Skip to main content

The simple cold-weather camping hack that will keep your devices charged

You don't even need to bring anything extra

Man using phone in the snow.
Al Elmes/Unsplash

Camping in the winter is a great way to avoid the crowds. That said, one of the biggest differences between summer and winter camping is the temperature. Not only do you have to keep yourself warm, but there’s also the added challenge of plummeting phone batteries.

Why do phones die in the cold?

Our trusty smartphones are essential to our safety when out camping, but when you camp in the winter, you might find that your phone doesn’t last nearly as long. If you leave your phone lying around at night, don’t be surprised to find it hanging on for dear life the next morning.

This is because batteries, such as the lithium-ion ones found in smartphones, rely on chemical reactions to produce electrical energy. Cold temperatures slow these reactions, reducing the battery’s efficiency in moving ions between electrodes, thus lowering its power output and capacity. Cold weather also increases internal resistance, further limiting power delivery and causing a drop in voltage output and premature shutdowns. Additionally, cold weather forces the phone to work harder to maintain its operating temperature, increasing power consumption and affecting the display, a power-hungry component that requires more energy in the cold; this exacerbates battery drain. This means your phone may drain faster, shut down unexpectedly, or even suffer permanent damage in the long run if exposed to the cold for extended periods.

Happy man drinking tea in a green tent in the forest. Nearby are a backpack and a snow shovel. Beautiful sunny spring day.
Mikhail / Adobe Stock

The camping hack to know

Fortunately, we’ve found a simple, everyday hack that makes a difference when you’re out in the winter wilderness. This straightforward and effective trick will help to keep your phone warm and your battery alive at night: tuck it into the bottom of your sleeping bag.

This is a great option for several reasons: first, it’s free! If you’re going winter camping, you likely already have a great sleeping bag. If your sleeping bag is designed for cold-weather conditions, it can keep your devices at the right temperature, especially if you’re tucked in too. Before you head to bed, just tuck your devices inside. Some sleeping bags even have a pocket for your phone, so look around for it.

Your body heat and the sleeping bag’s insulation will keep your devices from freezing and dying on you. Take this trick a step further and put your phone in an inside pocket when you’re out in cold temperatures. That way, your phone will always be charged for photos, navigation, or communication.

When camping in winter, staying connected is more critical than ever. This simple yet effective camping hack provides a convenient solution to keep your phone warm, charged, and ready to use when you need it. Whether you’re embarking on a winter camping trip or simply braving a frigid day, implementing this easy trick will ensure your phone remains a reliable companion in the cold. The next time you bundle up for a chilly adventure, remember to tuck your phone into the bottom of your sleeping bag and stay connected throughout your cold-weather escapades.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Sarah Joseph
Sarah is a lover of all things outdoors. With a bright sense of adventure and a heart for the mountains, she is always…
Camping hacks: Is Vaseline the secret to an incredible campfire?
Want a great campfire? Pack vaseline
A campfire

Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a versatile product widely used for everything from skin care to squeaky hinges. But did you know that it can also be a great fire starter? Getting that fire started is a crucial skill for camping enthusiasts for warmth, cooking, and campsite ambiance. This fire starting hack is one that seasoned campers swear by. Is this common household item the ticket to an incredible campfire? Here's everything you need to know.
How to use Vaseline to start your campfire

At its core, Vaseline is a blend of mineral oils and waxes, which creates a semi-solid jelly-like substance. Its primary use is as a skin protectant, but its highly flammable properties make it an excellent accelerant for fire starting. When applied to a suitable medium that can hold and slowly release the jelly (like cotton balls), it burns more steadily and for a longer duration, making it just the trick to get your campfires going.

Read more
Camper van vs Class B RV: How to choose which to buy for your outdoor adventures
Class B RV vs Camper Van - who ya got?
Man building a campfire in front of a Winnebago Ekko Springer camper van.

If you would love to go on road trips and experience the best national parks, there is no better way to do it and still feel comfortable like you’re at home than camping in an RV. Let’s be honest: You will enjoy sleeping on a cozy bed in an RV with an air conditioner more than in a moist and chilly tent. It’s also easier to prepare your meals in an RV because of the refrigerator, and you don’t have to worry about packing and unpacking your camping bags every night or morning. 

However, the big RVs can be a headache if you're driving through low-hanging bridges or tight spaces. They’re also more expensive to fuel and maintain compared to smaller-size vehicles. Alternatively, you could choose a Class B RV or a camper van if prefer an RV that strikes a balance between rural camping and big-city adventure. But the question is — what’s the difference between a Class B RV and a camper van? And which one should you buy?
A Class B motorhome is built with all the camping amenities

Read more
How to make nutritious and delicious trail snacks: Your DIY guide
DIY trail snacks are less expensive and better for the environment
Date and cashew bars

Knowing how to properly feed yourself to stay energized throughout the day is essential to success on the trail. Whether you're out hiking for the day or on a multi-day thru-hike, nutrition will make or break your trip. There are loads of trail snacks on the market that you can take in your pack, but if you hit the trail every day, these can be costly.

We all want to be a bit more environmentally conscious. As outdoor enthusiasts, we have a much closer connection with the natural environment than most. Even some of the more environmentally aware companies still wrap their snacks in plastic packaging, and many snacks come individually wrapped for convenience. Save yourself money and look out for your environmental footprint in one move by learning how to make your own trail snacks at home. Here are six of our favorites.
Raisin, cherry, and honey flapjacks

Read more