Skills & Techniques

How to Camp in Hot Weather

Susy Alkaitis - July 22, 2018

The dog days of summer are almost upon us, and that means two things. First, IT’S STILL SUMMER CAMPING SEASON! And, second, it’s HOT. Don’t let the heat keep you from taking advantage of summer weekends – read on for Traveling Trainer tips (we are full-time campers, after all) on how to have a cool trip no matter what the mercury says.

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Always pumped to find block ice on the road!

1. Block ice – If there’s anything that has revolutionized our #roadlife experience, it’s been discovering block ice. Block ice is large, solid rectangles of ice, usually sold in 10-pound chunks. Two 10-pounders in our 65-quart Yeti cooler will keep for five days in hot weather (longer in milder temperatures). If you can’t find block ice near you, you can make your own by freezing water in empty milk jugs or plastic storage containers. Also, keep your cooler out of the sun and off of the hot ground. An old camp pad makes a great cooler insulator. We also put a sun shade in our rear window where the cooler lives when our car is parked in the sun.

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Sometimes we leave ice in our Klean Kanteen insulated pint glasses and it lasts ALL NIGHT. 

2. Icy cold drinks – When it gets really hot, we add a small bag of traditional cubed ice on top of the block ice. We fill our insulated Klean Kanteen water bottles with cubed ice and water, and almost cry tears of frosty happiness when we have cold water

3. Cold meals – Roasting weenies over a campfire is fun, but not when you’re roasting, too. In the summer, make cold cereal and iced coffee. Many grocery stores sell iced coffee concentrate (just add ice, water and/or milk), which we store in a collapsible beverage container to save space in the cooler. Make gazpacho or tabbouleh before you head out on your trip – no sweaty cooking and more time for outdoor fun. Our favorite no-cook camp meal is a corn, avocado, black bean and mango salad.


DIY shady campsite. 

4. Shade – Whenever possible, pick a campsite with lots of natural shade. In the desert, remember that large boulders can provide shade for at least part of the day. Some tarps and pop-up shelters have an aluminized inner-coating, specifically designed to reflect heat.

5.  Ditch the sleeping bag – Bring a set of cotton sheets from home and cover up your otherwise sticky camping pad, pulling up the sheet just in case it gets a little cooler at night. Less sweat-inducing than that 20-degree down bag!

Watch this to learn how to get the best night of camping sleep ever!


Fire-less s’mores.

6. Alternative fire – Campfires are hot. It’s hot outside. Where’s the logic in starting a fire? Hot dogs and s’mores can be cooked easily over a camp stove. Trust us – we’ve done it with 100 middle schoolers before.

Watch this for more campfire alternatives!

7. Try a hammock – Our ENO hammocks are great for mid-day lounging or a cooler night’s sleep. Don’t forget your bug net and a rain tarp, and learn how the best ways to hammock camp responsibly.

Ever wonder how to hammock camp Leave No Trace-style? 

Stay Cool, Enjoy Your World, and Leave No Trace,

Jessie and Matt

Leave No Trace’s Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Taxa, and Klean Kanteen.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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