December 7


Is Sleeping Naked Really Warmer? The Answer will Shock you

By Jonathan

December 7, 2022

Is sleeping naked really warmer? This a good question that hikers ask themselves and which we will help you debug. In your house, sleeping naked is the norm to the extent that wearing clothes in bed feels burdensome. Even the lightest pair of pyjamas feel heavy on your skin because you are used to sleeping free under a blanket on cold nights and in a light bed sheet on warm nights.

A camping tent with sleeping bags laid down
A camping tent with sleeping bags laid down

You are now headed out to the trails and you will spend a few days in the woods, camping, and the biggest concern is whether you can still sleep naked.

Is sleeping in a sleeping bag naked warmer?

Watch to learn how to set up a warm sleeping bag in winter:

Aspersions have been cast around that sleeping in a sleeping bag naked is warmer than having clothes on. This old age assumption has been passed down the generations without much explanation. The idea, however, goes against logic since layering has always been the solution to cold nights.

Before we conclude whether sleeping naked in a sleeping bag is warmer, we need to address a few concerns and they are as follows:

What is the Season in Question?

Camping during summer is easy and a lot of things will pass because the hazards are fewer. The days and nights are warmer and the question as to whether you sleep naked or in clothes is not a big deal. But then as we approach fall and eventually winter, you need to be more intentional with how you dress up when going out there.

You are at risk of catching hypothermia if you underdress and hyperthermia if you overdress. Both are life-threatening situations that can escalate quite fast. Being aware of such occurrences will help you make informed decisions and stay safe.

We, therefore, agree that the question of sleeping naked is more relevant during the cold seasons and as we go along, we will try and debunk this apologue conclusively.

What happens when you need to pee at night?

Is sleeping naked warmer? It might be, but what happens when you need to pee at night? It happens more often that in the middle of the night you get pressed to pee and since we assume that you are a grown-up and in perfect health to be out there camping, we also conclude that you do not do diapers.

So you are there enjoying your supposedly warm night, naked and neatly tucked in the sleeping bag. The call of nature suddenly knocks and you have to answer. What happens then? Remember it is freezing cold outside.

Your first alternative is to just brave the cold, relieve yourself, and get back to sleeping, spend the next several hours trying to regain the warmth, and before you know it, it is already morning and you need to hit the road.

The other alternative is to put on your clothes according to the weather, have a warm night, wake up to pee and go back to your sweet sleep, and wake up in the morning well-rested to continue with your trekking.

How will you transition from the sleeping bag to your clothes without freezing?

You have managed to sleep through the night, naked and in a sleeping bag since you probably avoided taking liquids at night. It is now dawn and you need to be up early to continue with your journey. It’s freezing cold but you need to get out. How will your body transition from the warmth in the sleeping bag to the gruesome cold while you are reaching out for your clothes?

You still have two alternatives here; the first one is to postpone waking up and wait until it is warm enough, which might be never considering we are in winter. The second option is to jump out, dress up for the day and spend the next few hours trying to warm up your body.

Have you thought about bug bites?

A crawling bug
A crawling bug

No one goes around spraying the forests to rid them of bugs as we do in our homes. In fact, that is their rightful home and we are the ones invading.

The camping tents and sleeping bags are not entirely bug-proof and one of the ways that you can keep the crawling and flying bugs from biting your skin is by having full covering clothes at night. Some bugs cause skin rush which can be itchy and uncomfortable.

So, if you are still convinced that sleeping naked is warmer, think about dealing with bug bites and the irritation that follows.

Finally, is sleeping naked really warmer in reality?

A well-insulated sleeping bag
A well-insulated sleeping bag

By now we have partly addressed the risks involved in sleeping naked but could there be some hidden benefits? Will you be warmer if you sleep naked even during winter?

Most proponents of this theory argue that sleeping bags are insulated and the insulation traps the heat that your body produces (Get the best sleeping bag here). The warmth does not escape but keeps circulating in the microenvironment. Wearing clothes in the sleeping bag on the other hand will prevent heat from circulating and hence you will not benefit from the warmth.

It is difficult to explain the science behind this theory and so it remains to be a myth. Additionally, the odds are against the myth since the cons of sleeping naked while camping out do the pros.


As we conclude, sleeping naked while camping is a bad idea. You can justify sleeping naked in summer because it is warm, but still for hygienic purposes, just have at least underwear or light pyjamas on.

There is, however, an exception whereby all your clothes are soaked up, you can sleep naked but have a sheet nearby that you will cover yourself when getting out of the sleeping bag.

By now you’re probably asking yourself, what is the appropriate sleeping gear in a sleeping bag? Stick with merino wool for both the top and bottom, and avoid wearing very bulky clothes which will press the lining of the sleeping bag and prevent air circulation.

Have your tent in the right size, ensure your sleeping bag has a liner and is clean and we assure you a wonderful night’s sleep while camping.

About the author

My name is Jonathan J. Williams, a 36-year-old male, and hiking is my oxygen. It is my source of life. I hike on good days and bad days for relaxation and exercise. Backpacking and camping go hand in hand with camping; the three define my life. The trails and mountains keep calling at me.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Like our website?

Then you'll love our biweekly newsletter. New Skill, Tips & Trics, trip reports, gear reviews, inspiring stories and more.