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June 13, 2022 4 min read

Whether your next camping trip will take place in the desert or in another hot and dry destination, knowing the right camping tips will keep you cool and comfortable. Read on to learn what we recommend for your next trip to the wilderness. 

Picking the Right Shelter Option

One of the most critical considerations for camping in this climate is ventilation. How will you maximize the amount of airflow going through your shelter? For this type of camping, we recommend these shelter options: 

Tarp Tents

Tarp tents are ideal for camping in hot climates because of the ventilation and versatility. The mesh allows for excellent airflow, and the tarp portion can easily be applied in the case of rain or the need for a bit of shade. So if you enjoy sleeping under the stars, this tent is for you. 

Three-Season Tents

The weather can change quickly in this type of climate in the form of wind or rain. We like that the Three-Season Tent has multiple doors that optimize airflow. We always like to bring a tarp and a tent on camping trips to use the tarp for an easy, shady rest area. A simple tarp strung between trees, above head height, is ideal. It’ll keep the rain out of your tent without obstructing airflow and give you a nice place to hang out during storms. A Three-Season Tent can withstand downpours but is not ideal for severe windstorms. 

Tent Recommendations

REI CO-OP HALF DOME- 2 people – We have used this one for more traditional camping trips

Coleman Red Canyon - sleeps 8-  Great Budget Option for lots of people 

Therma rest Tranquility Tent- 4 person

Stay Comfortable While Catching Your ZZZs

A cot is a must when camping in hot climates if you buy nothing else. Lifting your body off the ground allows air to circulate around you, keeping you cool and comfortable. 

Depending on how hot it is, you may not need a blanket or sleeping bag, but if you do need a sleeping bag. For sleeping bags: Lightweight sleeping bags, as their name suggests, are designed for lightweight and maximum compressibility. In theory, most lightweight bags have a temperature rating between 32-40 degrees. A good rule of thumb is that most lightweight bags, on average, work well to 45 degrees. To achieve the most compression and lightest weight, most quality lightweight sleeping bags use goose-down insulation. This is why ultra-light sleeping bags often cost more than warmer, synthetic sleeping bags. The right sleeping bag is essential for hot weather camping as being hot when you sleep can make or break your trip. 

Sleeping Recommendations

OneTigris Featherlite Sleeping Quilt-This is our favorite.

Fleece Blanket - Having a fleece blanket instead of a sleeping bag is excellent for weather conditions that won’t go below 60 degrees. 

North Face Wasatch Sleeping Bag- Affordable synthetic sleeping bag that keeps you cool and warm when temperatures are between 40 and 60 at night. 

4 Camping Tips for Hot, Dry Climates

Location Matters

When discussing location, we aren’t just about finding the best view from your tent. It is vital to consider exactly where you want to place your tent and which way it should face. For example, although the top of a hill might be the best place to view the surroundings, it could potentially be dangerous during an intense thunderstorm. Instead, look for areas that will provide shade to your tent while still allowing you to secure your tarp. Also, when camping in hot, dry climates, considering the amount of airflow a location will receive is vital. Having a little airflow will not only keep you more comfortable but also helps to decrease the number of bugs you will encounter. Finally, ensure your tent’s door faces the breeze for maximum comfort.

Pack a Merino Wool Base Layer

Unlike cotton, which absorbs moisture, Merino wool is naturally designed to keep you cool and comfortable. The natural moisture-wicking properties help remove moisture from the skin’s surface to keep you dry. In addition, since this fabric is naturally antimicrobial, a Merino wool base layer is ideal for extended camping and backpacking trips since it can go longer stints without needing to be washed. 

Bug Off Bugs

When preparing to fend off the bugs you might encounter, we recommend using DEET. This insect repellent repels a wide range of biting bugs to keep. However, remember to apply your sunscreen before your DEET, as it will affect the potency of the SPF.

Pick the Right Cooler

We recommend selecting a YETI cooler or something similar. Since these coolers are to be frozen in large chest freezers before use, with the addition of blocks of ice, these coolers can stay cold longer. We recommend that you have two coolers, one for beverages and the other for food. 

The Bottom Line

Camping in hot, dry climates doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. Packing the right gear and setting up your shelter in the correct location will add to the enjoyment of your trip.


About the Author
Katie Pierson

Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and a freelance writer with a passion for the health and wellness industry. She has been a certified health and fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten certifications and looks forward to sharing her passion for health and wellness with you.

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