What Temperature Is Too Cold for Camping? (2022)

snow camping in mountain baker
Table of Contents

    There is no worse feeling than shivering in a tent in the middle of the night because you weren’t prepared for how cold it would be. Even those hot summer days can lead to cold nights that you may not be prepared for.

    That’s why it’s important to know what temperature is too cold for camping so that you don’t find yourself miserable in the middle of the night trying to keep warm.

    What Temperature is Too Cold for Camping?

    Any temperature that is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is considered too cold for camping, especially if all you have is lightweight sleeping bags rated for the spring and summer months.

    If you plan on camping in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to ensure you have cold-rated gear including a sleeping bag rated below zero. This will guarantee that you stay as warm as possible on cold nights.

    Why You Shouldn’t Camp in Temperatures Below 40 Degrees

    We recommend that no beginner camps in temperatures below 40 degrees for many reasons.

    1. The wind will likely be higher when it is 40 degrees or below. This can cause the wind chill (air temperature) to feel colder than what it is, making it harder to keep warm and stay warm. Wind can also cause your tent to become damaged, which will prevent you from staying warm at night.
    2. Cold-rated gear is heavier to carry. When camping in cold temperatures, you will need to pack cold-rated gear. You may also need to pack extra supplies. This can cause your pack to become overloaded, making it difficult to carry to your campsite. You can find yourself exhausted before the trip even starts.
    3. Fewer campers nearby. Not everyone enjoys camping in the cold, so you can find yourself at a campsite with no one around. This can sometimes be dangerous if there is an emergency and you need to signal someone to help you.

    How to Stay Warm When Camping in the Cold

    If you plan to camp in the cold, you’ll need to make sure that you have gear rated for cold weather. This includes your tent and sleeping bag.

    These are also some tips you can follow to stay warm when camping in the cold:

    • Sleep with a buddy so that you keep each other warm with body heat
    • Try to put your tent in direct sunlight so that the inside of the tent can warm up throughout the day
    • Keep the windows and doors of your tent closed so that no ventilation comes through
    • Use a sleeping pad so that you aren’t sleeping directly on the cold ground
    • Line your tent with mylar blankets to help insulate the tent to contain the heat

    The Bottom Line

    Don’t camp in temperatures less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit without being prepared with cold-rated gear, including a tent, sleeping bag, and additional insulation.

    Narcis Bejtic