With my wild camping equipment packed and ready to go there is the matter of which clothes to take for a comfortable, warm and dry night. One thing you can be sure of is that after a hike you’ll work up a sweat, especially lugging a 20kilo pack up and down hills, so a change of clothes is absolutely essential.
In the early months it drops cold at night and can get as low as 2-5 degrees here in Spain. With the sun still rising later in the morning (having to wait as late as 9:30 – 10:00 in hilly or mountainous areas) your chances of keeping warm are low, especially if you don’t change out of sweat soaked clothes as soon as you’ve pitched the tent.
I also pack a towel for such occasions; just a small hiking towel which is of a medium size but dries very quickly and packs down to a very small size.
My clothes list includes the following:
2 Base layer tops (one for spare)
1 Hooded top or ‘Snood’
1 Warm lightweight jacket
1 Base layer bottoms (put these on before bed)
1 Spare pair of trousers (when it’s really cold I wear three layers)
A pair of gloves
Spare socks and undies.
After hiking to the wild camping spot you’ll need to change out of your damp clothes otherwise you’re in for a very uncomfortable night. After sundown you have about an hour’s grace before it starts to get cold so you should aim to be in fresh, dry clothes before then. Also make sure you keep the tent closed to trap heat in.
I don’t tend to stay awake long after dark either so I layer up before then. I might sit up to read a book for a while and induce some extra tiredness but at this time of year I’ll be wrapped up and snoozing by 9pm on spring nights.
If you do get cold in the night try to resist the temptation of putting your jacket on (I use mine as a pillow). You’ll need the warmth of the jacket in the morning or for a predawn precipitation (to urinate). Speaking of which, never hold your pee in as this causes the body to lose temperature (2-3 degrees) and in severe cold conditions can even be fatal.
When in bed put your hood up or wear the snood to keep body heat in and cross your arms with your hands in your armpits for warmth. If you’re still feeling the cold curl up into a ball and rub your chest.
When the sun comes up hang your damp clothes out and let them dry, thus giving you ‘fresh’ clothes for the next night.
Take a look at the list of wild camping essentials or read my previous posts, Wild Camping Kit#1 – The Tent, Wild camping Kit #2 – The Bed and Wild Camping Kit #3 – Cooking Gear. As a quick reference y0u can also view a collage of all my gear by clicking here.
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