There’s nothing more uncomfortable and potentially dangerous than sleeping outdoors in the cold. It can deplete your energy, devour your morale, and even lead to hypothermia. It can turn a runaway adventure into miserable experience and make you question what the hell you’re doing.
Even if you’re traveling through warm climates, it’s important to be prepared for cold nights. This is especially true in arid climates such as Southern California, the Middle East and Southern France, where day to night temperatures vary drastically.
For the sake of having a warm and comfortable nights rest, below are 6 warmth conserving items and techniques that will keep your toes toasty, your core warm, and your morale high no matter what climate you’re traveling through.
A windbreaker is one of the most important pieces of clothing in the fight to stay warm. It provides the outer layer of protection you need against wind chill and rain. I currently have a down insulated wind breaker from Uniqulo but it isn’t as water proof as I would like it to be. For a warm light weight windbreaker, check out Rab Microlight jacket. It’s expensive but probably one of the best I’ve tried. For a less extreme weather breaker, check out the down wind breaker from Uniqlo. It’s remarkably warm and scrunches into nothing.
2) A Warm Beenie
Some say you lose 25% of your body heat through your head, others say 75%. Whatever the percent, keeping your head warm is essential. While any kind of beanie will do the job, I prefer the Russian style for it’s ear flaps.
3) Space Blanket
The very first time I slept on the street, my space blanket saved my life. It’s remarkable what a thin blanket of plastic can do to keep you warm. However, if you don’t have a space blanket you can always stuff plastic bags under your clothes for a similar effect.
4) Heat Packs
Heat packs are a life saving source of warmth when temperatures fall unexpectedly. You can use them on your feet and hands to help stave off frost bite in extreme situations or even on your back to relieve any shiver induced aches. There are two types of heat packs. The disposable kind, which are cheap but don’t last very long, or the old school reusable kind.
5) A Good Pair Of Long Johns
Long Johns may be one of mans greatest clothing creations. When worn under your clothes they increase insolation ten fold. One of my favorite brands of Long Johns comes from the high quality British clothing company called M&S. They are incredibly warm, comfortable, and haven’t degraded at all since I received them five years ago.
6) A Bottle Of Wine
Drinking wine or liquor will make you feel warmer but will ultimately lower your body temperature. In very cold situations it is not advisable to drink, but on mild nights where a bottle of wine can mean the difference between the shakes and good nights rest, go for the wine.
When night falls, temperatures drop, and your body stops moving, it will get cold outside. You will shiver, become hungry, and find it difficult to rest. For the sake of your overall well being it is essential you prepare by bringing the right clothing, layering them, and supplementing them with light weight blankets and heat packs. It’s no fun learning the hard way, stay warm from the get go. Good luck and shiver free travels, – Leif