik in Duitsland met flinke nachtvorst en nergens last van en begin mei in Zuid Limburg met tegen ‘t vriespunt en toen had ik ‘t koud. Ik lees je stukjes met veel plezier. Goede reis verder!

  • Tim

    Andere tip voor warm slapen: eet een stukje (vette) worst vlak voordat je gaat slapen. Je lichaam verbrandt dit langzaam. Je kan ook nog een paar hapjes nemen als je ‘s nachts wakker wordt van de kou.
    Een andere tip tegen koude voeten bij het fietsen in de winter: ga even een stuk hardlopen (pas op dat je niet gaat zweten) of wandelen met de fiets aan de hand (10 minuutjes ofso). Tegen koude handen kan het helpen om ze wild tegen je rug aan te meppen 😛

    • Dankjewel voor je hele bruikbare toevoegingen Tim. Ik ga ‘m van de week is bijwerken, dan neem ik ook jouw tips mee!