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Tips, tricks, suggestions for warm weather camping

Old 07-05-13, 10:52 AM
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Tips, tricks, suggestions for warm weather camping

I just back from from the over nighter last weekend in PA and now on a four day tour that started on the third. All camping.

The first night was so hot, sticky and unpleasant that I did not sleep. The second night I went without the rainfall and got as much exposure as I could to the wind. Both nights I did not use and sleeping bags or anything like that.

My question for you all is do you employ any tricks or the such to keep yourself cool while sleeping in those hot, humid and uncommftrable days? Except the obvious like credit card touring and/or just touring in other seasons versus summer.

Thanks.
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Old 07-05-13, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
The first night was so hot, sticky and unpleasant that I did not sleep. The second night I went without the rainfall and got as much exposure as I could to the wind.

My question for you all is do you employ any tricks or the such to keep yourself cool while sleeping in those hot, humid and uncommftrable days? Except the obvious like credit card touring and/or just touring in other seasons versus summer.
Kinda tough to help when you rule out the solutions. Have you considered making every other night a motel or hostel night? Cuts the cost by about half, and you get air conditioning and a shower every other night thrown in for good measure. Also, look for cheaper motels -- almost every motel has A/C nowadays.

One other suggestion is to find a city park you can sleep in which has a picnic pavilion. This works OK when there's no mosquito problem. Roll out your mat and bag, go change in the nearby bathroom, and you're set. Downside is somebody's going to start a softball game at the field next to you as the sun goes down.
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Old 07-05-13, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Kinda tough to help when you rule out the solutions. Have you considered making every other night a motel or hostel night? Cuts the cost by about half, and you get air conditioning and a shower every other night thrown in for good measure. Also, look for cheaper motels -- almost every motel has A/C nowadays.

One other suggestion is to find a city park you can sleep in which has a picnic pavilion. This works OK when there's no mosquito problem. Roll out your mat and bag, go change in the nearby bathroom, and you're set. Downside is somebody's going to start a softball game at the field next to you as the sun goes down.
thanks for the info. Some things to consider for sure.

At this point I am not opposed to hotels but the cost adds up and the wifey gets pissed so camping is the best solution. A hostel is a good call. I need to do some more research on this but I remember a friend telling me they are not as popular in the states as in other countries. Perhaps he is wrong. Not sure.
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Old 07-05-13, 12:07 PM
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Netting in tents likes to block any little breezes.....if there isn't to many bugs,roll up the nets/doors at night,that will help with any bit of wind you might get.
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Old 07-05-13, 06:44 PM
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There was a guy who said that a small battery operated fan really saved him on the hot and humid parts of the TransAm.

I live in an area that's only really hot at night a couple of weeks out of the summer so we don't have air conditioning. What helps immensely on those nights is to sleep with a couple of cold compresses. I put one in my pillow case and one on my hip (side sleeper). It is very soothing and seems to really reduce my body temperature. I am not suggesting you carry heavy compresses but maybe you could rig something up with ice when it's available. Or maybe those instant cold compresses used in sports are light (not sure). Some ideas, anyway.... Good luck.
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Old 07-05-13, 07:33 PM
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A few general tips ...

-- camp near water (streams, lakes, etc.). The air around water can sometimes be cooler.

-- pitch your tent under a tree, and in fact, make sure there's going to be shade over your tent all evening, and also in the morning.

-- pay attention to the direction of the wind, and position your tent so that as much wind as possible will blow into your tent.

-- if you use a fly over your tent, and if you know it isn't going to rain, remove the fly.

-- don't zip up the doors etc. ... leave the mesh zipped so you've got bug protection, but open the tent as much as possible.

-- use your sleeping bag as a mattress ... sleep on top of it. I carry a sarong, and use that as a sheet over me just in case the temperature cools off a little overnight.

-- bring a bottle of water into the tent with you. I find that if I sweat a lot during the night, I wake up very thirsty. Sipping water through the night helps.

-- try soaking your handkerchief in cold water and folding it over your forehead when you go to bed.

