Florida is known for many things; beaches, theme parks, swamps, tourists, and of course the insane summer heat.
An average summer day here is in the high 90s with humidity levels boarding a steam room. It’s disgustingly hot.
So as a lifelong Floridian and an avid camper, I’ve picked up many tips and tricks for staying cool when hot weather camping in the summer.
In this guide, I’ll share everything I know about how to have an awesome camping experience even when it’s miserably hot and humid out.
Let’s get started.
Table Of Contents
- Pack The Right Clothes
- Keeping Your Tent Cool
- Staying Cool At Night
- Protect Yourself From The Sun
- Keeping Your Food & Drinks Cool When Camping In Hot Weather
- Stay Safe When Camping In The Summer Heat
- FAQs in Relation to Camping in Hot Weather
Pack The Right Clothes
I don’t think you need me to tell you that wearing bulky heavy items like a hoodie is a bad idea.
But, the clothes, or more specifically the fabrics that you choose, do make a big difference in your overall level of comfort.
When I was l in Boy Scouts I can vividly recall that the official suggested fabric for camping in hot weather was cotton.
Cotton might seem like a good choice due to its breathability, but it has one major drawback: once wet, it’s no longer breathable. And on top of that, it takes forever to dry.
That means you are stuck with a wet disgusting shirt that clings to you and makes you feel like a damp towel is hanging from you.
I relied on that misinformation for many years before I learned about the advantages of synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from your body, which is what helps you actually stay cool.
Synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon offer better alternatives because they’re lightweight and quick-drying – perfect for those sweltering days outdoors.
Fortunately, synthetic fabrics are easy to come by these days and there are many different options available at many different price points.
Editor’s Note: Thankfully the Scouts have updated their policies and now advise against cotton clothes for summer camping trips.
Why I Love Merino Wool
Merino wool may seem like an unusual choice and frankly, I used to be skeptical myself. I simply couldn’t fathom wool being comfortable or cool.
But I’m not afraid to say that I was wrong! Very wrong.
This natural fiber is like a super hero that’s power is the ability to perform well in any temperature. When the mercury rises its sweat-wicking abilities shine.
It absorbs moisture from our bodies before evaporating into thin air, which makes it feel almost like there is a light breeze even when the air is still.
But wool is uncomfortable and scratchy, right? Wrong again!
I don’t know how, but Merino wool is ridiculously comfortable and the exact opposite of what I expected. I love it so much that I have switched out my wardrobe and now all of my socks, underwear, and t-shirts are merino wool.
The only drawback I can find with Merino is the price. They definitely cost more than synthetic clothes. But these are garments that are made to last years and many brands offer warranties to support their claims.
Not convinced? Try for yourself. In the links below you’ll find my personal favorites that I wear.
Each can be found at REI which offers a very generous 12-month “no questions asked” return policy.
So give them a try and if you don’t love them then send them back.
- Socks: Try these crew socks from Smartwool (Mens) (Womens). You’ll never go back to cotton socks again.
- T-Shirts: These basic tees are my go-to (Mens) (Womens). I wear them both outdoors and around the house nearly every day of the week.
- Underwear: I switched out my entire underwear drawer for these (Mens) (Womens). You can thank me later.
Keeping Your Tent Cool
Camping in hot weather can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your tent.
However, with the right summer camping tips and tricks, you can stay cooler and comfortable in your tent even when it’s scorching hot out.
Finding The Perfect Camping Spot In The Shade
The first step towards keeping your tent cool is choosing the perfect camping spot. Look for an area that provides ample shade throughout the day. This will help reduce the internal temperature of your tent by blocking out direct sunlight.
You may also want to consider car camping near water bodies as they often have a nice and steady constant breeze.
Utilizing Cross Ventilation For A Good Breeze
Your next move should be setting up cross ventilation within your tent to keep the hot air moving out while allowing cool air in.
This can be achieved by opening multiple tent rain fly windows or doors on opposite sides of your tent, creating good airflow and reducing heat retention within it.
Staying Cool At Night
Hot days can easily turn into uncomfortably warm nights. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a comfortable night’s sleep.
To ensure a restful night, there are several ways to beat the heat.
Camping Fan: Your Best Friend When Camping In Hot Weather
My camping fan is one my most cherished pieces of camping gear and of the first things I pack when I go car camping.
A good quality camping fan is hands-down one of the most effective ways to stay cool and I highly recommend one (or more).
Portable fans are excellent during the day and a true luxury item at night. In addition to pumping out magical cool air, they also help keep bugs at bay.
Give me a nice cold shower and sit me next to a fan after a long day in the sun and I’m literally a happy camper! 🤠
Suggested Gear: The Best Camping Fans To Keep You Cool All Summer Long
Use A Lightweight Sleeping Bag
A lightweight sleeping bag is an essential piece of gear when tent camping in hot weather.
These bags are designed with less insulation than their colder-weather counterparts, making them perfect for those balmy summer evenings.
I also recommend pairing that with a sleeping pad. A good sleeping pad helps to circulate air beneath you and obviously is much more comfortable than the hard ground.
You’ll find yourself comfortably cocooned without feeling like you’re baking inside your own personal oven.
