The heated hiker: How to stay warm in the wilderness

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Photo by Derek Lawrence. 

There are plenty of reasons to go hiking. For one, it’s great exercise — you’ll build up a sweat and work those muscles as much as you would at the gym. Plus, you get to experience the joy, wonder and amazement of the great outdoors as you explore nature in all its glory. It sure beats the canned pop music and the harsh lights of your local gym anyway.

Whether you’re out for a day hike, or are heading on a multi-day trek, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Yet one thing that is vital during a hike is to stay warm, especially if you’re camping out overnight and you’re hiking at high altitudes or during the cooler months. So let’s find out how you can be a heated hiker and stay warm in the wilderness.

Get a Great Sleeping Bag

A top-notch range of sleeping bags is your first port of call when planning a hike where you’ll need to camp out for one or more nights. You’re going to need a sleeping bag that is suited to the conditions of the hike — so do your research prior and don’t just get any old sleeping bag. It needs to be suitable for certain temperatures. For example, some sleeping bags are suitable for temperatures below zero and others are more lightweight and are better used in summer.

So, check the forecast for the region you’re hiking in ahead of time and get a sleeping bag to match the weather. If you hike all year round you may find yourself with a sleeping bag for each season, but that’s okay. It’s better to be warm in winter and comfortable in summer rather than finding yourself freezing or sweating, respectively!

Build a Fire

Another way to stay warm on a hike is to build a fire once you’ve set up camp for the night. Of course, be mindful of fire bans and if it’s a total fire ban across the region then don’t risk either a fine or starting a huge bushfire just because you want to be warm! If it’s not a fire ban than either dig a small fire hole or create a ring of stones and set your kindling up in there. It may be worth reading up on how to start a fire from scratch if you’re inexperienced.

Dress Appropriately

The importance of proper hiking clothing cannot be understated here. You want to have clothing that will keep you warm but comfortable. A proper hike is all about reducing the weight that you’re carrying on your back so you need lightweight but warm clothing. Thermal under leggings and other thermal undergarments are a great idea as you can wear these during the cold nights and mornings but take them off and roll them up and pop them in your pack as the day progresses.

Change Clothes for Bedtime

If you go to bed wearing a damp, sweaty shirt that you’ve been hiking in all day, you’ll get pretty chilly pretty quickly. If you can spare the weight, try packing some light sleeping garments to change into for bedtime.

To Conclude

Make sure that you have a decent sleeping bag that matches the weather conditions of your hike. If it’s not a total fire ban, then build a fire to keep you warm at night. Make sure that you bring proper hiking clothing along for the trip, including some lightweight pyjamas to sleep in so you’re not going to bed in your damp and sweaty clothes. Enjoy your trip!

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