Summer Camping: How to Beat the Heat

Check out these summer tips for camping in the heat, because knowing how to stay cool, especially if you’re camping without an A/C unit, allows you to make the most of your vacation.

Select a Summer Camp Site

When camping in hot weather, choosing the right site is vital, so weigh-up the differences between camping in a field, or a wooded site, or maybe near a lake. Trees provide lots of shade, and having a lake or river nearby can keep you cool too! And sites at a higher elevation, such as hillsides or in the mountains tend to be much cooler than down in the valley.

Stay Cool While Camping

Once you pick a great summer camping site, you’ll want to put some thought into how you establish camp.

Use the Natural Shade

Know where the sun is going to come up to determine the areas of the campground that will remain shaded or coolest throughout the day and try and get a site there. Set up your tent or RV, as well as other gear – hammocks, BBQ’s, etc. in the shade.

Create Your own Shade

Use tarps and/or awnings strategically to keep the sun off your main camping areas. Keep your tarps about a foot from your truck bed, camper, or tent as this will allow plenty of air flow to help it stay cool, and adding a reflective blanket on top of your tarp will reflect some of the heat from the sun.

Take Advantage of the Breeze

Position your tent or RV to take advantage of the prevailing breeze. Doors and main windows should be facing the breeze to help keep your tent or trailer cool.

How To Keep a Tent, Vehicle, or RV Cool

Once you’re all set up, there are a few more things you can do to help keep the temperature down.

Cook Outdoors

Do all your cooking outdoors, rather than in your RV, and maybe even organize food that doesn’t need heat at all! Portable camping stoves are great for cooking outside.

Create Ventilation

If you’re camping in a tent, remove the rain fly. This will allow heat to escape overnight, keeping your tent cooler; only put it n if there’s a chance of rain. And if you’re in an RV, create some ventilation and air flow by opening whatever windows you can.

Use Camper Curtains

The right curtains for your RV can make a huge difference. Cutting camper curtain material to fit your windows is a great way to keep your camper cooler. And you can also use a portable fan or air conditioner if power allows.

Air Conditioners, 12v fans, or Battery-Operated Fans

Using a 12v or battery-powered fan for camping, or a vent fan or AC unit for your RV is an ideal, especially if you have electrical hook-ups. But if you prefer camping in the wilds, running 110v portable air conditioner is not really on the cards, but there are some other options that can help keep you cool.

Vent Fans

Great for truck bed camping or truck campers that don’t have AC units. They can typically run off your vehicle’s 12v power or solar generator and create plenty of airflow, while also cutting down on condensation.

Portable Battery-Powered or 12v Fans

Lots of portable 12v or battery-powered fans are available; here are a few options:

  • 12v Camping Fans: Portable fans – such as the Endless Breeze ones – plug into any 12v power source or solar generator.
  • Self-Contained Battery-Powered Fans: Available in most hardware stores, these are great fans for tent camping, truck camping, RVs.

Camping Air Conditioner:

12v camping air conditioners are really just cooler-air fans, using ice or water to produce cool air.

  • High-end Air Conditioner: AC units like the MightyKool work of your vehicle’s 12 volt power or solar generator, and draw about 11 – 48 watts, depending on setting.
  • Low-cost Air Conditioner: The Mikikin Portable Air Conditioner is battery-powered with a USB rechargeable battery that runs for about 4-hours. If you can plug in to 12v USB power connection, you can extend that run time.

Keep Yourself Cool

Sometimes, there’s only so much you can do to keep your tent or camper cool, so once you get your site set up, you focus on keeping yourself your family, and your dog cool! Remember not to lock your pets inside your car or RV – unless it’s AC cooled of course.

Obviously the first thing is to drink plenty of water as you’ll be sweating much more and you don’t want to risk dehydration. And make sure those around you – friends, family, kids, pets, also get plenty of extra water. If you plan on doing any activities, such as cycling, hiking, or other sports, aim to get it done in the morning when it’s coolest, then you can chill in the afternoon!

Clothing Recommendations

Stay cooler in the summer heat by selecting the right clothing.

  • Wear light-colored clothing to minimize heat absorption.
  • Wear a hat, ideally with a wide brim, to keep the sun off your head.
  • Select wool shirts and socks; they help keep moisture away from your body and minimise body odour.
  • Wear sturdy sandals instead of boots or runners.
  • Don’t forget about sunscreen; choose the highest factor, and the most waterproof you can get.

Stay Refreshed

Taking additional action to stay cool so you don’t start suffering from heat exhaustion.

  • Take a swim in the lake, relax in the pool, or paddle in the sea.
  • Place cool, wet towel across your forehead or neck – neck and shoulder ice packs are great too.
  • Use handheld misters for instant cooling on your face and neck.

Sleeping in the Heat

Falling asleep in the heat can be troublesome when its hot and humid overnight. Here are some recommendations to make it easier:

  • Use a sheet instead of a sleeping bag or blanket.
  • Sleep on a cot rather than on the ground if you’re camping in a tent.
  • For camper or RV mattresses, replace your foam mattress with an air mattress as it can help dissipate heat better.
  • Take a cold shower before going to bed to lower your body temperature.
  • Use a 12v battery-powered fan or camping air conditioner to provide air flow.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you enjoy your warm-weather camping. Summer camping can be challenging because of the heat, but you can find ways to stay cool, and it’s a great time of year to take vacations, relax and play outdoors.

And check Tri Crown RV’s store in Salmon Arm for fans batteries, and RV spares.