15 Tips for Staying Cool on Camping Trips: How to Stay Cool While Tent Camping

It’s summer, and you’re excited for your upcoming camping trip. But temperatures are soaring high into the 90s, and it seems like you’ll never be able to stay cool enough to enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are a few simple steps that will help you stay cool when tent camping in hot weather-and still have an amazing time.

We’ve gone on plenty of camping trips in the warmer parts of the country like Arizona and Texas, so we know what it means to be hot when camping.

Here are our top 15 tips for staying cool on summer camping trips:

Set up Your Tent in a Shady Area

Find a nice, shady spot on your campsite to set up camp. This will keep the sun off of your tent and give you a place to relax during the heat of the day.

Sometimes, walking a bit deeper into the woods to set up your campsite can help you find even more shade!

If you must camp on the beach, it is important to set up your tent in a shady spot. If there are no trees nearby, try pitching your tent against a dune or rock outcrop that will protect it from the sun’s rays.

green tent under the shade of a tree

Use Shade Cloths and Tarps in Your Camping Gear

Shade cloths and tarps can be life-savers when camping during hot weather! Use these items to create shade areas where you need them most. A tarp draped over an open picnic table creates much-needed relief for people lounging around underneath. You’ll feel cooler just by sitting under one of these makeshift tents!

Also consider using this material to block sunlight from hitting your tent.

Position Yourself Near a Cool Breeze

Finding a shady spot is great, but an area with good airflow is even better. A cool breeze can do wonders to cool you down, so always try to make sure that your tent or campsite has a source of natural air conditioning!

women enjoying a breeze next to body of water

The best areas to find a nice breeze are next to large bodies of water. These locations are great for swimming and boating, but they can also make a big difference in how you feel while camping!

Find Shade at the Right Time

This tip is definitely in opposition to finding cool breeze-you want to find shade when it’s hot outside and spend time outdoors during cooler times. When looking for shade, be careful not only about midday sun but also evening sunlight too. If you’re camping with friends, switching off between who gets the most exposure will help keep everyone much cooler on their trip!

Keep Active All Day Long

It might seem counterintuitive, but staying active by hiking all day long can actually really contribute to being more comfortable when resting later on. The constant movement alone helps circulate blood more quickly through your body. You’ll also drink more water which is always a good thing.

Choose a Tent That is Breathable

tent with mesh opening and 3 campers

A tent with fine mesh can protect against bugs but also keep you cool at the same time. Find a tent that has mesh windows and a mesh roof to keep you from feeling claustrophobic and hot.

Also, blankets or clothes can make your tent feel warmer than it should be and can trap heat which makes for hotter nights in bed!

Disassemble Your Tent During the Day

A tent sitting in the sun all day can soak up the heat and make for a hot environment, especially on days with no breeze. Disassemble your tent during the day to allow it to dry out and cool down while you’re away from camp so that come night time, everything is already at room temperature before you head back.

Pack Light Clothing

A lot of people have this misconception that they need really heavy clothing when going camping which can be uncomfortable if it’s warm outside or even just too much in general… layers are key because they’ll work well together as one layer will start cooling off after physical activity whereas another may still be wet (from sweat) from earlier exertion.

camper in light clothing

Increase Forehead Exposure

The best way to stay cool is by exposing skin, so consider taking off any headwear that covers your forehead-a hat or scarf can be really helpful if it’s very hot outside! This will allow more heat transfer through sweat on your brows, which are closer to your body temperature than other parts of your hair (such as near ears). Drink Plenty of Water

Stay Clean and Cool With More Showers

Showering often doesn’t just make you smell great, but can help you stay cool! If you’re not used to showering daily, it may be hard for your body to adjust at first but once you start feeling the benefits from doing so and enjoy how clean and refreshed it makes you feel.

Hammock Camping is Perfect for Hot Summer Nights

two dogs in a hammock

Try using a hammock to sleep at night – it’s better for your back and will give you a nice breeze!

Perhaps you’re thinking of sleeping in a hammock! There are some things to keep in mind here–you’ll need to find trees that are far enough apart from each other and high enough off the ground for your comfort levels. If it’s cold outside then these conditions might feel more uncomfortable than if you were just laying on them during warmer weather. This is because there won’t be as much heat absorption going on since they aren’t directly touching your body at night when most people sleep best.

Use Natural Hair Care Products to Help Keep Yourself Cool

Try out natural hair care products that are designed to help keep your scalp and hair hydrated during the hot summer months. Try different brands of shampoos, conditioners, oils, gels, mists – anything that may work best for you. Use these products liberally on damp or dry hair before sun exposure is recommended if prone to dry skin/hair from heat-related damage.

Don’t Forget To Bathe Your Pets Too!

