How to Cool a Tent Without Electricity

If you’re camping in hot weather without electricity, you need to know how to keep your tent cool. You’ll never get a good night’s sleep in a hot, stuffy tent! Thankfully, even when you’re primitive camping, there’s no need to be unbearably hot. Between us, we’ve tried just about every way to cool a tent without electricity and here we’ve compiled the best eight hacks for you!

How to Cool a Tent Without Electricity

1. Plan Your Tent Location For Optimum Cooling

Where you pitch your tent obviously is the biggest contributing factor to how hot your tent will get during the day or night.

Be smart and take a look at your surroundings. If you set up your tent in an open area that gets direct sunlight for a prolonged period during the day, you’re going to get incredibly hot unless you can find other ways to cool your tent.

Look for a campsite that has shade from trees or high terrain or rock formations.

You can also pitch your tent by running water to take advantage of the cooling breeze.

These simple strategies for picking your campsite will also help you keep your food cool without electricity.

2. Choose the Right Tent Material to Keep the Inside Cool

Most tents today are nylon or polyester to reduce weight and conserve space. While it’s true that nylon and polyester tents are cheap, light, and fairly durable, they’re not good at keeping the inside of a tent cool.

To keep your tent cool without electricity, choose a canvas tent. Heavyweight canvas is made of natural fibers and helps to block heat, insulating the tent and keeping the interior temperature comparatively cool.

Be aware though, that canvas tents are a bit more expensive than synthetic ones and they’re heavier, too, so they may not be the best choice for backpacking. However, if you’re going tent camping in a vehicle and you’re planning to camp in a hot location, seriously consider investing in a durable, cooling canvas tent.

Our recommendation for a canvas tent is the Teton Sports waterproof family tent as it’s rated for four season use, has plenty of ventilation, and has straight sides and a high roof of 6.5 feet. 

3. Choose the Right Tent Color

Remember, tent color also has a direct impact on the internal temperature. Choose lighter, natural colors that deflect heat. Avoid dark colors as these absorb heat and increase the internal temperature of the tent.

4. Choose a Tent With Adequate Ventilation

For hot weather camping, you want a tent that is breathable, as this allows air to flow freely through the tent, so hot air can escape. For breathability, canvas tents are the best choice. You can even get canvas tents with a polyester coating that give you the best breathability and durability features of canvas with the UV protection of polyester.

If you want to keep your tent cool in summer, choosing one with adequate ventilation is a smart move. Opt for a tent with mesh windows and rain flaps that you can open up in warm, dry weather to allow air to blow straight through the tent, lowering the internal temperature.

5. Choose a Tall Tent to Stay Cool Without Electricity

The taller the tent, the more room inside for air to circulate. Plus, we all know hot air rises, so give it space to rise up and out of your way. So, for a summer season tent, go for one with plenty of head space. For hot weather camping, a large, airy tent is best as it’s easier for air to circulate to keep it cool. However, in winter, you want a smaller tent as the less internal space, the easier it is to keep warm.

We like the ALPS Mountaineering Camp Creek 4-Person Tent that has an impressive 7 feet of headspace, plus it’s not excessively heavy at just 13 lbs and has plenty of built in ventilation. With this tent, if you pitch it in the right spot, you don’t have to worry too much about how to cool a tent without electricity.

6. Don’t Set Up Your Tent Too Early

This is one of the simplest camping hacks to stay cool, and it’s one of the top mistakes campers make. Not just novice campers either. You’ve almost certainly done it yourself. You get to your campsite and the first thing you do is pitch your tent. 

Even though you’re not actually going to use your tent until nightfall. 

For some reason, it seems ingrained in most of us to pitch our tent as soon as we arrive. But that just gives the sun all day to heat up the interior of the tent. Instead, stow your tent and enjoy the rest of your day. 

Just make sure you leave enough time to pitch your tent before darkness falls so you can see what you’re doing, and make sure your other camp chores are already taken care of, like collecting water and firewood. That way, the tent’s interior is fresh and cool when you want to sleep.

7. Get a Battery or Solar Fan

Mains electricity isn’t the only form of power. And yes, hot sun is the enemy of your tent’s interior, but you can harness the sun’s energy with a solar charger that will power a small fan. 

There are plenty of great rechargeable fans for camping, but we particularly like this one with its quiet but fairly powerful fan and bright LED light. It’s good but it’s obviously not as powerful as a big electric fan. But, when you’re trying to keep a tent cool in stiflingly hot temperatures, every bit of breeze is a bonus, and this model does a good job for its size. 

You’ll also need a high-quality solar charger like this one from Big Blue. While it doesn’t hold its own charge because it’s not a battery pack, it does charge whatever you connect to it, such as the battery in your fan. Or your phone.

8. Soak Towels in Water

This is an easy way to cool your tent. Or, actually, cool yourself. If you’ve tried all the other tips and you’re still too hot, soak a towel in cold water (the colder the better) and put it on the back of your neck. As the water evaporates, it generates a cooling sensation. 

As you can see, there are plenty of camping hacks to stay cool. The best way to cool a tent without electricity is to choose the right tent to begin with. If your budget just can’t scratch to a new tent right now, or you don’t camp enough to make the investment worth it, then use as many of these other tips as you can. Set the tent up just before dusk, pitch it in a shady spot, use a fan, and make use of built in ventilation.

Enjoy your next camping adventure!

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