It can generally go without saying that most people prefer to keep themselves as comfortable as possible when they go camping. During the winter, this often means bundling up and using heat packets to keep yourself warm during the frigid nights.
On the other hand, keeping yourself as cool as possible during the summer isn’t exactly so straightforward.
While you can always add layers and bring heating materials with you, you can’t exactly remove your skin when it gets too hot, and you can’t really turn the temperature down as if you were at home.
So, how exactly does a person keep themselves cool while camping during the summer? There are a few different ways that you can keep yourself comfortable when the temperature outside is far too hot for your liking.
To put things simply, there are a few different areas that you are going to want to pay attention to when you are preparing yourself for the camping trip.
For one, you will want to pay attention to what you pack, including food and clothes, as these will make a massive difference in how comfortable you will end up being. You also need to pay attention to your tent and where you set it up for the trip.
When you know what to bring and how to set everything up when you are camping in a hot area, you can rest assured knowing that you will be comfortable enough to make the most out of the trip, and for many people, this is more than enough.
The trick is to simply know exactly what you should be doing.
Proper Clothing to Keep Yourself Cool
Arguably, one of the most important aspects of keeping yourself cool while being outdoors is being mindful of what you are wearing.
There are quite a few ways that you can make sure that your clothes won’t make you feel hotter than the temperature already is. Packing the right clothes is going to be key to keeping yourself cool.
First things first, you will want to make sure that you only pack clothes that are light colored. Darker clothes absorb the sunlight more, which ends up absorbing heat, and when it is already sweltering outside, this is the last thing you want to have happen.
On the other hand, having light clothes will actually reflect the light off of you, keeping you marginally cooler than you otherwise would be.
Similarly, any clothing you bring should absolutely not be form-fitting in any way. You should always wear loose and breathable clothing if you know that you are going to be outside in hot temperatures for a while.
When the clothing isn’t hugging your skin, it gives your skin a chance to cool itself down through sweating. Do be careful about sunscreen, if you choose to only wear short-sleeved shirts and shorts.
Depending on the environment of where you are camping, you might need to consider finding pants that are long, but also light and breathable. This is important to consider, as some camping environments are filled with thorny brush that can scrape your legs if you choose to wear shorts.
Shorts also leave your legs exposed to the likes of mosquitos, and this is something that nobody really wants to deal with.
For your shoes, you will want to make sure that you avoid anything with waterproof membranes. While it might be nice not to have soggy feet, it becomes more of a burden than a convenience during hot, muggy weather.
Instead, it becomes a cesspool for sweat and bacteria. You should look for shoes that are as ventilated as possible, and you should pair them with the lightest socks that you can find so that your feet remain protected, but you also don’t have to worry about the sweat stench.
Finally, you might want to consider bringing a bandana along with you so that you can soak it in water and put it around your neck. While it might seem foolish to some people, there is a fair bit of science involved in this.
Because most of the major veins and arteries pass through your neck, and close to the skin at that, you can cool yourself down by placing a bandanna soaked in water around that area.
How to Keep Your Tent Cool
Just as knowing what to do with your clothing is crucial in keeping yourself cool, you should also have a good idea of what to do with your tent as well.
Since this is where you will be spending a fair amount of your time, you will want to make sure that your tent is not only designed to be comfortable, but that it is in an optimal place as well.
Depending on what type of camping you are doing, you might want to consider the idea of using a hammock. This will provide you with as much cool nighttime air as possible while you are sleeping, and it is a whole different experience from traditional camping in a tent.
If you are up for something unique, and you know that the place you are camping will be able to support using a hammock, this might be one of the best ways to go about keeping yourself cool at night.
If hammocks are not optimal for your camping experience, there are a few things you will want to note before you pick out the perfect tent to spend your summer camping in.
Generally, you will want to aim for as much mesh in your tent as you can afford. Mesh walls still provide protection against insects, but they allow the breeze to pass through, keeping you cool during the night.
For most people, this should come as an obvious plan, but you should make sure that you set up your tent in the shade. This allows the trees to take the brunt of the sunlight, letting your tent and the area around it be a little bit cooler than it otherwise would be.
