After winter comes summer. Instead of cold, you now have to struggle with heat and sun. In the worst case – think of the drought in the summer of 2018 – even with a real scorching heat. That is not really nice for outdoor camping.
A few tips to make camping in midsummer more pleasant…
- The right tent
- The right parking space
- Properly setting up the tent
- Camping in practice
- A few extra tips
- Your own person
Camping in the heat is – sorry – just as crappy as camping in the freezing cold. Yes, you nod Still – with a few tricks, camping in the summer heat isn’t that bad. Here are my tips for the hot days.
1. Camping in the Midsummer: The Right Tent
The most important thing is the type of tent. Some hiking tents have better ventilation than others. For example, a tunnel tent is not suitable for midsummer camping: This offers the best use of space, but the worst ventilation. Tunnel tent is more like a sauna than an airy tent when it is hot.
Ergo: A tunnel tent is not an idea for camping in the summer heat.
Better: Dome tent is suitable in this situation. Here you have less space because of the flatter walls, but top ventilation.
The material of the tent is also an important factor. Cotton or cotton blends (technical cotton, polycotton) promise you the best room climate.
On the other hand, if your tent is made of plastic (especially polyester), camping in the summer heat can be a pain. Because plastic is not breathable, it keeps the heat inside the tent.
Caution: Cotton is heavier, more expensive, and dries more slowly than plastic. UV protection is better for that.
If you go on tour or camping, especially in summer, a summer or 2-season tent is sufficient. This is only designed for the warm months and therefore cheaper than “winter-proof” backpacking tents.
Tent Because in such “summer tents” the outer tent – if the tent is two-ply – does not reach down to the ground, but ends beforehand. Accordingly, backpacking tents are less weatherproof, but better ventilated because the air can circulate optimally.
- Tips: There should be as much space as possible between the inner and outer tent so that the air can actually circulate.
From there on, the tent should have at least two entrances and plenty of ventilation (windows, etc.). In this way, you provide draft if necessary, which makes camping in midsummer more pleasant.
The inner tent should also have large areas consisting of mosquitoes. Because this air lets through much better than fabric but keeps mosquitoes outside.
- Tips: the more gauze, the better! Also good is microfiber.
Also pay attention to the color of your camping tent. Light is better than dark. Because light surfaces heat up less than dark ones and even partially reflect the heat.
2. Camping in Midsummer: Pitch
If you want to keep your tent cool, look for shade. You can find it under trees, between hills, huts, rocks or in caves.
When camping in summer, pay attention to where the sun is shining and at what time. If you want to sleep longer in the morning, put your tent west of the shade provided because the sun rises in the east. If you get up early with the birds, pitch your tent east of the shade.
- Warning: If you camp under trees, thunderstorms are dangerous. Branches can fall or even lightning can strike.
Another good tip for camping in the summer heat: Find a place where the air can circulate. So where a gentle breeze blows. You can find such places, for example, on the beach, by a lake or on a hill.
- Tips: If you find such a place, set up your tent according to the wind. So the entrance can catch the wind.
Speaking of breezes: you can often find one by the water. Camping in the heat therefore requires a route along the water. No matter if river, lake or sea. Why? Because the water cools the air. So camp as close to the water as possible.
In the case of a lake, pond or sea, align your tent with the water. This is how you catch the fresh breezes that come from the water. If you are camping by a river or stream, your tent entrance should point upstream. Because that’s where the cool wind usually comes from.
- Warning: water often means mosquitoes too! Less often by the sea, more often by streams and lakes.
When camping in midsummer, it is also important to have a place where you can sleep outside.
Look for flat ground, shady areas, or trees. You can put a hammock or a tree tent between the latter. Or a tarp if you sleep under it.
Caution: Avoid places with lots of insects, ticks or wild animals.
3. Camping in the Summer Heat: Pitching a Tent
If you are not averse to some work, dig a hole or a pit. So 50, 60 cm deep.
Here the earth is significantly fresher than the actual soil or the dry summer air. You can cool your tent accordingly. So try it.
- Tips: If you want to save yourself the work or you can’t dig, put a tarpaulin or foil under your hiking tent. Although this is less effective, it can help.
Another tip for camping in the summer heat: Only set up your tent at dusk. So you can pack your backpacking tent and store it in the shade instead of it heating up in the evening sun.
Does your tent have a “rain roof” or is it two-ply? Then take off the flysheet (if possible). This is primarily intended to keep rain and thus moisture away.
However, it also keeps the heat in the tent. With the built-up inner tent alone, camping in midsummer is much more airy.
- Tips: If it rains, you can stretch the outer tent or a tarp over the inner tent so that you stay dry and can still enjoy the freshness.
Another idea: a reflective tarpaulin that you put on your tent. For example, the insulating blanket from the first aid kit is well suited. The silver side up, please.
Alternatively, of course, a tarp is also possible, which then serves as a kind of awning. This also protects your tent from bird droppings and tree sap.
Important: With a tarpaulin, leave a space between the tent and the tarpaulin so the air can flow through. An insulating blanket on the other hand should be attached directly to the tent with duct tape. Otherwise, it will fly away quickly.
If you stay there for several days, dismantle your backpacking tent during the day. This is additional work, but this way you can pack the tent and store it in a cool place. Otherwise, this will quickly mutate into an oven when camping in the summer heat.
