Tips for Camping in the Cold

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I got this question from a camper friend of mine and thought I’d share it with all of you:

I am going camping this weekend for the first time with my three year old and it looks like it will be a chilly night.  How to you keep your little ones warm at night? Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated! 

Here are my thoughts, plus some suggestions from another experienced camper mom too:

1. Air mattresses alone get too cold, so make sure you have a foam pad or blanket under you if you use one. I usually put my kids on a Camp Bed like this one from REI.

2. Dress warm, obviously. I put my tots in their warmest winter pjs before bed and nice warm socks.  But my secret weapon? A warm winter hat. 

Since most heat escapes your head a warm winter stocking cap is a must. I also like winter hats because I can pull it down over my eyes and it blocks the early morning sun so I can sleep in a little more. If it’s really cold I’ll bring mittens or put socks on the tots hands too.


3. Get the kids a real sleeping bag. When I went camping as a youngster my parents just packed a stack of blankets from home and I froze all night. That taught me that camping was cold and for years I didn’t enjoy it.  Now, my tots each have their own sleeping bags, again from REI. 

4.Use a small fleece blanket in the sleeping bag to help keep your tots warmer. A fleece pillowcase to add some warmth on the face and head, is also a good idea.   
5. Little hand warmers in jacket pockets are great for keeping fingers warm, and having them close to the chest/stomach keeps vital organs warm too. 

6. Keeping tots (and parents) warm on cold nights is not always easy, but the old adage to dress your kids like you would dress is true here too.  

Camping in the mountains can be cold, even in the middle of summer. So make sure you follow these tips and stay warm out there!

PS – I received no compensation from REI for mentioning their products in this post. They just happen to be what I actually use.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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