Summer is the most popular time for vanlife and camping trips, but if it’s extra hot outside, you’ll need to take some extra precautions.

Here are our best 10 tips for staying cool and safe while camping in the summer heat:

Travel to Altitude

Mountainous regions can be up to 30 degrees Farenheight cooler than their neighboring valleys, depending on the elevation change. For example, Mt. Charleston, right outside of Las Vegas, is typically 25 degrees cooler than the city. So, on hot summer days, travel to elevation and cool off! Our camper vans are designed to quickly and nimbly get you to cool places… they are not designed to have heavy duty air conditioning like a big class A RV. Don’t fight the heat. Instead, run from it!

Find Rivers and Lakes!

Fortunately, most bodies of water in the desert are formed by snowmelt. The colorado river, for example, rarely gets above 70 degrees. Similarly, our lakes have much cooler temperatures than the outside air! Use that to your advantage; there are few things more refreshing than jumping into a lake or river on a warm summer day. Planning your travels around finding bodies of water or running water – especially during the hottest parts of the day – will make a muggy day a lovely day.

Pack light-colored clothing

When planning a camping trip in hotter weather, it is important to pack only light-colored clothing. This simple step will help you stay cool and comfortable during your time in the great outdoors.

Light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, helping to keep you cooler than dark colors would. In addition, light-colored fabrics are typically made of breathable materials, which allow air to flow freely through the material and provide ventilation to keep you comfortable on warmer days. Besides this, lighter colors naturally draw less attention than darker colors do, reducing the risk of blisters or rashes caused by sunburn or insects.

Drink plenty of water

One of the biggest dangers of the southwest deserts is dehydration, which can lead to heat stroke. When camping in hotter weather, it is essential to drink plenty of water to maintain good health. In addition to helping you stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water can also help improve your energy levels and prevent muscle cramps. Some simple ways to make sure you are staying hydrated when camping include:

  • Carrying a reusable water bottle
  • Avoiding heavy meals and alcohol
  • Drink electrolyte replacement supplements

Protect your skin

When planning for a camping trip in hotter weather, it is important to take measures to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. The first step is to apply sunscreen before you head outside and to make sure that it is at least SPF 15 or higher. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen also helps to block both UVA and UVB rays, which can damage your skin. You should also wear sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat, as well as clothing with UPF 50+ protection, which will help reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

Wet your clothes or a towel

During a camping trip in warmer weather, maintaining your comfort and health is one of the most important considerations. One of the best ways to do this is to soak a towel and lay it across your forehead or neck as soon after you arrive at your campsite as possible. This simple technique has several key benefits, including helping keep you cool by absorbing excess moisture from your skin, reducing any feelings of grogginess or fatigue to promote alertness and engagement, and easing any discomfort from heat-related conditions like sunburns or headaches. 

Use the included portable fan and roof fans

When camping in hotter weather, it is essential to have a lightweight, portable fan on hand. Not only will this keep you cool and comfortable during your trip, but it can also help to improve air quality by circulating fresh air into your tent or camper. Typical fans are not always suitable for use in the great outdoors, however, as they can be bulky and difficult to transport. Luckily, a variety of small and portable options make it easy to stay cool while camping. Some fans even come with clips or mounts so that you can easily attach them to your tent or chair. Whether you’re spending time near the beach or in the mountains, a portable fan will help you stay cool and comfortable all summer long. 

Park in the shade

When camping in the hotter months, parking in the shade is essential. This will help protect you and your family from the heat of the sun and allow you to stay cool throughout your camping trip. Some easy ways to find a shady spot include looking for patches of trees or other natural coverings, finding areas where two large objects intersect, or standing back and gauging how much shade an area receives at different times of the day. Additionally, be sure to position your tent with its entrance facing away from the sun so that you don’t have to deal with hot and stifling conditions as soon as you open the door. 

Use the included reflective sunshade

When camping in hot, sunny weather, it’s essential to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. A reflective sunshade is a great way to do this, as it helps block and deflects the heat while still allowing natural light through. Some sunshades are small enough to put on your head or around your shoulders, allowing you to move around easily without being overheated or inconvenienced by excessive shade. These sunshades are also lightweight and highly portable, making them ideal for camping trips or other outdoor excursions. If you’re concerned about staying cool and comfortable in warmer weather, a reflective sunshade is an essential tool that is well worth investing in.

Drink cold beverages or eat cold food to cool down

Cold drinks help to cool down your core temperature, while cold food keeps your mouth and throat cool as you eat. Be sure to stay well hydrated and pack enough foods that are easy to eat or have a low melting point to stay comfortable on even the hottest of days. The included refrigerator in our vans is a great way to keep your drinks cool! If you need more space, consider buying a bag of ice and an inexpensive cooler!

There is no doubt that camping in hot weather can be challenging. While being outside during the summer offers plenty of opportunities to relish in the sunshine and fresh air, it can also get quite hot and unpleasant if you aren’t prepared. Your body loses a lot of heat through your head, so it’s important to prioritize staying cool when temperatures start to climb.