Camping is one of the most exhilarating experiences for adventure lovers. Many people pack up to go camping as soon as the summer kicks in, and the weather is prime. The longer days, the freshwater to swim in, grills, and family fun are some of the highlights of the season.
When camping during a hot summer, you don’t need to wear dozens of clothes to keep your body warm unlike when you go camping in winter. They will only weigh down your energy and psyche during hiking and other activities. Instead, you need some light clothes and something to keep you cool. The same principle applies when setting up a tent for camping; it needs to have enough airflow to eliminate the excess heat.
The most common challenges during the summer are keeping your tent cool and how you keep your food cold while camping. Excessive heat can make your stay unbearable and not worth the trouble. The key to enjoying your adventure depends on the ability to keep your tent comfortable and livable.
Unfortunately, I have heard people and even some friends call a camping trip short all because they couldn’t figure out a good way of keeping their tent cool during summer.
This article will guide you on the best ways of keeping a tent cool to escape the effects of the scorching summer heat. If you are new to all this Wilderness Junkie stuff then I would recommend having a read through my Camping for beginners guide which provides some great tips.
What do you need to keep your tent cool?
To shade yourself from the scorching sun, you will require the following:
1. A Tent
A tent is one of the essential items you’ll require at the campsite. Considering its essence in shielding you from the scorching sun, you must pick the right one. Here are the factors you should consider to enjoy much cooler temperatures:
Size: The size of the structure affects the temperatures inside the tent. If you are sharing the shelter with your partner, then you’ll need a two-person tent. You may also want to invest in a tent that is big enough to stand up in as these can help with keeping the temperature down. You might need a bigger tent if you are going to be more than two. A bigger structure enhances good airflow, hence creating cooler temperatures. Breathability: A breathable tent allows smooth air circulation.
You should pick a 2-season tent for your summer camping spree (four-season tents are for cold weather and will overheat in the summer). Also, go for one that has many windows meshed with light materials. More windows help to increase air circulation. Mesh tents allow air to flow inside the shelter, making it easier to maintain cooler temperatures.
The best material to use is cotton because it offers better insulation and is more breathable compared to polyester or nylon. Cotton also minimizes condensation, so it’s perfect for the hot season.
Design: There is a perfect design of tents that are suitable for the summer. The design ensures you can manually set up vents to minimize condensation inside the tent. A rainfly is also a crucial inclusion in the design because it prevents sunshine from warming up the inside of the tent. It adds an extra layer, so the structure now has two walls. Enough air circulation between the walls will bring a cooling effect. When this design applies to the windows, it prevents uncomfortably stuffy conditions in the tent.
2. Tent Footprint
Since the ground emits heat at night, it’s vital to have the right tent footprint to shield the excess heat. You can use any material to cover the ground, from blankets to tent footprints to cardboard boxes.
All you need to consider is that the material is thick enough to separate you from the ground. The ground can get extremely hot in the summer, and the ground sheet prevents heat from getting to your tent. The right groundsheet will help you to feel cooler and more comfortable in your tent.
3. A Reflective Tarp
Installing a tent tarp is another way to keep your shelter cool. It shades the tent from harmful rays of the sun and protects it from getting hotter.
During the summer, you would generally expect the tent to get hotter as the temperatures continue to rise. Having a tarp or a blanket, however, provides enough shade to shield your shelter from the hot sun. Although the tarp might require a bit of work during installation, it is very efficient.
4. Ice and Cooler
Ice can do wonders when it comes to keeping a tent cool. You can place the ice in front of a fan to create a cooling effect in the shelter. Its rate of melting also provides a swamp cooling effect because it has a higher melting point than water. I personally bring an ice cooler on every summer camping trip specifically for this and to also keep my drinks cold.
As mentioned above, you will need a fan to use alongside the ice and cooler. Make sure the fan is battery-operated because it’s unlikely you’ll have access to electricity. You also need to ensure it has a full charge to last you the entire camping duration.
There are many types of small and portable fans that are convenient to use for such occasions. Selecting the right one will ensure you get the best air circulation to keep the tent fresh. I personally use 3 Odoland camping lanterns during summer. They ensure good airflow through my tent and can keep the temperature comfortable on a warm night.
5 Steps to Follow to Keep Your Tent Cool
1. Choose the Right Campsite, Next to Cooling Waters
The first step toward keeping a tent cool is picking an ideal location for it. Find magnets of cool breezes such as river or lake banks.
If the first option isn’t available, find a shade to protect your structure against direct sunlight. Finding shade will prevent the tent from overheating when the temperatures are too hot.
You can also utilize reflective sunshade covers, which reflect sunlight away from the tent, leaving only a cold shadow. The sunshade makes it possible to sleep even after the sun has risen. It works best when placed considerably above the tent, which means there’s some space for airflow and cooling.
Choosing the right campsite requires knowledge of the direction of the breeze; the wind is the natural air conditioner. Even when there isn’t a significant breeze, making use of the wind can significantly help in keeping a tent cool. You can find out the direction of the wind by checking your weather app or asking the campground staff.
2. Disassemble the Tent When You’re Not Sleeping
When the sun is scorching, and the heat is blazing during the day, your tent absorbs all the sun rays and becomes a trap for the heat. The stored heat makes the shelter as hot as a sauna.
The materials that make most tents also don’t fare well when exposed to direct sunlight. Whether your shelter consists of cotton, nylon, or polyester, it’s advisable to take it down whenever it’s not in use. Doing this prevents the tent from holding unnecessary heat and also increases its lifespan.
The best practice to keep your structure cool is to disassemble it in the morning and erect it when the sun goes down. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s very effective in achieving cooler temperatures.
3. Consider Digging and Placing Your Tent in a Small Pit
Don’t shy away from going the extra mile to make your summer camp exceptional. One of the best strategies for keeping a tent cool is to dig a small pit into the ground.
If you brought a shovel with you, this activity shouldn’t be difficult. The pit should be about two feet deep. Although this might seem like a lot of work, it will ensure your tent lies on cooler soil as opposed to resting on ground level. Don’t forget to place your groundsheet before erecting the tent.
4. Remove the Rainfly When It’s Not Raining
During the night, there is a lot of heat coming from the ground and your body. This heat rises upwards and condenses on the inner side of the rainfly. If there are no signs of rainfall, you need to remove the rainfly and let all the heat and moisture escape. This act can make all the difference when trying to keep your shelter fresh during summer.
However, a sunshade works differently; unlike a rainfly, it is a few feet above the tent, so it doesn’t lock in heat. You can set the rainfly up to provide cover whenever it rains unexpectedly.
5. Cool the Air Using a Fan
As mentioned earlier, you can use a portable fan to provide a battery-powered cooling breeze in your shelter all night. There are many models of fans you can use for camping; the fan you choose must be lightweight, portable, and quiet. The fans should also be able to attach to the wall or ceiling of the tent.
Putting blocks of ice in a holding dish in front of the fan is a better way to make the air cooler. The dish should be big enough to hold the water that collects after the ice melts.
Following the steps above will help with keeping a tent cool throughout the summer. Although some of the steps, such as taking down the tent every morning, may seem demanding and tedious, you will get a more comfortable shelter when you follow through with them.
Make your next camping trip more comfortable and satisfying by ensuring your shelter has proper ventilation. Don’t forget to buy the best quality camping necessities in readiness for this great adventure.