5 Tips for a Stellar Summer Camping Trip
Camping is, in many ways, the quintessential summer getaway. It takes very little planning – just a few camping supplies, a car and the inclination – and it forces you to focus on nature, eschewing man-made comforts for a more elemental lifestyle. Camping is as breezy and nature-forward as the summer itself.
But the summer does pose some unique problems when it comes to camping. For one, being outside in the hot sun can do a number on you if you aren’t properly prepared. Secondly, camping normally takes place around a stagnant body of water, like a lake or pond, which means that bothersome bugs will be out in full force.
To help combat these warm weather issues, and ensure you have the best possible getaway, here are five, simple summer camping tips.
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Remember: Shade Is Your Best Friend
When scouting a location, pitching a tent and designating an eating area, make shade your single highest priority. Direct sunlight causes a number of problems: it overheats your tent, causes sunburns and dehydration, and spoils food quicker. Shade is doubly important when you bring pets, since they are more vulnerable to the heat.
Pack a Breathable Base Layer
Cotton is fine 90% of the time, but it has no place in a summer campground. It is sweaty, clingy and slow to dry. Merino wool, by contrast, is breathable, sweat-wicking and it dries incredibly quickly, meaning you aren’t lugging around a pound of your own sweat throughout the day.
Additionally – and this is a biggie when it comes to socks – merino wool has anti-microbial qualities that make it odour-resistant. Do yourself (and those around you) a favour: check out the Heat Holders summer collection for merino wool socks.
Use Warm Lighting (and Plenty of Insect Repellent)
Warm lighting is less attractive to insects than cool lighting, for reasons that scientists don’t yet fully understand (the running hypothesis is that insects perceive cool lighting as more navigational, and are thus more attracted to it). Instead of packing flashlights and camping lights with incandescent bulbs, consider a warm, yellow-hued LED.
Redouble your bug repelling efforts by lighting some citronella coils and spraying yourself down with insect repellent, especially at dawn and dusk.
Cool Off With a Camping Fan
It’s funny how few people pack camping fans, and yet they are neither expensive nor cumbersome. These battery-powered blasts of cool air are a godsend on a hot summer day, and can freshen up even the muggiest tent. As a bonus, they also keep bugs off of you as you sleep.
Invest in a Season-Appropriate Sleeping Bag
That bulky, down-jacket-looking sleeping bag you take on your fall and winter trips isn’t going to cut it during the dog days of summer. Nor is sleeping directly on the tent bottom when you eventually kick your sleeping bag off in the middle of the night. If you like to camp, and plan on doing some more summer camping in your life, just invest in a summer sleeping bag, which are usually around $100 and last a very long time.
Don’t let the heat and insects get in the way of your perfect summer camping trip. Follow these five tips to stay cool, dry and free of itchy bites.