How to Stay Cool and Dry While Camping
While camping is a popular activity, it can also get hot and uncomfortable in the Deep South. Scorching heat tends to be a downer, and thunderstorms bring a deluge of rain. So, here are some tips to stay cool and dry while tent camping in warm weather.
Choose the Right Tent
When choosing the perfect tent for cool camping, make sure that it’s constructed with significant amounts of mesh. Fine mesh walls allow a breeze to flow through while keeping insects out. All tents come with a solid floor that’s waterproof, and this material extends partially up the walls. This solid material protects you from rain splashing back up after hitting the dirt.
Pitch Your Tent in a Shady Area
When people camp, they are usually in a forest. The trees should give you plenty of places to set your tent up in the shade. Let the trees and not your tent absorb the heat. The evening sun isn’t as bad as the sun in the afternoon and morning, so try to place your tent in an area that is shady during the hottest times of the day.
If you don’t mind a little work, you can take your tent down as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your tent absorbs heat from the sun and acts like a greenhouse. Stepping into it during the day can feel suffocating like a sauna. It’s worth a little more work to reduce the heat that your tent absorbs. As soon as the sun sets, set your tent up again.
Utilize a Reflective Sunshade
A reflective sunshade is one of the best solutions for keeping cool while camping. The canopy reflects the sun’s rays back up toward the sky and leaves the space below them much more comfortable and cooler. People usually use them to block sunlight from the social area or tent, and they even let you sleep once the sun rises.
To work best, the reflective shade must be at least approximately 12 inches above the top of your tent. This space allows for airflow that cools the tent off. The reflective canopy doesn’t have to be made of shiny mylar to work; even a tarp will do the job.
Camp Close to Water
Camping close to the water allows you to take a swim in the lake or river whenever you get overheated. If you’re camping for the weekend, you don’t even need to go overboard planning activities for the kids. Simply bring a frisbee, an inflatable ring and a beach ball, and you’re set for hours of fun. A small stream or creek will work as well, because you can at least splash yourself with water or dip your feet in during the day.
Take a Compact Fan
A portable fan is another excellent solution. These fans are battery-powered and provide a gentle breeze all night. The perfect camping fan is quiet, easy to transport and lightweight. The best ones attach to the ceiling, floor or wall of your tent. If your tent is small or cramped, opt for a fan with foam blades. A fan will soon make your list of must-haves for camping.
Bring an Inflatable Pool
If you aren’t camping by a water source, bring an inflatable pool. Similar to camping by a body of water, you can sit or wade in it with a cold adult beverage. Getting wet camping this way is OK! While you’re sitting in the pool, quench your thirst with a container of cold water or a hydration system such as a camel pack. The camel pack can also pull double-duty keeping you hydrated when you go on wilderness hikes with the family.
Try a Hammock
Sleeping in a backpacking hammock is pure bliss. The best place to get complete air circulation is lying in a hammock in the shade. However, if temperatures drop at night, it could get chilly. Make sure you buy a hammock for sleeping and not lounging. A great sleeping hammock provides plenty of stretchy fabric to recline in but is also durable and light. You can also put up a tarp in case it starts to rain while you’re sleeping.
Shower in Cold Water Before Bedtime
On those sweltering days, try taking a shower in cold water if your camping location has a shower facility. Immersing yourself in cold water lowers your internal body temperature, creating your own central air conditioning. If there is no shower facility, take a swim in the lake or river or lounge in the pool before bed. You’ll feel much fresher and fall asleep easier.
Tips for Staying Dry While Camping During a Rainstorm
Keeping dry is just about as important as staying cool. If you brought the kids along, try making an outdoor family room using one or two tarps. Put one on the ground and one above you, and then set up a table and chairs. If it rains, you and your family can still enjoy the outdoors while staying dry. Play cards or board games to pass the time. You can even set up lights to enhance the ambiance.
If it’s cold or wet, try wearing wool or polyester-based clothing under a rain poncho or waterproof coat. Cotton is comfortable, but it stays damp and decreases your body temperature faster.
Also, always make sure that you pack extra dry clothes so you’re not sitting around miserable and wet, especially if your fire goes out. You don’t want to be like a contestant on “Naked and Afraid.” Waterproof tactical boots are worth investing in as well. Keep warm by drinking a hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa.
Whether it’s rainy, hot or both, you can still enjoy camping in hot weather if you do it the right way. Get a cool mesh tent and erect it in the shade. Place a tarp or reflective sunshade above it and break out the inflatable pool. Sporty tactical watches and sunglasses make other excellent accessories.
Create a fun and dry outside living space to lounge in and play games. Before you go to sleep for the night, take a dip in the water or sit in the pool. Then, retire to your breezy hammock to sleep peacefully under your rain tarp. Your camping experience will be enjoyable and much more sustainable for years to come.