How to Have the Greatest Summer Camping Trip

How to Have the Greatest Summer Camping Trip

Depending on where you live, summertime camping is either a wonderful and affordable vacation option or a one-way ticket to mosquito bites and sleepless nights. My favorite form of easy outdoor vacation time is tent camping. While I prefer backpacking in the colder months, tent camping gives us a chance to drive up to nature and relax. But it’s not all fun and games if you’re not totally prepared. Read on for tips on how to tent camp the healthiest and happiest way!

1. Camp down by the river

… or another body of water. Staying a stone’s throw away from a swimmable area is key to a good summertime camping trip. Camping is all about getting away from it all in the simplest way possible and communing with nature. So camping next to a lake, ocean, river, or mountain stream is essential to getting the full summer swimming experience. Make sure to pack multiple swimsuits and towels per person, so one can be drying while the other is in use. It’s my experience that swimming and splashing happens multiple times daily when summertime camping.

2. Invest in an excellent cooler

I cannot emphasize enough how important a top-notch cooler is for summertime camping. Well-insulated coolers will keep your ice frozen for days on end, and all your cold food cold. And believe me, there’s nothing worse than a cooler full of melted ice and wet food. If you’re a serious camper, a good cooler is worth the investment!

3. Pack refreshing, healthy lunches

Now that you’ve got a cooler that will keep your ice, well ice, for days, pack your crew refreshing, healthy, and cold grub to eat during the day. Because, yes, the nighttime is for cooking over an open flame.

My favorite cooler-friendly meal options?

I like these foods for a few reasons: they’re refreshing, full of vegetables, and are really easy to self-serve. I think we all tend to lay it on thick with the burgers, dogs, and s’mores while camping—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but seeing as summertime temps have us sweating bullets outside, getting proper nutrition during the day is important.

4. Easy (and LIGHT!) cocktails

I think it’s safe to say that many of us have experienced what it’s like to drink in the sun. With your body getting dehydrated at a much faster rate than normal, it’s super important to ease up on the booze and keep yourself hydrated.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by making a super easy cocktail with naturally ultra-hydrating coconut water. This recipe from Olive Magazine couldn’t be easier. Simply add a bit of good white rum to a glass of coconut water, serve with lime and mint, and you’re good to go! I love this drink because it doesn’t have any sugar, so you’ll (1) sip it slowly and (2) won’t get so dehydrated!

5. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate again

According to Harvard Health Publishing, we should be drinking 4-6 cups of water on a normal day. When you’re outside sweating and playing, you’ll need to up this intake. I usually aim to drink twice that when I’m outdoors, just do be on the safe side!

I also always pack Pedialyte on camping trips—no matter what the season—but it’s especially important in the summertime. You can drink it to prevent dehydration, or use it to treat someone who is experiencing the symptoms of dehydration. It now comes in powder form, making it even easier to take along on your trip.

6. Protect yourself

From bugs, from the sun, from overheating. I always pack an ice pack for around the neck and shoulders when summertime camping—it’s so important for anyone who starts to feel the effects of the heat.

For bug repellent, I opt for a bug spray that has picaridin in it rather than deet. This is based on personal preference; I can’t stand the smell of deet and find picaridin works just as well. A word to the wise: the higher the humidity, the worse the bugs, so go for a spray that contains at least 25% of the active ingredient—you’ll thank me later.

And, of course, sunscreen. Everybody has a favorite, but make sure to use at least SPF 30 and grab one that’s specifically formulated for activity. There’s nothing worse than immediately sweating off your sunscreen. Well, there is one thing worse: getting a sunburn on the first day of vacation!

7. Sleep comfy

Make sure to set up your tent in the shade, and to disassemble it during the day. What?! Why? Because tents store heat and can become hot as an inferno in the summertime. Believe me, it may be a nuisance, but you’ll be much more comfortable this way.

I also recommend foregoing your sleeping bag for a good sleeping pad and a sheet. Sleeping bags are great, but the cocoon effect doesn’t exactly help with keeping cool.

I actually much prefer to sleep in a hammock during the summer, although it’s not for everyone. I like it because it’s much cooler than sleeping in a tent, and finding a mosquito net that fits your hammock is relatively easy.

Of course, whatever way you sleep, make sure to bring along your Coop Travel and Camping Pillow. For hammock sleepers, our new Camping Pillowcase is a definite must, just in case of any foul weather. We actually just came out with a Camping Bundle, featuring both the Travel and Camping Pillow and Camping Pillowcase. Waterproof your life while staying comfy!

Do you have any summertime camping tips for us? Leave a comment below!

Featured image: @marinkate