Top tips for keeping cool while camping

At risk of jinxing this week’s run of fine weather, we’ve put together some great tips to ensure you and your loved ones can enjoy some fun camping in the sun.

Cool tent camping

  • Keep a good airflow around your tent. Make sure all vents are fully open, propped or guyed as necessary. And make sure sleeping bags or other things don’t accidentally block low level vents
  • If your tent has PVC windows and mesh screens, keep the PVC sections rolled up whenever possible. If the plastic is fixed, consider closing the window curtain on the sunny side of the tent
  • Be careful about food hygiene, keeping your cool box shaded and well stocked with frozen blocks if it’s not electrically powered. Only open it when you really need to and keep it open for as short a time as possible. If you’re still struggling to keep things cool, consider putting a silvered emergency blanket and an extra thick blanket over the box
  • Consider using a tarp for extra shade. If you don’t have one, a big umbrella can help instead
  • If your tent takes an extra cover over the flysheet it’s worth fitting it if you know the sun will be shining to help keep things cooler
  • Enjoy life outside the tent during the hottest part of the day as even the best ventilated tent will still heat up in the sun.
Chilled caravanning and motorhoming

  • If your caravan or motorhome has a Truma blown air heating system, then operating the fan alone moves air around the van interior and helps keep it coo.
  • If you’ve got an extractor fan in your van’s kitchen, reverse its direction to suck in cooler air.
  • Check the coolant level in your tow car or motorhome is between the min/max marks on the side of the expansion tank when the engine is cold and before setting off on a long journey on a hot day.
  • If you can’t afford an expensive aircon unit, then why not buy a decent 12V portable cooling fan, so you keep your van interior cool even away from electric hook-up.
  •  External silver screens for campervan windows will reflect the sun’s rays and help keep the van cooler.
  •  For caravanners, open the windows and lower the flyscreens on the sunny side of the van but not the shaded side. Open the roof lights but keep blinds part closed to keep out the sunlight.
  •  If you don’t fancy a full caravan or motorhome awning, then it’s worth investing in an annexe or event shelter, to offer a little shade while you sit outside your van.
  •  Get yourself a barbecue and cook outside – indoor ovens and hobs will only add to heat trapped inside the van.

Avoid hot dogs


  • Make sure your dog has access to plenty of clean, cool water at all times. Off site, make sure you carry plenty of water and offer it to your pet at regular intervals
  • Dogs can get dehydrated or get heatstroke very quickly so never leave dogs in your vehicle or unit in hot weather, even for a few minutes. Even with windows open, the temperature can rise rapidly
  • Choose a shady pitch to allow your dog to get out of the sun
  • Walk your dog in the cooler parts of the day. Remember dogs paw pads may burn on hot pavements – generally if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet
  • Some dogs – especially those with white ears and noses – can burn. Apply sunscreen to sensitive areas
  • Most dogs love water. When it’s safe to do so, let them splash around in the sea or river. It’s great exercise too. Spraying dog’s paws and stomach with water is another great way to cool them down
  • Pay particular attention to grooming, especially when moulting. It also allows you to check for ticks which are more prevalent during spring and autumn time


Rob Ganley Rob is the Club’s Editor-in-Chief. A former group editor of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome magazines, he joined The Camping and Caravanning Club in 2014. Rob has been lucky enough to explore the world on fly-drive motorhome holidays, including US Route 66 in an RV, and New Zealand in a campervan. More recently he tours with his wife and children, 8 & 5, and together they’ve camped in France, Italy and Spain in caravans and motorhomes. Read other posts by this author