7 tips for keeping cool when camping

Summer camping trips can be highly enjoyable — until the sun reaches its zenith and you realise you’re parched and overheated. Staying cool when camping isn’t too tricky but does require a bit of preparation to make sure you don’t get caught out on hot days. Here are the best summer camping tips for keeping cool when the temperatures soar. Otherwise, you’ll end up scorched and annoyed rather than serene and sun-kissed.

Trainers on feet protruding from an orange tent in the warm sunshine, overlooking trees

1. Choose your pitch wisely

Camping in the heat can have its perks: lovely long warm days and plenty of light. However, a good pitch is essential for maximising summer’s benefits and staying cool. Select a high pitch with a breeze if possible, or pick one that gets a lot of shade. If there’s no shade available in your campsite, set up a reflective tarp above the tent to give some protection; this is also a great place to keep food coolers and water bottles.


2. Use your sleeping bag liner

Rather than sleeping in full sleeping bags in the summer heat, you’ll find you likely sleep better using just the liner. Make sure the rest of the sleeping bag is available to use if the early morning hours are chilly.


Tents pitched in a shaded area surrounded by trees

Pitch your tent in the shade for maximum sun protection

3. Keep hydrated

On hot days, having lots of available drinking water is important — and actually drinking it is crucial. Make sure you know about your campsite’s water access and use insulated water bottles if possible to keep water cool. If you’re active outside in the heat, swimming or going on hikes, you should be drinking at least three litres of water per day.


4. Make sure pets are well-hydrated too

It’s crucial to keep any dogs or other pets cool and make sure they have plenty of water. Keep a travelling water bowl, refill it regularly and put it in a cool place, and make sure they have continuous access to it. Heading away with pets can be a great experience, and we've put together a few top tips on camping with dogs and the things you need to consider.


Person holding a water bottle in the air

Remember to stay hydrated in the heat - a reusable water bottle is a must!

5. Make your tent a cool space

The last thing you want is a tent that doubles as a microwave. Cotton tents are less insulating than polyester ones, and are a better type of tent for summer. If you’ve picked the best, coolest location and your tent is still a hotbox, consider a portable tent fan or air conditioner built specifically for camping. Take the tent fly off completely and open the vents to catch passing breezes.


6. Pack an inflatable pool

If swimming isn’t an option, or you have small children, an inflatable pool is a good idea: it can keep kids cool (you may want to have it partially in the shade) and also give adults a place to splash their necks and faces with cold water. Soak your hat or bandana in it to give an extra dose of coolness.


Person with long hair putting cream on their hands

Apply sun cream generously to avoid burning!

7. Always have sun protection available

Hats, long-sleeved loose shirts in breathable fabrics and sunscreen aren’t an optional extra when you’re camping in the heat; they’re essentials. Thin, light-coloured clothing will help reduce body temperature. Make sure often-ignored places like feet and the back of the neck are protected from sunburn, too.