Top Tips #13 (Winter Warmer)
Staying warm at night when sleeping in huts, bothies, snow shelters or tents gets harder as we head further into the winter. Having a good quality sleeping bag, eating enough, ensuring you are well insulated from the ground, being as warm as you can when you get into your sleeping bag (some vigorous star jumps before bed works a treat!) and wearing dry clothes and a hat all help. Even so, quite a lot of heat and energy is used warming up the insulation in that cold sleeping bag in the first few minutes after you get in.
That's where this top tip comes in because using a HWSBPH (hot water sleeping bag pre heater) will really help to get your sleeping bag cosy for your arrival. A HWSBPH (sometimes also called a 'hot water bottle') can be simply and efficiently created from your trusty Nalgene water bottle filled with very hot water. Obviously there are safety risks associated with this and so avoid using boiling water and ensure your bottle can withstand the hot liquid and has a good seal before trusting it in your sleeping bag and next to your skin! It is also a good idea to put the filled bottle inside a sock or wrap it in an item of clothing to further protect yourself.
Then, just pop it into your sleeping bag about 20 minutes before you climb in and it will get it perfectly warmed up for your arrival. This works even better if you periodically move it in stages from the bottom further up the bag during this pre heating stage. Then, of course, when you climb in you can also cuddle up to your HWSBPH and it will carry on keeping you warm for ages (again, you will need to make a personal judgement about the risk of doing this).
You'll probably wake up in the early hours of the morning and find yourself cuddling a cold bottle of water and at that point I usually throw it outside my bag. The exception is if the outside temperatures is so cold that it will freeze. In that case I live with the fact it is better to keep it inside with me.
A HWSBPH - the perfect way to stay cosy on a winters night :)