Camping & Survival

Quick Camping Tip: 10 Tips to Keeping your Tent Cool

Picture shows a woman beside a tent, setting up camp under the shade of a rock overhang.

When it is 100 degrees even in the shade, there is not much you can do to keep cool besides finding an air conditioner unit. And, yes, I have seen AC units in tents. However, if you are going camping during the hottest months, there are a few things you can do to keep you a bit cooler when sleeping.

  1. Set up your tent when it gets dark and take it down during the day.
  2. Use a ground cover between the dirt and your tent.
  3. Pitch your tent in the shadiest spot in the campsite.
  4. Create a solid sunshade over your tent using two tarps or a reflective space blanket. Tie the tarps or blanket to the shade trees surrounding your tent, leaving a couple of feet between each layer allowing the breeze to flow through.
  5. If allowed, dig a two-foot deep pit, large enough to fit your tent, and set your tent in the pit.
  6. Pick a larger, cabin-style tent with plenty of mesh windows. These types of tents stay cooler.
  7. Place your tent facing the wind and keep all windows open to let air circulate.
  8. Do not put the rain fly over your tent.
  9. Use battery-operated fans. Place a bowl of ice in front of it for even cooler air.
  10. Forgo the tent altogether and sleep in a hammock or a mosquito cot tent.

Other ways to keep cool:

  • Soak a towel or bandana in ice water and wrap it around your neck or head. This will also work if you dip your hat or cap in ice water.
  • Use personal fans or put a misting system in your EZ shade.
  • Go for a swim or take a cold shower.
  • Drink plenty of water and sports drinks.

For more posts about coping with extreme summer temperatures, read the following posts:

How do you stay cool while camping in the summer? Help others out by sharing your secrets in the comment section.

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Comments (14)

  1. Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent is extremely easy to use, which is why it is perfect for all types of campers. Consider your personal situation and determine whether this tent works for you. But most people love the easy-to-install features of the Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent.

  2. IF AVAILABLE; An old style canvas cot is a lot cooler to sleep upon than on ground.
    Air circulation under and around elevated body at nights is great in summer. No mat or blanket between you and cot.
    Body heat in small enclosures is at times all right, like in winter, but in summer it is best to wait to have sex when late night or during predawn’s coolest hours.
    Might be best to forget advice of a cot during that time , or one could have a serious accident .

  3. I don’t know if I discovered something by accident, but the a few years ago we were camping in a pine forest and I’d forgotten my air mattress. I piled pine needles literally waist high and put the tent on the pile. It wasn’t that much work and it was not only the most comfortable night’s sleep I’ve ever had away from home but in the morning it wasn’t like a sauna.

    The two foot hole doesn’t get it for me. It would be just my luck to have an unexpected down pour during the night and you’d be doing the breast stroke in your tent. Mine’s rain resistant, not waterproof. That’s why it’s usually pretty hot in the day time and I get out of my fart sack early in the morning.

    An air conditioner? Ice? Where are you camping? On the front lawn of the Arctic Hilton? Get real.

    1. Wow. Not only is this advice worthless but its environmental my messed up. Don’t go digging everything up! You’re destroying the woods you moron. What if everyone started digging go all ybe hiking trails
      And Hank you’re just as bad. Leave the needles alone. O my people that are allowed to make beds out of pine needles are soldiers on the front
      God you people are dumb

  4. The article recommends digging a 2 foot deep hole in the ground, where allowed, to place your tent in. Get real, you would need to rent a backhoe to excavate this much dirt and if it started to rain you would be flooded. Another recommendation is to wait until dark before setting up your tent. Have you ever tried setting up a tent in the dark ? I have and it is much more difficult to do in the dark, even with flashlights and lanterns. When I camp out in hot weather I place my tent under the shade of a large tree. During the day I stay out of the tent in a lounge chair under the same shade tree. If you camp where there are no shade trees you will have to erect your own shade. The idea of a small 110 volt air conditioner set in the door of the tent might have merit where power is available. They are available for around $120, but I have not tried it as I have plenty of shade trees where I camp.

