TIPS FOR STAYING COOL ON SUMMER CAMPING TRIPS-PANERGY
HOW TO STAY COOL WHILE CAMPING
When the tilt of the earth sets our hemisphere directly in the sun’s loving gaze, that means it is time for camping. Long days, maybe some cool water to swim in, flying discs, cookouts and family fun — these are just some of the reasons so many people love summer camping.
There’s a special feeling around grabbing some clothes, packing a cooler full of food and hitting the road for the relaxing atmosphere of a campground. Make the most of your summer camping trip this year with these ways to stay comfortable and cool, even in hot, humid weather.
HOW TO STAY COOL WHILE CAMPING IN A TENT
The first day of summer may be the longest day of the year, but the hottest days of the summer often come afterward — it is an effect known as the lag of the seasons. That is because the oceans are slowly stockpiling solar heat and mountain snowpack is melting, both conspiring to release their heat long after the solstice has passed.
That means finding ways to get to stay cool when camping in 100-degree weather in July, August and September. Let’s look at some of the best summer camping tips for keeping your cool.
1. DISASSEMBLE YOUR TENT DURING THE DAY
When it is blazing hot during the day, your tent acts like a greenhouse. It absorbs the sun’s rays and becomes a storehouse for heat, making getting back into the tent feel like stepping into a sauna.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, almost no fabrics fare well in exposure to direct sunlight. Synthetic tent fabric is no exception. Whether it is nylon or polyester, it is always a good idea to take your tent down during the day. Doing so will increase the life span of the tent and allow you to use it for much longer.
A good practice is to disassemble your tent after waking up and assemble it again once the sun is down. It may be a bit more work to do so, but it is worth it for both the cooler temperature and benefits to your tent.
2. SET UP YOUR TENT IN THE SHADE
If you can find a camping spot in the shade, take it. Letting trees absorb the sunlight, instead of your tent, will go a long way in keeping you cool. The trick here is to make sure you know where the sun’s path will pass during the day.
The average latitude of the United States lies around 39 degrees north of the equator, meaning the sun will rise in the southeast and set in the southwest. Depending on where you are camping, in the middle of a summer day, it will pass anywhere from 2 to 25 degrees south of zenith — in layman’s terms, that means it will almost be directly overhead. Grab a compass, which now comes included in many smartphones, and figure out where the sun will pass in the sky.
If the trees you are parked under provide ample shade from the sun at all angles, congratulations! You may be able to leave your tent up during the day.
3. USE A REFLECTIVE SUNSHADE
Using a reflective sunshade is one of the best tips for staying cool while camping. These covers reflect sunlight back up to the sky, leaving anything in their shadow that much cooler. The idea when camping is to use them to block your tent or social area from the sun’s direct light. Sunshades allow you to sleep in even after the sun has come up, which any experienced camper knows is when the “sauna” effect truly comes into play.
A sunshade works best when it is significantly above the tent. Leave at least 12 inches of space between the top of the tent and the sunshade, to allow air to flow over the tent and cool things off.
Note that a sunshade does not have to be of the shiny, reflective mylar variety — though these work extremely well — but can also be as simple as a tarp. Use trees, stakes or poles to tie the shade above your tent.
4. MAKE USE OF THE BREEZE
Where you place your sleeping spot is something that you want to consider carefully. Wind is nature’s air conditioning. Even if there is not a significant breeze, making use of it is a critical move in staying cool during summer camping.
Try to pitch your tent in a spot that has shade and a constant breeze. You will stay cooler in a spot that faces into the breeze, as opposed to downwind. Mesh tents allow air to travel through the tent throughout the day and night, making it easy to cool off with a breeze. When you figure out which direction the wind will be blowing, face your tent door into the wind.
To figure out where the wind will come from, try these methods.
- Ask the locals: Campground owners and staff, full-timers or residents may have a good idea of which direction the wind blows during the night and day.
- Check the weather: Most weather Apps will indicate which direction the wind is blowing. For instance, “5 mph NNW” means the wind will be blowing at 10 miles per hour from the north-northwest. In that case, you should angle your tent so the wide side faces that direction.
- Use your finger: Wet your finger and hold it up in the air. The cold side indicates the direction the wind is blowing from.