What temp is too cold to camp with children? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-09-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I have no idea where to put this question, but I suppose nighttime parenting will do.


We are thinking of going camping in the Flordia panhandle over Thanksgiving.  In Late Nov/Early Dec the temps average out in the 70-44 range.  We live in Georgia, so we aren't used to super cold weather or anything.  If the nighttime temperature gets into the mid-forties, is that too cold for a 5.5 yr old and a 2.5 yr old?  We aren't experienced campers, and have no idea.  We will be camping in a large tent, on air mattress with a feather mattress on top of the air mattress (hey, I didn't say we were roughing it!).  We will have electrical outlets at the campsite, but I don't know if it's safe to use a heater while sleeping.  We could use electric blankets though.


ETA: FWIW, we will be bed-sharing so that will keep us a bit cozier than sleeping alone.

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#2 of 7 Old 09-09-2011, 09:35 AM
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I would *not* sleep on an air mattress with temps that low at night.  An air mattress is a heat sink.  Yoga mats, closed cell pads, self-inflating pads like the thermarest--all good choices. 

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#3 of 7 Old 09-09-2011, 09:49 AM
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My Boy Scout of a husband would cringe at the thought of putting a heater in the tent. Depending on the size of your tent that could be hazardous, especially if your kids aren't conscious of kicking flammable things towards it in their sleep, YKWIM?  In our experience camping in cold weather (40's and 50's) we (just my husband and myself) generated enough heat to be comfortable through the night.  Hats.  Socks.  Long pants and long sleeved-shirts.  Sleep in a row with the little ones between you. And if possible zip your sleeping bags together so you share your body heat.  

We use those standard little self-inflating air mattresses that you can roll up - I'm not sure about a big air mattress, but I don't think your feather mattress would work against you as a heat sink.  

Hope this helps!  Have fun!!!

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#4 of 7 Old 09-14-2011, 03:49 PM
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Well I went camping with my 11 week old baby with temps dropping into the upper 40's so I would not see it a problem at all with older children. Just bring plenty of warm bedding or sleeping bags and dress in layers as needed. Wearing hats and socks to bed can help a lot too. And leaving some air flow in the tent can actually keep it warmer as it is less likely to collect moisture which tends to make it feel colder.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-14-2011, 05:06 PM
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I don't think that's too cold as long as you have warm enough clothes and bedding, but I don't know whether you do.  I agree that you'll get cold sleeping on an air mattress, and I wouldn't do that. 

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#6 of 7 Old 09-14-2011, 05:26 PM
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Absolutely not too cold.  (When I woke up this morning, my house was 42 degrees.)  I don't worry about shifting to 'winter camping' gear until it's dropping to the 20s at night when we camp.  That said, we live in a colder climate and are better acclimated to that.  Additionally, I have four-season camping gear. 


Given that this isn't the norm for you:


1. Air mattress evil!  Closed cell foam or something of the sort will feel much warmer.

2. Layers- some long underwear and light socks underneath sweats or fleece topped with hats and wool socks

3. I would not opt for a heater- just layers and snuggles should be plenty. DD uses a down mummy bag for herself along with any other covers we might be using.  She tends to chill easily and this packs down small and gives her an extra layer of warmth. 

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#7 of 7 Old 09-14-2011, 05:34 PM
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We went camping with cub scouts when the kids were 6 and 3 in all seasons. I think our coldest campout the temp was down in the high teens at the low, and the high was exactly freezing during the day. We dressed in layers with snow suits on top and brought TONS of blankets, but not sleeping bags. It was just me and the 2 kids back then. We coslept in our tent...put about 2/3 of the blankets on the ground to insulate against the ground sucking out our heat, and the rest on top...the first night. We were so hot we were stripped down to regular night clothes and kicking off the blankets. The next 2 nights, we put all but one blanket under us. Our tent was toasty at night!


Lows in the 40s are nothing! lol Just plan ahead. Prepare ahead of time for any worst case scenarios. Overplanning makes for smooth sailing. ;)

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