How to Stay Cool During Summer Camping?

A woman with raised arms in a jumping in the lake, trying to stay cool during summer

Imagine the following scenario. You’re out camping; fighting the hot weather hidden beneath a shade (without any positive results). The rest of the gang has gone off somewhere. Your old trusty camping radio plays: it’s a cruel, cruel summer, leavin’ me here on my own… Sounds familiar?

If your answer’s YES to the previous question, there’s a good chance you’ve endured a cruel summer out in the wild (for instance, in infamously-hot Arizona). In the olden days, you’d hear age-old campers saying: summer’s not what it used to be. Nowadays, everyone’s repeating the phrase! So, what’s there to be done about it? In other words: how does one stay cool during (cruel) summer camping?

It’s very important you stay hydrated; drink at least 60 oz (about 2l) of water each day! Also, if there’s no water nearby – bring an inflatable pool. Wear light-colored clothes, thin hiking socks (if you’re going to explore the surrounding area), and don’t forget to buy yourself a wide hat! Avoid cooking, and consume some cold food! 

Okay, so there’s basically nothing stopping you from reading the rest, right? Right.

Table of Contents

Summer camping 101 (FAQ)

Here we’ll go through a couple of questions that concern the online community. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be typing ’em into their Google search bar. This will serve as something of an intro to the tips we’ll share with you in just a bit!

What temperature is too hot for camping?

Good question! However, does it have an answer that will consider everyone (both young and old, experienced campers and first-timers, etc.)? Let’s stick to what the officials say! For instance, the USA’s NWS (National Weather Service) says that the temperatures between 90° and 105°F (30° and 40°C) are to be “handled” with extreme caution. So, yeah, one might say that temperature range is suited only for experienced campers in good health. Also, we might wanna add that camping once the heat index goes above 105°F (40°C) isn’t something you’d call recommended!

Is it OK to camp in 90-degree weather?

Here’s something you’d wanna label as a general consensus: the maximum temperature for comfy camping is about 95°F (35°C) during the daytime and about 80°F (27°C) during the night. So, yeah, one can say that it’s totally fine to camp at a temperature of 90°F (32°C). If the temperature goes above those numbers, it’s best you rely on the tips we’ll show you today!

Is it safe to camp in the heat?

Camping in extreme summer temperatures isn’t safe even for the healthiest folks among us. Now, of course, one might assume camping in the cold’s far worse. However, here’s a list of all the issues one might deal with when camping during summer:

Here’s a quick disclaimer: we’re not trying to discourage you from camping during the summer or something similar. Quite the contrary! With the tips you’ll find below you’ll feel absolutely ready for the season! Stay tuned to see just how to stay cool during summer camping!

A camping tent with the summer sun in the back.

How to stay cool during summer camping?

So, shall we begin the countdown? Here are the tips that’ll help you stay cool during summer camping!

#1 Consume cold food

Needless to say, hot summer temperatures aren’t something you’d wish to label as appetizing. However, when the food’s cold and requires no cooking efforts… Yup, that’s where things seem to change! For example, cooling salads (whether they’re of the fruit or vegetable kind) are the best option for summer camping, trust us! You won’t feel as sluggish as if you’ve eaten a cooked meal, and you’ll also have the opportunity to cool off for a bit!

#2 What about moisture-wicking socks?

Socks and summer? Not the best combination out there, that’s a fact! Anyway, if you plan on exploring the areas around the camp, it’s best you don’t go barefoot or wear only hiking sandals. Your number one option should be lightweight hiking boots combined with thin, so-called moisture-wicking socks that’ll assist greatly in preventing your feet from sweating and feeling overall discomfort.

#3 Swim (if you’ve got the chance)

As if anyone needed to point out the fact a person can swim if there’s a chance to do so? Anyway, there ain’t a better way to fight hot summer temperatures than to spend some quality time swimming or chilling in cold water. So, if you’re going camping during the summer’s peak, make sure it’s someplace where there’s water nearby! 

Also, you might even enjoy some fishing. Here’s how you’ll store fish while camping!

