Camping when it is too hot can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. This article will discuss how hot is too hot for camping along with some tips for staying cool.
Summer is often considered the perfect time for camping. The weather is warm and sunny, and there are plenty of days of vacation to fill with outdoor activities.
However, in the heat of the warmest summer months, camping can sometimes become unbearable due to excessive heat.
If you’re planning a summer camping trip, it’s a good idea to figure out what temperatures are too hot for camping, and check the forecast before you make definite plans.
How hot is too hot for camping?
There isn’t a strict rule for how hot is too hot for camping. How comfortable you are at any given temperature will usually be the deciding factor for whether you should camp or not.
Some people are quite comfortable in the heat, while others prefer much cooler weather and will have a bad camping experience if the weather exceeds a certain temperature.
In general, most campers feel that any temperatures over 95 degrees are too warm. At this point, camping can become uncomfortable or even dangerous.
It’s also a good idea to look at how far the temperature will drop at night. Some areas see a sharp decrease in temperature overnight, which makes sleeping much more comfortable. Other areas remain at a relatively constant temperature.
Most campers agree that trying to sleep when the temperature is 80 degrees or more is too difficult.
Heat-index values also classify anything over 105 degrees as dangerous or even extremely dangerous. At these temperatures, you might hear a weather forecaster issue a safety warning.
People are encouraged to stay indoors where it’s cool, so it’s not a good idea to camp in these extreme temperatures.
How high the humidity in the area is can also make a difference. If the humidity is high, you’re less likely to suffer from dehydration, but it can make even cooler temperatures feel sticky and oppressive.
If the humidity is lower, however, temperatures at or even over 90 can feel relatively comfortable.
The most common issue with camping in temperatures that are too warm is discomfort. Tents trap body heat, so they’re often slightly warmer than the outdoor temperature.
Tent temperatures can be as much as 5 degrees warmer. This seems like a small number, but it can make a big difference, especially if you’re trying to sleep.
In hot temperatures, you might not want to do as much hiking, mountain biking, or rock climbing, either. A walk through the woods is not as fun when you’re sweating, tired, or sunburned. It’s also more draining to set up a tent in hot weather.
If you plan to cook your meals over a campfire, this can also be extremely uncomfortable, as the heat of the fire only adds to the heat in your camping area.
Heatstroke and Dehydration
Camping in extreme heat isn’t much fun, but it can also be dangerous. Dehydration is likely to occur if you overexert yourself or sweat too much.
The symptoms of dehydration are subtle, so many people don’t realize how bad it is until they feel serious effects, such as dizziness or even loss of consciousness. In the wilderness, dehydration can be deadly.
Heatstroke is also a real possibility in hot temperatures, especially if you’re hiking or otherwise exerting yourself. Even setting up a tent can be too much exertion in extreme temperatures, and heatstroke can happen quickly and with little warning.
Fire danger is also elevated when temperatures are too hot. If the temperatures have been very warm in an area for several weeks or even months, the foliage in the area tends to be drier.
Any stray spark, therefore, can catch in the dry foliage and cause a forest fire. This can be devastating for wild areas.
If you’re camping in a particularly warm or dry area, you may find that fire bans have been put in place, preventing you from building a fire or grilling anything.
Even if there aren’t any bans, you’ll need to exercise extreme caution and keep an eye on your campfire at all times.
How can I stay cool while camping?
If you plan to camp in warm summer temperatures, there are a few ways you can stay cool and make your trip more enjoyable. First, you can try to choose a location that offers plenty of water activities, such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, or boating.
Even standing close to a pond, river, or lake can help keep you cool, as temperatures are often several degrees cooler around water.
It’s also a good idea to choose a summer tent. These tents are made of thinner fabric that breathes better.
Unlike cold-weather or all-weather tents, these tents are designed to let air pass through them, which helps to keep the temperature inside at least equal to the temperature outside.
Tents with more flaps for ventilation are also a good idea. You should also remove the rainfly, if your tent has one, to increase ventilation.
Always be mindful of where you set up your tent. Shady areas can be much cooler than sunny areas that are only a few feet away. This is particularly important if you’ll be leaving the tent up all day. If you can, try not to set up your tent until evening time.
This ensures that you’re not trapping too much warm air in the tent during the day. If you’re camping in your car or a camper, park in the shade.
Even if you’re camping in an area without the option for electricity, you can still use battery-powered fans. You can set the fans to run through the night, providing a cooling breeze while also keeping the air moving.
You can also try sleeping in a hammock. Hammocks are easy to set up, and they’re much cooler than a sleeping bag or even a cot. They can also be set up outside a tent, so you won’t need to worry about ventilation.
Before you leave for your trip, consider freezing some water bottles. These can be stored in a cooler. At night, wrap the frozen water bottles in a towel and tuck them into your bedding to cool you.