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How To Cope when Hot Weather Camping

Coping with Hot Weather Camping

Siani Driver
Resident OLPRO writer, social media queen, and avid outdoors expert. 

Everyone loves a hot and sunny camping trip. So much better than a washout - but it still comes with its hazards. Sunstroke, warm beer, insects, and being too hot to sleep all get in the way of a good time. So what can you do? 

Make the most of natural shade

Steer clear of the sunniest parts of a campsite and any open ground, and try to camp under the shade of a tree or hedge. There's a chance that you might end up with some falling twigs or bird poo on your tent - you could always rig up a protective tarp above it - but it'll be well worth it given the cool, shady air that you'll experience as the rest of the site fry out in the blazing sun. 

If there are no shady spots, work out where the sun is going to rise, and pitch your tent with the 'foot end' pointing towards the sun - that way at least you won't have your bedroom hit by the blazing rays at 4am, giving you a few extra precious minutes of shut-eye. 

Make sure your tent can handle it

Get a tent with a decent fabric and a double skin rather than single. This will give you additional insulating properties as well as extra darkness. The darker the tent fabric, the darker the tent - many tents now even come with darkened bedroom compartments or even full blackout technology. 

Ensure that your tent has plenty of ventilation. Fly mesh on ALL doors and windows is a must - you want to be able to open the doors to let the breeze through, but simultaneously excluding any pesky bugs. 

Stay Cool

You'll become dehydrated a lot faster in hot weather. There are a few steps you can take to keep yourself cool and avoid heatstroke and dehydration. 

  •  Avoid the midday sun. Try to rest during the hottest part of the day, and save hiking and other camping activities for later on when it's cooler. It's the ideal time to venture into a shady forest rather than a blazing clifftop walk.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat, and loose, thin cotton clothing. Sunburn makes it harder for your body to regulate its temperature, so prevention is better than cure. 
  • Drink plenty and eat lots of watery foods. Watermelon, grapes, peaches, ice lollies, and plenty of water will keep you chilled. 

Head for the wilderness

Find yourself a forest or seaside campsite. The shade of the trees will keep you cool, and walking in the forest is several degrees cooler than in open ground. 

At the beach, the breezes and surf will help you to cool off. Rockpooling, cave exploring, and surfing will all ensure that you, and the whole family, are fresh and chilled. 

Some of the best we've found are Whitemead Forest Park in the Forest of Dean, and Whitesands Bay Campsite near St Davids in Wales. One shady, one right on the beach - ideal for keeping cool while you camp. 

  • Siani Driver

Wet Weather Camping Tips

Wet Weather Camping Tips

Camping is great. Camping in dry weather is best - but there will undoubtedly be a time when you find yourself far from home, under canvas, and the heavens open. So do you pack up and head for home? Or stay and rough it out, despite the less-than-favorable weather? Read on for some of our top tips for coping when camping in the rain.

1: Ensure your equipment can handle it

You get what you pay for - so invest in a decent tent or campervan awning. Ideally, one with a sewn in groundsheet and also a footprint groundsheet underneath. This will prevent the underside of your tent getting muddy, and also stop draughts and water from creeping under the edges of your tent.

It's also important to get a tent with a great Hydrostatic Head. HH is the measurement for waterproof capability. The higher the number, the better waterproof the tent. So, a tent with a rating of 5000HH will keep you far drier than one of 2000, for example.

A tent with a canopy over the door will help you to stay dry when getting in and out, too. Or a tent with more than one door, so you can choose the side facing away from the wind and rain to use as your entrance and exit. It will help to prevent a splash of water landing on both you and the entrance to your tent when you unzip the door.

