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How to Stay Cool While Camping (12 Tips to Beat the Heat)

staying cool while camping in a tent

Camping is one of my favorite activities, especially when I’m trekking on a multi-day hike or backpacking through a new country. Most of the time, I’m camping in the summer when the threat of bad weather conditions is reduced.

However, depending on where I’m camping, the temperature can be hot, even during the evenings and overnight. 

Often people ask me how to stay cool while camping. As an experienced camper, I’ve tried many different things over the years to make camping as comfortable as possible. Keep reading to find out what I do to stay cool while camping. 

12 Tips on How to Keep Cool While Camping In Hot Weather 

Whenever I’m camping in hot weather, I make sure that I spend a bit more time preparing to have everything I need for keeping cool in a tent and getting a good night’s sleep. Here are 12 of my best tips and tricks. 

12Choose The Right Tent 

tent for camping

Choose a cool camping tent with good ventilation and a design that will allow for maximum airflow in the tent. These days there are so many different tent options to choose from.

I like inflatable camping tents because they are easier to set up (which is also great for hot days) and have features that help them stay cooler, like well-placed vents and other features that make them breathable. 

11Find a Shady Spot 

When you get to your campsite, look around, choose the shadiest spot you can find, and set your tent up there. Make sure that you consider the sun’s position during the day and aim to have the most shade during the hottest part of the day. 

10Bring a Tent Fan 

fan for tent

Placing a portable tent on the ceiling of your tent at night will encourage airflow and help you get a better night’s sleep. You can also position your portable fan to direct air towards you during meals or while relaxing at the campsite. 

9Wear Clothing Designed to Keep You Cool 

Choose lightweight, lightly colored, and loose-fitting clothing to help you stay as cool as possible while camping. Choosing fabrics like cotton and linen will work to help you stay cool.

You can also choose moisture-wicking materials and opt for items with built-in UV protection. 

8Reflect the Heat Away From Your Tent 

An excellent trick to help keep your tent cool, especially if your campsite does not have a lot of shade, is to create a shade shield of your own. Use a few reflective survival blankets to create a shield over your tent.

Just make sure you hang them high enough above the tent to allow for proper airflow. 

7Choose a Campsite Near the Water 

If it’s possible at your location, choose a campsite close to the water source. Usually, the temperatures near the water are a bit cooler than elsewhere.

Also, the proximity of the water will allow you to cool off by taking a quick swim or even just dipping your feet in to lower your core body temperature. 

6Take Down Your Tent During The Day 

Yes, it is very tempting once you’ve set up camp to leave your tent as is and have it ready for you at night without any additional work. However, when the sun beats down on the tent during the day, it can trap heat and make it feel like a greenhouse.

When you enter your tent in the evening, all of the heat from the day will still be trapped there, making it uncomfortable.

If you’re worried about the work of setting up and taking down your tent each day, remember that the inflatable tents for camping that are on the market today are much easier to set up and take down than a traditional type of tent. 

5Consider Sleeping in a Hammock 

hammock in the woods

If it’s very hot outside during the evening, sleeping in a hammock can help you get a better night’s sleep. In fact, certain types of hammocks are designed for sleeping and will be quite comfortable during the night.

Just keep in mind that you’ll be more exposed to the elements, so use a bug net (or bug spray) to prevent insect bites, and if you think it might rain, hang a tarp over it to protect you during the night. 

4Stay Hydrated 

When camping in the heat, staying properly hydrated proves critical to your health, safety, and comfort. Drink more water than you usually would during the day, especially if you engage in activities like hiking or biking.

Drink from a reusable water bottle that helps you keep track of how much water intake you’ve had during the day. Also, periodically add some electrolytes to your water to replenish the ones lost by sweating. 

3Take An Inflatable Pool 

kids playing in an inflatable pool
Courtesy of Lee Simpson

Suppose you’re camping with kids or in an area without a water source nearby. In that case, a small inflatable pool will provide the opportunity to cool off during the day or in the evening and provide the kids with fun water activities. 

2Put a Frozen Water Bottle In Your Sleeping Bag 

If possible, fill up and freeze a few water bottles before leaving home and pack them in your cooler. Before sleeping at night, wrap one of the bottles in an old t-shirt or towel and stick it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. The cold bottle will help drop your core temperature and allow you to fall asleep faster and sleep better. 

1Pack Cold Food 

When choosing food to bring on your camping trip, consider packing things that do not require heating. If your breakfast and lunch choices do not require a campfire or camping griddle for cooking, you’ll reduce the amount of heat around your campsite.

Save any foods that require cooking or heating over a fire for your evening meals when the temperature will be cooler.  

Here are some of our tips on how to keep food cold while camping in hot weather.

Related Article: How to Cook When Camping

How to Keep Cool In A Tent 

Tents can hold a lot of heat in them, especially ones made of certain synthetic fabrics. Here are some things you can do to keep cool in a tent.

  • Use a portable fan—a battery-operated fan is a must-have for camping during the summer as it promotes airflow inside the tent. 
  • Make sure your vents are open—if your tent has vents, ensure you fully open them to allow the breeze to enter and cool down the inside of the tent. 
  • Use a silk sleeping bag liner— silk tends to stay cooler than other fabrics, like cotton. It also absorbs sweat. Placing a silk liner in your sleeping bag will help you stay cooler and sleep better. 

Our Tips and Recommendations 

Our team has camped worldwide and in various types of environments and conditions.

The one thing that we don’t ever leave behind is a battery-operated fan for camping. This small investment provides many versatile ways to keep cool in a tent or while relaxing at the campsite. 

Another trick we have for camping in the heat is to take a cold shower right before bed (if you’re at a campsite with showers). This small step will lower your core body temperature and help you sleep better. 

Finally, when camping in summer, choose locations with cooler overall temperatures or heavily wooded areas. Save hotter locations for fall or spring camping.