Camping is an age-old past time, and one of the best ways to relax in the summer.
However, there is one thing that has driven campers crazy since the beginning of time – the heat!
Sleeping in a hot tent can make even the most active outdoors lover cranky, irritable, and uncomfortable.
Fortunately, we have put together this great guide on the best ways to cool a tent, so you and your loved ones can stay cool this summer.
1. Our Top Recommendation: Zero Breeze Z19 Portable Air Conditioner
This is an immensely powerful way to keep your tent cool all night long.
It uses an 11000 BTU compressor, which will effortlessly destroy the heat in your tent and allow you to sleep in comfort, or relax during the day at a pleasant temperature.
One of the greatest things about this tent air conditioner is that it can be powered by a number of different methods -gas, propane, a wall outlet, a lithium battery, or even a car battery.
The choice is yours.
2. Set Up Your Tent In The Shade
Whenever possible, try and set up your tent for maximum shade coverage throughout the day, especially in the morning.
There’s nothing quite like it when the sun starts to rise, and by 7 am you’re roasting in your tent!
If you do find yourself up early and baking in the sun, immediately look for places that are covered in shade.
Whenever possible, move your tent to that location, and the next morning your tent will be considerably less hot since it is not being directly blasted with sunlight.
3. Face Your Tent Into The Wind
Here is an amazing trick that will help you get some wind flowing into your tent, thus helping to drive out hot air and cool you down.
When you feel some wind coming on, lick your finger and hold it up.
Whenever you feel the wind pressing into your thumb, drill it into your mind and then swivel your tent so the doors are facing that direction.
Now you will have some cool air coming into your tent.
Normally tents are set up to resist wind so they don’t blow over.
However, this means that you don’t have any airflow coming in to drive out your body heat, and the heat that is rising from the sun coming down on your tent.
This little trick can dramatically help make your camping experience less hot and cool down your tent.
4. Pick The Right Tent Material & Shape
Cotton tents, much like cotton clothing, breathe.
This is in sharp contrast to polyester tents which are more resilient but tend to trap heat.
The shape of your tent is also important.
We highly recommend you get a cabin style tent, since they are larger and allow for much more ventilation and air circulation. Smaller, more cramped tents can trap heat.
We also recommend waiting to set up on your tent until after it is dark, and then once the sun rises, breaking it down again.
This will prevent it from cooking in the sun all day.
If you are willing to get a new tent, we highly recommend a cabin style tent or a tent made out of cotton.
If you are looking for a great cotton tent, we recommend Stout Tent’s 100% Cotton Canvas Bell Tent.
5. Utilize A Tarp
One of the best ways to stop heat from the sun from entering your tent is to set up a reflective tarp.
By placing a tarp above your tent, you will prevent the hot rays from entering your tent, thus causing it to overheat during the day.
This, of course, will also keep the tent in the shade, thus further helping to keep it cool.
Another great feature of a quality tarp is that in the event of rain, it will also help keep you and your possessions dry.
If your tarp is large enough, you can also use it to extend your campsite.
In the event that your tent becomes extremely hot during the evening, you can actually sleep underneath your tarp!
6. Place Your Tent Slightly Underground
One of the best ways to keep your tent cool is to utilize a common, but surprising resource: dirt!
The ground underneath your soil tends to be cooler than it is on the surface, so one of the great things you can do is to dig a slight hole (usually 1-2 feet) and place your tent in it.
In order to do this properly, you are going to need a shovel.
We recommend REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel since it is incredibly easy to store and camp with.
7. Make Sure Your Sleeping Bag Is The Right R-Value
This is a crucial mistake that many beginners make, myself included – not bringing the right type of sleeping bag!
Not all sleeping bags are created equal – there is an important metric called the R-Value.
The R-Value shows you how well it is able to insulate its user from the ground, thus allowing the camper to help retain body heat.
It is on a scale from 0 to 6. As the number increases, so do it’s insulation properties.
If you are camping in the summer and it is expected to be hot all of the time, you want to find a sleeping bag with the lowest R-Value possible – 0.5.
Some sleeping bag manufacturers don’t use R-value, they will just list the temperature range of call it a “Summer” sleeping bag.
Whatever the case, you want to make sure you are using a proper sleeping bag and sleeping pad for the summer.
If you’re looking for a great summer sleeping bag, we recommend REDCAMP Ultra Lightweight Sleeping Bag.
8. Camp Near A River (If Possible)
Camping near a river does two things – first of all, it positions your tent close to the flowing currents, and where there is current, there is wind!
Wind is crucial to driving out hot air and staying cool.
Additionally, camping near a river (or lake) will make you feel much more motivated to take a dip whenever you start to feel hot.
You will also be able to dunk your head, towel, your shirt in the river at any time, thus allowing you to stay cool throughout the day and night.
9. Use A Portable Fan & Ice
One thing we definitely recommend bringing is a high-quality portable fan, such as OPOLAR Portable Travel Fan, which you can use in the tent to keep you cool.
Battery life will mainly depend on the intensity setting you are on, so we recommend setting it up on low or medium if the tent is hot at night.
If you are trying to stay cool for a shorter duration during the day, try using the higher intensity settings – just keep an eye on the battery power!
One trick that we personally love is the fan and melting ice trick. This will require you to have a cooler, ice, fan, and bowl to keep the ice in.
This is what you do – scoop ice into a bowl, and then place it in front of your fan. The ice will slowly melt, and the fan will circulate the cold air throughout your tent.
This can work really well and is a super low-cost way to cool your tent.
10. Stick A Towel In Your Cooler
This is another quick and easy way to stay cool throughout the day or to help cool you down before bed.
Stick a towel in your cooler, wring it out and wrap it around your head or upper body.
This will help cool down your head and upper body for a while until the towel eventually warms up and drys out.
At that point, just stick it back in the cooler and do it again!
11. Bring As Much Ice As Possible
Here’s a great trick – before your trip, buy a few large gallon jugs of water and stick them in your freezer.
Once you’re ready to depart on your camping trip, stick them in your cooler.
If your cooler is nice enough (we recommend a roto-molded cooler) it will keep these jugs of water cool for days, so you will always have ice.
With this ice, there are a number of great things you can do.
If you’re overheating during the day, just take one of the jugs and press it up to your skin so instantly cool down.
We also think this trick is great because once the jugs of ice melt, you will have plenty of water to drink, shower with, brush your teeth, etc.
What Is The One Piece Of Gear You Recommend To Keep Your Tent Cool?
If you’re looking for a traditional air conditioning type unit to keep your tent cool, we recommend the Zero Breeze Z19 Portable Air Conditioner.
This is a great piece of technology that will definitely keep your tent cool!
If you’re looking for something that can help keep your tent cool and have other functional aspects, we recommend a high-end rotomolded cooler.
These are not just your standard foam coolers – these are high-end products that are insanely durable, and some can bake out in the hot sun and still keep your ice cold for days.
If you have plenty of ice, you can find ways to keep you and your tent cold, so we recommend getting a rotomolded cooler.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article on the best ways to cool a tent.
As you can see, at the end of the day, there are many different things you can do to help stay cool in your tent this camping season.
If you have found any other additional ways to keep your tent cold, feel free to leave a comment below and we will add it to the list!
Have a lovely time in the great outdoors, and stay cool!
Lover of hiking, nature, camping, bird calls, and more. I run ATO and do my best to provide interesting information for my readers to help make their outdoor adventures more fun.