Last Updated on 28/07/2023
Guide to Cold Weather Camping at 30 Degrees Fahrenheit
What are the essentials of camping in 30-degree weather? In winter, temperatures plummet overnight and you can end up dangerously cold. Using the right sleeping bag with a thermal liner and having correct thermal clothing and a four-season tent is essential to keep you safe.
Winter can be a magical time to go camping. Snowy landscapes and days crunching through fresh snow or watching snowflakes fall as you enjoy your solitude. If you’re a keen camper, you don’t just go camping when it’s 60 degrees, you want to get outside all year round.
Now clearly, if you’re camping in freezing temperatures, you are going to need very different equipment to warm weather overnights. Whether you’ve spent the day being highly active, or you’ve been relaxing, you can definitely cool down overnight. The early hours of the morning are usually the coldest, but also a dangerous time to find out your equipment isn’t quite up to it.
We’re going to look at how you can stay safe, camping in 30-degree weather. This is 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which equates to -1 celsius.
5 Tips on How to Stay Warm Camping in Freezing Weather
There are a lot of ways to keep yourself warm when you’re camping in freezing temperatures, here are 5 essential tips for camping in 30 degree weather:
4 Season Sleeping Bag and Insulated Sleeping Mat
We will get into the more technical kit shortly, but it is certainly essential that you have a quality sleeping pad and winter sleeping bag. These are the foundation pieces of any camping but become increasingly important in winter. A sleeping pad isn’t just there for your comfort but insulates you from the ground up.
As well as this technical equipment, there are plenty of other ways to stay warm inside your tent. Wearing thermal layers and a hat will make an enormous difference to your warmth. Something I always do is leave an extra warm pair of socks inside my sleeping bag so that I always have a dry pair to put on at the end of the day.
Take Extra Bedding
Extra blankets can be carried, but unless you are going to buy an expensive down blanket, this is more likely if you are car camping, rather than trekking. Nevertheless, wool blankets are a great addition to any winter backpack because they always come in handy. You can also add a sleeping bag liner to add even more warmth.
Eat Calories and Hot Food
If you’ve spent time out camping, you may have heard the phrase ‘heat yourself from the inside out.’ One of the easiest ways to avoid getting cold is to fuel yourself properly. Decent, hot food will give your body the energy to produce heat overnight which can be trapped so you can stay warm.
Hot Drinks and Bottles
Beyond hot food, you can make yourself hot drinks to warm up too. Just try to time things right so you don’t have to venture out at night to answer nature’s call. You can also take a regular water bottle and use your stove to fill this with hot water before you climb into your sleeping bag for your own private heater.
Essentials Gear for Camping in 30 Degree Weather
There are some basic essentials that you should always take camping in 30 F weather which include:
Insulated Sleeping Pad
The idea of a sleeping pad is to keep you insulated from the ground up. The basic ones of these are just a foam pad, but these probably won’t help you a lot in really cold weather. Full winter sleeping pads are usually inflatable with down insulation to trap as much heat as possible.
Temperature Rated Sleeping Bag
All sleeping bags come with three ratings; comfort, limit, and extreme. A comfort rating is the lowest temperature you can expect a comfortable night’s sleep, while a limit rating is the lowest temperature you should be able to get a reasonable night’s sleep. You should aim to find a sleeping bag with a comfort rating of around 30-degrees F.
An extreme limit is the lowest temperature you can expect to survive in and definitely does not reflect comfortable sleeping conditions. Check out these minus temperature-rated sleeping bags.
Sleeping Bag Liner
If you want to add a few degrees to your sleeping bag without carrying excess weight, a sleeping bag liner will do just that. Thermal sleeping bag liners can add as much as 25-degrees to the warmth of your sleeping bag. They weigh very little and don’t cost very much which makes them an easy decision if you don’t already have one.
4 Season Tent
Four-season tents are designed to trap heat and withstand the harsh conditions that winter can throw at you. These are usually geodesic dome tents, the freestanding structure helps to keep them solid in winds and snow. Four-season tents also have limited mesh, to reduce heat loss.
Warm, merino wool base layers or synthetic alternatives are essential for winter camping. Having spare clothes so you can change out of potentially damp or sweaty clothes will make a big difference to your warmth. Layering is the best way to regulate your temperature when it is below freezing as you can remove and add thin layers to control your warmth.
The myth that we lose 70% of our body heat through our heads may be untrue, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your head. A high-quality, warm hat can be the difference between a comfortable night’s sleep and a restless, chilly night.
The best way you can warm yourself up is to fuel yourself properly. If you aren’t eating right, you won’t stay warm. Hot food which properly replenishes your calories will help you to produce body heat.
Okay, perhaps these aren’t essential, but they do make a huge difference. Having warm, down-filled slippers to change into in the evenings rather than your hiking boots will keep your feet warm before you climb into your sleeping bag.
Can I Go Camping With a 50-Degree Sleeping Bag in 30-Degree Weather?
If you go camping in 30-degree heat in a 50-degree sleeping bag, you will need plenty of layers and a quality sleeping bag liner. Even then, there are no guarantees that you will have a comfortable night’s sleep. You should survive the night, but it can be difficult to get up and keep going the following day.
Should I Go Pop-Up Camping in 30-Degree Weather With Toddlers?
Pop-up tents are usually single skin. Four-season tents rely on the two layers to trap heat between and to offer a greater level of protection. For this reason, single-skin tents are not as warm as a proper winter tent.
If you are going to go out camping in freezing temperatures in a single skin tent, you will need plenty of warm layers to get comfortable. This is especially important for young campers, who are liable to get cold more easily.
Using Blankets Instead of a Sleeping Bag While Camping in Freezing Temperatures
Blankets and sleeping bags are very different pieces of equipment. Modern sleeping bags are designed to fully trap body heat and use either down or synthetic insulation. To imitate this, you would need several layers of blankets to act as layers and trap heat.
Unlike blankets, you can’t roll out of a sleeping bag. You aren’t going to get cold spots as you might under blankets. Sleeping bags also weigh less and are much easier to transport. By all means, carry a blanket as an extra layer over a sleeping bag.
Is it Too Cold to Go Hammock Camping in 30-Degree Weather?
Hammock camping in freezing weather is potentially very cold. Hammock under quilts use synthetic insulation to trap a layer of heat underneath your body, working like a suspended sleep mat. These are essential for winter hammock camping, with sleep mats liable to slide out from underneath you as you sleep.
Hammocks don’t trap the same level of heat as a tent, especially a four-season tent. You should make sure you have a quality winter sleeping bag and consider blankets, too. We look at the pros and cons of both hammock and tent camping in this post.
Remember, too, that you don’t have a tent for shelter in the evenings and that winter nights can be long and very cold. Take plenty of warm clothes with you to wear, otherwise, you may find yourself retreating to your bed sooner than you planned.