When camping in cold weather, some people say it is actually warmer to sleep naked than to sleep with clothes on.
Is that true, or is it better to leave warm clothes on while in the bag?
When talking about fresh, dry clothes then it's not true. More layers definitely equals warmer!
As pointed out in the comments if you really go to extremes then more layers doesn't necessarily equal warmer, but to get to that point you have to really cram yourself in the bag so there's no insulating air between the layers. You could also make yourself so warm you sweat which would make your clothes damp and cool you down again, but if you just wear warm enough clothes to be comfortable, not sweltering (which is surely what you want anyway!) then you shouldn't have an issue.
Where this saying may come into effect (I've heard it branded around before as well) is when you wear clothes to bed that you've already been wearing so they may be damp, or clothes that are next to damp clothes in your rucksack (somewhat surprisingly regular for the more novice hikers!) and so on with similar situations. In those cases, it's probably best to sleep without than put on damp clothes.
Yes, in certain contrived / specialised / odd cases this may be true. But on all practical levels my experiences, and the experiences of those I know suggest that it's a myth with dry clothes and only comes into play with damp clothes, which most seasoned campers (and many other people too) know tend to easily cool you down anyway!
There's no paradox.Tweet