Top 10 Tips for Camping in Summer

Summer is one of the best seasons for adventure.

School’s out, the weather is fine, and one can usually manage to score a couple of days away from work. It’s the perfect time to pile some gear into the back of the car, hit the road, and escape the concrete maze and city haze of suburbia.

To make the most of the balmy nights and clear skies, we’ve listed our top tips for warm-weather camping…

A family in chairs sitting out by the lake with their dog, at sunset.

School’s out, the weather is fine, and one can usually manage to score a couple of days away from work. Image: Zempire

1. Orange Lighting

Bright white lights attract bugs like nobody’s business.

A great way to mitigate this is by illuminating your campsite with warm or orange lighting. This is less attractive to bugs, so will help to minimise their presence.

That said – don’t ditch the mosquito repellent!  

Campsite with orange Korr lighting

The warm hue of orange lights is less likely to attract bugs. Image: Korr Lighting

2. Light-Coloured, Loose, and Breathable Clothing

Look for long sleeves for sun protection, and choose fabrics that are light, fast-drying, and help regulate your temperatures (such as technical synthetics or merino wool).

In warm weather, wearing cotton is fine – but it could cause discomfort or chafing if you start to perspire, as it doesn’t dry quickly when wet.

A couple sit on their mattress on the sand outside their tent, eating a cooked breakfast

Wear protective clothing to keep you cool. Image: Sea to Summit

3. Insect Protection

Camping close to a body of water means you don’t have to walk as far for quick dip – though it also brings you closer to the breeding ground for biting insects such as mosquitos and midges. The summer months are prime producing times for mosquitos, and they do so in water. With this in mind, put some distance between the water and your campsite.

Aside from mozzies and midges, flies can be a huge pain while cooking or relaxing outdoors. A quality head net will help to prevent you from losing your mind, or a screen room provides a peaceful, ventilated space.

Lastly, DEET or citronella are reliable, safe solutions to the swarms and stings. Alternatively, Thermacell mozzie repellers work well too.

A couple of tents set up on grass away from water

Mozzies will be breeding near water in warm weather, so camp further away from water. Image: Coleman

4. Remove the Tent Fly

If your tent is constructed from synthetic material, it will become stuffy in warm weather. This is because it is not as breathable as a natural fibre, like cotton.

If you are certain rain isn’t on the cards, sleep with the fly off your tent to allow maximum airflow throughout. This will cool down the internal temperature and prevent the air from becoming stale.

An alternative is to camp with a canvas tent. The combination of synthetic and natural fibres allow for better breathability in warm weather.

A tent without a fly is set up on grass near a river

If your tent and the weather allows, sleeping without the fly will add more air flow. Image: Oztent

5. Don’t Forget Electrolytes!

It’s common knowledge to stay hydrated during warmer weather, though it’s easy to forget to replenish your electrolytes. A loss of electrolytes can lead to dehydration and other more serious conditions. To avoid this, keep some hydration powder handy in your camp kitchen or hiking pack.

Be aware too that it is possible to drink too much water! This can result in ‘hyponatremia’, which is when there is either too much water or not enough sodium in your blood. Either way, watching your sodium and water levels is an important consideration during those summer escapades.

Some are even designed to be frozen and eaten as icy poles – so you can simply swap them in place of Zooper Doopers!

A pack tap being filled under a running outdoor tap

Carry and drink more water in warm conditions. Image: Sea to Summit

6. Freeze Your Food

…so your icebox or fridge doesn’t have to work as hard!

Pre-freeze you meals in advance before your camping trip. Not only will this save you time and effort at dinnertime, but it will also help relieve some of the strain from your fridge or icebox; in summer, they’ll be naturally battling against a higher ambient temperature.

For more tips on how to reduce energy use in your 12V fridge, check out Snowys’ blog writer Aaron Schubert’s article. Plus, if you’re looking to keep ice for longer in your icebox, these tips are helpful too.

Man getting drinks from Coleman Esky

A quality esky, icebox or fridge will make a world of difference. Image: Coleman

7. Bring Your Own Shade

Shade is not always available at the campsite, so be sure to bring the awning poles for your tent and set up some of your own. If your tent doesn’t feature an awning large enough, throw in a gazebo for extra coverage – or a tarp set up or compact fly as lighter options.

A couple and their dog enjoying the shade of a tarp set up over their campsite

Having the option to set up your awning will add versatility and shade. Image: OZtrail

8. Cooling Towels or Bandanas

A super simple way to keep cool when kicking about outdoors in the summer is a cooling towel or neck tie.

Simply wet the towel and hang it around your neck. The water will evaporate slowly over time, cooling you down in the process. Another option is to first chill them in the fridge or Esky.

Man operating Coleman fan inside tent

A portable fan will add fresh air flow on a still night. Image: Coleman

9. Circular Airflow in Your Shelter

On a hot, stagnant night, there often isn’t any airflow throughout your shelter. This can have it borderline impossible to achieve some decent shut-eye.

If you can’t catch a cool breeze – make one yourself.

Bring along a portable camping fan to set up in your tent or caravan, and open up any windows and doors. Leave the screens in place to create a circular airflow.

A father and son wearing caps while they pitch a tent

Wearing a hat will also keep you cooler at the campsite. Image: Oztent

10. A Hat and Sunscreen (Obviously)

Aside from protection from harmful UV rays, a broad brim hat also does wonders for keeping your head and shoulders cooler. Chuck one on when setting up and packing down your campsite, along with long-sleeved clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Each are no-brainers during any outdoor activities.

Ben and Lauren chat more on how to keep cool while camping in the warmer weather on the Snowys Camping Show podcast.

What are your best summer camping tips? Let us know in the comments below.