How to Stay Cool While Camping: Summer Camping Guide

How to Stay Cool While Camping: Summer Camping Guide

Last updated by Ori Adler on

Camping is one of the best ways to get outside and reconnect with nature. As beautiful as our world is, it can get hot pretty quickly when the sun starts shining down on us. Even if the temperature outside is comfortable, while you're in direct sunlight, you'll heat up. 

Finding ways to stay cool while you're camping in the summer is key to an enjoyable time outdoors. If you're planning a great summer camping trip but are worried about getting too hot, we've compiled the best tips on staying cool during summer camping. 

Take Your Tent Down During the Day

Taking your tent down during the day is a great way to make sure you're cool when you go to bed for the night. While taking your tent down every day and then putting it back up at night can be time-consuming and tedious, it's one of the best ways to beat the heat. 

When you take your tent down, you prevent heat from getting trapped inside. As you put it back together, there's no hot air inside, and it will feel cooler when you first get inside. 

Drink A Lot of Water

You should always drink a lot of water when you're camping or outside, but it's even more important during the summer. Your body will heat faster in the summer due to the higher temperatures and the sunlight

Remembering to hydrate often throughout the day will prevent you from feeling dehydrated and overall allow you to feel cooler. If your water has ice or is generally cold, that will also help keep you comfortable as you go about your day.

Before you go camping, getting used to drinking at least eight cups of water a day can prepare your body for the amount of water you'll need to consume in the sunshine and outdoors to keep your body functioning well and staying comfortable.

Pitch Your Tent in the Shade

This tip might go without saying, but if you're tent camping, you should always try to place your tent in the shadiest spot possible. It will stay cooler without direct sunlight hitting your tent and absorbing the rays.

You don't just want to pick the first shady spot you see when you first arrive. You'll want to look at where the sun will pass throughout the day and where the shade will be and move from.

You can use a compass to help determine the best location for your tent based on the sun's movement through the sky. If you can't seem to figure out the precise movement of the shade, placing your tent under trees that naturally provide some shade is perfect too. 

Place Your Tent in Line With the Breeze

The breeze, if there is one, is going to be your best friend when you're camping in the summertime. As you make it to your campsite, pitching your tent in line with the breeze can make your life much easier and more comfortable.

Placing your tent in an area where you're getting a constant breeze or as much breeze as possible is vital. You can ask locals if they know, check the weather on your phone or online before you arrive, or use the handy dandy finger trick to find out where the breeze is coming from and the best spot to pitch your tent.

The direction of the breeze might change while you're camping, so making an educated guess on where it will be the most present is a good idea. Even if it changes, you can always move your tent if you feel like it's necessary. 

Make Sure Your Tent Has Mesh

There are several materials that tents can be made from, and if you're camping in the summer, you'll want to have a tent with at least some mesh. Mesh walls on tents provide protection from bug bites and allow a breeze to pass through your tent.

When the breeze passes through your tent, you'll feel cooler. Even if there's not a huge breeze that night, the mesh still allows for much more airflow within your tent than having any mesh walls or areas.

You'll want to do some research on tents with mesh walls and panels so you can see if it's waterproof and where the mesh is placed. 

Don't Use a Rain Fly if There Won't Be Rain

In many areas of the world, the summer means rainy days and nights. Bringing a rain fly for your tent is vital if you think you will be dealing with rain to stay dry. Since you're choosing to go camping, it's unlikely that it will be raining the entire trip.

Whenever there's not supposed to be rain, you should avoid using your rain fly to help keep you cool. While you're inside your tent, your body heat and hot breath will lift and get trapped in the rain fly, allowing heat and moisture to accumulate inside.

Taking your rain fly down when there's not supposed to be rain allows for your body heat and hot breath to escape, keeping your tent as cool as possible. 

Sleep in a Hammock Instead

If you're worried about being too hot inside your tent at night, you can try your hand at sleeping in a hammock. It's an entirely different level of camping but can be a great experience and one you won't soon forget. Plus, you'll likely be much cooler than if you were inside a tent all night. 

The one thing you'll want to think about when hammock camping is the nightly temperatures.

Depending on where you choose to go camping, the daytime temperatures might be overly hot, but at night, if they drop too much, you might be too cold rather than a comfortable temperature. 

If you're thinking about hammock camping, be sure to look into a bug net to prevent bites while you're sleeping. 

