Camping in Cooler Climates

By Lisa Bohler

Camping often includes warm, summer weather. In many parts of the country, though, cool temps are common most months out of the year. And in higher elevations of the Rockies, or in the Northwoods, it isn’t uncommon to have lows dip into the 40s or even the higher 30s all summer long.

Staying outdoors when the temperatures do not drop below the lower 70s and staying outdoors where the temperatures plummet to just above freezing are totally different experiences.

There are a lot of beautiful places to camp that have warm idyllic days, and evenings that can get pretty chilly. Camping in the early spring and late fall months offers these temperature fluctuations just about everywhere you go.

You do not have to be concerned about camping in cooler climates. With the proper preparation you can be comfortable and enjoy every moment of your outdoor excursion.

 

Camping in Cooler Climates: Camping Gear

 

Camping in cooler climates

 

  • A good tent

While you are camping your tent is your protection from the elements of nature. You need to make certain that you have a tent that can shelter you in cooler temperatures.

You want a tent that has a full rain fly so you can be sure to keep any moisture outside and away from your bedding. The purpose of your tent, when it is a cool night, is actually less about staying warm and more about staying dry.

You also want a tarp or a tent footprint to place under your tent to stop ground moisture from coming through the flooring and getting your bedding wet. A dry floor will give your tent a warmer overall feel.

 

  • Sleeping bag and Foam Pads

Sleeping padsYour sleeping bag will be your main weapon against getting cold at night. To make your bag even more comfortable to lie in you can bring a mattress pad (foam or inflatable) to place beneath you. If you care camping where the area gets really cold, or camping in the winter then consider bringing two pads to insulate you from the cold of the ground.

If you really want to ensure your warmth you can put a bivy sack around your sleeping bag. The bivy sack could help keep your sleeping area as much as ten degrees warmer. Having a bivy sack is like having a tent to wrap around your sleeping bag.

 

  • Outer Layers and Rain Gear

Having the right outer layers will keep you warm and dry on those brisk mornings and cool, late evenings. If you are paddling by day, the shell can be useful on a cold, breezy lake as well. Make sure your outer layers are highly waterproof. When you get wet, your skin will feel colder and it can be more difficult to warm-up. Staying dry is key if you want to be warm and comfortable.

 

  • Base layers

It might seem odd to bring base layers on a camping trip in the middle of the summer, but if you are camping at elevation or in the Northwoods, you will want to pack some good thermal underwear. A good top and bottom layer will become your go-to, and might be your favorite garments of the whole trip, especially at night and in the early mornings.

 

  • fire suppliesFire supplies

You are going to need a fire while you are camping in a cooler climate. Building a fire is one of the more underrated skills of camping. Remember supplies like matches, lighters, and in some cases kindling. You need to carry your matches or lighter in a container that will prevent any moisture from getting to them. Zipper bags, or small plastic sealable containers will keep your fire starter dry and ready to use.

You always need to check to see if there are any fire restrictions in the area where you will be staying before you build a fire.

 

 

Cold Weather Camping Tips

  • keep your fire smallKeep your fire small

You want a fire to keep you warm for a long time and cook meals, you do not need a big bonfire. A small fire can and will generate plenty of heat to warm you and the smaller fire is easier to maintain, and easier to extinguish completely. Big fires provide less consistent heat and are harder to cook with.

 

  • Travel activitiesTime your travel and activities with the temperature fluctuations

If you plan to be engaging in water travel like kayaking or canoeing then you might want to wait until mid-morning to allow the temperature to rise a little, or else you will want to bundle up.

Likewise, if you plan to do strenuous activities like difficult hikes, take advantage of the cooler morning and start early.

 

  • Eat for Warmth

Warm drink

Bring hot chocolate, coffee, or tea to make warm beverages that can help to warm you up in the mornings, or in the evenings. The ability to quickly heat up water is another reason to keep a small fire going, rather than having a huge bonfire.

 

While camping in cooler climates do not worry about your carbohydrate intake. You need those carbs to help fuel your body and maintain your warmth. Eat plenty of nuts, avocados, and good fats to help maintain warmth. Before you go to bed at night eating a high carb snack can increase your warmth and help you stay warmer through the night. This is a great time to enjoy those campfire Smores.

 

Smores and camping snacks

 

Camping in cooler climates or at elevation is an incredible way to enjoy nature. As long as you can keep yourself warm and comfortable, it will be an experience to remember.

 

Guest Blogger at | Website

Lisa loves the outdoors, and outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. She is a wife of 35 years, a mother of 2 daughters, and a grandmother of 6.

Lisa is studying creative writing at Liberty University and has been doing freelance writing professionally for the last 8 years. She is the primary ghostwriter for fixintexas.com, and has been published in a couple of sporting magazines, and as a product description writer on several sites.

Lisa lives on the side of a creek, and her Texas home is within an hour of Sam Rayburn Lake, Toledo Bend Reservoir, and the Gulf of Mexico. She spends a lot of time fishing in those waters and counts herself as lucky to have been able to raise her children in a setting that allowed them to hunt, fish, and camp, while learning about the beauty and bounties that nature has to offer.

28 thoughts on “Camping in Cooler Climates

  • July 2, 2020 at 7:54 pm
    Permalink

    Haven’t tried camping ever. Feeling motivated to do it once with these awesome tips in hand.

