Is 50 Degrees Too Cold For Camping?


Last Updated on October 22, 2020 by Derrick

Nothing is worse than going on a camping trip and having an uncomfortable experience due to the weather conditions.

Is 50 Degrees Too Cold For Camping?  It could be too cold for camping depending upon your cold tolerance and how experienced you are with camping.  Let’s dive in further.

A number of factors could come into play when camping in 50 degree weather that will determine if you are comfortable or not.  

Cool weather camping has a number of benefits, it is easier to put on more clothes and feel comfortable than it is to try and cool off during warm season camps, also cooler season camping many people prefer as you do not have to deal with bugs!

Factors On The Impact of Camping At 50 Degrees

Experience

If you are an experienced outdoorsman (or woman), you may have enough experience where 50 degree temps do not phase you.  The colder temperatures get for the inexperienced individual it may get more and more anxiety.

If you are inexperienced and are looking to start camping in cooler weather you should try and find someone who has experience in camping in cold temperatures that you can tag along with incase you need assistance.  

Once you have a couple cool weather trips under your belt and have the appropriate gear you can venture out on solo adventures without having any concerns.

Remember the more experience you have the less gear you have to carry.

Gear

If you are just getting started camping having the correct gear is important, this is especially true the colder it gets.  Having the right gear doesn’t mean expensive gear.  For example, you can take a lower rated sleeping bag and combine it with another similar sleeping bag so you can camp in colder conditions.  You can also find colder weather clothing at thrift stores if you are looking to camp on a budget.

Likewise if you have the money you can invest in cold weather camping gear that you rotate into your gear rotation as the temperatures start to drop.

If you are car camping consider taking a heater such as a Mr Buddy or similar company propane heater, while I wouldn’t run this the whole trip it can be nice to turn on right before bed and when you wake up to warm up the tent and take some of the chill out of the air as you change into your clothing.

Your Location

Location can play a big role in how comfortable you are in 50 degree weather.  Personally, I am from Buffalo, NY and we have cold winters so 50 degrees often isn’t that bad for me, but when I traveled to South Carolina when it was the mid 60s people were dressed in hoodies where I was dressed in shorts and t-shirts.

So take that into account when you are determining if it is too cold for camping.

If you are from a warmer climate for sure you can still camp in 50 degree weather, just take a few extra layers so you can add or remove layers depending on how you feel.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can play a big role in how you feel when you are camping no matter the temperature.  At 50 degrees when it is sunny you can feel much warmer than if it is cloudy, damp and rainy.  Remember if the daytime temperatures are around 50 degrees then at night it will likely get colder.

Camp Placement

If you have a choice try not to camp in an overly shady area or an area in a valley. Cold sinks, so if you do happen to set up your camp location in a valley you may be slightly less comfortable than if you set it up in a better location.  Often people like camping near water, while this scenic view can be nice, the water can also make it feel colder in certain scenarios.  Ideally I like camping on slightly elevated, dry land that has a south facing view which will help keep the spot fair consistently in the sun throughout the day.

Still Planning On Going Camping? Follow These Tips For A Successful Trip

First prior to your trip you should do adequate preparation so you do not forget anything.  Ensure you pack proper clothing for the weather conditions you plan to experience, as well as some additional clothing to ensure if the temps dip slightly lower than expected you are still warm.

Clothing wise I like to take a fleece or lightweight down jacket, tech pants with poly long underwear and wool socks.  This is a good base kit for fall and late spring weather and can be layered with other gear for even colder trips.

Proper footwear can go a long way towards comfort as well, bring a pair of loose fitting wool socks to sleep in, this allows you to take off your socks from earlier in the day where your feet may be sweaty from activity.

Second, pack proper food and enough food.  When it is cooler having a warm meal can be helpful, just like at home in the fall when people may soups and stews. Having a warm serving of food can be a huge help to making you more comfortable.

Prior to bed consider having something small to eat to ensure your body isn’t going to bet hungry.  Most people I camp with will have a warm tea or coffee and a granola bar of some sort about 1 hour to 30 minutes before bed.

If you are having a stationary base camp and are legally able to consider having a fire going, it is nice if you get chilly you can move closer to the fire and likewise if you start getting warm you can back away from the fire.  Fires are also nice because you can keep a kettle of coffee or tea on the first and pour some as needed if you are feeling chilled.

Hopefully this was helpful, at the end of the day only you can judge if 50 degrees is too cold for you.  Being prepared can and will go a long way, so don’t let chilly weather scare you away from enjoying all mother nature has to offer and get outdoors.  As your skills continue to grow you may find you prefer cooler weather camping over warm season camping.

Recent Posts