Being in the Pacific Northwest, we are not used to being in hot weather. Though I am not an experienced camper, I am an avid researcher. I didn’t find a whole lot on the internet about it other than “don’t get dehydrated”. So, I figured I would share what we have learned in this last two years of camping in 90-100 degree weather.
Top Tips for Tent Camping in Hot Weather:
Drink LOTS of water and drink before your body says you are thirsty. Know the signs of dehydration
1 Liter per hour or more as needed during exercise. Water with lemon or flavoring, soda, tea, punch… they all hydrate but keep in mind the levels of sugar you are consuming and caffeine content. You can also hydrate through eating foods with a high water content (watermelon is highest on the list at 90%)
Last year I made a wonderful discovery. The last couple days I got tired of the heat and decided to buy ice just to put in my insulated cup to drink. I was a new woman! It was wonderful and refreshing. I didn’t like the cost but I realized that I would have spent that money for one cold drink, but instead I got a whole day of lovely cold ice water.
This year I put a gallon pitcher in my ice chest and poured the ice in that. I could then easily pour that wonderful cold water into my cup. It was heavenly.
Wear Hats, Sunglasses, SUNSCREEN and SPF Chapstick.
Once you or the kids get a sunburn or eyes hurt from no sun protection it is hard to recover in the heat. Protect yourself and others. Don’t leave it to kids to remember. There are plenty of other situations to teach kids responsibility that don’t have such painful physical consequences.
One of the older kids last year got a sever burn and he was miserable for days. Needless to say he lathered on the sunscreen this year and so did everyone else.
If you love swimming go dunk your head under the water. Bring a water bottle and spray yourself with water. Even better, keep that spray bottle in the drink cooler.
Those who know me know that I am not a water lover. I know how to swim but if I didn’t swim again the rest of my life I would be okay with that. However, when it is hot getting wet is great.
We also have had our toddler with us these last couple years. She is not ready to go tubing or skiing so her and I were in camp a lot. I knew we would be, so I brought a kiddy pool and some toys. Our camping site was next to a faucet and the staff of the campground let me borrow a hose. I filled it up and put a canopy over it. BEST IDEA EVER! She played for hours and I sat next to it, with my feet in it and read a book. Awesome!
Don’t have a kiddie pool? Fill a tote with water or the basin you use for washing dishes.
Get in the Shade
Get in the shade. If you need to string up a tarp or you buy a canopy… one way or another have shade to sit in (and put you coolers in). Tents get way too hot in that weather so shade is important.
Bring Laundry Cleaning Supplies
One of the worst ideas I had on our first hot weather camping trip was to stick a wet item in a bag. It wasn’t even that stinky but after just a couple hours it was seriously gross! Messes happen (even when camping with adults) At the very LEAST have a rope and some sturdy clothespins to make a clothesline. One of the first things we always do when we reach camp is string up a clothesline between two trees in camp for hanging clothes, life jackets, towels and other wet items. I find a cotton line works best because it dries quickly and doesn’t stretch.
We also traveled with a toddler and well….toddlers have accidents and there is no way you want those clothes sitting around in a bag until you get home. Ew! A tote or bucket with a scrub board and laundry bar soap is a lifesaver. (You can get laundry bar soap at the store where you can get the washing machine soap. Usually on a bottom shelf) A scrub board can be easily tucked into the camping supplies and they really do make doing laundry by hand much easier.
I took this video of our clothesline this year because our clothespins held up to the wind really well. Check out Kevin’s Quality Clothespins HERE.
Prevent Drying out and Foot Rubbings
One more thing…We have quite a few kids on the trip and every year there are always two heat and water related health issues that I have to address.
Despite the use of LOTS of sunscreen, the kids especially, get really dry cracked skin on their faces. Aloe vera or lotions on these spots are very painful. The best solution I have found is to put petroleum jelly/Vaseline on these areas AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN NOTE: Don’t do this when they are in the sun or it will make them burn FASTER. Do this in the evening. Over night it will soak into the skin and heal. Do this at the beginning when their skin just begins to look dried out for best results.
( I would show you pictures but pictures of sores gross me out)
The kids are constantly in and out of the water. After 2 or 3 days of this with sandals or flip flops, the contact spots on their shoes rub raw spots on their feet. This can be very painful.
