One of the most important decisions you can make on what to take camping is without a doubt what are the best clothes for the task. Not only are the style of clothes important but what they are made of can make or break your trip.
So, what are the best clothes to wear to bed while camping?
Smart wool is the best thing to wear to bed when camping, since it can adapt to warm or cool weather. What you wear for sleepwear while camping depends on your climate and environment. Different temperatures call for different attire. Warm weather will, of course, require different clothing to wear to bed than cool weather will.
No matter what temperatures you’re dealing with, consider smart wool garments as a top pick. Of course, in warmer weather, you could go the old-fashioned route and use the layered approach with a synthetic material t-shirt or a long sleeve breathable shirt with a comfy pair of sweats or traditional thermals. Layers make it easy to adjust and keep you prepared for anything.
Here’s what will cover to make sure you are ready to sleep through the night on your camping trip.
Why smart wool?
The benefits to smart wool are that this material also known as Merino Wool, will not only keep you dry but cool OR warm depending on the climate you’re in. With the natural crimp it has, this allows it to trap dead air which makes for great insulation.
When things start to heat up it will store moisture really well, sometimes in upwards of 30% of its dry weight, and will start to evaporate thus cooling the air between the skin and the fabric. Its ability to “breathe” allows for amazing ventilation in hot weather and it disperses moisture which will keep you dry and comfortable.
Being dry is paramount to prevent the opportunity of hypothermia showing up. This can take minutes to hours so the better your attire is at wicking the better! In fact, wool is the only material that has the to the ability to wick away moisture in its vapor state.
The problem with cotton.
There is a saying common with the folks that love the outdoors and that is “cotton is rotten.”
The reason being that cotton clothing items have the disadvantage of losing their ability to insulate if wet leaving you vulnerable to nature’s harsh conditions. In the event that you are visiting a much dryer climate yet still battling colder temperatures, sweats would be acceptable. Layering is always a smart choice as you can buddle up or downgrade the wardrobe to suit the desired temperature.
I do recommend always bringing wool as feet tend to be the bodies exhaust pipes when dispersing heat. Don’t let the term wool scare you. When we think about wool we think of itchy, scratchy feelings that will make your skin feel like an entire ant colony is marching up and down your body.
Due to the finer fibers of these garments, you bypass all of that. These types of items are essential for anyone dwelling amongst the elements.
The benefits of wearing thermals
Thermals are great for a few reasons when it comes to the war on warmth.
The number one benefit would obviously be their design to trap body heat.
Secondly, it helps to keep the cold air off your skin.
Much like synthetics materials and smart wool, it too has wicking capabilities to help you stay dry if you start to perspire. The fit although snug is not restrictive which has made it an easy go as a base layer to fight off the cold while on the go or for being active in outdoor sports for example.
Are you hot-natured?
Not everyone is going to be carrying around a thermometer in their pocket to keep tabs on their body temperature. Everyone runs a bit different when it comes to body heat so make sure you take into account where your normal running temperature is at.
Consider the areas of your body where body heat is released. For the most part, it’s the head and the feet. Keeping these covered or uncovered will absolutely guarantee a great snooze under the stars coupled with your selected PJ’s.
If you are like me you might skip socks in any weather as my feet tend to expel a ton of heat under the sheets. You might be the type of person who wears ice blocks to bed and should think about a pair of warm wool.
A knitted cap or beanie, from personal experience, was a smart decision. When I went camping recently, I just so happened and to pack one and boy did it come in handy! With temps below 30 degrees, it was getting pretty frigid.
Like your feet, your head expels body heat at an extremely fast rate. To be exact about 50%. Now it makes sense why the dudes that wore those long nightshirts also wore those weird nightcaps. All about warmth baby.
The ideal temperature.
Studies have shown that the average ideal temperature for comfortable sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Some recommend that in these conditions it’s best to sleep in your birthday suit but I would not recommend this when camping.
Comfy Not Stuffy should be rule number 2 in your camping rulebook right after Clean & Dry. Again, the beauty of smart wool will allow your skin to breathe and maintain the desired temperature. Other items you might want to think about packing are a sleeping bag liner, which just so happens to come in merino wool, a pair of knitted gloves and beanie.
Consider these tips when selecting your sleeping suit:
- Make sure it can stay dry
- Bring an extra clean layer or two
- Know the temperature rating on your sleeping bag
- Check the weather report
What not to wear.
What don’t of camping can be just as important to note as to what to the dos. Wearing or bringing the wrong equipment can easily ruin a camping trip.
The Don’t List:
- Jeans – These are not camp-friendly. The can be restrictive and if by chance they get wet… well nobody likes wet jeans.
- Bling Bling – Keep the jewelry in the box at home. Chances of you losing it are pretty high.
- Electronics – If you are going camping, you’re more than likely trying to escape the hustle and bustle and the over encumbering world of technology and to just unplug. Leave behind all non-essential electronics
- Fragrances – This could attract the “undesirables”. Save yourself the itchiness, red welts cortisone cream.
- Nude Sleeping – Don’t… just don’t. Too many things can go wrong and if you have that middle of the night bathroom call, you’re in for a rude awakening.
- Daily Clothes – Sleeping in the clothes you have had on all day might seem like a good idea being that it is what has kept you warm all day so far. Depending on what you have all, the chances of that retaining moisture are incredibly high and you open yourself up to catching a cold.
- The Chef’s Kitchen – Cooking while camping can be simple. Chef Ramsay won’t be attending most likely so don’t feel like you have to have to bring ever utensil, pot, and pans.
To ensure you won’t become a human popsicle overnight don’t forget some other essentials that will help with your slumber.
- A Good Sleeping Bag – There are several different types of sleeping bags to choose from depending on your preference and the climate. You can go ancient Egyptian and snag a mummy bag which will cover you from head to toe only leaving room for your face to be exposed because we all gotta breathe right? There are also down sleeping bags which are always a smart move as the down feathers are natures natural insulator. Now if you’re old fashion like me, the good ol’ rectangular shaped sleeping bags regulated for the temperature you’ll be experiencing.
- A Warm Fleece Blanket – Personally what I prefer to do is line the inside of my sleeping bag with the blanket. This way the fleece will help to trap a great deal of body heat and the sleeping bag will be the secondary barrier which will trap warm air on the outside of the fleece blanket cocooning you in warmth
- A Cot or Air Mattress – Now these items aren’t just for “glampers” these can be very practical items to help beat the cold as they provide a barrier between you and the cold ground.
- Hand Warmers & Feet Warmers – A quick and genius way to turn up the heat in your bag is toss in a warmer or two, even before you get in to achieve that toasty warm feel from the moment you get in.
Combing the above 4 and pairing you chosen pajamas, you will surely put to bed any concern or freezing while camping out.
There are probably more items that could be added to the list but these are the ones that are the most common, some out of habit others from overthinking the experience.
The only other piece of advice that I could offer whether you are glamping or spiking out in the vastness of the great unknown is to be safe, have fun and be prepared.
Hopefully, with this information, your mind will be at ease and can focus on more important things like counting the number of stars you can see at night or how to stop that woodpecker from hammering on that tree above your tent in the morning. Enjoy your trip!
Here’s some related questions and answers.
Is it warmer in a sleeping bag with fewer clothes on?
No, while a sleeping bag is designed to hold heat in, every layer that you wear will help even more.
Will tight clothes keep you warmer?
No, there are a few reasons why this is not the case. First, if your clothes are too tight they can interfere with circulation. This can result in your body not being able to circulate warmth. The other reason is that heat is held in between layers of air. Too big of a layer can result in too rapid heat loss but too little will not be able to hold heat.