A Campers Guide To Staying Warm!

A Campers Guide To Staying Warm!

We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be. No matter what season you select for a camping trip, it’s always good to be prepared for a chilly night or two. Sure, grabbing a superb sleeping bag and a top-quality tent is a great place to start. But in order to stay as toasty as possible during a camping holiday, it’s important to develop an understanding of how your body gains and loses heat.
Frosty-Fritham-New-Forest (Shutterstock, Chris Button)

We’ve put together a little guide here outlining everything you need to know about heat loss – along with some invaluable tips on how to battle it…

Body heat: the basics
Condensation (Shutterstock, Dudaeva)
The human body needs to be in tune with its surroundings so the organs can fire on all cylinders. That’s why, when we are exposed to chilly outdoor weather, the body’s heat levels will automatically plummet to match the surrounding temperature. Balance is the human body’s best friend, and whenever it’s subjected to colder conditions, heat will vanish until a sort of equilibrium is reached.

There are three main ways in which the body loses heat: through convection, conduction, and radiation.

Convection refers to the displacement of warm air around the body with cooler air, whilst conduction involves losing heat by coming into contact with an object that has a lower temperature. Radiation is the main source of body heat reduction, as our warmth is lost through heat waves to the air.

The camping conundrum
Frosty-Tent (Shutterstock, wwwarjag)
Body heat is a much bigger problem in the great outdoors. There are fewer covered spots to take shelter, and no household appliances to generate the much-needed warmth required to bring our body temperatures back up to comfortable levels.

That’s why you need the right camping gear – and an awesome sleeping bag ought to be top of your shopping list. These essential pieces of camping equipment are built with insulating fabrics, which trap the air inside and prevent it from escaping your body. With nowhere to go, the heat waves remain contained inside the bag and ensure your body remains at a toasty temperature.

The same goes for your tent. If the fabric has top-notch insulation qualities and the zips can be fastened tightly, there’s simply nowhere for the hot air to seep out, or for the cold air to creep in, at night.

Smart moves to stay warm
blankets-and-flask (Shutterstock, Maria Evseyeva)
Whilst a great tent and sleeping bag offer a fine defence against body heat loss, there are a couple of things you can do to minimise the risk even further.

Wearing the right type of clothing is important, for example. Multiple layers and thermal garments can help to keep body heat locked inside. Several pairs of socks and waterproof shoes can also prevent your feet from succumbing to cold temperatures when they come into contact with frost and puddles on the ground.

Wedging a sleeping mat between you and the floor offers a much-needed layer of protection from the cold ground below. It allows the insulating fabrics of your sleeping bag to do their thing without interference from competing factors.

Snuggling up with a hot water bottle can also work wonders, but the last piece of advice we’d like to leave you with is this: avoid going to bed cold, if you can. Try your very best to warm yourself up inside your tent by throwing on multiple layers and increasing your body temperature. The hotter you are when you slide into your sleeping bag, the more heat will be trapped inside the material for the duration of the night.

Knowing how to retain body heat can help you to stay happy, healthy and comfortable during your camping trip.

Yet to book your getaway? We have a terrific selection of camp sites scattered across the country with a wide range of facilities.


Pitch And Trek® Camping

A Guide To Sleeping Mats

A Guide To Sleeping Mats!

Before you even start thinking about sleeping bags, make sure you’ve got the base covered. Having a sleeping bag is great but you’re not going to have a great night sleep without a suitable layer between your body and the ground.

A lot of newbie campers forget mats on a camping trip – but these items are essential to a good night’s sleep. They separate your body from the ground, providing insulation and a bit of comfy padding.

Sleeping mats are typically available in three forms:

  • Self-inflating
  • Non-self-inflating
  • Closed cell foam

Self-inflating mats arrive flat with foam inside and an air valve attached. Once the valve is opened, air is absorbed and the mats expand to form a cushioned, insulated surface. They’re particularly easy to store and transport, requiring minimal maintenance.

Non-self-inflating mats work on a similar principle, although they will only expand when air is blown directly into the valve.

Closed cell foam mats are the toughest to transport given their non-compressible nature and large dimensions, but they do offer the greatest levels of insulation.

There are pros and cons to each type of sleeping mat. Things to consider when shopping:

  • Do you need to carry your pad over a long distance?
  • Is weight going to play a factor in your decision?
  • What time of year are you planning on camping?
  • Are you more concerned about comfort or penny pinching?

Closed cell foam mats may be a pain to carry, but they will help to keep you warmer if the weather is particularly chilly or wet. Make use of sales staff in camping shops- most are experienced campers and can help you pick the right gear for your needs.

Choosing your sleeping bag materialSleeping Bag Material (Shutterstock, Nomad_Soul)

We know, material isn’t the most enthralling topic but it’s an important one. Your sleeping bag is going to be your one source of comfort when the temperature drops. Camping in the summer months can get surprisingly chilly, so don’t underestimate the need of a little research into the best sleeping bags.

Let’s break the types of material available on the market down into “insulation” and “fabrics”.

