10 Tips To Keep Your Tent Cool in The Summer


Planning a summer camping trip and don’t know how to deal with the extreme heat? Nobody likes to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. During the dog days of summer your tent can get miserably hot.

Don’t worry! It isn’t going to cost a fortune and shouldn’t take much time. With a little bit of planning it’s easy to keep your tent cool all summer long.

Planning For The Summer Heat

A few days into spring my friends and I went on a weekend camping trip. Being at the beginning of spring I was expecting chilly nights and warm sunny days. Unfortunately mother nature had other plans and I was drenched in sweat by morning.

While I couldn’t change all my gear I was able to make a few subtle changes to make my nights a little more comfortable.

How to Make Your Tent Cooler

Do you like sleeping in a tent that feels like a toaster oven? Neither do I and that’s why I do my best to cool down my tent. Here are my 10 favorite tips to cool down your tent in the summer.

1) It All Starts With a Tent

Your tent is going to be the most important piece of gear you can buy. When camping in the heat of summer you need to seriously think about your needs. Go with a nice and airy 2-Season tent designed for hot weather. Luckily summer tents are surprisingly affordable(check out this affordable summer tent).

If you have a big family you might want to consider a larger cabin style tent(like this one). Larger cabin style tents are going to have massive windows and tall ceilings providing plenty of ventilation.

2) You Need Plenty of Ventilation

During the heat of summer you never want to shut your doors and windows. Unless you’re changing clothes all your windows need to be open.

Not only will venting your tent increase the ventilation it will also reduce condensation. Check Out my post on preventing condensation in a tent.

Just remember that not all tents are designed for summer use. Look for a tent with lots of windows and a ventilated rainfly for better airflow.

3) Tent Footprints and Sleeping Pads

During the extreme heat of summer everything is going to get just a little bit hotter. Separating your body from the hot ground will make you much cooler.

Bring along either a large tarp or footprint designed for your tent. Placing a footprint under your tent will prevent a little bit of heat transfer.

You can further separate your body from the ground by using an insulated sleeping pad(this is the one I use) Lightweight sleeping pads both offer a little bit of insulation and lift you up off the hard ground. Even a cheap foam pad like this one is worth its weight in gold.

4) Find Some Shade

When your tent is sitting out in the hot sun all day it’s going to get hot. Doesn’t matter how well ventilated it is you’re going to have problems. Just a little bit of shade will significantly reduce your tents temperature.

You can either get shade through one of two ways. Place your tent under a tree or setup a temporary canopy system. Personally I prefer going the portable sunshade route(something like this works great). Or you could just drape up a tarp.

Sunshades give you enough room for air to circulate and they’re fairly easy to setup. It’s just another layer of protection between your tent and the hot sun.

5) Portable Fan or AC

Might seem crazy but a lot of people bring along their own air conditioning to cool their tent. If you have access to electric one of these portable air conditioners will cool down your tent. Just plug it in and drape the vent hose through the door. You could also use a small box fan just remember to bring a longish extension cord.

Obviously, if you’re backpacking you can’t bring along a portable air conditioner. The only real option you’re going to have is a small battery operated fan. You’d be surprised how fast a fan like this one will cool down your tent at night.

With a little extra ice you can even make a small portable air conditioning. Check out the video below on building a portable ice air conditioner.

6) Bring Extra Ice and Water

Have you ever walked out of a hot shower sweating and never cooled yourself back down. Once you start sweating it’s hard to stop without a little bit of cold water. Cooling yourself off is almost as important as cooling down your environment.

Try to setup camp close to a water source. On a hot sunny day you’ll go through more water bathing yourself and cooking than you will drinking. You need to have easy access to a water source so you don’t run out.

7) Comfortable Clothes

Wear light thin clothes that have natural moisture wicking properties. On especially hot days I always go with synthetic fabrics. Think along the lines of Under Armour Style t-shirts. Cotton just takes so long to dry that it’s not worth it.

I always bring a few extra pairs of pants and shorts, hats, pair of shades, and like 3 extra t-shirts.​ You might even want to bring along a small towel to soak in water and drape over your neck (you’ll cool off fast).

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