Easy ways to get and stay warm quickly if your camping turns suddenly cold and you didn’t have time to build a fire.
- Put on a tight-fitting woolen hat/beanie. The beanie needs to be able to cover your ears
- Layer clothes and DO NOT have cotton next to your skin, if you do get hot and sweat (because of layers), it will pull heat from your body. Just use good synthetics or wool. Look for good synthetics. They cost a little more but last a long time and generally pack small
- Change normal thickness socks to thick woolen ones, or put on a second pair and double layer socks. Have a dedicated pair of warm thick socks
- Put gloves on. Woolen fingerless gloves take minimal space and are good if your riding gloves are wet
- Do jumping jacks for a few minutes. Exercise raises your body temperature by raising your core temperature. 20-30 minutes will keep you warm for more than an hour
- Boil water while doing jumping jacks, put water in a bottle/s, then put the bottle in your sleeping bag. If it starts snowing, boil that snow
- Save a little hot water to make a hot drink
- Get in your sleeping bag (mummy bags will keep you the warmest). Tighter fitting sleeping bags are generally warmer, having less airspace to heat up.
- Make sure your body can’t touch the ground. Have a good quality, insulated sleeping pad in your kit instead of a thin non-inflatable pad to keep you off the ground
- Activate pocket warmer packs. Pocket warmer packs and the extra gloves might be the only items that are extras, they take up minimal room and only cost a few dollars (and can often be found in gas stations for cheap). These items could be the big difference between being warm and being cold.
- Put your riding jacket over the top of your sleeping bag by your feet and lower legs. It will act as extra insulation over your feet and lower legs if it’s too big to wear inside your sleeping bag.
- Eat a high-calorie snack. Your body will naturally generate heat digesting it
- In dire circumstances use a Mylar blanket, which cost only a few dollars and is the size of a box of matches
- If you plan on snow camping, a four season tent really is a good idea. But be prepared for high prices and heavy weights
- If it’s going to freeze overnight and you have a water storage container, turn it upside-down when storing it overnight. Ice forms from the top down, so keeping the spout/opening of your container facing down keeps it from getting frozen up. You’ll be glad you did in the morning.
- Remember to get your motorcycle in direct warm sunlight (if there is any) as soon as possible while you pack. If you are riding that day, this will warm it up and make it easier to start.
Now if you reread that list, these are all things you are probably packing. Just make sure you have the right stuff, and you will be prepared.
The big thing NOT to do is not drink alcoholic spirits (I know, finish with a negative, HA!). Alcohol allows your capillaries to open up so your blood can flow easier, making you feel warm in the moment. What it’s also doing, however, is dropping your core temperature. Your body naturally restricts your capillaries (resulting in cold fingers and toes) in an effort to reduce the loss of core body heat. Alcohol circumvents this natural process.