Camping in the heat: tips and tricks to stay cool

Camping in summer is a double-edged sword — on one hand, summer is the season to get outside, go exploring, enjoy the long hot days and the warm pleasant nights. On the other hand, the idea of being out of the air conditioning on a blistering hot day isn’t always appealing. Here are a few tips to make sure the heat doesn’t stop you from making the great outdoors your home this summer.

Select the right location

Whether you’re pitching a tent, sleeping in a campervan or have the full caravan set up — shade is going to your best friend when camping this summer.

Your tent will be like a greenhouse if it’s in direct sunlight and even if you do have air conditioning in your camper or caravan — you’re camping! Nobody wants to be cooped up inside when the purpose of camping is being outside in nature. Having shade around means the trees are copping the sun rays, not you, and you can enjoy sitting outside on a beautiful day without getting sunburnt and uncomfortable.

Set up next to a water source.

Another great tip is to camp near water if possible. Not only will the breeze coming off the water cool down your area — a refreshing dip is just a few feet away! If you don’t score a waterside spot, take a cold shower from the camp amenities if possible, or even consider bringing an inflatable pool for yourself, the kids and even the dog to splash in.

Set up next to a water source.

Packing hacks

Taking along a few key items could mean the difference between sweltering in misery and soaking up the warmth and sunlight of summer in comfort.

One of the most important things is to keep your food and water cold. Of course, you’ll need an esky for that but on hot day, ice cubes will melt in a heartbeat. One excellent hack is before you leave, fill up empty juice or milk containers with water and then freeze them. They will stay frozen for longer in your esky and the melted ice will stay contained, meaning your food won’t get waterlogged.

Another idea is to pack a hammock and insect net. On those hot nights where the thought of crawling into a confined space makes you literally sweat, sleeping outside in a hammock might just be the answer. Of course, sleeping outside does mean you’re more likely to become a mosquito’s snack, so this is where the net will come in handy.

Strip down

Your tent of course! If the weather is fine and dry, remove the fly off your tent to help encourage air circulation. This is particularly handy for smaller dome tents — it may not be as effective for larger tents.

For any size tent, make sure you open up all the vents and windows to allow any cross breeze.

Strip down

Nailing the itinerary

Be smart with not only what you do on your camping trip but when you do it. For example, if you desperately want to climb to the top of a nearby mountain, wake up early to catch the sunrise or wait until later afternoon once the sun is low (don’t forget your headtorch for getting back down again!). Water-based activities are always good for keeping cool and exploring underground caves will likely be a few degrees cooler than being up above.

Take care of yourself and others

If you spend too long in the sun or don’t drink enough water, your body will get too hot and it will be difficult to get your temperature back down.

The best thing to do if someone gets heatstroke is to try to cool them down as quickly as possible by placing ice packs (or the frozen bottles previously mentioned) and wet towels on their head, neck, groin and armpits. Remove any warm clothes and fan them. If their temperature doesn’t cool down, you should call 000.

The good thing is that heatstroke is preventable and wearing the right clothes can help. There are certain materials that are more breathable than others and of course, light colours will always be better in reflecting the heat.

Wide-brimmed hats should always be worn in the sun and sunscreen with an SPF of 50+ is a must. Pack dissolvable electrolytes and drink them whenever you’re feeling dehydrated. It may make all the difference.