How to Stay Warm: 6 Sure-Fire Methods to Avoid Freezing to Death

Whether you’re camping out for fun or staying outdoors because of necessity, keeping warm is a top priority. Exposure to the elements will make it harder for your body to regulate its temperature. You have to know how to stay warm and toasty when outdoors in low temperatures.

Here are some survival tips to do just that:

Stack on the Layers

how to stay warm? wear lots of layers.

Want to stay warm against extreme weather conditions? Wear the right clothing. It’s your first line of defense against outdoor elements. Wear thermal and insulated clothing, especially in the winter when temperatures can drop to drastic levels at night.

You can stack on as many as three layers: a base layer, a middle layer, and an outer layer. Your base layer must be made of wicking fabric that draws sweat away from the body. Wool repels water and is also an excellent insulator, which makes it an ideal base layer, along with polyester and other synthetic fabrics. You can have a down or fleece jacket as a mid-layer and a heavier, insulated jacket as an outer layer.

You should also protect your extremities. In severely cold weather, they’re the ones most likely to get hit by frostbite, and you definitely don’t want to lose an arm or leg to the cold. Mittens conserve heat better than gloves by keeping your fingers together. 

Choose Your Location Well

person looking at the sky

Strategically choosing your location can help you stay warm during your long night outdoors. Nature actually provides survival shelters, if you just know where to look. Caves are considered a jackpot in this category, but you can also use the area around rock overhangs, fallen trees, or even low-lying pines as your shelter location. These are well-protected and relatively dry, which means they are good places to set up camp and build a fire.

Keep the Heat from Escaping

people camping

Insulation is key in keeping warm outdoors. These days, you can find insulated tents that can keep you warm even in the winter. You can also use something as simple as an aluminum car visor to insulate your tent. It keeps the heat from escaping by reflecting it back to your body instead of losing it to the environment.

Avoid starting the heating process over and over by staying organized. Keeping your things all in one place means you’ll keep the heat from escaping your tent or shelter, too.

Build a Self-Feeding Fire

Stay warm all night long by building a self-feeding fire. This type of campfire can sustain itself and will burn all night without you having to tend to it.

A self-feeding fire works by setting the biggest pieces of firewood at the bottom and gradually stacking it with smaller pieces of fuel on top. A small teepee fire structure is lit on top, and it gradually burns down your fuel stack. There are many varieties of how to make a self-feeding fire. 

Stock Up on Hot Beverages and Energy-Rich Food

a cup of hot chocolate

Hot food and drinks will keep you warm from the inside out. It’s a long-held belief that alcohol can help you stay warm. It’s true—but only for short periods. In the long run, alcohol actually lowers your core body temperature and even reduces your body’s ability to shiver. You might be better off with some hot chocolate or soup instead.

Some food is great at increasing metabolism and generating heat. Thermogenic food like lean meat, chestnuts, and ginger can keep your body warm even when outdoors.

How to Stay Warm? Be Resourceful

In the past, people had to use heated rocks wrapped in a cloth to keep warm during the winter. You can use the same principle by placing your hot water bottles inside your sleeping bag to warm it. That way, you won’t have to shiver through the night because of a freezing sleeping bag. You can also make your heating pads using a sock and some rice.

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