Hot weather certainly is one of the highlights of every summer and it often leads to a lot of people giving their advices on how to cool off during summer and escape even just a couple of degrees. We all know that it becomes a pretty difficult task when it involves being outside, maybe hiking, or climbing, or cycling, away from fans, AC and refrigerators.
We already talked about how to hike in hot weather and we also gave some tips on how to bike in hot weather. But what about hot weather camping? What are the tricks to camp in hot weather? Is there a some hot weather camping gear you shouldn’t miss on?
Here’s a guide to hot weather camping and all the tips you may need to survive the summer.
Shade and ventilation are more important than temperature
When it comes to hot weather, many people think that the only thing that counts is the actual temperature, when it’s not really like that.
For example, humidity plays a very big deal when it comes to increasing or cooling off the temperature of a place.
So the first thing you should worry about is to keep your tent dry and away from humid places. So, for example, avoid planting your tent next to rivers, lakes or any other source of water and choose drier places.
Also, make sure it is sheltered and out of the way indeed, but don’t overdo it. Air streams and a breezes will help you to keep your tent ventilated and blow humidity away. In case something is a bit wet, they will help to dry it out and in general they will help to lower the temperature.
Indeed, remember that human body sweats to cool down its temperature and resist hot weather conditions. Humidity won’t help the body to sweat it out and it will also make it more difficult for the air to dry it and cool it. That’s why ventilation and dry conditions are so important when camping.
Of course, shade is another vital factor. As much as many of us use their tent just to sleep at night and possibly wake up early in the morning to do all sorts of activities, planting a tent in a ventilated and dry, yet sunny spot is not a good idea either.
First of all, your camping gear is going to suffer from it: regardless ventilation, under the sun your tent will become like a greenhouse, increasing the inside temperature drastically and deteriorating your gear.
This also means to come back to a hotter place at night, as everything inside the tent will have a higher temperature and will take longer to cool down.
It also means no rest days spent relaxing and properly recovering from fatigue and exercise with some extra hours of sleep or idleness: the heat generated by the sun shining on your shelter will wake you up and force you to leave the interior. In general, heated air is not good for your health, especially in the very first hours of the morning and when you are still asleep. It will dehydrate you and won’t help your body in carrying out its normal functions.
Keep hydrated and eat properly
As every other activity carried out in hot weather, it is vital that you keep hydrated and that you eat healthy in order to help the body to resist extreme weather conditions. Indeed, you have to keep in mind that water and fluids dissipation won’t happen only while hiking, biking, climbing or whichever other activity, but also while resting.
This means taking extra care in every moment of the day: always shield from sun as much as you can, bring a watch with you and keep track of time so you can avoid the hottest hours, drink before you are thirsty and also drink lots of water during the evening, so you can stock up for the next day too and, of course, don't stay under the sun if you can...especially when it’s your tent we are talking about!
Never, ever run out of water, so make sure to have a proper storage with you and take your time to refill your gallons with fresh, clean water. However, exactly because you don’t want to end up dehydrated in the middle of 110°F, always have a water filter with you in order to access water whenever you need it.
When it comes to cooking, remember that cooking over fire in hot weather might not be the most pleasant of conditions, besides it’s not very safe for the environment. Indeed, if you find yourself in a particularly dry and hot area, even the smallest spark can start a fire. Avoid big fireplaces and in general try to eat food that you don’t have too cook: it will be good for your diet as well. And if you really have to cook, than use camping stoves instead of natural fire.
Watch out for bugs
Hot weather, and summer in general, often equal all sorts of bugs and insects. So the very first rule would be to find a spot that is as far as possible from bugs sources, such as nests, (again) water, and very tall grass.
This of course will not mean you are safe. Second rule would be to make sure your tent's insect screen is always well zipped and doesn’t have any little hole or opening that will allow small visitors to sneak in.
Also, make use of bugs and insects repellents, of course, but try to do it in a conscious way. Don’t use incredibly powerful, yet polluting products and opt for something as effective, but more natural. Essential oils can be of great hand, for example, as well as many home made lotions you can make yourself or find in natural shops.
Also, try to keep your skin covered in the most delicate areas, using transpiring clothes that will protect you without making you feel hotter. Avoid shorts, as they expose your legs not only to bugs and insects, but also to scratches and stings of other kinds. Also, they will help you to keep you skin clean, which is very important in order to guarantee a proper transpiration.
Hang your stuff and air it out as much as you can
Dirt doesn’t help when camping, especially when in hot weather conditions. Not only it facilitates other dirt and can create an unhealthy environment where to sleep and live, but it also creates bad smells and in general it deteriorates gear and camping conditions, attracting unwanted visitors such as bugs and insects exactly.
If something is wet or even just a little bit humid, don’t put it in your tent, in a bag or anywhere close. Hang it and let it dry properly, in order to avoid bed smells, moulds and fungus when camping.
Also, air your stuff out at least once a week. Clean your tent as if it were your bedroom (because it is!) and clean your dirty clothes. Don’t let them sit in the “laundry bag” for too long and treat them as dirt too.
Beware of condensation
The alternation of heat and cold, especially when the temperature difference is very high, can create condensation, which can get your tent really wet if you don’t plant it properly, using all the rods you have.
Make sure your inner tent doesn’t touch your flysheet and that air circulates properly in the tent, so that it will help to keep it as dry as possible.
If you have the right gear, you can even leave the tent open (with only the insect screen zipped) in order to enhance air circulation. And if you re 100% sure it is not going to rain, then you can even decide to remove the rain fly from the tent.
Also, use a waterproof sheet to isolate your tent from the ground: it will help to keep the place drier and, also, to protect the floor from any damage.
Last but not least, you can decide to use an extra rain fly to hang above the tent, but make sure to always keep it dry and empty after the night or after heavy rain.