Camping is still one of Australia’s favourite ways to spend time in our great outdoors with family and friends.
But, while camping is a lot of fun, sometimes we still crave our creature comforts, especially when it’s hot.
Camping in the summer heat can become unbearable. And when you’re hiking overnight or on a multi-day adventure and the mercury is 30 plus, it can be hard to keep cool.
Here are some tips for how to stay cool in a tent.
Consider mesh when choosing your tent
Mesh tents provide plenty of benefits. A tent with fine mesh in their walls and doors can provide proper protection from insects, while also leaving enough space for a breeze to pass through.
If you’re in the market for a new tent, and you know you’ll be camping during the warmer months, then choose a tent that has as much mesh as possible.
Throw your sleeping bag over you tent
If you’re on an overnight or multi-day walk, throw your unzipped sleeping back over your tent. Not only will your sleeping bag get a lovely airing, it will help significantly reduce the temperature inside your tent. And best of all, you don’t have to pack any extra weight.
Don’t set it up until dusk or after dark
I don’t recommend this if you have one of those enormous tents or if you’re not familiar with how to set it up.
If your tent is already set up and it’s a hot day, consider taking it down until the evening.
Set up in the shade
Look for any available shade. It’s a trade-off, though. Put your tent under a tree, which will help stop the sun’s rays reaching your tent, but are the branches safe? I don’t like camping under trees at all because I’m wary of branches falling on me while I sleep.
Also, know which way the sun is moving so what is in shade now isn’t exposed later, or first thing in the morning.
If there’s no natural shade available, create your own.
A reflective sunshade is an effective way of keeping your tent cool while you camp.
Reflective sunshades are protective covers that reflect the rays of the sun, helping to keep your tent cooler.
Use a reflective sunshade to block your tent from the sun. It will help you sleep in a little, too.
Reflective sunshades are most effective when they are placed at a distance significantly above the tent. To stay cool in a tent, set the sunshade up about 30cm or more above the top of your tent. This way, the sunshade can let in some air to flow over the tent, which will also provide extra cooling.
It’s not necessary for the top of a reflective sunshade to be shiny. The usual reflective mylar variety works well, but you can use something as basic as a tarp for a similar effect. You can tie the shades above your tent with the nearby trees, poles or stakes.
This is good option if you’re camping out of your car, but not so much if you’re hiking overnight.
If you’re staying at a campground on a powered site, then one of the best ways to cool a tent is to get a camping fan.
If there’s no electricity, then bring a battery-operated camping fan and set it up so it doesn’t hit the sides of your tent. Instant breeze!
You can make the air around you cooler by putting a block of ice in a shallow dish just in front of the fan. Just make sure the dish you’re using is large enough to hold the melted water once the ice melts or you could end up with a soggy tent.
If you’re willing to invest a few dollars for an extra level of comfort, you can buy a portable camping air conditioner. Yes! This is a thing! There are compact and portable units that are easy to transport and set up. Just make sure you get an AC unit that suits the size of your tent.
Over to you – what are your tips for staying cool in a tent on a hot day?
Last modified: March 3, 2019