Camping is a great way to spend your weekend or vacation if you love wild nature. Going to the wilderness to stay there in a tent for a few days will relax you and fill you with energy… Or you might get filled with a cold and come back with a cough and fever if you decide to camp when it is way too cold for that!
When is it too cold to camp? This is quite a common question for those who are not very experienced campers.
And in this article, we are going to do a bit of research on this subject for you.
You are going to find out what camping temperature can be considered too low to stay in a tent, what dangers can a cold camp have for you and your health, and what to do to keep yourself warm in a tent if it is pretty chilly outside.
With our guide, you will hardly ever have a running nose or sore throat after coming back from camping!
How Cold Is Too Cold For Camping?
To those of you who are not very experienced in camping, figuring out the most suitable camping temperature might seem to be rocket science.
Indeed, if you are used to camping during the summer only when it is warm and rains are seldom, and then you decide to go camping in fall or early spring, you might find it challenging.
According to experienced campers, a temperature below 32°F is considered too cold for camping unless you have specialized gear with you.
So if you don’t have the right gear to protect you against the cold, especially during the late night and early morning, it is not advisable to camp below that temperature.
The one thing about camping that people find a bit annoying is that every temperature range requires a new set of preparations and precautions.
So instead of searching for the best camping weather, we recommend you simply get yourself ready and have all the camping gear that you might need both for warm and cold days.
What Challenges You May Experience During the Cold Weather Camping?
If you decide to go camping when it is rather cold outside (for example, in early spring or in late fall when both nights and mornings are still too cold), you will surely face certain challenges and complications that such weather brings.
So we suggest you read about what you should expect in this case.
Below, you can find a list of the most common challenging conditions that a camper might go through while staying in a tent outside in the wild when it is still pretty cold and the weather is far from being the best.
Higher temperature gradients during cold winter weather cause extreme winds. High winds are quite common at temperatures below 40°F.
Because of these high winds, the “feels like” temperature can be lower than the actual temperature. As a result, even at 40°F, you will feel like you are camping below 30°F!
In winds like these, it is important to keep yourself safe and protected. Make sure you avoid being exposed to cold air for long because it may cause hypothermia or frostbite if you are not adequately covered. So try to stay in your tent for as much time as possible and don’t go out without the urgent need.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to stay inside your tent all the time, but just try to cut down the time you spend out being exposed to all the winds.
If it is windy outside, it is also essential that you check your tent and vestibule rigging now and then. Like this, you will make sure that your tent is stable and it will not be blown away by the wind. So, one of the most difficult challenges is getting out of the warm sleeping bag and checking the rigging to ensure safety.
If you go camping when the weather is still cold, be ready that rains are pretty unpredictable and happen quite often in the low 30s °F. Dealing with the rain can make your trip ten times more difficult!
Why is that? See, because, during the rain, the temperature tends to fall to a much lower degree which worsens everything.
To avoid getting drenched in the rain, you have to check the weather forecast before your cold-weather camping trip and carry additional gear with you that will protect you from the rain (raincoat, tent tarp, waterproof tent, etc.).
Remember that, if you get caught in the rain when it is cold outside, it will be hard for you to dry your wet clothes and boots should you get soaked. And also, staying wet in a cold tent is a direct way to get cold and fever.
You probably noticed many times that there is condensation on the inside of your tent when it is cold outside.
Why does it happen? During the cold night, the inside of your tent gets warm due to your presence inside (e.g. the warmth of your body and breath), as well as due to any other heating source i-e heater.
Because of this temperature difference between the inside and outside, vapors condense on the inside of the tent wall. This condensation then freezes and turns to ice. This is why, when you wake up in the morning, you find yourself sleeping inside an icicle!
It may seem fun but in fact, it is not like that. See, this condensation and subsequent freezing of water vapors on the inside of the tent wall tend to decrease your inside tent temperature. You probably already guessed that it will cause another challenge for your cold-weather camping!
Extra Weight Due to Winter Gear
The major difference between summer camping and camping during the cold season is that, for cold camping, you will have to carry way more gear with you. If you are going to camp when it is cold outside, you will surely be carrying a lot of additional gear to keep yourself warm.:
- warm clothing layers
- sleeping bags
Your backpack might also include additional heating equipment like a propane tank and a space heater. All this additional gear makes your trip quite heavy but they are necessary. Without the proper gear, it is extremely risky to camp below the freezing point.
