CAMPING | Stay Cool Under Canvas This Summer – Tips For Tent Camping In Hot Weather


We all love camping when the sun is shining, but sometimes camping in hot weather can lead to a tent that’s hot and uncomfortable. Read our top tips on how to stay cool under canvas on your summer camping trips. Skip the waffle, go straight to the tips.

Hot weather campingHot weather camping

As I write, we’ve just returned from Antigua where we spent almost a week camping in a canvas tent on the beach. It was a fantastic experience and which you can read all about here, but as you might expect, it was exceptionally hot!

The average temperature was 32°C and when the sun went down, the temperate barely dropped, leaving us sweltering, even in the early hours of the morning.

This meant we had to quickly find new strategies to cope with the heat, having never before encountered temperatures like that whilst camping in the UK or Europe, so we thought we’d share them with you here.

8 Easy Tips For Staying Cool When Camping In Hot Weather

1. Choose A Canvas Tent

Canvas tents are usually better at regulating the temperature inside than synthetic tents. Canvas is breathable which should help regulate temperatures and we’ve found that canvas tents do indeed stay cooler, particularly in the morning when the sun comes up.

Canvas bell tents are better for breathabilityCanvas bell tents are better for breathability
Lotus Belle canvas tents on the beach at Wild Lotus Glamping, Antigua

Check out our detailed tent buying guide Should I Buy A Canvas Bell Tent? The Ultimate Bell Tent Buying Guide

2. Keep Everything Well Ventilated

Make sure you keep all windows, doors and vents open throughout the day to promote better airflow. Of course you’ll want to keep the bug mesh in place for as much time as possible!

Let the air flow freely!

Do consider though, even with just the bug mesh in place, it significantly reduces airflow, so try and fully open up windows and doors to get the air flowing, which will help cool down the interior of the tent.

3. Take Rechargable Fans

Don’t underestimate the cooling ability of even a relatively modest hand-held fan. Our favourite is the small, but mighty Ocube rechargeable fan available on Amazon for around £15 and worth every penny. We bought ours over a year ago and use them a lot.

4. Get Low-Tech With A Damp Cloth

When it’s super hot and you just can’t cool down, the quickest way to get some relief is to damp down a cloth with cold water and pass it over as much of your skin as you can.

This will instantly help cool you and will work even better if you then sit in front of a fan or find somewhere shaded and breezy for a few minutes.

5. Stay Hydrated

In summer you need to up your water intake significantly. Add in some physical activity and spending more time than you ordinarily might in direct sunlight, and you’ve got a recipe for dehydration which will hinder your body’s natural ability to cool itself.

Insulated drinking cups head to head testInsulated drinking cups head to head test
Insulated drinking cups and flasks are a must

In hot weather you should be drinking as much as 3 litres of water a day, so keep that water bottle by your side and remember not to wait until you feel thirsty to take a glug!

6. Create A Shaded Area

Use a tarp if needed, but a sun shade or covered open porch area will provide you with some much-needed shade on a hot day. Keeping out of the sun as much as possible will help to keep you cooler and more comfortable, but it’s not always easy when all you’ve got is a tent.

This bell tent has a built-in canopy that provides a lovely shaded area

When choosing a tent, look for one with a built-in shade, porch or canopy or buy a shade that can quickly be popped up as needed, or failing that, a good old-fashioned parasol will do the job.

7. Invest In A Decent Cool Box

Investing in a decent camping cool box is one of our best ever camping investments. We use a passive cooler and have recently replaced our old Coleman Xtreme with an Igloo Maxcold.

Igloo Maxcold Island Breeze 62 Quart camping cool boxIgloo Maxcold Island Breeze 62 Quart camping cool box
Our Igloo Maxcold Island Breeze 62 Quart camping cool box

Coolers like this will keep ice for up to 5 days without power and means for a weekend camping trip, even when it’s really hot, you’ll have ice and cold water easily to hand, helping to keep you comfortable and hydrated.

8. Take Your Biggest Tent

The smaller the tent, the easier and more quickly the air inside will heat up. A small tent containing lots of bodies will feel much warmer and stuffier than a bigger tent with more space for air to move and flow.

If you’re lucky enough to have different-sized tents for different types of camping trips, you’ll want to choose something big if the weather is set to be warm.

So to stay cool, ditch the small weekender and consider taking a bigger tent with you.

Where to next?

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Shell loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident which left her with a broken back. Despite this she used the outdoors and healing power of nature to aid her recovery and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.

From open water swimming, snowboarding and kayaking to hill walks and meditation, Shell shares her travels and microadventures here on the blog and in various publications she’s written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting wellbeing and the many benefits of nature therapy.

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