4. Camping in Midsummer: Keep Your Tent Cool
Contrary to popular belief – keep your hiking tent open as long as possible. Means: Tear open entrances and windows, provide draft (= circulation). This is how you bring cool air into the tent. Otherwise, your tent will quickly turn into a sauna.
- Tips: If there are a lot of insects in the area, pay attention to mosquito protection when buying a tent. The gauze keeps mosquitoes and the like outside, but lets in air.
Of course, you don’t have to sleep in your sleeping bag when camping in the summer heat. But that’s a good idea because modern sleeping bags are designed to hold warmth.
On the other hand, if you are lying in a sleeping bag, the heat will not suffocate you.
- Tips: If possible, stay outside in the heat!
A small fan with a battery is also a good idea so that you can create a mild breeze (= circulation) when camping in midsummer.
- Place the fan in a corner of your tent. Use the oscillation mode (if available). Pay attention to open windows or ventilation. Otherwise, the fan only moves the warm air in the tent.
- A little ice in front of the fan makes the air colder. Of course, ice is a deficiency on tour. The alternative is a damp towel on the fan. If you are staying at a campsite, asking about ice doesn’t hurt.
- If you don’t have a fan at hand – which wouldn’t be a surprise, especially for UL trekking – try damp towels. You put this on the outside of the tent.
Despite all these tips, camping in midsummer can have consequences. If you feel weak or confused, if you feel sick or if you sweat extremely, leave your tent immediately. If possible, find a cool, shady spot. And drink, drink, drink! These signs are typical symptoms that you may experience a lack of water.
5. Extra: Practical Tips for Camping in the Heat
Finally, a few practical tips for camping in midsummer.
No more people should sleep in your tent than the manufacturer allows. Otherwise, the motto is: the more body, the more heat. Three men in a 2-person tent not only make it tight but also warm. Maybe pleasant in winter, not in summer.
It is logical that when camping in the summer heat, you should pack a thin summer sleeping bag instead of a thick winter sleeping bag.
Alternatives: a hut sleeping bag or quilt. It is usually a simple blanket that you can button or leave open. In summary, it is more airy and less cramped than a sleeping bag.
Down or synthetic fiber? In the summer, the second idea is better. First, because down is a bit too much of a good thing in summer. Second, synthetic fibers hardly absorb moisture, and camping in the summer heat means sweat. Down quickly clumps when exposed to moisture and then loses its insulating properties.
Not a good idea when camping in summer is cooking, i.e. directly in the backpacking tent. It makes sense that you generate heat like that. Especially in the evening.
From this point onwards, cooking in the tent encourages the formation of condensation water. The risk of fire is also not without. So cook outside and as far away from your tent as possible.
Speaking of cooking: If you’re on tour in midsummer, do it like the southerners – have a siesta over the midday heat. So from noon to 3 p.m., Sightseeing is not a good idea either except in churches or old castles, which are wonderfully fresh even in summer because of their thick walls.
No church or castle there? Then prefer a rest under a tarp as sun protection.
6. Camping in Extreme Heat: Own Person
By the way, when camping in summer you should not only take care of your tent but also of yourself.
The most important rule when camping in summer or midsummer at all: drink, drink, drink. Otherwise, your body will dry out very quickly. Consequences: headache, zero vigor, collapse.
In summer, your skin can usually prepare itself. Because of the summer sun, the skin produces melanin – and tans. However, if you drive south in winter and therefore into the sun, sunburn is no wonder. Every sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer again. It would therefore be a good idea to pre-tan in the solarium.
Make sure you have a solarium that uses UV-A as well as UV-B rays. Unfortunately, the rule is only the former. UV-A tans your skin, but only UV-B provides the necessary protection against sunburn.
- Attention: The solarium is prohibited by law for children and young people. So follow the next tips even more.
It makes sense that sunscreen is an option to protect our skin. Get advice on this from a pharmacy or drugstore, because depending on the main type, more or less sun protection is necessary.
- Tips: Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Apply the stuff generously and renew the protection from time to time, especially on the water because it reflects the UV rays.
Nevertheless: Do not stay in the sun longer than necessary, even with sunscreen. Shade is the best protection from the sun.
Clothes and Hats Mean Sun Protection …
As well as proper clothing of course important for comfortable camping in midsummer. The rule here is: Long is better than short. Instead of white cotton – which lets a lot of UV rays through – they opted for polyester or special sun protection clothing.
- Tips: do it like the Bedouins. Airy-thin, cut wide, but completely covered.
Incidentally, this includes your head, especially if you have cropped hair or a bald head. Hats with a brim or angler’s hats (Boonie hats) are very good; they also protect the ears and neck.
Bad: Caps with a net-like top or visor caps (headband plus peak). With these, sun protection is practically zero.
Sunglasses are also a good idea when hiking and camping in midsummer.
Pay attention to a large frame with wide temples so that you banish the dangerous side light.
Again, the frame should be as wide as your eye sockets. The upper edge extends to the eye sockets and the lower edge to the zygomatic bone. Also, look out for the UV-400 certificate. Then the sunglasses protect against UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Tips: wear your glasses all the time, especially when you are in the water. This reflects and amplifies UV rays. By the way, it doesn’t matter how dark the glasses are, even light glasses can correspond to UV-400. If you generally wear glasses, ask your optician for prescription sunglasses.
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