How to keep warm camping
If like me you enjoy camping in winter as well as summer, you’ll know that keeping warm in your tent for a whole night can become an all-consuming ambition.
An ambition that’s not easy to achieve.
Over the years I’ve reviewed sleeping mats, sleeping bags, and outdoor duvets. I’ve written ‘how to stay warm camping’ tips, and taken people on winter wild camping trips. I’ve even learned the value of wearing a hat and gloves in bed.
But I still get chilly in my tent.
Sleeping bag liners for warmth
One of the things I do like to include in my camping kit (but often can’t fit into my wild camping rucksack) is a sleeping bag liner. I have a thin fleece one that adds a few degrees of warmth to my now ageing sleeping bag (as well as keeping it clean).
But sleeping bag liners don’t do all the jobs.
They don’t generally have hoods to keep your head and shoulders warm, they restrict your arm movement (for example if you want to read), they often get twisted inside your sleeping bag, and you can’t walk around in them.
Which turns going to the loo at night into a chilly challenge.
Introducing the Unightie
But what if there was a piece of outdoor gear that had solved these problems? What if this piece of outdoor gear had been invented by a woman? What if this woman was used to cold nights at mountain camps? What if she understood what works when you’re camping, and what doesn’t? What if she understood how cold leaving the tent at night can be?
Allow me to introduce the Unightie – like a sleeping bag liner but better!
Like all good outdoor adventure writers, I’m grateful for the magic of images here because the unightie is hard to describe. Instead of thinking of it as a nightie or a sleeping bag liner, it’s perhaps easier to consider it as a sleep system. Here’s how it worked for me).
- I prepared my camp as usual
- I put my Unightie on (with a merino vest and leggings underneath)
- I took some time to appreciate the soft, warm bamboo-based fabric
- I zipped up the hood (and tucked the zip into its comfy fabric pocket)
- I unzipped my sleeping bag, and sat on it
- I tucked my toes into my Unightie’s unique footbox (easier than I thought)
- I zipped up my sleeping bag, and lay back
- I tucked the thumb loops around my thumbs (really comfy)
- I was thrilled to note that all the available fabric was still where it needed to be. My bottom wasn’t exposed, my head was still covered, and my sleeves hadn’t ridden up (all of these are things that usually happen to me).
Then I realised I already needed a wee.
This also usually happen to me but no worries (and no worried butt). With my Unightie on, I only had to get out of one layer of warmth. My sleeping-bag-liner-type-thing came with me.
- I tucked some loo roll into the pocket (that had been warming my hands)
- I unzipped my sleeping bag (still feeling reasonably warm)
- I took my feet out of the toe box, and put my boots back on (checking for slugs first)
- I stood up (with a bit of effort)
- I realised the grass was wet
- I used my Unightie’s hitch-up magnets to keep the hem away from the floor (this sounds strange but is actually a bit of invention magic)
- I did my thing (no description needed)
- I got back into bed without losing too much heat.
Obviously I repeated this process several times before I finally fell asleep.
The Unightie – not just for camping
It was March in chilly England when I tested the Unightie, which meant that as well as my merino base layers, I also wore a down jacket for the first part of the night. I got too warm, and removed the jacket at around midnight. When I woke up, I was pleased to find my feet were still cosy in the foot box, more importantly my bottom (which is usually cold) was still properly wrapped up and warm.
I also tested my Unightie in the campervan, where it worked just as well, and caused me to annoy Mr D with my wriggling far less than I usually do. To say I’m pleased with my latest camping gear acquisition is an understatement.
In fact I’ve started wearing my Unightie on cold nights at home.
And yes, the magnets do stick to the radiators but they make me smile every time they do it.
A Unightie of your very own
If you think the Unightie sounds like a brilliant idea (it is), and want to add it to your own keep-warm-camping collection, you can find out more about it, and Jackie its adventuring inventor on the Unightie website. You can also make a purchase, Jackie assures me she’ll ‘ship to anywhere’!