Summer is one of the best seasons for camping because the weather is beautiful and it doesn’t get cold at night. This is also one of the busiest times for campers who want to take advantage of all the warmth has to offer.
However, hot weather also presents its own challenges. With higher temperatures comes the risk of sunstroke, overheating, dehydration, and more. For campers, it can be a challenge to keep their tent cool so they can sleep at night.
Those who want to spend time in their tent to avoid the hottest time of day may also find it difficult to keep from getting too hot. Although a tent can provide shade from the sun, it can also trap heat and be an uncomfortable place for an afternoon rest.
In this article, we will look at some tips for making your tent colder so it’s a nice oasis from the scorching summer heat. We’ll also cover some products that are affordable and can easily be purchased online to make your summertime camping experience more positive.
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How to Make Your Tent Colder
- Choose a Prime Location
Whenever possible, put your tent in a place that is surrounded by trees and has adequate shade. If you can camp on higher ground, this will also cause a natural breeze to flow through your tent and cool it down.
Of course, not all tent pads at campgrounds will have shade and many of the prime locations will get booked in advance. If you are backcountry camping, you may not have a lot of choice about your tent’s location because you will be trying to minimize your footprint.
But, any time you can opt for a shady location, you will have a much cooler tent. Being near water could also have a cooling effect if there is a natural breeze. Not to mention you may be able to go for a swim to cool off during the day.
- Set Up Your Tent Later
One of the best times to pitch your tent is before sunset. Don’t wait until dark because it will be difficult to see, even though it may be much cooler.
Don’t set your tent up early in the morning when you arrive at your campground. The sun will come up and beat down on your tent all day, leaving you with a sweltering tent by the time evening comes around.
- Ventilation is Key
If rain is not in the forecast, take off your rain fly so your tent will be even better ventilated. Open the vents and unzip the doors so the mesh is exposed to the air.
One of the main reasons a tent gets hot is the lack of air circulation. So keeping good ventilation in your tent will let the breeze flow through and carry out any hot air.
- Dig a Pit
This tip is for those with a little more flexibility when it comes to pitching their tent. Many campgrounds provide a tent pad and you probably won’t be allowed to make any modifications to it.
But if you can, dig a pit and put your tent up inside it. A deep area of at least two feet will bring with it significant cooling properties. Don’t forget to put down the footprint and always make sure the ground is even.
If you are expecting a lot of rain, this may not be advisable because water could build up in the pit and flood your tent. But for hot, dry days, this can definitely reduce the temperature in your tent by a few degrees.
- Choose the Right Tent
Many of these tips could be hindered if you start off with the wrong tent for the season you are camping in. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use a four-season or winter tent during the hottest months. These tents are designed to insulate and be warm, so you will surely overheat.
Instead, choose a three-season tent that has been designed for summer camping. Make sure it has a lot of mesh for ventilation and is made from a reflective material or one with a UV coating to block out the sun.
Although canvas is quite heavy, it is one of the best materials for keeping a tent cool. If you are car camping and weight is not a limitation, consider a heavier tent that won’t get as hot.
You should also look for a tent that is light-colored so it will reflect heat. A cabin-style tent is also much better at keeping cool than one that is dome-shaped.
- Take Your Tent Down
If the weather is especially hot, take your tent down in the morning and put it back up every day just before sunset. Although pitching a tent isn’t the most fun task when it comes to camping, this tip can ensure you have a nice, cool tent after a long day in the sun.
This is also useful to preserve the life of your tent. It is not good for the fabric of your tent to be exposed to a lot of sunlight. During the summer, the sun could be directly overhead and may damage the tent or reduce its lifespan.
- Skip the Campfire
It can be tempting to light a campfire to roast marshmallows or simply to enjoy the atmosphere. But resist the urge because it will heat up the air near your tent and, depending on the location of your tent, may heat your tent up unnecessarily.
If there is a communal area far from where your tent is pitched, have your fire there instead. Or cook on a camp stove far from your tent so no heat can enter the tent and get trapped there.
Products to Cool Your Tent
- Space Blankets
These lightweight, reflective blankets can be placed on top of your tent. They will repel the heat and insulate the inside of your tent so it stays cool inside.
Because they are so affordable, you can buy several and drape them over your entire tent. If you are backpacking, these are ideal because they don’t weigh a lot and are easily compressed in your pack.
- Blackout Curtains
Another option when it comes to blocking the sun is to put blackout curtains inside your tent. If your tent has windows, cut the curtains to the specific dimensions of each window.
The curtains can be attached using velcro so you can easily remove them during the day. This will keep the sun from entering the tent through the windows and will keep it dark and cool should you want to take an afternoon nap.
- Portable Fan
Small camping fans are available for affordable prices so you can stay cool no matter where you go this summer. If your campground has electricity, get an electric fan to move air through your tent.
For those who don’t have access to amenities like that, a battery-powered option could also work. Even if it’s just a small, personal-sized fan, it can still make a difference on a hot day.
You can also position the fan so that it blows over a bucket of ice and disperses cool air into your tent. It can also be used to maximize air circulation if your tent does not have a lot of mesh or ventilation.
- Air Conditioner
Although this may sound impractical for most campers, it is a realistic option if you will be camping in the desert or other extremely hot environments. There are now portable air conditioning units on the market designed for campers.
Look for one that can use electricity or solar power and is small enough to take with you to your campsite. Not only will it cool your tent completely, but it will make camping feel like a luxurious experience.
- Cold Lights
When night falls, opt for cold lights instead of regular light bulbs or warm lights that emit a lot of heat. Make sure all your lighting is cold or opt for something like LED that doesn’t heat up and cause your tent to get too hot.
- Get a Sunshade
This type of cover reflects the sun to prevent it from ever reaching your tent. Position the sunshade directly above your tent and leave about a foot of space between it and the top of the tent so air can flow freely.
The sunshade will cast a shadow over your tent to keep it dark and warm, allowing you to sleep in and do so comfortably. Opt for one that is reflective or just get a simple tarp or groundsheet that is big enough to cover your entire tent.
- Ice Packs
Freeze some ice packs to bring with you so you can not only keep drinks cold but also cool down your tent. If you don’t have actual ice packs, just freeze some jugs of water. Put them inside the tent to cool it off or place them near a fan to spread the coolness.
You can also put ice packs or frozen bottles of water inside your sleeping bag to cool it down before crawling inside for the night. Once the ice melts, then you can drink the water or use it to wash up.
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