While practically everyone can camp during the summer, camping in the winter requires a confident person and a lot of planning. Camping in the winter has several advantages, including fewer mosquitoes, fewer or no crowds, and beautiful winter landscapes. Still, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
So, what do you need to make it happen, and what temperature is too chilly for tent camping? Without specialist equipment, temperatures below 40 degrees will be too chilly for everyday casual campers. Although temperatures below 40 degrees may be too chilly for standard kit, you can camp in temps below zero if you invest in specialized cold-weather gear.
However, if you are not prepared, this can be perilous, as it is far too cold for most campers. Because some professions require camping in the Antarctic, climate researchers know about severe weather conditions. Although this shows you can go camping in extremely cold weather.
It’s virtually never too cold for extreme adventurers to go camping or participate in exciting activities, however, some temperatures are too cold to camp and are not suggested for our health.
Temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit are too cold for most campers, and it’s considerably worse if you have children with you. To survive this type of weather, you’ll need specific clothes and camping essentials. You can also find that extremely cold temperatures can limit your outdoor activities. (Find the Best Heated Vest)
In our guide, you can learn more about cold weather camping when to determine temperature is too low, and when is it too cold to camp comfortably.
By the end, you’ll know enough about camping in freezing cold but using the best sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and other sleeping gear to keep the cold away from your body.
What Temperature Is Too Cold For Camping?
Inexperienced campers with inexpensive gear can’t sleep in their tents at night. Camping temperatures range between 50-65 degrees at night. -80 to -70 degrees Fahrenheit -20C in Fahrenheit.
After a good tent and adequate gear, the next consideration is the right sleeping bag.
Even a heated tent will be cold at night, thus the sleeping bag is sometimes more important than the tent.
So, it is here the sleeping bag rating comes into play.
Good sleeping bags for these weathers are mummy-shaped bags, yet you’ll still need one rated
to colder temperatures for at night. To cover most extremes, you could face, purchase a sleeping bag rated at least 10 degrees below the lowest projected temperature for winter camping.
Besides this, ensure the sleeping bag fits you properly for cold weather camping. One that is too large or too small won’t provide the right amount of body heat air around the body.
A sleeping bag liner will boost the warmth rating of your sleeping bag, and they offer the
benefit of keeping your sleeping bag clean. (Learn How To Cool A Tent Without Electricity)
A sleeping pad can be just as important as the bag. It is worth investing in a closed-cell foam sleeping pad to avoid the cold ground and smooth out any bumps.
Closed-cell pads are durable, lighter, and warmer than open-cell air pads. While often cumbersome, they offer increased insulation, and warmth is usually worth it.
The location of your campground is equally essential for a comfortable and successful winter camping vacation, and for extremes, you can use two sleeping pads to further ground insulation.
It is advisable to pack a hot water bottle at night, where you can stuff it in your sleeping bag for extra warmth before you climb in.
An air mattress can offer space between the ground and your body, although these do little to retain heat to help keep you warm. Sleeping pads with a high R-value do a far better job.
Even if the daytime temperature is warm, it will be freezing cold outside at night. Even then, you need keep your tent ventilated, even if you think it will get cold inside. The reason here is that it helps avoid condensation on the inside of your tent as the cold night air meets the warm tent air.
Likewise, never draw your sleeping bag over your head as your breath condenses and dampens your sleeping bag from the inside.
Adding extra layers of insulation for your tent floor is vital, and some of the popular choices include blankets tarps, on top of children’s rubber, or foam play mats to protect against the cold ground on your winter camping trip.
Is 55 Degrees Too Cold For Camping?
Camping may get warm, yet it can be misleading as evenings get much colder. At these temps, you’ll need a three-season sleeping bag. (Learn How To Keep Food Cold While Camping)
Choose a quality 3 season tent in the summer if you are a casual camper. You may use your 3 season tent in the winter by investing in an excellent sleeping bag, sleeping pad and picking a suitable location.
To camp safely and comfortably in the winter, you need a 4 season tent. A good tent should add roughly 10 degrees of warmth to the temperature outside.
Cold weather tents are designed for camping in cold and sturdy enough to endure strong winds and heavy snowfall. Often known as four-season tents, winter tents are used all year for all seasons. They’re designed to survive extreme weather, and the materials used to make them insulated and durable for camping in cold weather.
The tents have strong poles and steeper sides to keep the tent intact in harsh weather. For choosing a tent size for your camping trip, the number of people you’ll be camping with is essential. You need to ensure adequate room for everyone without touching the tent wall, yet not too large.
Larger tents take longer to heat from cold temperatures, and the morning sun could be too far away. You’ll also need to decide upon a single or double-wall tent.
Single-wall tents are lighter and easier to set up, but they don’t have a rain fly, while double-wall tents offer protection against the night temperatures and freezing temperatures of the cold air outside, yet are heavier.
Tent materials frequently contribute to the tent’s longevity and capacity to withstand cold temperatures. Look for a tent made of nylon, long-lasting and sturdy, or polyester, which offers a waterproof tent and delivers sun protection.
Any cold weather tents need a waterproof flysheet and groundsheet to keep the inside of the tent dry. A vestibule or tiny room at the front or side of the tent, is a welcome addition as you can keep your damp camping gear away from the inside of your tent on winter camping trips.
Can You Camp 30 Degree Weather?
To set up camp in 30-degree nighttime temperature weather such as you could face in Zion National park, a good sleeping bag,, and a high-quality sleeping mat will be needed for happy camping.
For proper clothing, you need to wear layers as this is key to trapping body temperature when such temperatures plummet. You’ll need a base layer, at least two additional layers of warm clothing.
The outermost should be a windbreaker, and thick wool socks to keep your body warm, and fight off the cold nighttime temperatures of winter weather.
Start with a base layer of thermal underwear made of polyester, breathable fleece, merino wool, or a wool-fleece hybrid on top and bottom for when the temperature decreases.
You can wear a scarf or gaiter around your neck, as you can quickly add or remove these if you get scorching hot. Other neckwear such as a buff or balaclava can be pulled over your nose in frigid temperatures.
Above your undergarments, you’ll need to layer a shirt and pants, then finish with a jacket that is waterproof and breathable.
The object is to wear clothes that have makeup layers to keep you warm without adding too much from amateur gear that ends up too bulky to stay warm.
The right gear to keep warm is dressing for the weather forecast and will need to include your hands, feet, and head.
A wool or fleece hat can be worn while sleeping to trap extra heat. Add multiple pairs of socks that are wool or polyester to wick away sweat, and glove liners to sit snuggly inside a thicker pair of gloves.
Footwear is a different issue at night as it is in the day. Footwear needs to be comfortable, and lightweight if you are hiking or walking. Boots should be insulated yet remember you may face warmer weather in the day than colder weather at night when you no longer need to wear your boots. (Read Best Fabric For Cold Weather)
Boots should be waterproof and rise past the ankle to stop snow and ice from getting inside.
When you practice camping in colder weather, it’s unnecessary to bring a separate change of clothes for sleeping.
Changing out of your warm clothes causes heat loss, thus it is best to sleep in your day clothes.
When cold weather camping, it’s best to start warm than struggle to get warmer in the midst of the night.
Heating a smaller tent can be done with a small liquid fuel stove. However, you need to know how to use these for safety. Don’t use unless primed as they flare and can cause a fire.
Also, never run a heater through the night in case of carbon monoxide poisoning as fellow campers wouldn’t know there was an issue.