Loneliness at Campsite
Some campers might appreciate the loneliness during their camping in the off-season, however, it comes with its own risk. On the one hand, solo camping is not an option that everyone will enjoy. On the other hand, there is a more serious risk.
Humans are social animals, and companionship and community are very important for us to survive. If you are going to camp alone, away from people, you might soon be feeling lonely.
Also, in case of an emergency, you cannot depend on help from people around you because there are few of them or none.
So before you decide to go camping in the wild during the off-season (and especially if you are going alone), consider all these nuances that we have described for you.
Like that, you will better understand what is waiting for you, and in addition, you will be able to really analyze your plan and decide whether cold weather camping is worth trying.
How Cold Can Weather Get During Camping at Night?
There is a difference between the daytime camping temperature and nighttime temperature. During the daytime, the sun is out, and you are getting constant heat from the radiation.
When the sun goes down and the night hits, the temperature declines further and reaches its lowest just before dawn.
Below, you can check out a comparison chart where we gathered the average temperature rates for the most popular camping sites in the United States. You will see how temperatures during the day vary and differ in each of these locations.
With the help of this data, you will now be able to approximately imagine what is waiting for you should you go to one of these campsites during the off-season to spend a few days in a tent.
And please take into account that, even though the weather might be comfortable during the day, it can become rather chilly at night! So it is mandatory to bring warm clothes and warm camping gear with you.
Tips For Campers. How to Make Your Cold Weather Camping Comfortable?
If you are tired and bored to camp only when it is warm and sunny outside and you are looking forward to some challenge, you might want to try yourself as a camper during a colder season. Should this happen, make sure that you get ready for the upcoming quest properly.
If you are going to camp when it is below 40°F outside, we recommend you check out a few handy tips before you leave. Like that, you will be able to make your camping trip as comfortable as possible.
Choose the Campsite Wisely
There is no sense in going into the wildest wild if you want to experience all the charm of camping during cold weather. Instead, you should prefer managed campsites over the wilderness.
Also, it would be good to have a company of other campers in case of an unforeseen emergency or accident.
Once you gain experience and are more confident, you can wander off-site. But as long as you lack experience, it is better to rely on more professional campers.
When choosing an area to set a tent, search for a spot with restricted airflow. It will help you not get the extra chill the wind will bring with it late at night. For example, this can be an area with trees or rocks around. At least a spot surrounded by thick bushes!
If you are going to camp, it would be great if you manage to find an area where the morning sunlight can reach first. After the chilly night, the warm rays of the morning sun will be so delightful!
Select Suitable Camping Gear
Camping during the cold season is not the same as doing it when it is warm outside. If you want to stay in a tent out there for a few days when the temperature is far from pleasant, you have to make sure that all the gear is with you. That means you need a proper tent, a warm sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and blankets.
Eat High-Calorie Food
Camping is no place for diets! If you want to stay warm, you need to eat properly which means food with a high-calorie rate. See, when your stomach is full, your body keeps working to digest the food. As a result, it keeps you warm.
So, it is a pretty good idea to consume high-calorie food, like chocolates, high-calorie snacks, and cheesy food before bed.
Apart from snacks, hot cocoa, chamomile tea, and other hot drinks may also be beneficial in keeping you warm and active. However, we would not recommend you rely on alcohol! It has a very short-lasting warming effect, but instead, you will most likely get a headache.
Besides, alcohol is not good for concentration and when you are camping (especially alone), you need to be attentive.
Keep Water Close
Dehydration is pretty common during cold weather camping, so it is better to keep a bottle of water with you all the time. In order to prevent your water from freezing, we recommend keeping it buried under a pile of warm clothes.
As an option, you can warm the bottle over the campfire and throw it into your sleeping bag.
So, now you are more informed about the nuances of cold weather camping. You have learned what temperature is considered too cold for camping and what you should get ready before you set off on your journey.
In addition, now you know how to make your camping as comfortable as possible, even if it is chilly outside.
Camping at 20 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous for your health. This temperature is considered way too low. As far as we know, there are no such camps. But you can bring the heating gear with you! Usually, children can start long-distance camping when they’re above 10. But you can start when a kid is 3 y.o. or above.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐What temperature is considered beyond too low for camping?
⭐Are there self-heating tents to use during the off-season?
⭐What age is safe to start camping from?
Camping at 20 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous for your health. This temperature is considered way too low.
As far as we know, there are no such camps. But you can bring the heating gear with you!
Usually, children can start long-distance camping when they’re above 10. But you can start when a kid is 3 y.o. or above.