How to Keep Cool Camping in Hot Summer Weather [5 Practical Tips]

It makes perfect sense why most people prefer to camp during the sunny and hot weather months. There’s definitely more to do, see and enjoy if it’s not raining or cold.

But, if it’s too hot outside and you’re not prepared for it, you might end up causing serious harm to your body.

So, to better enjoy the outdoors during the peak of summer, here are 5 practical tips for keeping cool when camping!

Summer Camping Tips Hot Weather

Tip 1 - Avoid Activities Around 3 PM

Have you noticed that some periods of the day seem excoriatingly hotter than others? Well, it’s not just you… it’s science!

During the summer months in the northern hemisphere, the sun is at it’s heights point in the sky around noon.

At this angle, the sun’s light and heat energy is at its maximum. But, even though the sun’s radiation is at its highest, the temperature is not its hottest. Why?

Well, the “thermal delay” which is related to how fast the Earth’s surface actually heats up, takes hours. Therefore, the true hottest part of the day in summer is around 3 PM [Reference].

It’s best to limit or avoid strenuous activities around this time to reduce overheating and excessive sun exposure.

Tip 2 - Wear a Soaked Handkerchief Around Your Neck

If you start to feel a bit overheated in the summer, a great way to regulate your temperature is to use a damp handkerchief or bandana and place it around your neck.

As the water in handkerchief evaporates, it actually cools your skin similar to how sweating helps regulate your body temperature.

Placing the damp cloth around your neck cools the carotid arteries which transports blood to your head and brain.

This is a great, on-the-go way to keep your head cool if you’re hiking or paddling during a particularly hot time of the day.

Tip 3 - Find or Create a Shaded Area for Respite

Spending too much time directly in the sun can be exhausting as well as harmful to your skin. Unprotected skin can start to sunburn quickly. And the after affects can be painful as well as lead to future skin conditions.

So, to keep your skin protected, your best option is to find a shaded area to keep cool and out of the sun. This can be as simple as sheltering underneath a tree canopy or on the shaded side of a tall structure.

For artificial shade, it’s also a great idea to Set Up a Tarp to shield you from the sun’s rays. You can set up chair or a blanket underneath for additional comfort.

It can feel 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the shade because you’re essentially blocking the direct radiative heat coming from the sun [Reference].

Tip 4 - Wear Clothing that Compliment Body Cooling

The right clothing can really help protect your skin and regulate your body temperature in hot weather.

But, not all clothing materials are designed for cooling. Here are some things to consider when packing cloths for a hot summer camping trip:

  • Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk absorb sweat and help wick away moisture.
  • Light-weight and light-coloured clothes promote airflow and absorb less heat from the sun.
  • Long-sleeve shirts and pants can help protect skin without the need for sunscreen
  • A wide-brimmed hat protects your eyes, face and neck from getting sunburned

Using the right clothes can increase your comfort level even in hottest conditions, so pick and pack clothes wisely!

Pro-tip: Check out How to Pick the Best Clothes for the perfect options for summer camping.

Tip 5 - Drink Enough Water and Electrolytes

Elevated levels of activities while camping in hot climates will eventually lead to sweating.

Sweat contains mostly water but also electrolytes such as sodium chloride (salt) and a small amount potassium.

Excessive amounts of sweating may lead to a temporary deficiency of sodium and potassium in blood.

This is important because electrolytes play 3 important roles in the body:

  • Regulate the amount of fluids in cells.
  • Regulate nerve and muscle function.
  • Regulate pH levels.

It’s exceedingly important to drink enough water and replenish electrolytes before, during and after you sweat.

Eating salty snacks and drinking at least 10 glasses (80 oz.) of water on a hot day should keep you perfectly hydrated and healthy!


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