The heart of summer and early fall are some of the most popular times of the year for camping. They’re also often the hottest. For many, warmer weather means more dips in the lake, a lighter sleeping bag and less clothing to pack. However, those steamy days can also come with a bit of discomfort and the possibility of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can quickly ruin any camping experience.
Thankfully, seasoned campers are often willing to share their best camping tips, and many of them involve staying cool on those blistering summer days outdoors. The following are some of the best tips for keeping cool while camping in hot locations.
Seek Sufficient Shade
Choosing a cool place to pitch your tent is a crucial element of staying comfortable in high temperatures. Be sure to take a full tour of the campground before deciding where to set up camp. Notice the position of the sun, and choose a place that will receive more shade throughout the day. A campsite under a cluster of trees will also be more comfortable than one that’s exposed.
Trees may not be abundant at every campsite, but you can still find ways to create shade. A tarp or beach canopy can be an extremely useful tool when camping in an area with limited trees or natural shade. Just be careful not to block any of the breeze while setting up items to shield your tent from the sun.
Let the Breeze Inside
How you use your tent can have a huge impact on your comfort. If you plan on doing most of your camping during the hottest months of the year, choose a light-colored tent that will reflect heat instead of absorbing it. A lightweight tent with a mesh inner wall will also allow the breeze to flow more easily.
You may already have a tent and don’t want to purchase a new one just for these hot summer days. You can make your current tent cooler by removing the rainfly and keeping it off when chances of rain are small. Similarly, make sure all of the doors, vents and windows are open for superior airflow.
Pack Plenty of Water
Remaining hydrated is the most important part of staying cool and healthy when camping in hot temperatures. Be sure to load your cooler with plenty of drinking water, and be prepared with additional water for rinsing or showering if you’re camping someplace without shower facilities. Taking a cold shower will lower your internal temperature, keeping you more comfortable and helping you fall asleep more easily at night. When attempting to keep water or other items cool, note that block ice stays frozen far longer than traditional ice cubes.
Wear the Correct Clothing
You may just throw your usual outerwear into a backpack before heading on a camping trip, but packing the correct clothing is critical to staying cool. Choose loose-fitting clothing — such as skirts, baggy pants or lightweight button-down shirts — as opposed to hotter, more restricting choices. Similarly, avoid packing dark colors that will absorb the sun’s heat. Opt for lighter, more reflective colours instead.
A hat is another critical piece of camping gear that can easily be forgotten at home. Not only can a helmet protect your head from the sun’s harmful rays, but it can also be soaked in cold water and worn to keep your overall body temperature in the normal range.
Get in the Water
Planning your summer camping trick correctly can help you beat the heat in a variety of ways. Choose a campground near a body of water — so you can stay refreshed with several dips in the lake, river or ocean throughout the day.
Tubing, canoeing and other water activities are more ideal than hiking, climbing, mountain biking and more strenuous adventure sports. If you choose to embark on a hiking excursion or other adventure, be sure to do it early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun and heat are less harsh.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are often characterized by tiredness, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, intense thirst and a number of other symptoms. If anyone in your group shows signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, it’s essential to cool them down as quickly as possible.
Keep calm and stay hydrated. These are the best ways to help ensure everyone in your party stays safe and has fun while camping during the high temperatures of summer leading into fall.
Author bio: Doreen Toller is Sales and Operations Manager for Alaskan Tour Guides, a centre that provides family and small group Alaskan land tours with a personal and luxury experience. She has 25 years of experience in the industry and focuses on custom Alaska travel planning, highlighting once-in-a-lifetime adventures.