-- take a cool shower or dip in the stream or lake just before bed.
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Old 07-05-13, 08:11 PM
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And if all of Machka's wonderful suggestions don't help, come touring with me during July/August in the lower Mississippi Valley area where no matter how ungodly hot it is, you know the humidity will be even worse, and from that point forward, everything else won't seem that bad. Seriously, though I have not tried one, I have heard those little battery powered fans can make a huge difference.
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Old 07-05-13, 09:44 PM
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+1 for the little fans. Also try filling your water bottles with ice and taking them to bed with you.
A little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel will cool you off and get that sweat gunge off your skin, too.
If you have something you can keep handy that you can soak your feet in water (hey, the kitchen sink!), that's also an effective way to cool off.

Hammocks are probably the coolest sleeping platforms you can find, which is why they are popular in the tropics. You'll lose heat both above and below. During cold weather that's a disadvantage, but a plus in the summer, especially if you can hang them so you can catch any breeze. It's amazing how much difference even a very slight breeze can make.

If you can be sure of warm nights, I fail to see any reason to take a sleeping bag at all. I'm heading again to the Hike 'n' Bike site at San Elijo Beach tomorrow for an overnighter, and am just going to take a $3 fleece blanket and leaving the 20F down bag at home. Was there last weekend during the heat wave, it went down to a nice 64 F that night, and I got by in the hammock with a thin Coolmax bag liner, plus socks with arm and leg warmers. I think I was just barely warm enough with that setup.
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Old 07-05-13, 10:23 PM
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+1 on the hammock suggestion above. I use a Jacks R Better Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock (www.jacksrbetter.com) and it is the best sleeping platform in the outdoors. The reason hammocks work well is that the are raised above the ground and can catch the breeze easier. Also consider the prevailing wind directions. Most time, it will come out of the west, so lift the fly higher on that side and drop the fly slightly on the eastern side to create a wind funnel over you as you sleep. The BMBH has a bug screen sewn into it, so it will keep the pesky critters at bay as you enjoy the breeze.

In the winter time, you reverse this fly set up and add either a down under quilt or an insulalted pad to the bottom pocket sleeve to conserve the heat. Either way, IMO, the hammock is the most comfortable sleeping system in the outdoors. If you want more information on the subject, go to HammockForums.net for the beauty of hanging in the breeze options.

Of course, if you are trying to stealth camp, having a hammock is not the best option as it is often viewable at eye level. Good luck on the summertime camping.
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Old 07-05-13, 11:14 PM
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I guess other then facing your tent so it's a cross wind and other suggestions like a fan, the Dew Point is what makes you uncomfortable and only so much you can do about it. Right now where I live it's 72 degrees but the Dew Point is 72 degrees, and that makes for an awful night of sleeping outside no matter what.
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Old 07-05-13, 11:59 PM
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sheet sleeping bag liner placed on top of the bag/mattress. ?
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Old 07-06-13, 12:26 AM
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If you're getting sunburned, it's going to be worse.
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Old 07-06-13, 05:37 AM
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Sleeping bag liner as noted above by two others. I have both silk and coolmax mummy bag liners.

The silk is lighter, better for warmest weather but silk may cost more. Last summer was the first time I used a liner, there were nights when it was high 70s (F) when I was going to bed. Used the liner like a sleeping bag. As it got colder, I used my sleeping bag like a blanket over me.

I bought the coolmax liner later to use for colder weather and to extend the life of the silk one by using the silk one less often, the coolmax one was on sale at the time.

A gal I used to work with used silk liners, she said she used them to keep her sleeping bag cleaner. I got a silk one for that purpose but learned later how great it was in warm weather.

Liner manufacturers often claim that they will increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag, I do not think that is a valid claim, but that is not why I bought it. If that is the sole reason you might get one, then don't get it, you might be disappointed.

I wash it on a delicate cycle in cold water with woolite soap.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:41 AM
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Ditto all Machka's suggestions. Catching the breeze is especially important. I use a Tarptent which does not have a separate fly and is inherently well-ventilated, so that part is easier for me. When I pitch camp I look for slightly higher ground that's not sheltered from wind. The hammock is a good idea as long as there are trees where you camp.

I use a quilt rather than a sleeping bag, which makes it easier to regulate on hot nights. It also stays cleaner since I never sleep on it.

