Don’t let the heat cancel your summer camping plans. With the below tips and tricks, the sun will be laughing its way out of your sleeping bag. Whether you’re camping in a tent, caravan, motorhome or campervan, these tips will see you through.
Tent campers pay attention. It may seem like there’s no way to escape the oppressive heat on a hot summer’s day under canvas, but there are ways to keep your living space cool. Firstly, try and pitch your tent in a spot that stays shady for at least part of the day. Many of our Camping in the Forest campsites have space to pitch among the trees, giving you much-needed shelter from the sun.
If you’re struggling for shade, cover your tent with an emergency space blanket, as the reflective nature of this will help to bounce the sun’s rays off your tent. It’s also wise to consider which direction the sun will be shining at peak time and angle your tent accordingly.
Don’t forget to open your vents during the day and unzip your tent to get the air circulating. Some campers even go to the length of taking their tent down during the day and putting it back up in the evening.
As mentioned in point one, your choice in campsite is crucial when it comes to camping in hot weather. Make sure you do your research and select one with plenty of shaded areas to camp under. Our New Forest campsites offer pitches amongst the trees, which are ideal for sheltering from the afternoon sun.
It may sound obvious, but when you’re overheated and lethargic, it can seem like a lot of effort to get up and have a drink. When you’re camping at the height of a heatwave, make sure you keep topping up your water levels throughout the day, this is especially important for kids. Alcohol and caffeine are fine to drink but make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to reverse their diuretic properties.
Keep bottles nice and chilled in a cool bag or box - you can even stand your drinks in a bucket or bowl of cold water to help keep things at a lower temperature.
Consider taking some portable fans to help keep you and your tent, caravan or motorhome, cool and well ventilated. If you’re camping off the grid, then solar-powered or battery powered desk or handheld fans can provide a welcome respite from the heat.
Set off on your day’s activity before the heat hits so you can seek shade between the hours of 11am – 3pm when the sun is at its highest point. Running, walking, and exploring is all more bearable when the sun is lower in the sky, and then you can head for shade and relaxation by midday.
In the summer months, the sun rises early. That means you’re likely to wake up with the sunrise. If you’re planning on starting your day when you wake up, early nights are in order.
Just like how you switch to lighter sheets in the summer months at home, switching out your sleeping bag to a sheet, blanket, or summer weight sleeping bag can help you get a more comfortable nights sleep.
Another way to get a peaceful night’s sleep on a hot campsite is to have a cool evening shower to bring your internal body temperature down. You don’t need to run the coldest water possible, just adjust the temperature, so it feels cool.
Protect yourself from bites and stings with an insect repellent, one high in DEET is recommended. To prevent insects from invading your pitch, keep food covered and pack it away as soon as you’ve finished eating. Remember that fizzy drinks and alcoholic beverages are likely targets for wasps and bees.
If you usually take a fridge camping, you’ll be able to keep food at a safe temperature. If you don’t have a fridge, cool boxes with ice packs can be a good option, and many of our campsites have ice pack freezing facilities. If the weathers just too hot, or you don’t feel confident you can keep your food safe, leaving the meat and dairy at home may be a good decision.
At Camping in the Forest, we allow charcoal barbecues prior to 10:30pm, so long as they’re raised off the ground. Campsite staff are always around for advice and will keep an eye out to ensure all campers behave responsibly. Always check which types of fires are permitted on your chosen campsite and make sure you follow the rules.
At our New Forest sites, in support of the New Forest Action Plan we are asking campers not to bring disposable barbecues for their stay. We are also reminding campers that outside of our sites no barbecues of any kind are now allowed anywhere in the New Forest.
We know that pets are a big part of your family and therefore often come along on summer camping holidays. The heat can be a particular issue for dogs though as they can’t sweat to regulate their body temperature. Walks should be done early in the morning, and late in the afternoon. During the peak of the day, pets should be kept in the shade, with plenty of cool drinking water. You should always have details of the nearest vets just in case you need them. You can read more in our top tips for camping with dogs.
Heat related illnesses should be taken seriously. Headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and a rapid heart rate are all signs of heatstroke, which should be treated as an emergency.
Some other essential items to pack when camping during the summer include:
View our full camping packing list.
Looking forward to your foray into camping in hot weather? View our forest campsites to discover the perfect retreat.
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