Kat Powers

Camping game-changer: The hot water bottle


For years I’ve been fighting the cold on camping trips. And as warm and active as I get during the day, over the fire or in the sun, I am freezing cold and sleepless at night. In the morning I’m cold and cranky and achey.

Too old for camping out? Not yet. The standby of the frozen and aged is the old-fashioned hot water bottle. I put this in my sleeping bag an hour before turning in, and for once I slept through the night. I also woke up a tad less achey than I do when sleeping on a mattress and not the ground.

For someone who usually rises about 5:30 in the morning, it was a shock to hear bugles going off when I was still in my sleeping bag — and┬áReveille comes at 7 a.m.

When filled from a kettle the hot water bladder is actually quite hot. Wrapping it in a smelly athletic dress worked just fine for me. I’ve ┬álearned there are fantastic knitting patterns for hot water bottles, and some stash them in stuffed animals, which may be the more attractive way to handle the situation, but adds bulk to your pack.