More than half of our country will experience above normal temperatures through the end of this summer according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. While most of the population will likely seek indoor activities to beat the heat, some of us will embrace the opportunity to enjoy the Great Outdoors, and camping is no exception.
Here are some quick tips that will help you plan a fun, relaxing and safe end of summer camping adventure:
1. Reach For The Skies & Head North (If You’re South Like Us)
While nature’s heater is on its highest setting this year, certain areas of the country are still experiencing cooler temperatures. Simply use this opportunity to take a road trip to higher elevations or cooler regions of the United States.
2. Be Shady
With days that seem to last forever, combined with the relentless heat of the sun, don’t camp where there is no shade. Focus on campgrounds that offer natural shading in the campsites, trails and throughout the park. If you have no choice but to visit a shadeless location, be sure to add a sun shade to your gear list and limit activities to the early or late hours of the day.
3. Seek The Water: Camp At A Lake, River Or Campground With A Pool
During the summer months, you may find that your window of activity is limited to mornings and evenings, so find a campground next to or near a body of water. Use this time to paddle, swim and float or sit back and relax on a submerged chair in shallow water while you enjoy a nice cold beverage.
4. Rest All Day, Play All Night
Plan your days accordingly. Hike, fish or swim early, relax and nap on a hammock under a shaded tree all day and plan for a fun-filled evening of activities. Start by finding a nice spot for dinner where you can watch the sunset. If allowed, take a short night hike around your campsite but be sure to use a headlamp; you’ll be surprised at how much wildlife is lurking around you. Find out if the campground you are staying at is having a stargazing party or make your own!
5. Stay Hydrated
We all know that hydration is key when it’s hot, but it’s easy to forget when you’re having fun. On a typical day, authorities from Europe, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization recommend between 2.0 and 2.7 liters (8 to 11 cups) of water a day for women and 2.5 to 3.7 liters (10 to 15 cups) a day for men.
But don’t forget, these numbers change (read: increase) when you are exerting yourself outdoors in the heat. Point is, you need to stay hydrated.
6. Leave the Grill At Home
It’s hot, so starting a fire seems pointless when your goal is to keep cool. Plus, it can be dangerous if conditions are dry. Instead of cooking, prepare. If you are camping with access to a cooler, focus on foods such as sandwiches, pre-made pasta salads and fruits and veggies.
7. Sleep Well
One way you’ll convince yourself to never camp in the summer again is to experience a sleepless, sweaty night. Chances are that the sleeping gear you currently have is designed to keep you warm, so you will have to invest in gear that will keep you cool or simply minimize what you cover with.
I suggest using a cot with an un-insulated sleeping pad and a thin sheet on top so that your body heat can escape from both sides. When it comes to your tent, set it up under a cool shaded area, unzip your windows and remove your rain fly, and keep it that way all day long. If possible, invest in a tent designed for warmer weather.
8. Sleep Under the Stars
Sleep on a hammock! You’ll need a mosquito net, but there’s nothing like sleeping under the stars on a hammock. If the idea of sleeping on a hammock doesn’t appeal to you, simply set your cot outside of your tent. Depending on where you are camping, you’ll probably need some bug spray or you’ll get eaten alive.
9. Shorten Your Trip Duration
Camping for several days in the summer can be exhausting, especially if you don’t have access to amenities that will help you stay comfortable. Minimize the effort by leaving all the extras at home and commit to a night or two at the most.
10. Don’t Be Shy, Bring Those Creature Comforts With You
Listen, we are all about getting back to the basics, but finding a campsite with a waterspout and electrical outlet during the hottest months of the year may be your saving grace. Bring a portable shower to spray yourself with from time to time and a small fan to keep you cool. If you choose to bring a fan, be respectful of your neighbors and campsite mates. A loud box fan is the last thing you need while trying to enjoy the Great Outdoors.
Camping in the summer not your thing? We get it. But with a few modifications of your gear, activities and location, you may rethink it.
Don’t fear the heat, embrace it!