Summer Camping Tips

Archaeology Museum Summer Camp. Photo by Visit El Paso via Flickr.

Archaeology Museum Summer Camp. Photo by Visit El Paso via Flickr.

Many outdoors enthusiasts find the prospect of putting outdoor recreation activities on hold during the summer months unacceptable. The extremely high temperatures and humidity of the season, however, can make outdoor activities downright unbearable. Fret not! There are some options besides not camping during the seasonal extremes in your area.

Here are a few ideas on staying cool and comfortable during those hot summer months:

  • Choose your campsite wisely, taking the amount of shade and prevailing winds into account, as well as easy access to water for recreation.
  • Rig a tarp or other shade over the tent, picnic table, etc. in camp to provide extra protection from the sun.
  • Allow your tent to breathe by pitching it without the rainfly attached (best if you’re using a tarp above, as the rainfly protects your tent’s fabric from harmful UV rays, not just precipitation). If you do pitch the tent with the rainfly attached, leave the doors/windows unzipped to their NoSeeUm netting and angle the tent to catch the prevailing winds.
  • Drink plenty of water or other beverages, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Staying properly hydrated during the peak summer months goes a long way to making your outdoor activities more enjoyable. Do not drink only when you are thirsty, particularly if you are engaging in strenuous exercise (hiking, biking, etc.); instead, drink at regular intervals–every half hour or hour, for example.
  • Avoid strenuous activities during the peak heating hours (noon to 3+ PM or thereabouts). Get an earlier start to ensure you will be finished before the “heat of the day”.
  • Carry a bandana or small towel that you can wet down periodically and wrap around your neck/head and use to wipe down your face.
  • Consider wearing cotton if you are not hiking in the mountains and extreme temperature shifts are extremely unlikely in your area. The “cotton kills” mantra is true for most environments, but as an avid South Texas hiker/camper, I swear by cotton in the summer months.
  • Stay outside the tent until nightfall, when the temperature typically drops slightly; even the most well-ventilated tent is going to feel hotter inside than the outside air temperature.

If you have any tips to add, leave a comment!

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