How To Keep a Tent Cool – 7 Ways to Beat the Heat When Camping

There is something amazing about camping during the summer. The warm breezes, long nights, and fun outdoor activities are a great way to spend time with family and friends. However, when it comes to summer camping trips, there is one major downside: sleeping in a hot tent.

When the weather is warm, it can get uncomfortably hot inside of a camping tent, even with the windows and doors opened wide. While mesh air vents and screens do provide some airflow, it is rarely enough to cool down the interior. Fortunately, there are a few tried and true methods to help keep a tent cool. If you love summer camping but hate sleeping in a hot tent, here are some of the best ways to keep a tent cool and comfortable.


How to Keep a Tent Cool

There are a few different things you can do to lower the temperature inside of your tent. Some methods are quick and easy tricks, while others may require a little bit of preparation and planning ahead. Below are our 7 favorite ways to keep a tent cool while camping.

1. Take your tent down during the day.

It is a good idea to take your tent down in the morning and then pitch it again in the evening. During hot weather, the inside of your tent turns into a greenhouse. The fabric absorbs the sun’s rays and traps the heat inside, turning the interior into an uncomfortable sauna. Taking your tent down during the day will keep your tent cool because the heat from the sunny day won’t get trapped inside. This way, when you enter the tent at night, there won’t be an entire day’s worth of hot air waiting for you inside.

If you own a pop up tent, you should definitely consider doing this. The few seconds of extra work is absolutely worth it.

Additionally, as an added benefit, taking down your tent during the day will also help prolong its life. Because UV rays damage and break down the tent fabric over time, reducing its exposure to direct sunlight will help preserve its durability.

2. Pitch your tent in the shade.

Pitch your tent in a shaded area. You might have to plan ahead or just get lucky but try to set up your tent and campsite in a wooded area with shade. The trees will absorb the sunlight, preventing heat from getting inside. The shade also protects the tent fabric from harmful UV rays.

If you want to leave your tent up during the day, make sure that you are familiar with the sun’s path. You don’t want to find out later that your shady area is full sun in the middle of the afternoon.

In addition, it is also a good idea to look for a body of water nearby. This will provide a convenient source of water and a great place to quickly cool off.

3. Take advantage of natural breezes.

Natural air conditioning can cool down a tent’s interior to a comfortable temperature. All you need is a consistent breeze. Your tent should also have plenty of mesh windows to allow air to circulate. There are some awesome tents with screened porches and mesh walls that are great for camping in warm climates. While this might not be as effective as air conditioners at putting out cool air, it will make the tent more comfortable to sleep in.

If you are worried about bugs getting inside, the mesh screens effectively keep them out. All you get is a cool, refreshing breeze at night. If there is not any rain in the forecast, removing the rain fly will also improve airflow and circulation.

4. Bring a portable fan.

Since electricity will be a problem, you should consider bringing a battery-operated fan. While small, these fans make a big difference. They are affordable, portable, and easy to pack with the rest of your camping gear. Portable fans are fantastic for sleeping in hot weather. Additionally, most of these fans come with handy clips that allow you to easily attach them inside of the tent.

Girl Using Portable Fan In a Camping Tent

5. Forego the sleeping bag.

When it gets too warm out, do not use a sleeping bag. Some nights are too hot to use it comfortably. Sleeping bags can trap heat inside making it impossible for you to cool down. You can still use the sleeping bag as a mattress pad, but be sure to only cover yourself with something lightweight and breathable, like a cotton sheet. A cotton sheet lets air flow through it so you stay cool and comfortable at night.

6. Wear light-colored clothing.

Dark clothes may be a staple in your wardrobe but they also absorb heat. Light-colored clothing, on the other hand, reflects solar radiation, helping you stay cooler.

Along with light colors, you also want to pay attention to the fabrics. Choose clothes made of cotton and linen. You should also make sure that the clothes are loose-fitting. It might not be part of your normal attire, but you will be more comfortable on summer camping trips.

7. Pack plenty of cold water.

There are several reasons why you want to pack plenty of cold water. On hot days, hydration is crucial for your health and to help you stay cool. If you are dehydrated it is difficult for the body to regulate its temperature. This can lead to heatstroke and potentially serious health conditions.

You can also use the water to soak a towel and place it on your neck or forehead. This simple trick is effective at cooling your body temperature down. It can also make it easier to fall asleep at night when there isn’t a breeze.

If you have the room and can carry the jugs to the campsite, it is a great way to bring in frozen water. The ice will melt over time leaving you with cold, fresh drinking water. A couple of jugs of frozen water in a cooler can also keep food fresh longer than just dumping a bag of ice in. While loose ice will melt and soak the food, water jugs will contain the melted water and preserve the food.

Another use for frozen water jugs is to use them as an air conditioner. Placing a jug inside your sleeping bag will cool it down almost immediately. It is a convenient trick that will help you stay cool at night.


Final Thoughts

Summer camping trips are something that you look forward to. Unfortunately, you also have to deal with hot nights inside of a hot tent. However, with just a bit of planning and preparation, you won’t have to suffer through the summer heat. Using these few simple tricks to keep your tent cool, you can beat the heat and sleep comfortably through the night!

For winter camping trips in cold climates, we also recommend following a few simple steps to insulate your tent.

Happy Camping!

Do you have any tips that you use to beat the heat and keep your camping tent cool? We would love to hear about it! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 



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