The hotter months are often a favorite for those who love camping – but how do you know if it might be too hot for your trip?
The general consensus on max temperatures for comfortable camping are around 95 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the day, and low 80’s during the night. To sleep comfortably in these conditions it’s necessary to use additional cooling methods such as a portable fan.
Generally speaking, if it gets over 95 degrees during the day then you might want to take a closer look at the options you’ll have for staying cool while you’re camping. That said, even 95 degrees can be just fine in areas with lots of shade and water nearby to cool off in.
Continue on and you’ll learn all about the factors you should consider when it comes to camping in the heat.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
The temperature you’re camping in can make or break the experience. Some don’t mind camping in cooler weather, while other’s vastly prefer warm temperatures to make for a perfect trip.
That said, how can you know if the temperature is a bit too hot for camping? It’s hard to enjoy a trip when you’re too busy fighting off heat exposure.
There are a number of variables to consider when it comes to determining what temperature is too high for camping, and we’re happy to take a look at those variables with you so that you can have a fun and comfortable camping experience.
Safety First – Follow Heat Index Warnings
When it comes to deciding the best time for camping, it’s important to put safety ahead of all other variables. No one is going to end up having any fun camping in heat that is simply unbearable, and temperatures that are too high increase the possibility of things like sunburn and heatstroke.
What many may forget is that the temperature you find on the weather channel may not give you the most accurate view of how hot your camping trip could be. The humidity of an area also plays a key role. That’s why it’s important to take a look at the heat index as well as the temperature.
According to the National Weather Service website, the heat index gives you an idea about what a given environment might actually feel like by combining the temperature with the level of humidity in that area. For more information and a handy chart to help you determine the heat index for yourself, you can take a look at weather.gov.
Consider The Location
The location you plan on using for camping can also play a huge role in how you’re affected by the temperature. As you might imagine, 90 degrees in a dry desert is very different from 90 degrees in a swamp. Many find that dry heat is easier to handle than heat combined with high levels of humidity, which can leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable all day.
On that same note, a 90-degree day by the water is much more enjoyable than a 90-degree day in the glaring sun with no water in sight. Having water nearby can help add a little coolness to the air, and going for a swim is a great way to cool down and have some fun.
Additionally, shade can be your best friend on a hot day. High temperatures can be really rough if you have nowhere to get away from those UV rays. On the other hand, having plenty of shade around your campsite can keep things cool enough to avoid discomfort.
Finally, it’s worth considering what happens to the temperature at night. In some areas, you may find that the days are very hot but the nighttime temperatures are perfectly cool and comfortable. Meanwhile, other areas can maintain higher temperatures throughout almost the entire night.
Comfortable sleep can make all the difference for a great camping trip. If you think you’re going to be camping somewhere with high nighttime temperatures, it’s best to bring along a fan or something to provide cooling airflow. Check out some fan tips as well as some good tent fan options in our post here about using a fan while camping.
What Do Others Say About It Being Too Hot While Camping?
I decided to poll a camping community and ask How Hot is Too Hot for Camping.
The responses ranged from “never” to “in the 80’s” (Fahrenheit). But most people seemed to agree, if the temperatures don’t cool down at night, staying in the 80’s, then it’s too hot to go camping unless you have something to keep you cool (like a fan or some other way to cool yourself down).
Again, the community also reiterated that if you’re near water, then mid-90 degree weather is okay.
When Is It Too Hot In The Tent?
The temperature outside on a camping trip is one variable, but the temperature inside your tent is another factor altogether.
If you’ve been camping in warmer temperatures before, then you’re probably aware of just how easily tents can heat up. Often, the inside of your tent can be anywhere from five to ten degrees warmer than what you may experience outside.
You may find yourself wondering why tents can get hot throughout the day, and just how hot things can get inside your tent. Our article on the subject is a great way to learn about what factors apply to the heat in your tent and what you can do to keep it at a more comfortable level. Take a look at it here!
In some cases, that number can become even higher. For example, if your tent isn’t able to get any airflow or shade throughout the day, you might find that even if it’s a pleasant 80 degrees outside, your tent may be sitting at 90 degrees or more. That’s not a great temperature for a comfortable sleep!
Consequently, you’ll want to have some ideas for keeping your tent cool on hand. Remember to place it in the shade, open up doors and windows in the evening to let the hot air out, and bring a fan if you think it’s going to get too hot in the tent for you to sleep well otherwise.
I’m not joking here–it may sound excessive to bring a fan, but trust me, if it’s in the mid-80’s (Fahrenheit) at night, then a small fan can make all the difference in the world as far as how comfortable your night sleep is. Make sure you bring a fan if it’s going to be in the 80’s during the night!
How To Beat The Heat When It’s Too Hot
Without the right tools and tactics, camping in excessive heat can become a very uncomfortable experience. Consequently, it’s important to be prepared so that you can find the best ways to beat the heat in any given situation. Here are a few tips that can help you stay cool:
- Try to camp near water. As I mentioned previously, water is a great resource when you’re camping in hot weather. If you pick a site near the water, it’ll be easier to cool down whenever you need to.
- Use shade to your advantage. Pick a spot for your tent that will provide shade for as long as possible throughout the day. Additionally, move your picnic table or chairs to shaded areas so that you can stay cool while you hang out.
- Bring a fan. When in doubt, a portable fan can get the air moving around in your tent and help you to feel a little cooler. This can be especially helpful at night. Not only will the moving air feel nice, but the sound can also drown out some of the other noises you might hear in a forest or campground. If you’re unsure how to get the best results from a fan while camping, our article I mentioned earlier on the subject here can guide you through it!
- Let your tent air out. For the most part, it’s a good idea to keep your tent closed throughout the day. Otherwise, bugs and other critters may decide to explore your sleeping space. However, many tents have mesh doors and windows that you can use in the evening to allow air to move through your tent more easily. Just open up the nylon fabric and allow the mesh to stay zipped in place to help keep the bugs on the outside.
- Don’t sleep with the rainfly. Double wall tents are very common, and the exterior wall (called the rainfly) helps keep you dry if it’s raining. If it’s going to be hot out, make sure and keep the rainfly off–this is going to make a huge difference in the temperature inside your tent.
- Change where you sleep. When all else fails, maybe it’s worth considering that a tent might not be the right choice in all kinds of weather. When it’s especially hot, some campers may get more of a benefit from sleeping in a hammock where more air can move around. Additionally, larger tents don’t retain heat as much, so if you’re in a small 3-man or 4-man tent, then if you double the size you’ll stay cooler.
There are plenty more tricks you can use while you’re camping to help with cooling down. Our article on staying cool while camping without electricity is a great place to find tips that will make your high-temperature camping trip a lot more fun. Take a look at it here!