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Winter camping
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Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Winter camping on 02/27/2011 11:55:12 MST Print View

This is kind of a weird question but is it possible to sleep well in the winter? Last night I camped out in around 15 and my sleeping bag was plenty warm but my nose about froze off. Do you pretty much have to breath the warm air of your sleeping bag to not have this problem. I just found it kind of hard to sleep with a cold nose. Anyone else have this sort of problem? Do you get used to it after a few trips?


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
the masked BPLer superhero on 02/27/2011 12:03:46 MST Print View

use a mask or a balaclava that covers the nose .. the ski mask (aka terrorist) masks work well ... or a neck gaiter you can pull up ... or the old fashion scarf

just dont walk into any banks with them on

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Sleeping in winter on 02/27/2011 13:08:53 MST Print View

I find it easier to get a good night's sleep in the winter. It gets dark earlier, the snow is more comfortable to sleep on than hard ground, it tends to be quieter, and there is nothing as comforting as snuggling into a nice warm bag on a crisp night.

It seems unusual that your face would get so cold on a 15 degree night. Everyone handles the cold differently, but if your body is warm, usually your face is warm too, at least until well below 0F. Maybe your extremities were vasoconstricted for some reason. I would try all the usual recommendations for maintaining warmth, if you have not already done so:

Adequate sleeping system for the conditions
Exercise and have a snack before bed
Keep well hydrated
Make sure your base layers are dry
Good, snug fitting down hood
Warm socks or booties on your feet

If your face is still cold, do like Eric says and wear some type of facemask. I don't personally like breathing into a thick balaclava, so I use a sheer skullcap made from the sleeve of an old microweight base layer. This pulls down over my face and is thin enough to breath through comfortably. Don't breath into your bag or you will wake to a lot of condensation around your face.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
sleep in winter on 02/27/2011 13:21:52 MST Print View

^ all good tips

I always have a Buff w/ me (summer or winter) they make them in syna and merino both- if it gets really cold I slide that over my mouth/nose, as mentioned above you don't want to be breathing much into your sleeping bag, too much moisture exhaling into your bag

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Winter camping on 02/27/2011 14:21:35 MST Print View

Hi Josh

> This is kind of a weird question but is it possible to sleep well in the winter?

What did you have on your head?


Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter camping on 02/27/2011 14:50:34 MST Print View

If it's cold at night I wear a loose down balaclava to keep my face warm. Then if it's really cold I also put a terry cloth washcloth over the rest of my face. It breathes enough and keeps me warm. I have tried the standard ski mask type balaclava but the tightness around the face is uncomfortable for me. I sleep well with this setup - I think keeping the face warm at night is often overlooked - it definitely makes a difference in my comfort on a cold winter night.

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
winter camping on 02/27/2011 15:45:37 MST Print View

Roger, I had a 100wt fleece beanie. I actually started with an OR option balaclave but it was a bit uncomfortable.

Im thinking the hooded down jacket would be a good idea. I think I will also invest in some down booties for next winter.

Thanks for all of the advice.

I think I may also try out the lightweight buff sort of thing just draped over my face.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Winter camping on 02/27/2011 22:27:27 MST Print View

Josh - what works well for me is a balaclava that is made of the same fabric as midweight polyester long johns. I get mine from Sierra trading post or Campmor, but others are available. I don't wear it as a balaclava really; I have it sort of folded up, so that it is double layer, and pulled down far enough to cover eyes and nose. This serves two purposes - keeps my nose warm and blocks out that high altitude moonlight on the snow which is bright enough to keep me awake sometimes.
Plus I use it all the time during the day as a light hat/facemask - very handy!