Natural “down” insulation gives you a snuggly interior, with the material consisting of bird feathers. These bags are compactable, lightweight and easy to transport, but are expensive and vulnerable to wet weather. Look for the “down” percentage on the bag too – 85% minimum denotes great quality.

Synthetic insulation bags are definitely your best bet for a family camping trip. Made with poly fibres, they don’t offer quite the same comfort as natural “down” insulation, but they are considerably cheaper, more resistant to damp, and relatively easy to carry.

Nylon or ripstop fabrics more than suffice when the weather is mild. These can be put in the wash too so they’re great for camping trips with kids. If you’re expecting colder climates, it’s worth grabbing a bag with DryLoft material rather than splashing out on lining fabrics like silk, which are extremely luxurious but also super expensive.

Sleeping bag ratings explainedSleeping-bag-shopping (Shutterstock, lakov Filimonov)

The ratings you’ll see when out shopping for a bag give you an idea of two things: comfort and season.

A sleeping bag’s comfort ratings are separated into four labels:

  • Upper Limit – the highest temperature the bag can resist for a sound night’s sleep
  • Comfort – the temperature at which the bag offers optimum performance
  • Lower Limit – the coldest temperature the bag can resist for a sound night’s sleep
  • Extreme – the absolute lowest temperature in which the bag can facilitate survival

Comfort ratings can be a little misleading as everyone has their own definition. With this in mind, it’s often best to opt for the warmer option, as it’s much easier to cool down than it is to get warm. If there are big gaps between the Upper and Lower Limits, this suggests the sleeping bag is adaptable for multiple seasons.

Season ratings do what they say on the tin, signifying the time of year the bag is designed for.

  • Bags with Season One are for summer evenings (5°C +),
  • Season Two bags are ideal for spring (0 – 5°C).
  • Season Three bags are for when temperatures dip below freezing point,
  • Season Four bags are required for frosty conditions.
  • Season Five bags are for extreme conditions down to -40°C.

Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of the sleeping gear you’ll need to invest in, book a night under the stars.

6 Reasons To Go Camping!

6 Reasons To Go Camping!

1. Camping helps with problem solving

Sometimes camping and its associated activities present you with challenges (and some that not even Professor Google can reliably solve). Often these are challenges that you don’t deal with on a daily basis: where and how to set up your tent; or how to deal with scenarios where you aren’t armed with all your mod-cons or items of familiarity.

In addition, camping introduces you to new experiences – perhaps an activity you’d always wanted to try but never found time for. Whatever the case, new challenges and experiences keep your brain healthy, as they force you to think for yourself.

2. Camping is great for children’s education

Following the above point, spending the night in a tent has a clear benefit for children. This is especially so in the modern age where many kids are more confident navigating their way around an iPad than they are navigating the inside of a tent.

Camping introduces children to a whole new world and asks of them an ability to overcome new problems and challenges – particularly if it’s raining while camping. Having exposure to a different set of challenges not only keeps kids’ brains healthy but leads to increased learning opportunities. A 2015 UK study from the Institute of Education at Plymouth University found an overwhelming majority of parents believed that camping had a positive impact on a child’s education.

3. Camping helps you sleep better

There’s another important reason why camping is good for your health, and if you suffer from lack of sleep you should be paying particular attention. Research in 2013 from the University of Colorado Boulder found that camping can re-set our biological clocks and help those of us who find it tough to get to sleep and/or wake up in the morning.

It’s all to do with the increased use of artificial light in our daily lives and the fact that camping can help us to adjust to the natural light-dark cycle if we’re given that chance. Receiving adequate sleep has long been touted as critical to our overall health and wellbeing. Plus, aren’t our partners and family members much easier to deal with when they’re not tired and grumpy?

4. Camping increases your vitamin D intake

Camping provides you with the chance to spend more time in the sun (as long as your timing is right). And more time catching those rays means extra vitamin D, which has benefits for you. While much research exists to say that some benefits remain inconclusive, there appears to be agreement that it does aid bone health. Furthermore, the Medical Journal of Australia states that exposure to sunlight is the main source of vitamin D for Australian residents.

Sun exposure has also been linked to mental health benefits, such as improved moods. However, direct sun exposure should be taken in moderation and adequate protection should be used to minimise the risk of skin cancer.

5. Camping leads to increased exercise

If your daily routine entails slaving away in an office or at home with the kids, chances are your opportunities to exercise are limited. The solution? Go camping. While camping, you will likely explore new surrounds; perhaps wandering through a nearby national park or even mountain climbing.

This increased exercise has been well-documented – from the Heart Foundation to the Department of Health – as having myriad physical and mental benefits, including combatting health problems and disease and improving your mood and energy levels. This point is not limited to camping: simply escape the daily grind and hit the great outdoors.

6. Camping makes you happier

That’s right – camping goes a long way to improving your mood. It’s all to do with serotonin, that wonderful chemical our body produces that helps to make us happy. We’ve already touched on some factors that help the body create serotonin: more sunlight, more oxygen, and increased physical activity. And when you’re camping, you’re likely to tick all these boxes. Happy days!