How to get warm & stay warm in the backcountry

by BCEXP Staff

Gear is great, but a little bit of know-how goes a long way; especially when the temperature drops and you’re trying to stay warm. While being prepared with the right equipment and clothing is a must, knowing how to care for your body can insure your adventure doesn’t become a misadventure. We asked the staff at Backcountry Experience to share their tips and tricks for staying warm and dry in desperate situations.

LIZ BLAIR - Snuggle up to a hot water bottle

“When it’s cold, I like to fill a Nalgene with boiling water and stuff it in my sleeping bag. It helps raise the temperature of the bag and keeps me warm throughout the night. NOLS recommends the hot water bottle trick, as well as eating high fat foods like cheese before bed.”

MARGARET HEDDERMAN - Rock the down pants

“Do I look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Yes. Do I care? Not a fig. Insulated down pants (like the Superior Down Pants from Montbell) weigh next to nothing, pack down super small, and add some much needed warmth and coziness when it’s cold. My down pants - paired with a dry wool baselayer - have saved the day when I need to get warm fast. Plus, they’re great for enjoying an extra cup of coffee on cold mornings.”

BEN ROCKIS - Eat energy gels

“An easy way to get your body warmed up fast is to eat energy gels. As your body works to digest the sugar, your body temperature rises. It’s not a long term fix - and the effects don’t last very long - but if you need a quick warm-up, this is a great trick.”

GRAHAM COFFEY - Elevate your legs + other handy tips

“Elevate your legs above your heart. This will allow your blood to pass through your core and warm you up faster. Also, take that hot water bottle Liz was talking about and put it near your armpits, groin, or other areas of high blood flow to get warm faster.”

*Photo | Mike Remke