As much as everybody loves summer, warm weather camping can get a little difficult. While cold weather camping gives you a lot of options in terms of alleviating difficult temperatures, summertime heat can feel downright nonnegotiable and—not to mention—brutal. Even though much of your gear will remain the same all year round, there are certain steps you can take and gear choices you can make that will help you and your friends or family bear those scorching camping trips.
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This is your first order of business. All of your bedding should be lighter and cooler than the bedding you take on your fall, winter and even spring camping trips. The lighter gear will also save you on room and weight if you’re backpacking or need to hike in to your site, making those treks a little less sweaty. Invest in a lightweight, nylon sleeping bag. Aside from that, you’ll only need to pack a couple of sheets or blankets and an appropriate sleeping pad.
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While this falls under bedding, you have so many options here it needs a category all its own. Your summertime sleeping pad should be light and airy. Though inflatables are the lightest and coolest, closed cell pads aren’t as prone to damage or popping. Some even have anti-fungal properties and are abrasion resistant—which comes in handy when it’s hot enough to get out of the stuffy tent and sleep out under the stars.
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While a three-season tent will do the trick, if you’re already or planning to be an avid camper, you may want to shell out for a good summer tent. Depending on where you’ll be camping, summers can not only be hot, but they can also bring about erratic and unexpected storms. You’ll want a tent that can handle all of the above, keeping you cool and dry. Rain flies, taped seams, good ventilation, wind resistance and other features to keep water, bugs and heat out are key things to look for when buying your summer tent.
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Choose a cooler that suits your camping style (easy to lug if you’re backpacking or hiking in, roomy if you’re usually with your family.) In the summer heat, it’s usually a good idea to bring two coolers: one for your food stuff and one for your drinks. Keep lots of extra ice in the drink cooler and you can add it to your food cooler when you need to.
More: Beginner's Guide to Camping Gear