13 Camping Tips to Stay Cool in the Summer
Beat the heat this summer with these 13 tips for how to stay cool in hot weather camping. We'll help you decide which items to leave at home and what to bring instead. From what to wear during day hikes to sleeping at night, these recommendations are sure to keep you comfortable even in the grossest hot, humid weather.
Dress for success while camping and leave the cotton at home. A swimsuit will be your BFF to beat the heat when jumping into the water, but pre- and post-swim, throw on synthetic or Merino wool for drier activities.
Performance clothing can really help with the high temps. They'll wick moisture, dry faster and leave you feeling comfortable. Most of them also have a treatment or natural properties to prevent funky sweat-smells in that hot and humid weather. Throw on a short sleeve if you prefer, but don't be afraid to check out an ultralight long sleeve sun shirt with hood. Convertible hiking pants are incredibly lightweight, offer UPF protection from the sun and the legs zip off to create shorts when the extra coverage isn't needed. If you're really feeling the hit, dip a buff or neck gaiter, or a bandana in some cold water and throw it on your neck for a much needed cool down.
Take a little vacation from the sun by hiding under a sun shade. They typically feature open sides, but some have mesh walls to keep the bugs out. Pop a bunch of chairs underneath and kick back or slide a whole picnic table under there for eating. Spend time with family and friends without getting roasted by the sun. Bonus, it'll shield from the rain a bit too. If you're backpacking, a sun shade will be too heavy, but a tarp can do similar wonders if you're willing to carry it.
At night when you're trying to sleep in the hot, sticky temperatures, leave the rain fly off your tent. It'll take away some privacy, but the mesh sidewalls of your tent will breathe much easier without, keeping you cooler, especially if a breeze floats by. Be aware of the weather, if rain is expected, skip this tip. If you want fresh air and a cool breeze all night long, try sleeping in a hammock instead of your tent. And if you're lucky, the wind will rock you to sleep.
Small, personal gear items can be quick but welcome fixes for staying cool at the camp site. Keep your cooler stocked with ice, hold it up against your neck, kick back in a camp chair and direct that portable fan right on your face. Grab an insulated water bottle and fill it with ice and cold water, then drink a ton of it, cooling yourself from the inside. Not only will your water stay colder for longer in an insulated bottle, but that tasty clear liquid will hydrate and replenish whatever you sweat out.
Sometimes, it'll be so hot at night and you'll have to forgo the campfire. Instead, equip your camp site with portable, linkable lanterns and / or twinkle lights for a festive glow. As you kick back in your chair enjoying the lights, grab some ice cream. Since you hid the ice cream inside a YETI Rambler instead of bringing it in its cardboard carton, it'll be cold and creamy instead of dripping all over the place. When it's time for sleep, send yourself to bed with a sleeping bag liner instead of a mummy sleeping bag, it'll offer a touch of snuggle-coverage without overheating.