Winter Camping? One Simple Trick to Sleep Warmer at Night

If you've ever gone winter camping, you've likely experienced this phenomenon. You bed down for the night, nice and toasty in your winter sleeping bag, and fall asleep in warm comfort. Then, sometime in the middle of the night, you wake up unpleasantly chilled. What gives?

Photo: Flickr Commons; VernsPics
Odds are your internal furnace is burning low. Your body burns an enormous number of calories to generate the body heat you need to stay warm and comfortable in cold weather. When you go to sleep, right after a hearty meal, you've got a full tank of heat-generating fuel in your system. Hours later, your body has processed that food, and used up most of the quick-burning carbohydrate calories for warmth.

So what's the solution? Eat something that provides quick energy. Your body can rapidly utilize snacks with simple sugars—chocolate, candy bars, energy bars, etc.—and transform a middle-of-the-night snack into increased warmth.

Keep in mind, however, that most such snacks become rock-hard teeth-breakers if left out in the cold. If you don't have an impervious-to-cold option on hand (Fig Newtons are a good one), consider stashing the snack inside your sleeping bag with you to keep it warm and malleable.

Personally, I'm a big fan of Snickers bars, which pack substantial quick-burning sugar calories along with a slower-burning fat and a smidgen of peanut protein. (Learn more about the highest-calorie candy bars.)

You may have heard the old saw, "If your feet are cold, put on a hat." When it comes to winter sleeping, it's "If you wake up cold, eat a candy bar."

Stay warm!

Learn more about winter camping:
Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

Labels: , , ,