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11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

camping

Heading out on a camping trip is one of the main perks of the British summer. Whether you’re in a campsite or opting to wild camp, if the weather’s hot, your tent is likely to get even hotter!

We’ve pooled our extensive camping experience to bring you the 11 top tips to help you keep your tent cooler at night when the sun is at its most powerful. Keep reading for our extra tips on keeping yourself cool and safe when camping in extreme weather conditions.

What we cover in this article:

  1. Pitch your tent in the shade
  2. Make use of battery-operated fans
  3. Swap your sleeping bag for a sheet
  4. Use a reflective sunshade over your tent
  5. Ventilate your tent as much as possible
  6. Collapse your tent during the day
  7. Try a hammock or hammock tent instead
  8. Take a shower or swim before bed
  9. Sleep off of the ground
  10. Remove the rainfly for more airflow
  11. Create your own shade

How to Keep Your Tent Cool on Summer Camping Trips

There are a few things you can do to successfully avoid an overheated tent when you’re camping during the summer months. These tips are things you can do easily before bed or prepare in advance for your trip.

1. Pitch in the Shade

Camping in shade
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Finding a shaded spot to pitch your tent can significantly reduce the internal temperature, making it a cooler sanctuary during the scorching summer days.

The shade acts as a natural barrier against the sun’s direct rays, preventing them from penetrating the tent fabric and heating the air inside, helping the temperature inside the tent remain lower.

Some natural sources of shade include:

  • Tall Trees: These act as excellent sources of shade, particularly those with dense canopies.
  • Large Rocks: Positioning your tent in the shadow of a large rock can provide relief from the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Natural Land Formations: Hills or mountains can provide extended periods of shade as the sun moves across the sky.
  • Vegetation Clusters: Bushes or clusters of shrubbery can offer small pockets of shade, suitable for smaller tents or resting areas.

2. Make Use of Battery Fans

Camping in woods
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Battery-operated fans are a portable and efficient way to cool down an overheated tent. These small but powerful devices circulate air within the tent, creating a breeze that can significantly reduce the temperature.

They work by improving airflow, helping to expel hot air and bring cooler air in, making the tent’s interior more comfortable during warm summer nights.

Just remember to bring a spare battery pack to recharge it throughout the trip!

3. Swap Your Winter Sleeping Bag for a Lighter One

Sleeping bag
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Swapping your bulky sleeping bag for a lighter, more breathable one can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping cool inside your tent.

An ultralight sleeping bag, like the Naturehike CWM400 Ultralight Down Sleeping Bag, is great for when the temperatures get high. 

It’s much lighter than a normal sleeping bag, making it easier to pack and carry on your trip. 

Plus, the down filling allows for better airflow and breathability, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the night.

You could even opt for a simple sheet or blanket instead if you find the heat to be too much.

Unlike a sleeping bag, a sheet allows air to circulate more freely around your body, allowing heat to dissipate and help regulate your body temperature on warmer nights.

With that said, to maintain a level of comfort and cushioning from the ground, we still recommend using a sleeping mat beneath your body. The ground can still get cold during the night, and you don’t want to wake up shivering.

4. Place a Reflective Sunshade Over Your Tent

Dd tarp xl multicamo
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Investing in a reflective sunshade to place over your tent can drastically reduce the temperature inside, providing a much-needed sanctuary in the midst of a sweltering summer’s day.

These sunshades work by reflecting solar radiation away from your tent rather than allowing it to penetrate and warm the air inside. As a result, the interior of the tent remains considerably cooler.

This technique, commonly seen in car windshield sun protectors (which can be used in a pinch!), is both simple and effective for outdoor camping.

Camping tarps are a good way to go, as they’re lightweight and can easily be attached to your tent with rope or bungee cords. 

They also provide additional protection from wind and rain – and we know how unpredictable the British weather can be!

5. Increase Ventilation as Much as Possible

Easy pitch tent assembly
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Increasing ventilation within a tent is a crucial strategy for reducing heat build-up during hot summer camping trips. 

