Before setting up your tent, prepack the snow by tramping(walking) on it. Option ... scrape the snow away until you hit bare ground.
Lay down a healthy layer of straw (6-8 inches, loosely packed) then lay your plastic ground cloth on top of the straw. Place the tent on top of the ground cloth. Make sure the edges of the ground cloth are folded under the tent so rain or melting snow does not flow under the tent(between the tent and the ground cloth).
Make sure the zippers on your tent are in good shape. When the doors are tightly zipped, a tent can be up to 10 degrees warmer.
This is going seem conflict with the information directly above but it does not. It is important to unzip the window at the peak of the tent 3 or 4 inches. This will let out the moisture that is released from our breathing while we are sleeping in the tent. If the window is not left open the moisture will gather on the top of the tent and precipitation in the form of rain or snow will happen when the tent is jostled.
Make sure your tent is well anchored in case it is windy.
Make sure the rain fly is not touching the top of the tent.
Use a sleeping bag suitable for the weather. A bag rated between 0 & 20 degrees is usually sufficient for our weather.
Keep the bag dry! Be scrupulously careful about knocking snow of boots and graments before entering the tent. Leave wet or snowy gear outside your tent whenever possible. If the wet gear must come inside put it in plastic bags to prevent everything else from getting wet.
Stay out of your tent until it's time to turn in. Open your tent then sit down in the tent with your boots outside. Remove your boots and place them in a plastic garbage bag, leaving them outside the tent.
A sleeping bag doesn't warm you. You warm it! The sleeping bag merely slows the loss of body heat.
Don't breathe inside your sleeping bag! It may feel warmer initially but it soaks the liner with condensation from your breath.
Use a closed-cell foam pad or Thermorest between your sleeping bag and the bottom of the tent(A wool blanket or newspapers will also work). An air mattress is NOT recommended. Insulate yourself from the cold ground!
Using a fleece liner inside your sleeping bag will dramatically increase the sleeping bags ability to hold in the heat.
Use a Mylar blanket. These are often called space or emergency blankets. If you are not using a fleece liner, put the Mylar blanket on top of your sleeping pad and under your sleeping bag. If you are using a fleece liner put it between the liner and the bottom of the sleeping bag.
Keep your bag away from the sides of the tent where vapor condenses.
Lay out your bag several hours before you turn-in so that it obtains maximum loft(the insulation material relaxes and expands after it is removed from the stuff sack).
Dress for the cold
Wear layered clothing and plenty of wool or polypropylene. Cotton kills! "Polypro" is fast replacing wool as the fabric of choice. Polypro, like wool, wicks moisture away from your skin but does not itch. Staying warm in the winter is a problem of "moisture management".
Wear a good windbreaker or winter coat with a wind resistant outer shell. Rain gear can be used to stop the wind but care must be taken because most rain gear does not breath and there for holds in moisture.
Boots should be water proof or water resistant. One or two pair of wool socks should be worn. Change socks if they should become wet or soaked with perspiration. Boots should be not be tight. The trick to keeping warm is dead air space. Putting on 3 pairs of socks and then cramming the socked foot into the boot is less effective than just one pair thin socks and one pair of thick socks that have plenty of room in the boot.
Mittens are warmer than gloves. Mittens with a glove liner inside are the best.
Wear long underwear made of polypro or other synthetic fiber. Cotton becomes wet and holds moisture next to your body.
Wear a fresh, dry pair of long underwear to bed. It often makes a difference between cozy slumber and all night shivering. Try not to overdress because bulky clothes in a tight sleeping bag will compress the insulation, or you could overheat and wake up sweat soaked. Either way you get cold.
Wear a wool or synthetic stocking cap during the day and while you are in your sleeping bag(or hooded sweatshirt). By using a larger hat that covers your ears and as far down to the neck is best.
Don't place wet clothes (clothes you perspired in all day) in your sleeping bag. If you want to warm your clothes for the following day, place a clean, dry set in their own plastic bag inside your sleeping bag during the night. They will be warm and dry when you awake.
Drink plenty of liquids
It's hard to stay hydrated in cold, dry condition because you play and sweat all day, then breathe out lots or water will sleeping. Dehydration thickens your blood, leaves you feeling cold, cranky and listless, and encourages frostbite. Your urine should run relatively clear; the dreaded yellow snow signals dehydration.
Warm up before bed
Remember, a sleeping bag can't retain body heat that's not there in the first place. Eat a hot dinner, have a hot beverage and warm up before retiring by walking around, waving your arms or going for a quick moonlit run. Just don't overdo it and go to bed sweaty.
Keep a high-carbohydrate snack handy in your tent in case you get cold during the night. Keeping food in tents is not normally recommended due to the potential for visits by the local animal population so keep this snack tightly zipped in a Ziploc bag.
Change all your clothes before going to bed. Clothes that have been worn all day are holding moisture from your activities. Changing your clothes removes that moisture and therefore you are warmer.
To keep you warm and your water from freezing warm some water on the stove and fill your Nalgene with it. Make sure the Nalgene is closed tight. Then put the Nalgene with the warm water in your sleeping bag.
Keeping warm on multiple night campouts
You must change your clothes when you get up in the morning. Similar to going to bed you clothes have gathered a lot of moisture while you slept.
Full open your sleeping bag to let it air out and dry out.
Guard against frostbite and hypothermia.
Familiarize yourself with the signs of frostbite and hypothermia, and the treatment. Watch each other. Use the buddy system.
Stay warm, dry and hydrated.
Limit your exposure to wind, cold and water.
Be extremely careful handling stove fuels in freezing weather. If spilled on exposed skin, the rapid evaporation of volatile fuels can cause instant frostbite. If this happens, you must seek medical attention immediately.
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