Suggested Gear: The Best Camping Sleeping Bags
Or Skip The Bag On Extra Hot Nights
When camping in hot weather on particularly sweltering nights, consider using alternatives to sleeping bags such as breathable liners or even regular bed sheets instead.
This will provide just enough coverage to keep bugs at bay while letting the cooler air circulate around your body.
They also are easy to pack and cost-effective since you can use old sheets you already have at home.
Camp In A Hammock
One of my favorite tips for staying cool is to consider swapping your traditional tent setup for a hammock.
Hammocks are an excellent choice for hot nights as they allow air to circulate around you, providing nature’s air conditioning.
Unlike tents which retain heat, hammocks do not trap hot air and instead let it escape into the surroundings.
This constant breeze helps lower your body’s internal temperature, keeping you cooler throughout those long summer nights.
Protect Yourself From The Sun
When you’re camping in hot weather, it’s crucial to protect yourself from the sun.
This is not just about staying cool; it’s also about preventing heat stroke and other health risks associated with prolonged exposure to summer heat.
Sunscreen Is Your Best Friend
No matter how high the temperature gets during your summer camping trip, never forget to apply sunscreen generously. It protects your skin by absorbing or reflecting harmful UV rays before they can damage your skin cells.
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays for maximum protection.
Cover Up With A Hat And Sunglasses
A hat with a wide brim offers excellent sun shade for your face while sunglasses help shield your eyes from harsh sunlight.
Wearing these accessories doesn’t only make camping more bearable but also prevents eye strain and potential vision problems caused by intense light.
Take Breaks From The Sun
If you’re camping under the scorching sun, ensure you take regular breaks inside where it’s cooler or find nature’s air conditioning – shady spots under trees!
Or how about a few water activities? Going for a swim or floating in a river are both fun camping activities that beat the heat!
Keeping Your Food & Drinks Cool When Camping In Hot Weather
When it comes to summer camping, one of the most important things to consider is how you’re going to keep your food and drinks cool.
Packing a Cooler Efficiently
The first step in keeping your provisions cold during a summer day is packing your cooler correctly. Start by chilling all items before they go into the cooler. This helps keep the cooler cold for longer.
A good tip is placing ice at the bottom of your cooler with another layer on top after arranging all other items. This forces the cold up upward in the cooler and helps to generate a constant breeze, making everything stay cool longer.
Pack perishables like meat and dairy products directly on ice while fruits, vegetables, and beverages can be placed above them so they don’t get too cold or freeze.
Stay Safe When Camping In The Summer Heat
When temperatures rise, safety becomes a real concern. I don’t want to sound like a boring camp counselor but getting heat stroke or dehydration is no joke!
Let’s take a look at how you can avoid both and what signs to look out for.
Hydration is Key
Sweating it out under the summer sun means your body loses water faster than usual.
This makes hydration an absolute must when you’re camping on those scorching hot days. Experts recommend drinking at least 16-20 ounces of cool water per hour during high-intensity activities in extreme weather conditions.
Nutrition Matters Too
In addition to keeping yourself well-hydrated while tent camping in sizzling temperatures, proper nourishment is crucial too.
Consuming balanced meals packed with fruits and vegetables provides necessary vitamins and minerals that help regulate your body temperature despite external factors.
Use Cooling Towels
I love using cooling towels and they are one of my favorite ways of both staying safe as well as refreshed. Any towel or shirt will work, just get it wet with cold water and pop it in your cooler for 20-30 minutes for a quick and easy way to stay cooler.
Recognizing Signs Of Dehydration And Heat Stroke
Prolonged exposure to high temps could lead down dangerous paths such as dehydration or even worse – heat stroke.
That’s why every camper should recognize these symptoms before heading out on blisteringly hot days:
- Dry mouth/lips/tongue
- Unquenchable thirst
- Dark-colored urine
- Headaches or dizziness
If even one of the items on that list is showing itself then there is reason for concern and you should try your best to cool the individual off as quickly as possible.
If two (or more) signs are showing then there is likely a serious risk present and you should seek emergency medical treatment.
FAQs in Relation to Camping in Hot Weather
What temperature is too hot for camping?
Temperatures above 95°F can be dangerous, especially if you’re not acclimated to the heat. It’s crucial to stay hydrated and avoid direct sunlight during peak hours.
How do you survive camping in 100-degree weather?
In extreme heat, prioritize hydration, sun protection, and cooling strategies like shade-seeking or using a fan. Always listen to your body and take breaks when needed.
Is it safe to camp in the heat?
Camping in high temperatures can be safe with proper precautions such as staying hydrated, wearing suitable clothing, protecting against sunburns, and seeking shade whenever possible.
Is it too hot to camp in summer?
No, but preparation is key. Pack lightweight clothes, sunscreen; choose shady campsites; use fans or reflective tarps; ensure good tent ventilation at night.
Camping in the summertime can be an awesome experience with a little bit of planning. Packing the right clothes, taking precautions to stay safe, and being strategic with you setup go a long way.
If you’re ready to embrace the thrill of camping in hot weather while ensuring safety and comfort at every step, The Outdoor Authority is here to guide you through.
Dive into our wealth of resources on gear reviews, how-to guides, and more – tailored specifically for outdoor enthusiasts like yourself who love nothing more than exploring nature’s grandeur under a summer sun!