#4 Don’t forget to pitch your tent in a shade

This one also tops the most-obvious-of-answers list. However, one can never stress it enough! When you’re camping during hot summer weather, it’s crucial that your tent stays in the shade all of the time. So, how does one predict where the best spot’s located? Here’s how:

  • Take a look at where the sun’s positioned. Try to figure out where the best shade’s gonna be during peak hours. Also, if you notice that your tent will get a little evening sun – that shouldn’t bother you too much. Morning and afternoon are periods you’ll want your tent to spend safely in the shadow.

#5 Inflatable pool to the rescue

Of course, one mightn’t always have the luxury to pitch a campsite near a large-enough-to-swim-inside-it body of water. That’s why here’s an alternative: bring your own! We’ll do a spinoff of the ol’ BYOB and call our invention BYOBOW (Bring Your Own Body Of Water). Please don’t mind that lame-ish attempt at humor. Anyway, sporting an inflatable pool will only do you good!

#6 Take the rainfly off

Pay attention to what the weather forecast tells ya! Does it mention any rainfall? If your answer’s NO, you might feel a lot more comfortable inside the tent once you take off the rainfly. Not only will this help you sleep like a baby, but it’ll also open up your view of the starry sky above! 

#7 Pack a portable fan

This might’ve already crossed your mind. By sporting a portable fan inside your camping luggage, you’ll guarantee a good night’s breeze for your loved ones. Here’s a suggestion: you’ll want to find the one that has foam blades. That’s because you’ll put it to good use inside close quarters. There’s a good chance you’ll never forget to pack a portable fan for the road once you’ve experienced the bliss of having it nearby while camping.

#8 Stay hydrated

Yup, this one goes without saying! The key to surviving the cruel summer temperatures lies in hydration. In other words: you’ll want to stay hydrated all of the time since water is your best weapon against the danger of overheating! So, how much water should an adult person drink each day while camping?

  • Your best bet is to drink at least 64 oz. (about 2l) of water each day. If possible, you should drink even more! An adult person should drink at the very least 8 glasses of water per day, so yeah… It’s very important even if you’re not camping during summer.

#9 And replenish your electrolytes, of course

While you’re sweating beneath the cruel summer sun, you’re not only losing water, but you’re also losing salts. So, what should you do? You’ll wanna add electrolyte supplements to your camping diet. Also, one can go total DIY here! Just mix sugar, salt, and some lemon juice with water! 

#10 Hammock sleeping

Have some issues while sleeping inside a camping tent? If that’s so, you’ll wanna know that a hammock can come quite in handy when we’re speaking of enduring a hot summer night! Since you won’t have a mattress you’ll sleep on that will instantly guarantee you a cooler sleep. Also, by setting up your tarp high, you might even enjoy a nice little breeze! 

Okay, even if you wanna stay true to your sleeping bag we’ve got a suggestion: click here to find out if a 0-degree sleeping bag is too warm for summer!

#11 Wear a hat

Here’s the thing; while wearing headwear might cause you to sweat some more, it’s very important that you shield your head in order to avoid experiencing a heatstroke! A standard hat with a long & round brim will provide you with the necessary protection! Oh, and if it’s possible, try opting for one that has a UPF rating of 50. That way, you’ll ensure you’re totally protected against the cruel summer sun.

Here’s a piece of info you’ll probably adore: we’ll use the syntagm “cruel summer sun” no more.

#12 Pack light-colored clothes

Last but not least, don’t forget to pack light-colored clothes. Even if you’re a notorious metalhead, you should avoid packing any piece of clothing that’s black! Light-colored clothes do a better job at reflecting the heat, and you’ll be better off wearing ’em!

Final thoughts on the how-to-stay-cool-during-summer-camping issue

A bit lengthy for the title of a paragraph? In any case – we hope you’ve enjoyed reading this one and that it’ll help you survive harsh summer temperatures out in the wild! Here’s the last tip we’ll give you: don’t forget to pack some sunscreen!

For more tips on how to camp just about everywhere in the world and in all conditions, visit this page on our blog dedicated to this phenomenal outdoor activity!

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