Tips for Camping in Hot Weather

The summer season and camping really do go hand in hand. Not only is the weather sunny and warm, but logistically the opportunity often arises for an extended trip. The kids are off of school, vacation days can be taken from work – all conditions seem to be working in favor of a fun excursion into the outdoors. But, just as any other season presents unique challenges in camping, summer has its own caveat: heat. From uncomfortable to downright exhausting, excessive heat can turn a camping trip into a sweat-soaked bummer very quickly. Below are a few tips for beating the heat when you have limited resources and no AC available.

1. Keep the air circulating

hot mexican sunDead air has a way of compounding the effects of heat. It’s like being immersed in a steamy bath that’s completely still. It’s especially noticeable at night, when lingering heat makes campers toss and turn for hours. To minimize this effect, bring along a battery powered fan for each tent. Though they require lots of large D-Cell batteries, the comfort factor is increased substantially with one in your campground dwelling. Additionally, try removing your tent’s rain fly at night. It will not only allow the night breeze to make its way through your tent, but can also give you a magnificent view of the stars on clear nights.

2. When setting up camp, make shade the number one priority

The most important areas to keep shaded are communal areas that your whole camping party will share, and the tents that they will sleep in. If there’s no natural cover available, try hanging a large cloth or tarp above your tents. Without the sun beating on them all day, the tents will stay noticeably cooler.

3. Dress for the weather

High summertime heat is usually accompanied by intense sun, so it’s important to keep a constant layer of sunscreen on at all times. Hats and light-colored clothing made out of breathable fabric help as well. Avoid dark-colored garments and clothing made with heavy material, such as wool.

4. Bring more water than you need

Though every camper has read and heard this repeatedly, it really can’t be reiterated enough. In excessively hot weather, even light to moderate activity can trigger dehydration. This is something you don’t want to mess with, as the body’s water balance is very delicate. Have water available to everyone at all times, and make sure the younger members of your camping party are drinking it near constantly.

While it does pose some unique challenges, camping in excessive summer heat can be done by anyone with the right supplies and a little common sense. It may not be the most comfortable you’ve ever been in the outdoors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be any less of a good time.

9 Replies to “Tips for Camping in Hot Weather”

  1. I really struggle sleeping in heat and so the position of the tent is absolutely crucial for me during summer. I find that trees, rocks or cars can all be really useful for shielding the tent during the day and stopping it from being a furnace when you step into it at night.

  2. These are Great Tips, i use a battery / solar powered fan that i built out of a 12 volt car fan and use a 12″ x 24″ solar panel to power it. I do keep it hooked to a marine battery so when the sun goes down i still have a fan for the night, i guess the solar panel does more to keep the battery charged than run the fan. Works for me!

  3. Do take care to hydrate. I didn’t and scared my family half to death. I was somewhere between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. My daughter told me later she was wondering where the nearest hospital was. Maybe that’s another thing that we should all think about – where is the closest urgent care and how do we get there? She did fine by giving me a place to lay down, putting cold water on my head and neck and a bottle of water to drink. The spell passed in about 15 minutes, but it was scary – an unnecessary. I felt hot but OK and 10 seconds later I was on the ground. You’re not aware and you have to be pre-emptive. Hydrate and don’t over-do.

  4. Camping in Florida in summer can sometimes be a challenge. Take an extra light sheet for everyone. Before bed spray it with water. Lay it over you and let the fan blow over it. Instant cool. If you are inland FL, and close to water don’t plan much outside after the sun sets for about 2 hours. Mosquitoes hit the tent so hard it sounds like rain. I have a 30 ft self contained camper but I still love to tent camp. The smell and feel is awesome. Enjoy life.

  5. Try to pick a spot near a river or stream. Despite hot weather the water will remain cool, and sticking your feet in will feel great.

  6. Great tips! All are important to keep in mind! One I would add is to plan out your day with heat in mind. For example, make that strenuous hike in the early morning hours before the day’s heat is upon you, and spend the hot afternoon near the shaded lake with lots of drinking water. Taking a little time to plan out your day can make all the difference in a lot of cases! 🙂

  7. Good tips! Along with number 2, try to pick a location for your tent that is shaded during the afternoon sun. Often when camping in the mountains, the sun will set behind the mountains or grove of trees to the west providing shade during the hottest part of the day.

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