How To Stay Cool When Camping

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

Camping during the summer may be a lot of fun, not until the scorching heat of the sun hits its peak and makes you all dehydrated and sweaty. Staying cool while camping isn’t a difficult task, but it does take some planning to avoid being caught off guard during hot days. 

How to keep yourself cool while camping?

Here are some of the excellent summer camping techniques for staying cool when the temperatures rise:

Pitch your tent in the shade

Camping in the heat has its pros and cons. It may include having a warm and visible pitch, but this also means dealing with the heat that comes with it. Pitching your tent in a suitable area is a huge factor in staying cool, most especially during the summer. 

Listed below are some things to consider in staying cool while camping. If possible, it is highly recommended to pitch your tent in an area that is high, breezy, and provides shade. 

Portable fan

A portable fan is a piece of great equipment to have when trying to beat the heat. It is a battery-operated motor that generates a breeze. Another advantage of portable fans is that they are easy to position inside your tent.

If you don’t like the idea of replacing your worn-out batteries with your portable fans, purchasing solar-powered fans is the alternative to your problem. This is surely an item to never miss out on when camping during hot seasons.

Cold shower

Another way to stay cool when camping is by taking a shower with cold water. If you can soak yourself in a nearby facility with a shower or immerse yourself in a cool body of water, it will leave you feeling refreshed and cool. Immersing in water will help lower your body temperature and leave you feeling fresh throughout the day. 

Use a hammock

A hammock is a great alternative for a tent, especially when cooling down. Tents have walls that may block breeze from entering, but hammocks don’t. They are freely open, making you fully immersed in the breeze of nature. Whenever you opt for using a hammock, it is important to consider the weather conditions as it will not be helpful during rainy seasons.

Remove or hang your rainfly

Another tip to remember when trying to stay cool is to remove your tent’s rainfly. The main purpose of a rainfly is to prevent raindrops from entering your tent as it traps moisture and heat. But when you’re out in the sun, a rainfly is not really useful.

By removing it, you help release the heat and moisture that were trapped inside. It is best to do this when your tent is under a shade or during the night before sleeping so as to improve air circulation. 

Drink water

Hydration is a key component in dealing with heat. It is the most important aspect of remaining cool, and of course, healthy. Water is incorporated mostly with high heat values, which indicates that changing its temperature requires a lot of energy.

Water is a coolant, which is why it is a good substitute for coolants in car radiators. Because the body is made up of roughly 60% water, staying hydrated is one of the most effective ways to combat the heat.

Wear summer clothes

During the summer, cotton clothes are highly recommended due to their breathability, softness, lightness, and ability to soak sweat. The only disadvantage of cotton is that it becomes malodorous from all the sweat it absorbs.

When trying to cool down, it is important to choose light-colored clothing rather than dark ones. It has been scientifically proven that the latter absorbs heat while light-colored ones reflect visible wavelengths, reducing the heat that your clothes absorb.

Open your tent doors

Another way to keep cool while camping is by opening your tent doors. Doing this improves the ventilation of air circulation inside your tents, allowing passing air breeze to enter while releasing trapped heat inside your tents. 

Takedown your tent during the day         

When trying to stay cool, an excellent habit to practice when camping is disassembling your tent every morning and assembling it again during nighttime. This is because when you leave your tents out under the heat of the sun, it absorbs the sun’s rays and stores the heat inside, similar to the way a greenhouse functions. Taking your tent down is also one of the best ways to preserve it.

Can you air condition a tent?

If the above methods do not meet your expectations, you can think of ways to innovate – as in placing an air conditioner in a tent. Doing this is not entirely impossible.

However, it will be more different than the air conditioning you are used to at home. A tent air conditioner can be anything from a refrigerant-filled air conditioner to just simply a fan. Though they aren’t as capable of lowering temperature as effectively as the typical air condition you’re used to.

Evaporative cooler

This type of air conditioner is like a fan. The only difference is it sprinkles small particles of water. You don’t instantly feel refreshed once sprinkled with the water particles but sort of after the water particles evaporate.

The evaporation process offers a great deal of warmth, and it’s one of the most effective cooling methods–considering energy efficiency. However, it would help if you do not get used to using them rigorously within a tent. It is important to remember to have ventilation because the water vapors have to be released.

Cordless portable AC

The cordless portable tent air conditioner is the closest you can have to the actual air conditioning at your home. The advantage of this AC is that it doesn’t require installation and is very convenient. On the contrary, disadvantages include cost and maintenance. It is also ineffective in spacious rooms or family-sized tents.  

Why do tents get so hot?

Various factors contribute to your tent building up heat. These include pitch location, the fabric of the tent, and poor ventilation. In choosing a spot to pitch your tent, it is important to pick a shady yet breezy area to camp. This prevents your tent from absorbing the direct heat waves the sun is directing. 

Another factor is the fabric of your tent. Some fabrics are more breathable than others, and some are easier to penetrate by sunlight. Poly-cotton and nylon are suitable breathable tent materials. 

Lastly, it is important to keep your tent well-ventilated to release the heat it has absorbed and for the air to enter.

How to choose the right tent to stay cool?

During the hot weather, we always think of possible ways of staying cool and refreshed. You might tend to think about spending money on equipment that can only help with the heat by a bit. However, there are simple techniques that help minimize the heat you are experiencing during camping.

Ventilation

Ventilation plays a considerable part in keeping your tents less hot than they are. It improves air circulation and releases heat and moisture out of your tents. The fact is that tents absorb heat that the sun directs at them. However, with proper ventilation, you can release the absorbed heat that’s circulating your tent. 

Here are some tips to have proper ventilation in your tents: keep your tent open (during the day), and if you’re under a shade, you can detach your rainfly. This will release the heat retained inside and allow the breeze to pass through. 

Three-season tents

Three-season tents are specifically designed with the features of breathability and portability. This type of tent is excellent during spring, summer, and fall when temperatures are usually high.

During these times, its primary feature of breathability and air-flow circulation comes in handy. This tent is a combination of a tent body and a rainfly which typically happens during the three seasons.

Tent Material

During hot weather conditions, one of the factors to consider is your tent fabric. Breathability plays a huge impact at all times, and one most recommended tent materials to purchase is nylon. Not only is it breathable, but it is also durable and waterproof. Nylon is a great choice since it releases more heat than it absorbs.

Comfort

Comfort goes along with ventilation; you can never feel comfortable when you feel hot. That is why air circulation and the placement of your tent impact your camping experience. Your comfort during camping is also affected by the breathability of your tent’s fabric, so it is crucial always to consider what material you should purchase.

Size and the space

Tent size and space is always an important aspect to keep in mind when camping. Say, when there are four people in a two-person tent, it may feel less comfortable and hotter, especially during sleeping hours.

When they sleep, the heat that the body releases through their breaths can gather inside the small tent, which results in uncomfortable hot sensations when sleeping. But if you have enough space for everyone, your tent is more likely to have more air circulation than less.