What you need to know about camping in hot weather

Don’t cancel your weekend camp because it’s too hot! Get ready and enjoy the warm weather. As we hit record temperatures in the US, it’s probably a good time to review some hot weather camping tips. Here are some tips for beating the heat that I’ve learned from my 25-plus years of camping with the Boy Scouts.

Tea 3 big personals The issues to take care of are Heat, Humidity and Hydration:


As your body heats up, evaporation is your body’s way of dealing with cooling. As moisture (perspiration) is released, it carries away heat. This works well in hot, dry areas.


Moisture-saturated air will have a hard time absorbing additional moisture through evaporation. Therefore, in humid areas, you must create air movement to encourage evaporation. Breezy areas around lakes are good for this.


Perspiration draws water from your body, which must be replaced frequently. Being thirsty is not a good indicator of your need for water. Surprisingly, your urine is the best indicator. Drink often enough that your urine is clear or clear in color. If it’s dark in color, drink more water!

Tips for drinking water:

  • Keep water readily available and drink often
  • Avoid drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages. They act as diuretics and remove fluid from your body.
  • Drink a lot of water. Especially during a strenuous activity like a walk. Drink plenty of water on a hike or walk to a known water source.

Warm weather clothing

Choosing the right clothing for camping in warm weather can go a long way toward making you a happy camper! Keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose light-colored, breathable fabrics that don’t absorb heat. Leave your black “Metalica” t-shirt at home! ☺
  • Wear a hat. Not only to provide shade, but to protect against sunstroke and overheating.
  • Nylon or polyester shorts and shirts are always good. Fabric is cool, durable and dries quickly when you sweat
  • Cotton is also a good option. But I find that it doesn’t dry as quickly and at night I don’t want a cold wet shirt on my back.


If you are in a bug-infested area, you may need to wear a mesh hat or wear light-colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Above all, apply and reapply insect repellant (DEET-based), especially around the ankles, neck, and ears.


I hope everyone is “programmed” to put on sunscreen and wear a hat when they go to summer camp, let alone warm weather camp. In humid climates buy waterproof sunscreen so it doesn’t come off when you perspire. And always wear at least 15 SPF. Don’t forget some lip balm! You can also get this in 15 SPF.

There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a bad sunburn. ☹

Find shady places to set up camp, bring a canopy, or build one by placing a tarp between some trees.

Hot Weather Gear

When camping in hot weather, you can bring the same gear you would normally bring to a campground, except your bedding should be lighter and cooler. What I mean by this is bring a light nylon sleeping bag or a sheet and a couple of blankets.

In hot, dry climates, sleeping under the stars is the best that camping has to offer. Slip a sleeping pad under your sleeping bag and you’re good to go. If you need more shelter, you can tie the ends of a tarp to trees or hang the tarp over a tight-fitting robe tied between two trees.

Most good 3 season tents have a rain cover that goes over the top of the tent to keep moisture out. This is good in hot, humid campgrounds, but would remove the rainfly in hot, dry areas so you have a “protected” roof to keep the bugs out and stargaze while you drift off to sleep.

keep things fresh

Once you’re settled into camp and have your personal hydration under control, your tent in the shade, and maybe a canopy set up to get out of the sum, you’re pretty much ready to enjoy camping.

Keeping food and drinks cool in hot weather is not difficult. In the desert camping I do, I carry two coolers, one for drinks and one for food. Know in advance that the beverage cooler will be open and closed all day, but the food cooler will not. I bring extra ice and keep it in the food cooler and as the beverage cooler loses ice I replace it. My coolers will keep my food and drinks cold for about two days. Any longer camp than that and I have to do an ice trip.

If you are prepared and follow these tips, you can enjoy warm weather camping and especially sleeping “under the stars” which is totally unique! I am constantly amazed at the number of stars in the sky on a clear, hot night.

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