Spring camping and keeping warm overnight- trial and error

At midnight, as I finally turned in, it was 10C in the tent.

This was our trial camping in our garden ahead of our planned 2 week spring camping trip in Northumberland over the Easter holidays.

Camping peering out of my sleeping bag

We all had foil backed sleeping mats (or car windscreen sun reflector for Dadonthebrink) between us and the tent groundsheet. We each had a sleeping bag, though Max’s is a regular baby sleeping bag, not a camping one.

The children slept really well.  Only one peep from Angelina, when she lost her hat in the middle of the night and couldn’t find it. (She was cosy in socks, a thin thermal top and a fleece onesie.)

Hugo slept soundly. I was most worried about him in his flimsy supermarket bought summer sleeping bag (Angelina has an Easycamp sleeping bag that has much better thermal performance). I dressed Hugo to compensate: he was wearing thick socks, a thick fleecy pullover with hood and a fleece onesie on top.  He didn’t need a hat, as his hoodie stayed on.

Max was in his little pop up tent cotbed. (It’s a dutch brand and I can look up the details if you are interested.)  It has a self-inflating mat, but I still put a yoga mat underneath to protect him.  He had a sleep suit and some fluffy fleece pyjamas under his regular sleeping bag.  I covered him with a light blanket once he was asleep and also threw a fleece blanket over his little tent, leaving 10cm around the bottom to vent.  He was cosy. (Dadonthebrink slept next to him, so I couldn’t do my usual camping thing of checking him every half an hour.)

Dadonthebrink went to sleep in his shorts and a long sleeved fleece over his t-shirt. No socks. I expressed my surprise at his lack of concern for the cold night ahead. He wasn’t worried.

As I went to bed. I did slip a hat on him, while he slept.  And he still woke up at 2am.  He was cold.  After putting on some socks and thermals he slept as snug as a bug in his 2 season sleeping bag

I, on the otherhand, really struggled to sleep. 

I was uncomfortable- I was sleeping on a Vango airbed. This is a nice inflatable bed with nice features. (Described on one website as Single airbed with a soft flocked surface, robust vinyl coil beam construction – strong and supportive) But it just didn’t suite me. I’ve yet to find an airbed that does. I woke every time I needed to turn over and felt I was balancing to stay on unless I was lying on my tummy or back. It felt like trying to sleep on a tight-rope.

I was also cold, despite being dressed in very warm layers- 2 fleece onesies should’ve done the trick,right?  

They worked for comedy value that’s for sure!  The family cracked up when they saw mummy inside a frog, inside a monkey.

My sleeping bag- once rated to -15C- has, it seems, also seen better days and the numerous washes have taken a toll on it’s filling.

My back, shoulders and my face were cold. I pulled a fleece blanket over me, that helped a little.

At about 3am I part-capitulated: I strongly resisted the urge to run to my nice warm bed a mere meters away, instead I switched on the electric blanket I had put under me just in case.

There on I slept with fewer interruptions.

My lessons learnt for keeping warm overnight during spring camping:

  1. Kids are more resilient than we think;
  2. Dress for comfort and warmth- Fleece is great, good thermals are even better; hat and socks indispensable;
  3. A good sleeping bag is a must;
  4. Have a back up plan- a spare blanket was good, an electric blanket was perfect (though not always possible);
  5. What you sleep on will matter more the following day- if it’s uncomfortable you’ll be a right ol’ hag the next day. ;-)
  6. I am also left wondering whether our tent, with its standing height in the sleeping compartment- perfect for changing and hot summer nights-, is too airy for cold nights?

I’m also still left pondering:

How do Everest climbers, Artic explorers do it?! How do they carry so little and still sleep ok? And how will I stay warm camping next week? Any tips?

 

Image credit goes to Catastrophe Waitress  (because I was too cold to even think of snapping any selfies. ;-) )

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Comments

  1. Warren says:

    Having a good under-bag sleeping pad makes a huge difference for having a comfortable sleep! Only took once to learn that lesson :P

    I’m taking my nephew out on his first overnight camping trek next weekend and we got him a new sleeping bag. We’re preparing for the worst! Hope it goes well.

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