    Reply
  • July 2, 2020 at 4:10 am
    Permalink

    I know a lot of people in my area that go camping whilst its colder outdoors use heat packs as well, just to warm up a bit extra. There are some in the perfect shape to keep in your gloves that would be perfect for when you are camping in the cold 🙂

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 3:41 pm
    Permalink

    Camping we would only do in the right weather for sure. Happy to hike and always make sure the waterproofs are packed

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 11:23 am
    Permalink

    I love camping but haven’t been for a while now. I would love to try it when the weather is cooler for sure, thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 2:03 am
    Permalink

    It is so good to be prepared for cooler weather. We went camping once when the nighttime temps dipped below freezing, and we were miserable! Definitely not letting that happen again!

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 1:36 am
    Permalink

    I’ve never been camping before, but it’s definitely on my bucket list! I live in Illinois so these tips will definitely come in handy!

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 10:26 pm
    Permalink

    The first time I went camping I didn’t enjoy it at all! That’s probably because it was raining and there was a hole in the tent. I’ve enjoyed my time camping since then. I prefer camping in warmer, non-humid weather. Thanks for this resource.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 7:05 pm
    Permalink

    camping in winter is certainly a great way to enjoy those carbs guilt-free

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 3:37 pm
    Permalink

    I find it very difficult to deal with cold. If I ever work up the courage to camp in cooler places, I’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind. I am more of a glamping than a camping kind of girl LOL!

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm
    Permalink

    Camping is one of those things I’d really love to start, but have been dragging my feet because we have 6 children including a toddler. But it’s on the bucket list. I’m thankful for this post because we do live in a cooler climate-it especially cools at night.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 12:44 pm
    Permalink

    I used to find it way more cool to camp in cooler climates because I love cold. However necessary steps are must. This list is really helpful.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 11:52 am
    Permalink

    It is currently winter here in VIC State, but we are thinking of having weekend camping. Your tips would be very helpful for us :).

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 8:11 am
    Permalink

    Thank for this, I’m planning on camping very soon and this list will help me, can’t wait for Smores 🙂

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 5:41 am
    Permalink

    A good tent and fire supply are important things when going overnight camping because when the night comes you will able to use them. Nice tips.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 4:02 am
    Permalink

    Camping in cooler climate looks beautiful but it needs many things to prepare us for warmth too. Taking some base layers for warmth is a good idea. Also taking food that gives us warmth is also important and I usually love to take tea or coffee for warmth in cooler climates. Keeping fire small is a good idea as it can be easily controlled and manageable too. Thanks for all tips.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 2:42 am
    Permalink

    Kudos to those who love camping because I love my amenities too much; maybe glamping, I can manage. A roaring fire is a great idea in temperate climes with cold-weather clothing too.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2020 at 2:22 am
    Permalink

    These are some great tips. Im not into camping because normally its done when its hot outside but I would love to go when its cooler and use these tips.

    Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 11:33 pm
    Permalink

    This makes me miss camping! My family would go camping in early October so the nights were chilly but the days were warm. And thanks for giving us more reasons to eat s’mores before bed!

    Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 5:21 pm
    Permalink

    I didn’t realize that bigger fires provide less consistent heat. You always assume a bigger fire is better. Very helpful tips!

    Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 1:12 pm
    Permalink

    Great tips. Hopefully when fall comes around, there will be no more quarantine. We all long to spend time outdoors and go back to our usual activities. I am bookmarking this post for reference. You can be sure we are going to get back into camping and hiking soon as it is safe to go out of the house.

    Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 10:38 am
    Permalink

    The various topics that you cover around camping make it sound easy-going. I like the fact that one can prepare for all circumstances and enjoy the experience. Sitting around the fire and eating nuts and chocolates would be so much fun. I do not have much experience of camping but I would like to do one soon with proper camping gear. Rain cover, sturdy tent, foam pads are essentials.

    Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 3:29 am
    Permalink

    This post arrived at the right time. We’re going camping to the Rockies after the 4th and I checked that the temperature will be around 40s and 50s overnight. I will make sure to bring base layers and rain gear. I’m sure my son will always like a cup of hot chocolate every morning and evening.

    Reply
  • June 28, 2020 at 3:26 am
    Permalink

    For being a new camper this blog post I found extremely helpful to starting camping. The layers and good quality sleeping bag makes sense. What I love is the idea of a foam mat to lay down also. I was concerned about my back issues flaring up while camping. But the idea of a foam mat may help prevent that issue. I am looking forward to using these tips and eating some smores! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  • June 27, 2020 at 9:16 pm
    Permalink

    A perfect excuse to enjoy lot’s of s’mores! It’s been many years since I’ve slept in a tent, but the one thing I will always remember is to have that layer to put down underneath your tent! Super important! And the layers are so important, and you should always have a good idea of what the temperature will actually be like where you’re going, when you’re going!

    Reply
  • June 27, 2020 at 1:14 am
    Permalink

    A bivy bag is a game-changer! We went camping last winter and my husband let me use his bivy. He ended up freezing the whole night but I was snug as a bug in a rug. Inflatable sleeping pads are a must too. I can’t believe I grew up camping without them!

    Reply
  • June 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm
    Permalink

    Good to now start thinking about camping in cooler temperatures. I am not sure if being too hot or too cold would make it more uncomfortable! Keeping off the cold ground is definitely a great idea. I guess the same principle applies to your clothes and multiple layers. I never thought about making sure that the fire is smaller. Hot chocolate and smores would be my idea of a great treat when it is cooler outside.

    Reply
  • June 26, 2020 at 9:51 am
    Permalink

    The best part of camping is sitting around the fire at night. There’s just something very primal about sitting around a fire, huddled there for warmth, as all around you is dark. We used to do a lot of camping in California during the summer, but because of the droughts etc. there used to be a ban on having fires, so we stopped going, because, what’s the point of a camping trip if you can’t have a camp fire!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: