How to Stay Cool While Camping in the Summer

Stay Safe and Comfortable with These Tips for Beating the Heat

Image Caption: Image Courtesy of by-studio/Getty

There are a lot of reasons why summer is a great time to go camping. With school out, it is easier to plan family vacations and weekend getaways, plus the longer days are perfect for spending time outdoors. On top of that, the warmer weather makes it more comfortable to hang around the campsite.

But summer can also bring extreme heat, which makes being outside difficult and dangerous. On those days, you may be tempted to lock yourself in your motorhome with the air conditioning on full blast. Running the AC all day isn’t very energy efficient, however, and staying inside defeats the purpose of going camping in the first place.

Fortunately, there are some ways to stay comfortable and cool, even when the thermometer begins to inch higher. Here are some tips to help you beat the summer heat and make the most of your next warm-weather camping trip.

summer RV camping

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Stay Hydrated

When spending time outdoors in hot conditions, it is essential to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps the body to produce sweat, which is a natural way of cooling down. Plus, a cold beverage does wonders for helping us feel better about the warm temperatures and makes it easier to drink more fluids.

However, drinking alcohol can be counterproductive, so avoid doing so during the heat of the day. Alcohol can cause the body to dehydrate faster, which can be dangerous in sweltering conditions. If you want to enjoy a few adult beverages, wait until later in the day when the temperature begins to drop.

Dress Appropriately

Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when outdoors in the summer heat. This will allow the body to breathe better, keeping it more comfortable in the warm temperatures. Garments that are quick-drying and wick moisture away from the body will also keep you cooler, particularly if you’re hiking, biking, or participating in other activities.

Avoid wearing tight-fitting and restrictive clothes, as they are more likely to trap heat close to the body. Fabrics that retain moisture and take a long time to dry will also become uncomfortable quickly. Dark-colored clothing will also absorb and hold the heat, making you feel warmer as a result.

Wear a Hat

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat on a hot day provides additional shade and protects your head from the direct sun. This can help you avoid heat stroke, although it may make you feel warmer, causing you to perspire more. Soaking your hat in water before putting it on will help keep you cooler and more comfortable.

summer RV camping

Children Enjoying Picnic Whilst On Family Camping Holiday

Eat Light Meals

It’s easy to lose your appetite when temperatures soar into the triple digits but remember that it is important to eat something throughout the day. Smaller, lighter meals consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables are always good, as are salads, rice, yogurt, and cold sandwiches. Avoid heavy foods like pasta or thick cuts of meat, as they may not sit well on your stomach in hot weather.

Cook Outside

On particularly hot days, avoid using the stove, oven, or microwave inside your RV to prepare a cooked meal. Those appliances generate heat that can cause the interior temperature to rise. Instead, cook your food in an exterior kitchen or on the grill.

Camp in the Shade

At the campsite, park your RV under some trees if possible. Parking in the shade will help keep the interior of the vehicle cooler and provide protection from the sun when you’re spending time outdoors.

If your campsite is exposed to sunlight for most of the day, an external awning can provide some shelter. If you don’t have an awning on your vehicle, a pop-up canopy is an easy and affordable way to add some shade when needed.

summer RV camping

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Camp Near Water

Whether staying in a private campground or boondocking at a remote location, set up camp near water whenever possible. Lakes, rivers, and streams will bring the ambient temperature down a few degrees, making all the difference when spending time outdoors.

Go for a Swim

Take advantage of public beaches, pools, secluded swimming holes, and other opportunities to take a dip in the cool water. Going for a swim is one of the best ways to avoid the heat and keep your core body temperature down.

Bring a Fan

It’s amazing how much even the slightest breeze can help bring some much-needed relief from hot weather. But when the wind isn’t blowing, you can create your own by plugging in a fan. This goes for outside your RV too, where a fan with a built-in mister can make a big difference when trying to stay cool and comfortable.

Let the Breeze In

You can’t always park your RV in a place where you can take advantage of the breeze, but if the winds are blowing in your favor, use them to your advantage. When you have a steady crosswind, open the windows on your rig and let Mother Nature provide some natural cooling. However, be mindful of high humidity, as it can make your interior space feel warmer and less comfortable.

summer RV camping

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Maintain Your Air Conditioner

If your RV has an air conditioner, be sure to perform your annual routine maintenance, including cleaning or replacing the filters. This will help the AC unit to run more efficiently, allowing it to maintain a proper temperature without using excess fuel or energy.

Add an Air Conditioner

If your RV doesn’t have an AC unit, there are several small, portable models that can be added to the vehicle. These devices work well for cooling down a smaller space and are especially helpful for sleeping comfortably at night. Most models can run off of the 12-volt DC outlet in your vehicle, as well as from a portable power station, bringing much-needed relief when you need it most.

Cover Your Skylights

Another way to keep the interior of your motorhome cooler is to cover the skylights. While it is nice to have natural light inside your RV, skylights can also generate additional heat. Insulated skylight covers will prevent that from happening and help you maintain a cooler environment.

Cover Your Roof Vents, Too

Maintaining proper ventilation will lower the temperature inside your RV. Installing covers on the roof vents will ensure that cool air gets in and warm air goes out, creating steady circulation as a result. This helps keep the air fresh and clean, which is important when the outside heat is oppressive.

summer RV camping

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Switch to LED Lights

Most newer RVs come with LED lighting, which runs cooler and is more energy-efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. If you’re still using older light bulbs in your rig, maybe it’s time to upgrade. The energy savings is worth it alone, but they will also lower the temperature inside your RV’s cabin.

Plan Activities for Early Morning or Evening

The sun is at its hottest, starting in the late morning and lasting into the early evening. You’ll want to avoid strenuous exercise during that time of day. Instead, schedule your hikes, bike rides, kayaking trips, and other activities for the early morning or later in the evening before sunset.

Travel to Someplace Cooler

While it isn’t always easy to change your plans at the last minute, part of the fun and appeal of RVing is the flexibility in travel. If you find that the weather forecast for your intended destination is calling for scorching temperatures, perhaps you can switch up your schedule and drive to someplace cooler. The goal is to enjoy the experience and be safe while on the road, which isn’t always easy in excessive heat.

Stay safe, enjoy the summer, and be cool.

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