You should aim to enhance air circulation, reduce condensation, and minimise heat accumulation as much as possible. By doing so, you allow movement of the air from outside to inside your tent, which helps to cool it down.

If you keep your tent zipped and cooped up, it will become stuffy and uncomfortable, leading to a pretty miserable (and hot) camping experience.

We recommend buying a tent that has good ventilation to keep cool on summer camping trips. Look out for these key features:

  • Mesh panels – can be left open to boost airflow while keeping bugs out
  • Ventilation vents – promote the flow of air, creating a convection current that pulls cooler air in and pushes warmer air out
  • Double-wall tents – provide airflow between the two, which helps to keep the tent cool
  • Removable rainfly – for additional ventilation options
  • Door and windows positioned opposite each other – supports cross-ventilation

6. Collapse Your Tent During the Day

Packing up tent
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Collapsing your tent during the day is a simple yet effective way to keep it cooler when the night falls.

This technique prevents the air in your tent from being heated by the sunlight throughout the day, significantly reducing the temperature of the air when you re-erect it in the evening.

When a tent is left standing under the sun, the fabric acts like a greenhouse, trapping and accumulating heat inside, which can take hours to dissipate even after the sun sets.

By taking down your tent and setting it up again in the evening, you ensure that the internal temperature is as close as possible to the ambient outside temperature, providing a cooler environment for sleeping.

7. Try a Hammock Instead

Hammock sleeping
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Okay, so this isn’t technically a tip for cooling down a tent, but it can be a useful backup plan if your tent is just too hot to be comfortable.

Opting for a hammock instead of a traditional tent can offer a significantly cooler sleep environment during those balmy summer nights. 

Hammocks elevate you off the ground, ensuring increased airflow all around your body, which facilitates better temperature regulation and reduces overheating.

Top Tip: Investing in a hammock tent can be a great compromise between a classic tent and a string hammock. The Bushmen Bushbed Pro Hammock is one of our summer camping favourites.

8. Take a Shower or Swim Before Bed

Evening swim
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Taking a shower or a swim before heading to bed can significantly contribute to making your tent feel cooler.

This method works by lowering your body’s core temperature, which, in turn, makes the air inside the tent feel more comfortable. 

Water has a high heat capacity, which means it is quite effective at absorbing heat from your body.

This biological trick can make a warm night more bearable, effectively enhancing your overall comfort during summer camping trips.

9. Sleep Off the Ground

Hammocks for camping
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Elevating your sleeping position off the ground can be a significant factor in staying cool throughout the night while camping in the summer. 

When you sleep directly on the ground, the heat your body emits can be trapped between you and the ground surface, especially if the ground retains warmth from the day’s sun.

But if you sleep elevated above ground, it allows increased airflow around your body, promoting more efficient heat dissipation.

By using a camping cot or an elevated air mattress, like the DD Superlight Inflatable Mat, you allow air to circulate beneath you, which helps to carry away excess heat and regulate your body temperature more effectively.

10. Remove the Rainfly

Tent in field
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Removing the rainfly from your tent is incredibly effective for cooling down your tent during the summer.

Without the rainfly, the tent’s mesh layer is exposed, significantly increasing air circulation and allowing heat to escape more freely while still protecting you from bugs.

However, always ensure the weather forecast is clear of rain when doing this, especially when camping in the UK!

Investing in a tent like the DD Superlight Pyramid Mesh Tent allows you to add and remove the rainfly depending on the weather conditions to create the most comfortable conditions inside the tent.

