Hot weather camping can quickly take a turn for the worst if you don’t pack the right camping gear and you are not aware of the risks.
Here’s a list of some useful summer camping tips that can help you stay cool and safe this season.
1. Plan ahead
It’s good to check the weather forecast before you hit the road. Even though it’s never 100% correct, at least you have an idea of what you’re going to face and what summer gear you need to pack.
2. Pitch location and timing are critical
Most of the times, people blame the summer heat for their horrible camping experience, but they make it harder for themselves. You should never camp in direct sunlight; always pick the shaded areas.
Also, don’t pitch the tent first thing in the morning – it will turn into an oven in a couple of hours. Wait for just before the sunset.
3. Air conditioners can help
If your campsite has a power source, I can’t see why shouldn’t consider a camping air conditioner to cool down your tent. There aren’t too many specific designs that will fit a canvas, but you can always improvise to get that cool air inside. A 140 dollars window mounted ac will do the trick.
4. Portable fans will keep you cool
They will never cool your tent, but a good one will help you evaporate that sweat quickly. Find a way to hang one of the tent’s roof to improve the air circulation. A good tent fan should not set you back more than 30 dollars.
5. Let the tent breathe
Shelters will trap the heat inside better than anything. Make sure you allow some proper ventilation if you don’t want to sleep in a “greenhouse”. Take off that rainfly if no rain is forecasted.
6. Pick the right tent for summer camping
This is a significant decision. You don’t want your summer tent just to be made of thin material. It’s essential for it to have some UV protection and to be able to block at least 50% of sunlight.
If you can find one that’s built from a reflective material you’re set to have a good night’s sleep.
7. Avoid sunburns
You’ll have so much fun that you might not be aware that are exposing yourself to sunburn risks. Don’t forget that essential suncream with 30+ protection. But that alone will not help, so try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
8. Drink a lot of water
Dehydration is a killer, and you need to make sure you drink at least 3 liters of water daily. This number should increase if you are doing intensive activities like hiking.
9. Mosquitoes can terrify you
On a summer day, you’ll have little chances to escape from mosquitoes. Insect repellents will work, but if you’re afraid of using chemicals, you can always bring some essential oils that you can burn to keep them away.
10. Eat the right food
I know you like your bacon sandwich, but if it’s scorching outside, eating fatty food is not that advisable. Stick with some salad and make sure you eat some carbs as well to have enough energy for your activities.
11. Wear proper clothing
You don’t need to bring the whole wardrobe with you but make sure you bring some moisture-wicking T-shirts and shorts. If possible, don’t choose dark colors as they will get hot quickly. Bright colors can reflect the heat, and white is the best choice.
Also, make sure you use breathable materials and never go for a tight fit. Nylon and polyester fabrics will wick the moisture and dry quickly, making them the number one choice.
12. Start hiking early
Planning a hiking trip? If better if you start it as early in the morning as possible and maybe return before the midday heatwave. If it’s a long trip, stay in the shade and head back in the afternoon when the heat is not that bad.
13. Pack a coolbox
An ice cooler is definitely a must on a hot day. It’s useful to keep all your drinks cold and sometimes you can also use it to store food. Find one with a double wall and try not to open it to often to prevent that ice from melting to fast.
14. Buy a summer sleeping bag
Winter and all season sleeping bags will not work in the summer. Why? Because they provide excellent insulation but the outer layer is often non-breathable. Choose a light sleeping bag that will wick the moisture and at the same time will not trap your sweat inside.
15. Pack a hammock
Sleeping in a hammock is thought to cure insomnia and, sleeping under the open sky, feeling the breeze, might be the way out of the misery if you’re baking inside the tent.
16. Set up a gazebo
There’s nothing better than having a shaded spot where you can relax, cook or even play some games. The easiest way to have one is to set up a gazebo or build one with some strong tarp. If you can find one with a silver reflective surface, it’s even better.
17. Don’t forget those sunglasses
You know by now that sun exposure can do some damage to your skin, but your eyes can suffer as well if you have no UV protection. Remember to pack those sunglasses and check their protection level to make sure you are using the right ones.
18. Be aware of the heat exhaustion
Your body will struggle with overheating, and heat exhaustion will settle in quickly. If you are sweating heavily and your pulse starts to pick up fast, that’s the first signs of it. You need to cool yourself immediately and stop any physically demanding activity.
19. Store your food in the right place
Food and hot weather don’t go along too well. You’ll need to find a cool place to store it otherwise it will go bad. A coolbox or a hole in the ground will usually help. If you have dry bags and you’re near a source of water, you can seal the food and submerge it.
20. Go swimming
It goes without saying that swimming is the best way to prevent overheating. If you are lucky enough to camp near a lake, river or even ocean, then you don’t need to worry about the warm weather.
21. It’s time to try the solar power
A lot of sunlight means a lot of clean power that’s easy to “catch”. Solar panels can run small fans or electric ice boxes, making them a great an essential summer camping gear to have. Nowadays, they are so cheap to get, and there’s no reason to say no to one of them.
22. The extra care with the campfire
Humans are the cause of 90 percent of all forest fires in the United States. Make sure you control your campfire by using a fire ring or by digging a fire pit. Look around you and don’t start a fire where there’s a lot of dead and dry vegetation.
23. Camp near fresh water
Having a constant source of fresh drinking water is the most important thing you need to consider. Make sure there’s at least a natural spring or a well near your campsite. Be careful though; you might need to take some water filtration devices with you.
24. Energy drinks
When you sweat, you lose a lot of salt and minerals that your body needs to function properly. A good way to replenish them is having some “sports drinks” that contain the so-called electrolytes. They can boost your energy levels quickly but make sure you don’t abuse them.
25. Be aware of the afternoon thunderstorms
If it’s hot and humid, the chances are that an unexpected thunderstorm will hit without to much notice in the afternoon. Be prepared and pack some rainwear just for precaution.
26. Look after your pets
Pets can overheat too, and they are often not given to much attention. Check if they have enough water, food and find them a place where they can cool.
27. Use cold lights inside your tent
A lighted tent is not a bad idea, but it’s better if you use some cold lights or other sources that don’t emit heat, like led lighting. Warm lights will radiate so much heat that will make things worse. A standard light bulb will be a bad idea.
28. Get an insulated water bottle
Having drinking water is important, but keeping it cold it’s even more necessary. A good, double wall insulated bottle can keep the water cold for as long as 48 hours. That’s very useful if you are planning to venture off and explore the surroundings.
29. A camping fridge is a lifesaver
I know, this is more of a luxury, but if you have a power source, you might want to consider getting a mini fridge. This will solve so many problems on a campsite.
30. Zip up your tent
This is to prevent insects from getting in. I don’t advise using bug sprays inside, so the best way is to leave them no “doors” to get in. Although, you’ll need to have some sort of insect screen because you don’t want to block all the air flow.
31. Learn about poisonous plants
You’ll find all sorts of vegetation in the wilderness, and you need to know how to spot the ones that are dangerous. Poison Ivy or poison oak can be life-threatening and you need to learn about them.
Camping in hot weather is nothing to worry about if you are aware of what dangers this can present and how to deal with them. I’m sure I missed a lot of tips, and if there’s any that you might think of, please leave a comment below.