Buy Portable Fans

There are so many different types of portable fans you can buy nowadays, and any of them will be beneficial to keep you cool on your summer camping trip. You can get ones that you can stand up at your campsite while you sit around reading or hanging out.

You can also get portable fans that are perfect for keeping in your tent at night to ensure you stay as cool as possible as you try and get some sleep. Other portable fan options that you might want to think about investing in are the ones that go around your neck and blow air onto your body.

Those ones are the best for when you're out hiking, fishing, or otherwise exploring your surroundings. Be sure to check how they run before you purchase them. If they're solar-powered, make sure to let them charge and bring extra batteries if they require those.

Use a Reflective Shade

If you're camping in the summer, do yourself a favor and invest in a reflective sunshade. These products will reflect sunlight that reaches your camp and reflect it up into the sky, away from your campsite. Anything in the shadow of the reflective sunshade will be far cooler than other areas of the camp.

The best area to place the shade is anywhere you want cooler. We recommend putting it so that it reflects the sun away from your tent or wherever you're planning on sleeping. This way, you'll be much cooler at night and have a more restful night of sleep.

You'll want to put it pretty high above your tent so that you can allow for airflow. A good rule of thumb is to place it at least 12 inches above your tent. 

Use Sunscreen Aggressively

You're probably wondering how wearing sunscreen will help keep you cool while camping in the summer, but it can. When you wear sunscreen, you'll prevent sunburn. Harmful UV rays can cause permanent skin damage, and when they burn you, your internal body temperature will naturally rise, causing you to feel hotter than you normally would.

Remembering to apply sunscreen often while you're camping in the summer can prevent unnecessary heat on your body. Not only will you be cooler, but you'll be in a lot less pain than if you were to get a gnarly sunburn. 

Take a Cold Shower Before Bed

There's nothing like a cold shower to cool you down. A great way to keep cool while camping in the summer, especially at night, is to take a cold shower before heading to bed for the night.

Most campsites have restrooms with shower facilities you can use, but if you don't have access to one of those, you'll want to think about bringing a portable shower to use at your campsite. Letting the cold water rush over you for a few minutes before putting on your sleepwear and heading to your tent or hammock will lower your internal temperature.

It won't lower it to a dangerously low point, but it can reduce it back to a normal temperature before you head into your potentially warm tent for the night. It will feel amazing and keep you cooler overnight. 

Pack and Wear Lightweight and Light Colored Clothing

When the sun is shining down on you, you'll heat up pretty quickly. That's why it's so important for you to pack lightweight and light-colored clothing for your summer camping trip.

While these clothes and colors aren't the best color to wear in the sun for protecting your skin from UV rays, they will reflect light and keep you far cooler than thicker and dark-colored clothing.

Besides the color, you'll want to think about the fabric of the clothing you're packing. You'll want clothes that have a breathable material like linen, straw, or cotton. These won't cling to your body as much and be pretty cool despite the hot temperatures.

In addition to your lightweight, breathable, and light-colored clothing, you'll want it to be loose fitting so it doesn't stick to your skin and trap heat. 

Avoid a Sleeping Bag 

It's tempting to toss your sleeping bag in your car for your campaign trip, but if it's going to be very hot the summer you're going, you might want to forgo the sleeping bag altogether.

We're not saying you shouldn't bring something to place on your camping bed or cover up at night, but sleeping bags can be overly warm, especially when the temperatures rise. The whole point of a sleeping bag, even the thinner ones, is to keep you warm.

If you don't want to be warm but cool at night, opt for a lightweight blanket or a thin sheet in your tent. Using one of these items instead will keep you far cooler than a sleeping bag will and make your trip overall more pleasant. 

Pack Sun Hats

Many people think wearing a hat will keep your head warm, and while it can, using the best sun hats can help prevent you from getting too hot because they can prevent sunburns.

Each sun hat is a little bit different in appearance and function. Looking into the different types and deciding which one will provide you with the best cooling powers but look like you want it to can ensure you're getting the best hat for you. Anyone can wear whatever sun hat that they want, but there are women's sun hats and men's sun hats for you to shop and choose from.

Once you've decided on the right hat for you, learning how to pack hats will be vital to ensuring you can fit everything you need in your camping pack. 

How To Stay Cool While Camping Final Thoughts 

The last thing you'll want on your summer camping trip is to be miserable because of the heat or potentially put yourself in a dangerous overheating situation. By following the above tips, you can find ways to stay cool at your campsite and make memories that will last a lifetime, whether solo, with friends, or with family.

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