You can use your compass and a little bit of math to get an idea of where the sun will be during midday, when it is at its strongest, and plan where to set up your tent from there.
You can also consider getting a sunshade to put up alongside your tent. These are good alternatives if you can’t find an area that has an adequate amount of shade during the midday hours. Sunshades are designed to reflect the light, and heat, back up at the sky, keeping everything below it warm.
In a sense, it forces an area of shade beneath it, which is something that just about any summertime camper can appreciate. You should make sure that you place the sunshade at least 12 inches above the top of the tent for the best results, since it allows for some more airflow.
As for your sleeping bag, you might want to consider ditching it in favor for a sheet or a thin blanket instead. Some sleeping bags, even the ones that are supposedly good for warm weather, can prevent the cool night breeze from getting to you, and they can end up trapping heat instead. Nobody really wants this to happen.
A cotton sheet is an alternative that will keep you covered and comfortable, while also allowing you to be cool.
Last, but not least, you will want to consider looking into weather forecasts to get an idea of the breeze, so that you can place your tent in an area where it will be fairly breezy. The moving air is always welcome when temperatures run high, as it can create the illusion that it is just a little bit cooler outside.
Checking the weather is the most efficient method, but you can always use your finger to see if there is any breeze at all.
What Can You Do with Your Food and Drinks?
Finally, you will want to consider what to do with any food and drinks that you bring in advance. At the very least, you need to make sure that you bring more than enough water.
Keeping yourself hydrated is arguably one of the most important things to remember if you are going to be in high temperature areas.
While you are thinking about how much water you should be bringing, you should also give some thought to the idea of bringing frozen jugs of water with you. These jugs of water, aside from being a good way to transport water from Point A to Point B, can actually do quite a bit when it comes to summertime camping.
For one, they can serve as an ice cooler. When the ice eventually melts, you won’t have any puddles of water to deal with, as most of the water will stay contained in the jug that you froze it in.
This means that you will have the materials needed to keep other foods cold, so that you can have even more cold or chilled food to eat while you are out camping. You can even keep some rags cold so that you can cool yourself down with them, if needed.
Another thing to consider about jugs of frozen water is that they can serve as a budget air conditioner during the night. You can place one at the end of your sleeping bag, if you choose to bring it with you.
This will keep your feet cold, which will help keep the rest of your body cooler as well. Of course, you should only be doing this when you have jugs of water to spare, and you do not mind having feet touching the jugs of water.
It goes without saying that the frozen jugs of water will eventually turn into some ice-cold water for you to rehydrate yourself with throughout the day. Because of all of these benefits, it might be well worth it to you to bring a few jugs of frozen water on your camping trip.
At the very least, you will have a wonderful source of comfortably cold water to drink from when the temperatures begin to soar.
Because of the heat, you will generally want to avoid having a campfire going until late at night, when it is time for dinner or the final meal of the day. This means that you will need to look into preparing meals that don’t necessarily need a fire to run.
Or, you could consider looking into specialized ovens that are designed not to produce any extra heat, aside from what you might need to cook your food with. Solar ovens are one option.
Why Is This Important?
There are many, many reasons why you should consider all of these steps to keeping yourself cool during the summertime season for camping.
For one, if you are feeling overheated while you are camping, there’s a very good chance that you aren’t really going to be able to enjoy yourself as much as possible. Nobody wants this to happen.
However, there are a few other reasons besides the fact that nobody wants to go camping in swelteringly hot weather with no means to cope with the temperature. For one, not having any means to cool yourself or your supplies down can result in having no food.
Being stuck in the woods with no viable food because the heat got to it is something that people dread happening.
There is also the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be very dangerous for your health. In a sense, these can be considered overheating.
By following these steps to keep yourself cool, you can reduce the chances that you end up injuring yourself during your camping trip. To make the most out of everything, you will want to pay attention to all aspects of your camping plans.
From the food and water that you bring, to the way you choose to set up your tent and what your tent even looks like, to the clothes that you wear on your back, there are many different things that you will need to consider before going camping during the summertime.
With that being said, when you take the time and energy to pay attention to these things, you will be able to make the most out of a wonderful camping experience.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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