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Cold-Weather Camping Hacks: How to Keep Warm on a Budget

Cold Weather Camping Hacks

Nothing ruins camping trips faster than being cold. Knowing how to keep warm and doing what you can to beat the chill is key for your comfort and safety. Luckily, we’ve got tips on how to do just that – even on a budget!

Whether you’re embarking on winter camping or want to know how to keep warm up while camping after getting cold and wet on a hike, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need. 

These hacks range from choosing the right camping gear and clothing to setting up your campsite to maximise warmth and prepare warming foods and drinks. With a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can turn a potentially cold and miserable camping trip into a cosy and memorable outdoor experience, even on a budget. Let’s get started!

Clothing Essentials Cooking Essentials Sleeping Essentials Must-Have Accessories
NatureHike Waterproof Breathable Raincoat
Highlander Shield Water Repellent Jacket
Highlander Stow And Go Trousers
Walking Gaiters
Highlander HPX100 Compact Stove
230g Gas Cartridge
FireDragon Folding Cooker
FirePot Food Expedition Meals
Summit To Eat Expedition Meals
Kombat Roll Mat
Highlander Trek Lite Mat

DD Jura 2 Sleeping Bag
3FulGear Tyvek Bivvy Bag
Thaw Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Thaw Rechargeable Heated Seat Pad
Thaw Large Disposable Hand Warmers

Read on to find out more about these products and make your next camping trip more comfortable.

How to Keep Warm While Camping in the Cold

During a winter camping trip, getting cold is almost a certainty. But there are definitely some steps you can take to make sure you battle it the best you can. We’ve rounded up our top tips and favourite camping essentials to help keep you warm when camping in the cold.

1. Use Your Campfire or Stove as a Heat Source

How to keep warm while camping in the cold
Cold-Weather Camping Hacks: How to Keep Warm on a Budget

Image by imortalcris (from Getty Images) via Canva

Your campfire or camping stove is a great source of heat to help you warm up. 

If you’re on a long camping trip, we don’t recommend firing up your stove just to warm your hands or thaw your toes, as this is a waste of your limited fuel. Instead, you can huddle around the heat while you’re making a warm meal or hot drink. That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone – keeping warm and filling your stomach.

Gas stoves, like the Highlander HPX100 Compact Stove, are ideal for staying warm camping on a budget. At only £15, this stove is the ideal heat source to make warm drinks and meals to keep your body warm while tent camping. A 230g gas cartridge for this stove will only set you back around £5.50. This cartridge contains an isobutane and propane mix, which performs excellently in cold weather.

You can generate heat with solid fuel on a budget, too. The FireDragon Folding Cooker costs only £2.25, so it’s seriously good value for money. This cooker comes with a windshield and fuel receiver for this bargain price. Solid fuel for this cooker is only £2.20 for 8 tablets.

2. Consume Hearty & High-Energy Camping Meals

Consuming enough calories while camping in cold weather is essential for keeping warm. Snack on high-energy foods throughout the day, and make sure you’re eating enough at mealtimes. 

Even if you’re not planning on trekking or hiking on your trip, your body will burn a lot of energy simply trying to stay warm (by shivering, for example). Eating foods that replace these lost calories and energy is crucial for keeping your body warm and content. 

Some ideal foods to stay warm include:

All these meals cost between £4.00 – £8.00 per person.

Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and maintain proper circulation. Electrolyte-infused water can help provide additional energy and electrolytes, while hot drinks such as tea or coffee will help keep you warm.

3. Stay Dry With Waterproof Clothing

Waterproof camping clothing
Cold-Weather Camping Hacks: How to Keep Warm on a Budget

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If you’re camping in winter, it’s likely that you’ll become wet from the snow or rain, and getting wet will make you feel even colder. Layering up with waterproof clothing when you’re out and about is essential.

We recommend the NatureHike Waterproof Breathable Raincoat to give you all-over protection. This poncho-style waterproof has a built-in hood to keep you completely protected from the rain. The cut of this poncho provides enough material to cover your backpack and the majority of your legs to provide superior protection to a regular rain jacket. It’s £50, but it provides excellent weather protection.

The Highlander Shield Water Repellent Jacket is a little cheaper at £39.99 but still provides great rain protection. This affordable jacket is windproof, water-repellent, and made from breathable material. 

Waterproof trousers are also a must – it’s not just your upper body that needs protecting from the weather! Our go-to choice is the Highlander Stow And Go Trousers. You can throw these on over the top of your regular trousers to keep your legs dry. Plus, they’re super lightweight and feature a compressible design, so they won’t take up much room in your bag.

If you want to invest more in protecting yourself from the rain, our selection of walking gaiters, ranging from £13.49 to £16.95, can help keep your legs and feet dry and comfortable.

4. Use Heating Devices & Accessories

A simple hot water bottle can be a lifesaver when camping in cold conditions. Fill up a heat-resistant bottle with boiling water and place it at your core to warm you up. 

