What camping means to you?
Travelling takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste and try new life. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to and explore new surroundings, but also to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come and to share new and significant experiences with friends and girlfriends.
Don’t cancel your weekend camping because it’s too hot! Be prepared and enjoy the warm weather. As we reach record high temperatures in the US, it’s probably a good time to review some tips for camping in warm weather. Here are some tips to beat the heat that I learned from my 25+ years camping with the Boy Scouts.
The 3 big personal things to take care of are heat, humidity and hydration:
As your body heats up, evaporation is your body’s way of dealing with cooling. When moisture (perspiration) is released on you, it dissipates the heat. This works well in dry, hot areas.
Air that is saturated with moisture will have a hard time absorbing extra moisture through evaporation. So in damp rooms you have to create air movement to stimulate evaporation. Breezy areas around lakes are good for this.
Perspiration draws water from your body, which must be replaced regularly. Being thirsty is not a good indication of your water needs. Surprisingly, your urine is the best indicator. Drink often enough so that your urine is light colored or clear. If it is dark colored, drink more water!
Tips for drinking water:
- Keep water easily available and drink often
- Avoid drinking a lot of caffeinated drinks. They act like diuretics and remove fluids from your body.
- Drink a lot of water. Especially during a strenuous activity such as a walk. Take plenty of water with you on a hike or trek to a well-known water source.
Clothes for warm weather
Choosing the right clothing for a warm weather camping holiday can go a long way towards making a happy camper! Keep these tips in mind:
- Choose light-colored, breathable fabrics that don’t absorb heat. Leave your black “Metalica” t-shirt at home!
- Wear a hat. Not only for shade, but also to ward off sunstroke and overheating
- Shorts and shirts made of nylon or polyester are always good. The fabric is cool, durable and dries quickly when you perspire
- Cotton is also a good choice. But I notice that it doesn’t dry so fast and at night I don’t want a wet, cold shirt on my back
If you’re in an insect-infested area, you may need a hat with mesh or wear long, light-colored pants and a long-sleeved shirt. In particular, apply insect repellent (DEET-based) and reapply, especially around your ankles, neck and ears.
I hope everyone is “programmed” to put on sunscreen and wear a hat when going to summer camp, let alone hot weather camp. In humid climates, buy the waterproof sunscreen so it doesn’t come off when you perspire. And always use at least 15 SPF. Don’t forget your lip balm! You can also get this in 15 SPF.
There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep with a severe sunburn.
Find shady spots to set up camp, bring an awning, or make one by stringing a tarp between some trees.
Warm weather equipment
If you’re camping in warm weather, you can bring the same gear as you normally would when camping, except your bedding should be lighter and cooler. What I mean by this is bring a light nylon sleeping bag, or a sheet and some blankets.
In warm, dry weather, sleeping under the stars is the best camping has to offer. Slide a sleeping pad under your sleeping bag and you’re done. If you need more shelter, you can tie the ends of a tarp into the trees or wrap the tarp over a tight cloak tied between two trees.
Most good 3-season tents have a rain fly that goes over the top of the tent to prevent moisture from entering. This is good on a humid, warm site, but I would remove the rainfly in hot, dry areas so you have a “screened” roof to keep the bugs out and watch the stars as you doze off.
Keep things cool
Once you’re settled in camp and have your personal hydration in check, your tent in the shade, and maybe an awning setup to get out of the equation, you’re pretty much ready to enjoy camping.
Keeping food and drinks cool in hot weather is not difficult. At the desert camping I do, I bring two coolers, one for drinks and one for food. Know in advance that the drink cooler opens and closes all day long, but the food cooler does not. I bring extra ice and keep it in the food cooler and if the drink cooler loses ice I replace it. My coolers keep my food and drinks cold for about two days. Any camping trip longer than that and I have to make a trip for ice cream.
If you are prepared and follow these tips, you can enjoy camping in warm weather and especially sleep in the “under the stars” that is completely unique! I am constantly amazed at the number of stars in the sky on a clear, hot night.
Why is camping good for you?
Travelling relieves stress and boosts testosterone
Trip has the ability to take you out of our daily routine and into new surroundings and adventur and this can reset your body and calm your mind. Even planning a trip can have an amazing effect on the chemistry – it boosts happiness and feels rewarding.