A lot of people forget this one! Animals can get tired too from all their hard work at camp sites so don’t forget them when thinking about how you’re taking a nice cool shower after a long day. Remember, your dogs (and cats) are just as likely to get heat stroke as you are.

dog shaking water

Use a Portable Fan Or Air Conditioner

If you’re staying in a tent, consider bringing along a portable fan or air conditioner. You can find them for sale online at sites like Amazon.com and Target.com that are designed to pack away into small spaces so they don’t take up too much room when packing your car.

Some things to look for in a portable air conditioner include a unit that is self-contained and doesn’t require a window, cool air output of at least 12,000 BTU’s for spaces up to 400 square feet in size.

As for a portable fan, it’s pretty simple: just plug it in and turn the switch to on. Make sure that you have a clear path for air flow, so don’t put it near any surfaces or walls that could cause resistance.

Use Ice Packs Or Cold Water On Parts Of Your Body That Are Getting Hot

If you can find them I would recommend bringing some ice packs or cold water with you on your camping trip because it helps keep those parts of the body like the neck from getting too hot which means less sweat will be produced and also makes it easier to sleep when night falls if temperatures start dropping. This one tip has made all the difference for me while camping during this hot summer! If there are no sources nearby just grab a baggie full

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day. It may seem obvious at first, but drinking lots of fluids in hot weather actually helps regulate our internal temperatures because we’re able to eliminate excess fluid from our bodies when we drink.

Stay Hydrated by Drinking Lots of Water Beforehand & Throughout the Day

water bottles

Bring water with you to stay hydrated so that your body won’t overheat when exerting itself during activities like hikes and cooking food. Drink lots of cold water throughout the day to keep yourself from feeling fatigued- this will also help avoid headaches if you’re out all day long too! Remember to drink more liquids after physical activity as well since dehydration is bad for anyone’s health but especially those on camping.

It’s an old adage that drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated much better than if you only drank a lot when thirsty. This is because thirst is often confused with hunger or boredom which can lead to overeating, unhealthy snacking habits etc. Keeping well-hydrated helps avoid these pitfalls in addition to cooling off after physical activity.

Choose a Lighter Sleeping Bag or Blanket

A lighter sleeping bag, usually available in any camping store with a section for summertime gear, is much better for hot nights when you want to avoid overheating.

If it’s hot, then choosing a lighter blanket can also help with staying cool while tent camping in the summer. Don’t forget that during high-temps your body will be producing more sweat which needs air flow and ventilation!

Close Openings on Your Tent or RV

This is an easy way to keep things cooler without having to do anything else: close any openings so as not let heat inside of your space. This includes windows, doors, vents etc. If you have other cooling methods such as fans running this may not always be necessary but it doesn’t hurt either!

Other things to consider when camping in the summer

Remember, camping in the summer is the best time to go but nothing ruins a trip like being overheated. Just keep the tips above in mind when packing for your next camping trip and you’ll be able to have a great time!

Common Questions

How to keep a vehicle or RV cool while camping?

You can keep your camping vehicle or RV cool fairly easily. For starters, you can cover your vehicle or RV with tarps, awnings and other types of materials to keep the sun off while you’re away. This will help to not only heat the interior but also prevent some of that radiant heat from being absorbed into things like seats in vehicles which absorb more energy than cooler surfaces.
Another thing to consider is having shades drawn on windows and doors for when it’s still light outside so as not to let sunlight inside during those hours too–this includes tents! And if all else fails, make sure there are ample fans around circulating air (either battery operated or otherwise).

How do I stay cool at night?

Staying cool at night might be one of the most difficult parts of a camping trip. Some quick tips are to try to find a location for your tent that is in the shade or has some trees nearby. This will help keep you from absorbing heat during the day with direct sunlight and then it won’t get as hot at night, plus there are fewer bugs!

Why does my body temperature rise when I’m sleeping?

Your body naturally heats up while you sleep because you’re not moving around like you would be if awake. It also doesn’t have air flow going through it so all of that trapped sweat can cause even more problems–especially since we don’t perspire much when asleep. To stay cool while camping, use an egg crate mattress pad overtop sheets which helps wick away moisture (plus they provide extra cushioning).

Should I use a light tent or dark tent?

Either tent is fine, but if you’re in direct sunlight, you may want to consider a light tent. A darker tent could heat up a bit faster, but you should probably be placing your tent under the shade of trees if possible.

What do I wear when sleeping?

When choosing what clothes to bring while camping, think about how well ventilated the air is–remember that inside a tent there’s no airflow since all the air is coming from outside. If hot and humid conditions are expected then lightweight cotton layers are the best way to go. If you’re expecting a chilly evening, heavier fabrics like fleece will be the way to go.


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