The easiest solution is to bring two types of shoes, so that when one rubs a spot raw you can switch shoes and allow that spot to heal. If the is not possible, have medical supplies and bandaids handy. Cover those spots when rubbing starts to show. REMEMEBER to bring waterproof bandaids that will keep sticking when they go in the water.
Bring Games to Play in the Shade
When you are camping in hot weather it can be draining. Provide an activity for people to do in the shade and out of the suns blistering rays. Our favorites are Cribbage, cards (several types), and dominoes. Cribbage is our favorite. A game takes about 30-40 minutes and involves both chance and skill and is easy to setup with limited space. It is a fun game for kids 8+.
Dominoes is our game of choice in the evening when everyone is ready to unwind and just hang out.
Plan your Meals
When meal planning for hot weather camping I try to:
1) Freeze it.
I Prep ahead and freeze what I can. Remember that thawing food in high temps happens quickly.
Meats , milk, prepared foods (breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls…) and sauces can be frozen. If I plan on using ground meat in a meal I cook and freeze it ahead of time. Sausage or bacon for breakfast? Cook ahead. So it doesn’t get dried out, leave a little pink inside to finish cooking at meal time.
2) Can it.
Bring canned goods. Canned items such as vegetables, fruit, meats (preferably ones with low sodium and sugar contents) are great for camping because they don’t spoil and if you don’t use them they are still good to use later. Store them in the shade but they don’t need ice to keep.
3) Campfire Free Daytime Meals
Cooking over a campfire is nice when things cool off but in hot weather it is not very pleasant. Campfires are wonderfully nostalgic but quickly loose the appeal when it is 100 degrees outside and you have to stand close to the fire to heat up a hot dog.
If you do use the campfire make it an item that people don’t need to hover around the fire too much for preparation. However, later in the evening when it gets cold, you’re going to want to get your camping heater out, or you’ll have to start a campfire in the evening to keep the whole camp warm!
A Solar Oven is also an option. I have one on next years wish list. I think it would be great to use the sun instead of a propane stove top or a campfire.
Ice Cooler Tips:
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy cooler. You do need one with a good seal. We have a middle-of-the-road priced ice cooler (the blue one above) and here is what we do to make our ice last about 5 days in 90-100 degree weather (next year I have a plan to make it last longer).
With ice priced at $4.50 a bag where we camped, it was worth it to do all we could to extend the life of our ice.
1) Freeze everything you can…
AND if you can’t freeze it refrigerate it beforehand. If you put unchilled items in your cooler you will drastically decrease the time you have ice.
2) Buy ice chunks or make your own by freezing water in milk jugs.
Ice blocks melt slower then ice cubes.
3) Add one of those silver emergency blankets to the top-inside of your cooler. Put a blanket over the top on the outside.
This year I forgot to add the emergency blanket and our ice and frozen items thawed TWO DAYS faster then last year. When I added an emergency blanket to the top and tucked it in the sides of the cooler, stuff stayed frozen longer and I didn’t have to replace ice for an incredible 5 days (this is with opening and closing a couple times a day). Same cooler this year with no blanket was good for only 3 and this was without opening it AND I also had it covered with a blanket.
For next year I plan on lining my coolers with Reflectix which is an aluminum bubble wrap. I plan on covering the inside and outside. Hoping this will stretch it to 6 or 7 days.
4) Keep your cooler in the shade.
And if necessary move your coolers with the shade…
5) Don’t open your cooler a lot.
If you want to access a cooler often for drinks then have a separate drink cooler. Every time you open the cooler you replace that nice cold air with hot air.
6) Have a drink cooler.
If you want cold drinks available have a cooler just for that purpose. Then it can be accessed on a regular basis without thawing and heating up all your food. You will probably have to replace ice in this cooler daily.
7) Organize your coolers by time.
If you have to spend time rummaging through your cooler for all the parts of a meal you will cause that ice to melt faster. Put all your meal components together.
8) When ready for more ice, empty your cooler of all but an inch of water.
Once you do have to change the ice out. Too much water will cause your ice to melt faster BUT a little bit of water will help keep your food items cold more effectively.
Well, That’s it folks! I hope you have a great time camping this summer. Hope this list helps your journey.DO you have any more tips for Camping in Hot Weather? I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments.
The Frabjus Lady
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