All of us at some point have underestimated how cold it would be when we were camping or out in the backcountry. Maybe an unexpected storm arose and you just didn’t have enough clothes. One time when my in-laws were visiting we all camped out on the Oregon coast. This was in summertime, mind you, and we are aware that it would get cold there, even on sun-shiny days.

We warned everyone to pack well and bring warm clothes. As it turns out, we were all cold the whole weekend. Everyone needed one more layer, and we just didn’t bring enough warm clothes. I learned from that miserable experience. Sleeping when you’re cold is no fun, and waking up on a chilly morning when you’re already cold is downright unpleasant. Here are some tips for keeping yourself warm no matter where you are.

First things…bring enough clothes. Bring a hat and gloves. Bring a scarf if you have one. Bring extra socks. If your socks get wet and you sleep in them because that’s all you’ve got, you could be setting yourself up for hypothermia.

Investigate your sleeping bag. If you have a down-filled bag and you’ve had it for some time or it’s gotten heavy use, it might just not be as warm as it once was. The down compacts and clumps up over time, and those air pockets that work to keep you warm diminish. Even synthetic insulation will tamp down over time.

When it’s time to replace your bag, know that there are a ton of styles out there now. There are square cut sleeping bags which maximize space. Mummy bags (which I prefer not to use because I feel constricted), have narrow shoulders and hips to reduce weight. Some of them do have more room near the feet. And there are even hammock sleeping bags. Depending on your size, you may need a bag that is made for a larger person so that you have some room to move inside of it. Backpacking bags minimize weight, while sleeping bags for car camping maximize comfort. Decide how you’ll use the gear.

Whatever bag you choose, get a polar fleece liner. Slip it inside your bag. This not only helps keep your warmer, but keeps the inside of the bag more clean.

Stuff a pillow case with extra clothes for a pillow to avoid having to bring one. Some sleeping bags have a “pillow pocket” to allow you to do just this. Or, stuff it with an extra blanket.

You lose a lot of heat through the top of your head. Either wear a comfortable cap or invest in a bag with a built-in hood. The nice thing about the hoods is that they work just like a sweatshirt hoodie…you cinch the drawstring around your neck and it keeps your heat in and the hood on your head.

Add some long johns to your night clothing. Wearing an extra layer under your sweatpants or hoodie will help. Wool or silk longjohns are a little more expensive but really do work to keep you warmer.

Bring along a hot water bottle. If you have a campfire going as you ease into sleep, warm up some water and fill up your hot water bottle with it. Put it down by your feet or hug it to your belly and you’ll feel toasty for most of the night. I use a wrap on my water bottle that I sewed from an old towel with a drawstring from an old shoelace added. It insulates it so that the heat lasts quite a while.

Sleeping on an air mattress helps because you’re insulated from the cold ground. Sea to Summit makes an easy-to-inflate small and lightweight insulated air mat that we’ve tried and liked a lot.

What’s the best sleeping gear you’ve discovered? Let us know how you keep yourself warm. And yes, we’ve heard this before…sleeping with someone else does help!

Leave it to the gear masterminds at Sea To Summit to take sleeping pads to the next level. Their Comfort Plus Insulated Mat combines serious technology and durable design to deliver a great night’s sleep, no matter where you find yourself.


Right out of the box, the sleeping mat was easy to use, lightweight, and packable. The design is all about function and would be totally at home in high winds, freezing snow, or the backyard tree-house. Unpacking and inflating the Comfort Plus mat takes less than a minute and could easily be done with gloves.

The mat is pretty straightforward from the start, but has some nice features to explore. The valve system to inflate and deflate could be new to some. One valve directs to a top layer and another to a lower layer, something I missed my first time checking it out.


I used the Sea To Summit Air Stream Dry Sack Pump to inflate mine to test it out, but I also easily inflated the Comfort Plus mat another time with about 8 full breaths without the help of a pump. But, the moisture in your breath can end up reducing the warmth of your mattress. Click here to learn about the science behind sleeping mats.

The multi-function valves split between inflation, deflation, and a slow-release adjustment button. The two levels of inflation is a nice feature of this sleeping mat. Inflate one side all the way for maximum cushioning, then adjust the top layer to your tastes for body positioning. It seems a tad over the top for roughing it, but the ability to adjust the inflation with the touch of a button is a nice little feature.

Read more below the photos.

Comfort and Temperature

I tested out the tapered version of the Comfort Plus Regular size, and it was a bit small for me. I’m 5’10” and about 170 pounds, and I fit on the pad but without much room to move. I’d recommend the larger size for anyone around my size or larger.

The Air Sprung Cells are individual chambers and help the mat conform to your body. Movement and contours don’t affect the Air Sprung Cells nearby, allowing for more comfortable night’s rest.

The dual layers of sprung air cells have the nice perk of staying inflated even if one side gets punctured. I didn’t test the feature so I can’t be sure of how it performs in that way. This style also looks like it would provide a perfect layer of additional warmth from cold or snow-packed ground. The Thermolite insulation Sea To Summit uses is designed to prevent radiant and convective heat loss.


Deflating the Comfort Plus sleeping mat was a breeze, and folding it up for packing took no time. It’s design allows for a packing size way smaller than your traditional Thermarest-style sleeping pad. It would be perfect for long distance cycling trips and backpacking.

In a bug-out situation, when space is at a premium, this mat fits perfectly. The design is durable, sets up and breaks down quickly, and fits a wide variety of temperatures and environments.

Want to learn more about Sea To Summit and their gear? Click here to check out the Comfort Plus Insulated Mat and here to see the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump.