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11 Tips to Stay Cool During Summer Camping

Nothing feels good than escaping away from cities and towns, into the lap of mother nature where the cool breeze, scenic beauty, and sometimes wildlife for company re-ignites your excitement about life and calm you down from your rushed life.

On one hand, summer camping allows you to explore the wilderness, enjoying the calming melody of birds chirping, the relaxing sound of the river flowing, and the strong wind blowing through trees. On the other hand, if summer camping is not well organized could be an offsetting experience especially surviving at the mercy of blistering heat.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss some tips to enjoy camping in the summer and staying cool enough to have the best of both worlds.

Tips to stay cool during summer camping

1. Choosing a good campsite

Ideally, a good camping site is close to a water source (at least 200 feet away from the water body), preferably on higher ground where the surface is flat and smooth, and where trees protect you from the scorching sun.

Camping on higher ground will make your experience better because you will have a good sight of the area you are camping in and the natural breeze will keep you cool during the night.

So, choosing the right campsite will make your experience enjoyable and serene. Plan ahead everything including location, daily meals, sanitation, water availability, and so on.

2. Camp under natural shades

Direct sunlight can make your stay inside your tent very much impossible. Therefore it is necessary to find a place where you can find natural shade to block sun rays. You can tent under trees, large bushes (though be sure of snakes and other creepy crawlers) or even large rocks.

Before pitching your tent on the ground, take a look around to determine the sun’s position where it’s coming up and where will it set, and then choose the right spot for camping.  

If you don’t find natural shades to pitch your tent, you can set up a tarp over the tent to stop direct heat over your tent. I have written a blog post to correctly size your tarp for your tent. I always carry a tarp with me whenever I go camping. When I am not putting it above my tent, I use the tarp under my tent.

3. Pitch your tent close but not too close to a water source

Setting your camp near water bodies (rivers, lakes, streams) will have a positive impact on your camping experience because the cool breeze coming off from the water will make your surrounding area cool. We all know that evaporation produces a cooling effect so pitching a tent near a water body will definitely help with the soaring temperature.

However, if you are camping during the rainy season where there is high humidity, camping near water can have the opposite effect. The additional humidity in the air will slow down your natural evaporation process and hence your “feels like” temperature will increase.

It will also make your water utility easy and give you other countless opportunities to swim, fish, see wildlife and explore shorelines. It is recommended to camp 200 feet away from a nearby water source to avoid water contamination and flash floods if there are chances of raining and washing away.   

4. Buy a cool tent

There are plenty of tents that are specifically built for summer camping and help you stay cool. When buying a tent consider certain features for instance protection from UV radiation, durability, ventilation, fine mesh to protect you from insect bites, the tent’s color (choose light colors e.g., orange, blue, etc.), and wind resistance.

The selection of tent material is important because certain materials are better for summer camping. Nylon and polyester tents are less breathable compared to canvas tents so they retain heat. However, canvas is quite heavy so you will probably end up with a Nylon tent after all.

5. Open the vents

The purpose of fine mesh in your tent is to protect you from bugs but if you feel like your tent is building up some heat just make sure you’ve opened all the windows, doors, and vents. This will allow the air to circulate in your tent.

If you are going to buy your summer tent, make sure it has vents on either side to enable cross-air circulation.

6. Reflect the heat away

The best tip to reflect heat is to use reflective thermal survival blankets as a heat shield above your tent. What does it do? It reflects the incoming solar radiation off the surface and keeps the tent cool.

7. Switch from a tent to a hammock

This one is my favorite. Instead of sleeping in a closed tent, pick a hammock and hang it between two trees and enjoy an open-air bed. Even if you are in an area with no trees, you can learn how to hang a hammock without trees and enjoy and good sleep.

Campers have been comparing tents vs hammocks for a long time. Personally, I would prefer the closed walls of a tent during winters but for summers, I would go with a hammock every single time. It offers a better sleep position, is quite safe, and takes only minutes to pitch and takedown.

8. Use a portable fan or AC

Using a portable battery-powered fan will do an excellent job of making your tent cool while occupying just a few spaces. They come in different sizes and types. So, choose according to your tent’s size, no. of people staying in, and battery life.

If you are traveling in a car or van, you can even take a battery operated Air conditioner along. They are pretty good in low humidity conditions and work better than normal camping fans.

9. Eat better food

To escape the fiery summer heat, we recommend you include certain foods that help you stay hydrated. For instance, watermelons, strawberries, bananas, cucumbers, lettuce, and so on. These foods are rich in water content and are nutritious that help you stay active during summer times.

Avoid food that has high calorie and fat content like nuts.

10. Stay hydrated

Water is the key element of all living beings because 70% of our bodies are made up of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink more water than usual during summer camping. Ideally, you should have 1-2 gallons of water per person per day of camping.

11. Wear the right summer dress

Before packing for summer camping be in no doubt to include:

  • A wide-brimmed hat or visor
  • Tank tops, moisture-wicking T-shirts, pants, or shorts
  • Breathable long-sleeved shirts, cargo pants, undergarments, and socks 
  • Water shoes, sandals, flip flops, hiking boots, and sneakers (lightweight)

Sunblock, sunglasses, fast-drying towels, raincoat. Dressing right is essential to beat the heat.

Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page