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Summer is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to head into the mountains or desert and go camping. However, even summertime camping has its unique challenges, like how to keep cool while camping – especially if you’re not accustomed to the heat.
If you want to enjoy your camping experience to the fullest, staying cool and comfortable is essential. In this article, we’ll share some simple tips and techniques to help you cool down even during the dog days of summer. From investing in a camping air conditioner and a quality tent to going swimming and drinking enough water, we cover it all here.
Moreover, whether you prefer backpacking, car camping, or sleeping in a van/RV, this article was designed for you. With that in mind, keep reading to learn how to beat the heat and stay cool on all your future camping adventures!
Table of Contents
- How to Keep Cool While Camping: Invest in a Portable Air Conditioner
- How to Keep Cool While Camping: Choose the Right Tent
- How to Keep Cool While Camping: Wear Breathable Clothing
- How to Keep Cool While Camping: Go for a Swim
- How to Keep Cool While Camping: Stay Hydrated
How to Keep Cool While Camping: Invest in a Portable Air Conditioner
A portable air conditioner is, without a doubt, the best way to keep cool while camping. It’s the only way to create a truly luxurious experience while camping, making you feel more like you are in a hotel instead of the backcountry. Our favorite one for camping is the Mark II Plus Extra by ZeroBreeze.
The Mark II Plus Extra was developed by real-world campers and built explicitly for camping and outdoor use. It runs using a 24V power supply or with rechargeable batteries, and thanks to its innovative design, it only uses 1/5th the power of conventional AC units.
To give you more flexibility, you can use a 12V to 24V inverter to hard-wire the air conditioner into a 12V system. The inverter also comes with a cigarette lighter plug to charge the battery. Moreover, the Mark 2 comes with a 110V plug, so you can run it directly off shore power without using the battery.
Zero Breeze recommends that if you use shore power 50 percent of the time, you need a battery system – either their battery or your own portable power system. The model I have, the Mark II Plus Extra, comes with a power extension dock, so I can use two batteries and get more than 10 hours of runtime. The dock also allows charging the batteries (Zero Breeze also sells the air conditioner by itself and a Mark 2 Plus version with one battery).
Additionally, the unit is super portable and lightweight – perfect for overlanding situations!
With a 2,300 BTU capacity, this portable air conditioner isn’t intended to cool down a large tent. However, its chilly, air-conditioned breeze certainly cools you down and makes you more comfortable when the temperature soars.
I’ve used my Zero Breeze in my tent and in a teardrop trailer, but they’re also great for vans, trailers, boats, and more! Learn more about portable air conditioners for camping by checking out this detailed guide.
How to Keep Cool While Camping: Choose the Right Tent
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If you prefer camping in a tent over a van or trailer, choosing the right tent goes a long way toward keeping you cool. Not all tents are created equal, and you tend to get what you pay for when buying a tent. Did you know there are actually different types of tents for different seasons?
Material and ventilation are the two main things to consider when choosing a tent for warm-weather camping. Tents that are too “plasticy” or have little or no mesh windows should be avoided. A great family tent is the North Face Wawona 6. Alternatively, if you want a compact and lightweight tent for backpacking, we recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL.
How to Keep Cool While Camping: Wear Breathable Clothing
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Another excellent practice is to wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing. This means avoiding cotton and other heavy materials and wearing clothes made from synthetic polyester and nylon instead. Short sleeves, tank tops, and convertible pants are generally the way to go.
You don’t want to overlook your footwear, either. Your feet generate tons of heat and can cause the rest of your body to heat up. Outdoor sandals like Teva’s and Chaco’s are ideal for the summer months. If you need to wear close-toed shoes, avoid Goretex and other waterproof shoes. Salomon shoes and Darn Tough socks are a comfy and breathable combination.
How to Keep Cool While Camping: Go for a Swim
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Going for a quick dip is a fun and free way to keep cool while camping. While you can’t always camp near water, we always try to plan ahead and choose campsites near a natural water source if we can. The National Parks Service has a super useful campground locator tool to help you find the best sites across every National Park.
Whether it’s a lake, river, or ocean, natural swimming is a wonderful way to connect with nature and cool down. So, always pack a swimsuit regardless of where you live and where you go camping!
How to Keep Cool While Camping: Stay Hydrated
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Last but not least, drinking enough water and staying hydrated is critical to regulating your overall body temperature. If you get dehydrated, your core body temperature will rise, and you can also fall sick and get splitting headaches. You must work extra hard to drink regularly and stay hydrated when it’s hot out.
How do you ensure you drink enough water when camping? We recommend three things. First, you should always carry a reusable water bottle. Second, bring a high-quality cooler stocked with cold water and drinks. And third, we suggest packing a water filter and hydration tablets. Easy peasy!
With these tips, you can go camping in the warmest of weather and still have a way to keep cool. The only question that remains is…where are you going camping?