    1. Ditto! I live in arid Utah but we do get some afternoon mountain showers during normal weather summers (which this one is not). If I dug a large two 2 ft. deep hole for even my smallest tent, I would not only be exhausted, even assuming I had a decent shovel with me for such digging, it would likely become a swimming pool and all my bedding would be miserably wet.

  5. ONE of best head and face coolers is the old standby straw hat when wet..
    Place a white tee shirt or even terry cloth small towel, on top of head,, let cloth fall loosely over neck and shoulder.
    If tees veck is stretched out stlil put on head and use cap to hold in place,
    YOur neck is best temp controller you have, back of heads brain stem and the temple areas.if kept cooler than rest of body help limit water loss through prespiration not just there but whole body.
    A lanFrrnch Legipnaires and some mlitary to this day.
    If plenty water then soak the tee through hat and as it evaporates cools head while protecting
    veck from heat and sun.
    Mist of water on face better han soaking as soaking most runs down body while mist evaporates.
    Here is trick my wife used at home or first couple days of camping .
    Uncooked rice in a long tube socks or knee socks work best..
    You want plastic no holes bread wrappers
    And these you place down inside the socks open end bag same as sock, and then fill the bag with uncooked rice.
    You want sock to be firm but still pliable with no empty spaces in it.
    Seal inner bag realy well with magic tape( duct or 100 mile), and then darn or stitch socks open end closed
    Place in ice chest after removing them from home freezer and even if hotter than hell while setting tent up when you finish and get set down , grab that sock anf place on baclk of neck and if knee socks (1$ for 3 pr @goodwill put loose ends inside shirt on chest.
    If gpod icr chest can reuse for three days; But, ig running water near by, just lay socks in water for hour then pull and place on neck
    you can also do same by warming the socks near fire or even in sunlit area before hitting sack heat bedroll ot warm from frostbite or shock of injury.
    At home nuke sock in microwave for chilly morn ,outside watching sunset with ones mate in fall.
    or taking short walk with her in winter.
    If hot and windy placing even your backpack watet bag in or under a wet cotton tee or towel will keep it cooler.
    Old style canvas waterbags now out of vogue but I have rode animal or vehicles and worked like a dog in hot climes with those bags hung from limbs rafters or vehicles mirrors ; The bags might stink as bad as I did but the sun and
    breeze evaporating made for cool drinking.

  6. I like the tent pitched under the rock overhang.
    My best idea however is to start my camping season in late September and end it in early April.I do just fine.

  7. One way to help stay cool is to drink more water than you your body needs. Not soda, juice, punch or other stuff just water. This lets your body sweat more than if you are dried out. Coffee or other stuff with caffeine will cause your body to loose more water than was in the cup. Drink until you have to go to the out house more often than normal. If you drink enough water on a regular basis your urine should be almost clear. The color is the poison we want to flush out. This is just good for your health.

    1. O & G,
      In the short run, I agree with you. However, in the long run or during high temperatures, lots of water not only flushes out the toxins from the body, it flushes out the good things as well. I don’t support junk electrolyte drinks but bad electrolytes are better than no electrolytes when the body is under heat stress.

      If you backpack and weight is a major factor, you can prepackage all ingredients in servings in advance and just add the water you planned to use during the trip.

      This is the best recipe for real electrolytes that will replace what the body needs. Drink your electrolytes and then drink water way to your hearts content.

      Jo’s Electrolyte Recipe

      One quart glass jar (no plastic)
      1/3 cup Honey (homegrown from your area)
      1/3 cup Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
      1/4 teaspoon REAL salt
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      Good quality water to fill the jar


      Add the first three ingredients in glass jar. Honey from your own area will have local pollens to help with allergies. Lemon juice tastes better and many people tolerate it better than the vinegar alternative, but high quality apple cider vinegar is better for your body. No white table salt. Sea salt is a little better but REAL salt has all minerals. Add baking soda and stir until the foam goes down. Add the best natural water you can get. Drink the jar over a couple of hours at a rate that is comfortable for you. Start use with three days in a row and then once every third day on hot days. Once a week in cold weather.

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