How to Cool a Tent without Electricity

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Camping is a great way to spend a long vacation or even a weekend away. It saves money, allows you to get back in touch with nature, and is one of the simplest ways to travel. Unfortunately, much of whether a camping trip is a success or not depends on the weather. This is especially true when you are camping in the great outdoors.

Tent camping during the summer can be much easier than winter camping because there are certain weather conditions you won’t need to worry about. But there is still plenty to consider. Staying cool in the summer heat is one of the most important considerations.

A dip in a nearby lake or river might work for cooling you off during the day when the summer sun is blazing. But, it won’t do you any good at night. You’ll need to find a way to stay cool so you can sleep comfortably, even when you are camping in warm weather or in environments that are typically hot.

How can you cool a tent when don’t have access to electricity for fans or A/C?

tent at dusk

Well, there are several options.

First, it’s important to understand how tents and warm weather interact. Tents tend to get very hot for a few reasons. One of the biggest problems is ventilation. If you have a tent with no screening and only one entry and exit, you’ve essentially created a hot box any time you’re camping in warm weather. If there is no way for air to circulate the tent will become unbearably warm—especially when you and other people are inside of it generating heat.

Another reason why ventilation is so important is because of moisture. Anyone who has spent time in the desert heat and compared it to jungle heat or tropical heat or even the heat on your typical Florida afternoon knows that dry heat is far more comfortable than wet heat. High humidity can turn an otherwise comfortable day into misery. The dryer you keep your tent inside the more bearable the higher temperatures will be to deal with.

Now that you understand how your tent could be working against you when it comes to keeping cool while camping, you can determine the best ways to keep cool, even when you’re camping during the height of the summer months.

Be Smart About Choosing a Tent Location

tents in the forest

The area in which you camp will have a major impact on the temperatures you’ll deal with while camping. But, regardless of your overall destination, if you’re camping during the summer months and you set your tent up in a sunny area it’s going to heat up. This is why choosing the right spot to pitch your tent at your individual campsite is so important. Setting up in a shaded area can affect the temperature inside of your tent by 20 or 30 degrees, maybe even more.

Ideally, you’ll choose a campsite that offers the natural shade of trees or hills, but if you’re camping where this isn’t possible, you can plan ahead and create your own shade. You can use your vehicle if you’re driving to your campsite or bring along a tarp or other type of coverage to create shade.

Another tip for orienting your tent to take advantage of natural cooling? If you are camping near a lake or river set up nearby to get the benefit of any breezes that blow in off of the water.

When you set up your tent also matters. Instead of pitching your tent immediately when you arrive at your campsite and allowing it to heat up all day, wait until later in the day when the sun isn’t as hot. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to get everything in order before it gets dark. As long as you can get your tent up and organized in about 30 minutes you can wait until dusk to get started.

Cooling Tools

Of course, there are tools like evaporative coolers and even to odd AC unit out there, but if you’re interested in creating a rudimentary cooling system, there are a few no electricity options available.

“Space” or cooling blankets can be erected over your tent to repel heat. These are a great option when you’re camping somewhere with no natural shade. Beach campers tend to use them a lot.

They usually only cost a few dollars, so even if you need several to cover your campsite you still won’t be investing much money. It’s also important to invest in the higher quality ones, even if they do cost a little bit more. The thin versions aren’t going to offer as much protection from the heat and they tend to ear easily when you’re setting them up or if a moderate breeze blows through your campsite.

You can also consider adding blackout curtains to your tent, though most tents have their own built-in zip curtain system. If you find there’s an area that tends to let in more sunlight than you prefer or you can’t position your tent completely out of the sun, a blackout curtain can be hung in the area that is exposed the most. You can even move the curtain throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.

Finally, it might be worth investing in a battery-powered fan as part of your camping gear, especially if you’re headed to a destination that’s especially warm. It’s not an all-natural option, but you can operate the fans without concern for electricity. These fans are a great option when you’re first trying to fall asleep inside of a hot tent and your body temperature hasn’t had time to drop yet.

Dress for Cooling Success

This tip isn’t about keeping your tent cool. But, it can help you stay cool when you’re trying to spend time in a hot tent.

Make sure you’re wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. People make the mistake of thinking they need to sleep in a thick pair of pajamas when they are camping. The truth is, you can wear exactly the same cool PJs you’d wear during the summer at home. If you tend to bundle up at night because you keep your home cool, consider investing in a lightweight pair of shorts and a T-shirt or tank top for sleeping while you camp.






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