2: Be Prepared 

If there's rain forecast (or even if there isn't, lets face it it's the UK) make sure you take some equipment to make your life easier if the heavens do open. Prior to setting off, check your equipment for any damage, and repair and maintain where necessary. Most tents require a coat of waterproofing every 4 years or so depending on use. Some seam sealant, tenacious tape, spare towels, a spare tarpaulin, and a lidded plastic storage box will all help to make things a little bit more comfortable. If you end up with a leak or a tear, the seam sealant or tenacious tape will help, the spare towels and tarp can mop up excess water from the tent entrance and create a porch area if you don't have an extension. A lidded plastic storage box means you can leave your wet footwear outside without it making the interior of your living space wet and dirty.

Tent carpets are a handy way of stopping the inside of your tent getting too damp and mucky as well. Many tents have a carpet specifically for the make and model available. A door mat in the entrance will also help. 

3: There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing

Don't end up with lots of wet clothes hanging in your tent - there's no need! Just wear the right gear to stop you getting wet in the first place. Waterproof trousers, jacket and wellies for everyone - and your under-layer should stay dry. They pack up small for storage, and will dry more quickly than wet fabric layers.

4: Ventilate

Condensation builds faster in wet weather so you could end up with double trouble with rain plus condensation. To minimise this, be sure to utilise all the ventilation on your tent - open the vents, open the doors whenever the rain stops, try to dry any wet clothes outside in between showers, or at the campsite facilities. Keeping things as dry as possible will mean that the rest of your stuff stays drier, and you, more comfortable.

5: Packing Down

Packing down in the rain is hard. Get everything inside packed up first, obviously, and use black bags to keep all the wet enclosed. You'll without a doubt need to pitch and dry your tent thoroughly at home, so fold it down as best you can and then when home, put it back up, wipe off any mud with warm soapy water, and dry very well before folding down and putting away for next time.

  • Siani Driver
Festival Essentials

Festival Essentials

Top 10 Festival Essentials

1: A great tent

The tent is a key feature that you’ll need for a music or VW festival – but many people go for cheap and flimsy over quality. Do you really want a tent that will leak and break? Or do you want something high quality, waterproof and that you can re-use time and again? So many people leave tents at festivals thinking that they’ll be recycled – however most of them are simply sent to landfill.

2: A comfy bed

Nobody likes waking up to a deflated airbed. Skip the airbed altogether (who has that much lung power, anyway!?) and invest in a SIM. No – not the phone chip – a ‘self inflating mattress’. Lighter, more compact, and easier to inflate, these are thinner than the old airbeds but will give a comfy sleeping surface.Here are a few of the best. 

3: A sleeping bag

Even in the summer, it can get chilly at night, especially if you’re sleeping on the ground. A sleeping bag is a must-have. It’s best to go for one you can unzip and use as a blanket or picnic mat, too, and that can be zipped to another one to create a large double sleeping bag – in case you make a new festival ‘friend!’ No need to get a winter one – it’s not THAT cold – go for a 3 season one and you’ll be fine. Ideal for impromptu sack races, too.This one ticks all the boxes. 

4: Munchies 

You can either spend inordinate amounts of cash at the food stalls, or keep yourself topped up with your own collection of snacks. If you’re avoiding plastic use, take along some reusable snack bags and pre-fill them with trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit. You can even make your own protein and energy balls with a simple mix of dates and nuts blended to a paste, rolled in cocoa and refrigerated. Perfect to keep you going until it’s time for cheesy chips at 2am.You can find some fab ideas for portable, healthy snacks here

5: Power

Gone are the days of phone batteries dying and you being stuck in a field alone, vainly searching for your mislaid group of friends for hours on end. There are a range of great battery packs now, that will give you several charges and last all weekend.This one from Juice has two USB ports so can charge two devices simultaneously, and has enough power to last you a long weekend – it’s not cheap but it’ll last you for ages and take away any worry about being out of touch. 

6: A reusable cup

Some festivals have introduced reusable cups that you can buy at the bar for a few pounds and have re-filled over the course of the festival – a great idea and also a nice souvenir of the weekend.

However, some still issue disposable plastic cups and so it’s a good idea to take a reusable cup with you for both hot and cold drinks. This one is made from recycled rice husk and holds plenty of fluids. Available in a rainbow of colours, it’s a bargain at $9.35 and will see you through several festivals and still be great for work afterwards.