If you’re not keen on waiting for water to boil outside whilst camping, consider investing in a reusable heat pack. These packs can provide almost instant heat and be recharged in boiling water. You can reuse them throughout your trip for an eco-friendly and practical solution.

Our favourite reusable heat packs are the Thaw Rechargeable Hand Warmer, which is available in two sizes, priced at £29.00 and £37.00, and the Thaw Rechargeable Heated Seat Pad for £59.00. Both of these products provide hours of heat and multiple heat settings to help you stay warm on cold nights and when you’re exploring in freezing temperatures. Best of all, they’re an investment for future camping trips, so the price evens out!

As a backup in case you run out of battery power, Thaw Large Disposable Hand Warmers are a great choice and only cost £0.99. These hand warmers activate when exposed to air and can provide up to 20 hours of heat. This can be a great item to have in your emergency survival kit.

5. Get Active

Running in woodlands
Cold-Weather Camping Hacks: How to Keep Warm on a Budget

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Of course, you can also warm yourself up for free! Getting active in your camp is an ideal way to help you increase your body heat and get your blood pumping. 

For a small heat boost, camp chores or a brisk walk can help keep you warm. However, if you need a bigger boost, star jumps are an ideal option. This simple activity can increase blood flow and generate more body heat. Just make sure you don’t get too sweaty, or you’ll find yourself right back where you started.

How to Warm Up Your Tent

As well as warming up your body, you can also do things to warm up the inside of your tent. Your tent will be the place where you go for refuge from the chill, so doing what you can to keep it toasty will be a big help.

Here are some tips to help you turn your tent into a cosy and comfortable space.

1. Provide Sufficient Insulation

Even with the most beautiful, expensive down sleeping bag, you won’t feel truly warm in a tent without sufficient insulation from the cold ground. 

When you’re camping on a budget, a basic roll mat like the from Kombat is ideal. At only £12.00, this roll mat is a bargain. The XPE closed-cell foam provides a 0.8cm barrier between your sleeping bag and the ground to help you stay warm.

For a slightly more luxurious option, the £20.00 self-inflating Trek Lite Mat from Highlander is great. This mat provides you with a generous 3cm lift from the ground, providing plenty of insulation.

2. Purchase a High-Quality Sleeping Bag

Of course, you can’t stay warm in your tent without a decent sleeping bag. Sleeping bags are an important investment when it comes to camping, especially in the winter. While you might have to spend a bit more money upfront, it’ll even out over the years of use you get from it.

We recommend the DD Jura 2 Sleeping Bag as a mid-range option that will last you for years to come. This sleeping bag is rated to a lower temperature of -5 degrees to help you stay warm on a cold night. It’s £75, but it’s definitely very good value for money.

Our favourite budget option to turn your standard sleeping bag into a winter sleeping bag is the 3FulGear Tyvek Bivvy Bag. At only £32.00, this bivvy bag can add an extra layer of insulation to your everyday sleeping bag.

3. Introduce Heat to the Tent

Introducing a heat source to your tent is an ideal way to keep yourself warm all night. The easiest way to introduce heat to your tent is with a hot water bottle or the Thaw Rechargeable Heated Seat Pad we mentioned earlier. These can be placed inside your sleeping bags to help you stay warm in a tent for hours.

Never bring a camping stove inside your tent to provide warmth. It’s a massive fire hazard and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Rounding Up Our Hacks for How to Keep Warm When Camping

Staying warm when camping doesn’t have to be a challenge or expensive. The key is preparation and selecting the right gear, from your clothing to your sleeping bag and even your camping stove. With these tips in mind, your next winter camping trip should be a cosy and comfortable adventure!

Start building your ultimate budget camping kit with Wood To Water today and tackle your next camping trip head-on!

Head on over to our blog for even more camping tips, tricks and recommendations!


What Are the Best High-Energy Foods to Consume While Camping in Cold Weather?

In terms of full meals, the best high-energy foods you can consume while camping in cold weather are dehydrated expedition meals from brands such as Firepot Food and Summit To Eat. These meals are nutritionally balanced and high in energy to keep you warm. You can also use energy-dense snacks such as jerky and nuts to keep your body fueled.

What Are the Best Affordable Camping Stoves?

There are many affordable camping stove options available at Wood To Water. Some of our best stoves are from brands such as FireDragon and Highlander. If you’re an experienced survivalist, you can make a campfire with wood from around your campsite for a free option.

What Type of Insulation is Recommended for Keeping a Tent Warm?

For tent insulation, it’s advisable to invest in a high-quality sleeping pad or mat that serves as a barrier between you and the cold ground. Roll mats or self-inflating mats are excellent choices. Both of these options are affordable and can significantly enhance the warmth in your tent. You may also consider adding a tent carpet or rug for an extra layer of insulation.

Is it Safe to Use a Camping Stove Inside the Tent for Warmth?

No, it’s never safe to use a camping stove inside a tent for warmth. Under no circumstances should you bring a camping stove inside your tent. You will be putting yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and posing a huge fire risk. It’s never safe to risk doing this, no matter how low the temperature drops!

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