There is no debate that much of the country has been facing some extreme heat this summer. With extreme heat, caution for overheating really needs to be considered when spending extra time outdoors. So what are you to do when camping in the heat with no electricity?
One of the biggest things you can attempt to do is try to book or change plans if possible to camp when temperatures are a little more compliant. The last thing you want is to face heat exhaustion or any heat-related illnesses while being in the middle of nowhere.
(TAG previous heat-related articles) However, if you do find yourself roughing it through a heat wave, here are our top tips for staying cool as best you can.
1. Set Up in the Shade
Yes, it seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, but remember, based on where the sun sets and rises, the shade can move around, leaving a smack dab in the middle of scorching sun rays for the majority of the day. Find a very shady area where lots of trees can protect you, regardless of the time of day. This will help drop a few degrees.
2. Use a Hammock for Sleeping
Not only is it heavenly to sleep in a hammock, but it’s also much cooler. Without a mattress and sheets underneath you (or even the ground), trapping in warm air is not an issue in a hammock. You should get a nice breeze. No hammock? Ditch the cotton and thick sheets and sleep bags and opt for a silk sheet that is cooler and lighter.
3. Stay Hydrated
Keep your electrolytes and water intake high. You will need more water than usual to keep yourself replenished in extreme heat. Pack some sports drinks, too. They are designed to help balance your electrolytes, which plain water does not do. Sip on it slowly or add a little to your water.
4. Set Up a Tarp
Look for a good spot to help block those daytime sun rays from your camping site and set up a tarp. Be mindful that you don’t want to block any good wind or breeze that you could be getting, so pay attention to the angle and placement of the tarp.
5. Set Up Near a Water Source
Water typically means cooler temperatures, but even if it doesn’t cool things down much, staying cool by taking a swim or soaking in the water as needed will help keep your body temperature down. No water nearby? An inflatable pool is good to have on hand. Pack extra jugs of water for filling it and use it as a cooling spot when needed.
6. Use Your Tent Wisely
When tent camping, consider lightweight and light-colored tents for the summer months. You will want to deflect as much heat as possible. Look for a tent that has several mesh windows so that you can let the breeze in if you will be sleeping in it. You can also invest in a battery-operated fan for the tent to give you some extra air flow.
Do not overcrowd the tent. Take anything out that isn’t necessary, especially sleeping bags and such. If you are not expecting rain, take the rain off the top of the tent. This is by far, the best way to cool down the tent and get you a little breeze at night.
7. Utilize Cooler Times of the Day
When camping in extreme heat, use the cooler parts of the day for your more active adventures. Take a hike early in the morning and beat the heat. Enjoy evenings for exploring. Take it easy during the day and just focus on staying cool and keeping healthy and hydrated to avoid the entire trip being cut short because of heat illness.
8. Ditch the Big Campfire
I know this might be disappointing, but for obvious reasons, you should probably forgo the big fire. Keep the fire as short and sweet as needed for cooking only.
The most important takeaway is that staying cool during the extreme temperatures is the most important thing you can do for your health and to enjoy camping all together. This is not something you want to try and duke out with Mother Nature.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 9, 2019 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.