7: Camping Accessories

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of a few little handy gadgets when you are stuck in a muddy field. We all know how grim festival toilets and showers can be. A better solution is to have your own way of keeping clean!Happy Camper have a range of useful accessories including this camping mirror with an inbuilt LED light, a packet of hand-shaped wash mitts (think hand-puppet baby wipe) or this fantastic waterproof toilet roll cover. Have a few of these bits to hand and you’ll stay clean, dry and dignified over your festival weekend!

8: Sun Protection

Sunstroke isn’t pretty. Neither is sunburn. And by the end of the weekend, you’re more likely to want to hide your hair and reddened eyes behind a hat and a pair of shades, than have everything on show. So sun protection is a must. A decent suncream (at least factor 30) will mean you’ll stay safe and be the one laughing at your lobster-like mates, rather than the other way around. A good hat will help you to prevent sunstroke as well as looking awesome – and hiding the barnet once the dry shampoo can’t do the job any more. A good pair of shades can hide a multitude of sins too!

We love these organic and vegan suncreams from Green People

9: Wellies

Let’s face it, with the Great British Weather being what it is; you’re very likely to need a pair of decent wellies. The Independent has done a couple of handy roundups of the best men’s and women’s wellies for festivals – take a look here and save yourself hours of trawling through the internet! Whether your headed to Reading Festival, Leeds, Wireless, Glastonbury or Download - you'll need your wellies. 

Men's Wellies:

Ladies Wellies:

10: Dry shampoo

It’s absolutely essential to give you a boost and eliminate the grease, sweat and grime that comes from being down the front to see your favourite act. Take some of this and your hair will stay gorgeous.The Independent reviewed the top 10 here, but if like us you’re trying to cut down on your environmental impact, thisvolumizing powder from Schwartzkopf will do the same job without the aerosol.

  • Siani Driver
Ecotherapy for Mental Health Awareness Week.

Ecotherapy for Mental Health Awareness Week.

The mental health charity Mind recently commissioned a report which has shown that being outdoors, whether it be growing food, gardening or undertaking conservation work, has a hugely beneficial impact upon mental health. Camping is one of the best ways to get outdoors and have fun whilst easing mental stresses and strains.

The Guardian says that ‘we are twice as likely to be emotionally distressed if we are urban rather than rural (and four times more likely to suffer schizophrenia). Part of the reason for this is estrangement caused by lack of exposure to natural sights, sounds and smells, to dislocation from the natural rhythms of the seasons, of night from day. Ecotherapies work because they reconnect us with nature; its external reality but most fundamentally, our inner natures.’

Of course, ecotherapy must not replace medication or other forms of therapy for mental health, but can be a very useful addition to more mainstream therapies.

Camping is the ideal ecotherapy, covering so many elements that are calming and confidence boosting. The purpose of packing for an adventure, forcing our brains to become organised. Then the camaraderie of our companions; the fun of a road trip, giving us a sense of togetherness.

Add to this the challenge and reward of setting up a camp, erecting your living space, and creating a cosy place to sleep – simple acts of self-care, with the basics of survival the focus, rather than any other mind-clutter. Then simply sitting by the fire and watching the flames flickering, with the stars shining above – can there be any better form of mindfulness?

Often, the fact that campsites are in the middle of nowhere, no WiFi or 3G, means that you are forced to take a screen break - which has also been shown to be beneficial to mental well being. 

To wake to birdsong and dew, being immersed in the depths of nature, and to have the freedom of an OS map and a good pair of boots...heaven.

I can still recall my many camping experiences, they are so firmly and fondly fixed in my memory banks, because they have always been good times in amazing places.

I’m planning this summer’s trips now, and can’t wait to get out there.

Do you find yourself more relaxed when camping? Do you sleep better outdoors? Have you noticed a change in your children's behaviour when they spend more time outside? 

Let us know how the Great Outdoors benefits you and your family. 

  • Siani Driver