Is Sleeping Naked Really Warmer?

At one time or another you may have been told that by sleeping naked in your sleeping bag, you will stay warmer at night. Although this topic is still hotly debated, we turn to simple physics to dispel the myth. The reason you’re supposed to “layer up” before going into the cold is to trap the warm air between (and within) these layers to keep you warm. The more layers of air you can create around your body, the warmer you’ll be. So wearing clothes inside of your sleeping bag will help you stay warm.

A layer or two should be fine, socks and a hat are nice. You don’t want to wear too many clothes, however. The one caveat? Moisture. If you have wet or sweaty clothes, you are better off removing them as the moisture will quickly sap heat away from your body. If you don’t have a dry pair of clothes to change into, then perhaps going naked is a feasible option in this situation. Here are some other tips to keep you sleeping warm and comfortable during a night outdoors.

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  • Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the lowest temperatures you expect to encounter on your outdoor adventure.
  • Change into fresh, dry clothes before getting into your sleeping bag.
  • Use an inflatable sleeping pad or closed cell foam pad beneath you to shield you from the cold ground. You will also be more comfortable this way.
  • Stick a water bottle filled with hot water in the foot of your sleeping bag.
  • Place extra clothing at the foot of your bag and around you to fill up space – the less air your body has to work to heat up, the warmer you will be.
  • Use a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth.
  • Eat a snack before bedtime to help give your body the energy to stay warm through the night.
  • Do some jumping jacks and run around your tents a couple of times to get your body warm before hopping into your bag. Just be careful not to get sweaty.
  • If nature calls, just suck it up, get up, and go. You will be happier and warmer in the end as your body no longer has to work to keep the internal liquid warm.
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