11. Create Your Own Shade

Dd hamocks 3x3 tarp pro olive 1
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

Creating your own shaded area for your tent using a tarp is an effective and flexible solution for cooling down your camping area. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose the Right Tarp: Opt for a lightweight tarp that’s large enough to cover the area of your tent. Reflective materials are best as they deflect sunlight away from your shelter. We like the DD Superlight – Tarp XL.
  2. Find the Perfect Spot: Position the tarp to shield your tent from the sun’s path across the sky. Ideally, you want to create shade throughout the day, so consider the east-to-west movement of the sun.
  3. Secure Points of Attachment: Use trees, poles, or any natural formations around your campsite as anchor points for your tarp. Ensure these points are higher than the peak of your tent to allow for proper airflow beneath the shade.
  4. Tie It Up: Use strong rope or paracord to tie your tarp to the anchor points. Apply tension evenly to prevent sagging. If using poles, make sure they are securely planted into the ground to withstand wind.

By following these steps, you can create a custom shade that keeps your tent cooler throughout the day, making your summer camping experience much more enjoyable.

How to Cool Down When Camping

Cooling down when engaging in summer camping activities is essential, not just for comfort but for safety, too. Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration helps regulate your body temperature and keeps your system cool. Make sure you have a Highlander Accordion Water Carrier in your camp to stay hydrated.
  • Wear Light Clothing: Opt for light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. These materials allow your body to breathe and reflect sunlight rather than absorb it.
  • Use a Cooling Towel: Dampen a small towel or bandana in cold water and place it around your neck or over your head. The evaporation of the water has a cooling effect that can provide immediate relief from the heat. Microfibre towels work well for this!
  • Limit Sun Exposure: Try to avoid direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 11 am and 3 pm. If you must be outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply ample sunscreen.
  • Eat Light: Opt for light meals that don’t require your body to work as hard during digestion. Fruits and vegetables are not only refreshing but also contain a high percentage of water, helping you stay hydrated. We stock a wide variety of expedition meals for your trip.


By incorporating these simple strategies into your summer camping routine, you can enjoy the great outdoors while keeping cool and comfortable, even under the sun’s intense heat.

Vango helvellyn 300 3 person tent 4
11 Tips & Hacks to Keep Your Tent Cool During Summer

How Heat Affects You When Camping

Excessive heat during camping can lead to a host of issues, ranging from discomfort to serious health risks. It exacerbates dehydration and can induce heat exhaustion or heatstroke, conditions that require immediate attention.

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures affects sleep quality, making it difficult to rest and recover. 

Also, it can sap your energy, leaving you feeling lethargic and less able to enjoy your camping activities.

Always take precautionary steps to manage the heat effectively and ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Summary: Keeping Cool on Your Next Summer Camping Trip

Summer camping offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors, but the heat can sometimes be a challenge. By employing our strategies, you can significantly improve your comfort and keep yourself healthy when the temperature starts to rise.

For more camping tips and hacks, check out the rest of our blog!

FAQs

How Do You Keep a Tent Cool at a Festival?

To keep a tent cool at a festival with minimal equipment, focus on natural shade and airflow. Position your tent under trees if possible, opening all vents and doors to maximise air circulation.

Use a reflective tarp over the tent to deflect sunlight, and keep a small, battery-operated fan inside to encourage airflow. Always hydrate well to help your body regulate heat.

How Can I Cool My Tent Without Electricity?

Cooling a tent without electricity can be easily achieved. Aim to pitch your tent in the shade and enhance ventilation by opening all windows and using natural breezes.

Draping a damp cloth over the tent during cooler times can help lower the inside temperature if you’re near a water source.

How Do I Keep My Tent From Getting Too Hot?

Prevention is better than cure. To prevent your tent from getting too hot, keep it out of direct sunlight and increase ventilation.

Removing the rainfly can also help if the weather allows. Opt for tents with light-coloured fabrics to reflect rather than absorb heat.

Why am I Cold in my Tent?

Feeling cold in your tent during hot weather can potentially be a sign of extreme sunburn or heat stroke. If your skin is hot to the touch and excessively dry or sweaty while you feel cold or are shivering, this can be a concerning sign.

We recommend seeking medical advice via NHS 111 if possible. If you’re camping somewhere remote without a signal, stay hydrated and make your way to somewhere where you can get help.

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