Also consider your daily routine. On hot days, I break camp in the pre-dawn hours and get riding right before sun-up. I try to get somewhere cool and shady by mid-day, or ideally an interesting town with plenty of air-conditioned attractions. I sit out the heat of the day, then get riding again as the shadows lengthen. I ride until nearly sundown and pitch camp when I don't have to worry about shade. It may be nearly 100F with dewpoints in the 70s, but if I can catch a breeze I've always been able to sleep. Being clean helps tremendously.
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Old 07-06-13, 08:10 AM
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Like others said hammocks can be real nice. I've spent nights even in subzero weather in my hammock in my backyard. Haven't did much outside during the summer months since it's a homemade hammock and I don't have a bug net on it. One idea if you are away from water source, lakes/river is to not even bother setting up the tent. Remember what the bugs like, water. I spent a few days last year on my trip and didn't even bother to set up the tent, just slept under the stars. Last year I didn't have a sleeping bag and I figured with what I was using I could get away with it down to around 50 degrees. I was using a fleece blanket, like was mentioned above, and I think I also had taken a sweatsuit top with me and cycling tights. That combo kept warmed down to 50 but I know I wouldn't have wanted to try it any lower than that. A long sleeve shirt and long john pants could probably do the same thing. I'm seriously considering trying that this year. I first have to see if I'm going to be able to dump the sleeping bag off with a friend of mine and have him take it down to TX in his truck and then I'll pick it up there and dump off the fleece blanket. Confusing, yeah I know.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:08 AM
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Altitude is your friend when camping in hotter weather. The rule-of-thumb I've always heard is one degree cooler for each 300 ft of altitude.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
Also consider your daily routine. On hot days, I break camp in the pre-dawn hours and get riding right before sun-up. I try to get somewhere cool and shady by mid-day, or ideally an interesting town with plenty of air-conditioned attractions. I sit out the heat of the day, then get riding again as the shadows lengthen. I ride until nearly sundown and pitch camp when I don't have to worry about shade. It may be nearly 100F with dewpoints in the 70s, but if I can catch a breeze I've always been able to sleep. Being clean helps tremendously.
Good point.

I spent a month touring Queensland in December 2004, and we did exactly that. The daytime highs were often over 40C, and the nights cooled to about 30C ... plus humidity!

So (despite the fact that I'm not a morning person), my cycling partner and I would be up and on the road by about 6 am. We would cycle till about noon, then either find somewhere cool and shady, or a nice spot at the beach, and we'd stay till about 4 or 5 pm. We would nap, see the sights, swim at the beach, and eat our main meal during that time. Then we would ride again for 2 or 3 hours until we found a place to camp.
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Old 07-06-13, 01:59 PM
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Great suggestions.

A liner for a sleeping bag? What do you mean by this?

I like the hammock idea too and need to look into it some more. the only thing I am concerned with is my CPAP and figuring that out.

My hats off to you all who can tour in the summer time. I just got back from a four day tour and today was dreadful. Hot and humid. The first 20 miles were great but then the heat started to get worse and it made the next 37 miles really sucky. I should have pulled over for a few hours or something along those lines.
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Old 07-06-13, 02:22 PM
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I mean people make Liners for sleeping bags, keep s them cleaner,
some used silk for the natural fabric lovers..

not that the sleeping bag comes with one. they are an accesory..

AYH used to require Hostel trippers to bring their own sheets and for them
a rectangular one was made
had a pocket in the top to stuff in a pillow.
those were usually the regular cotton fabric..

of course the 'make one out of an old bedsheet' is a possibility..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-06-13 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 07-06-13, 02:32 PM
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I use one of these and a sleeping bag liner .

https://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-...w=1309&bih=739

https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Liner...ping-bag+liner
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Old 07-06-13, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels

How much battery life to you get out of the fan? Keeping it running all night?
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Old 07-06-13, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
How much battery life to you get out of the fan? Keeping it running all night?
They have a low and a high speed. Also come with a 110V adapter.

Guessing 40+ hours on a battery set.
Never got to run them all the way down on 10 night trips.
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Old 07-06-13, 04:23 PM
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A sleeping bag liner when you're hot? Why would I want to limit the air space and ability to spread out with a liner? Just wearing wicking undergarments would be preferable.
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Old 07-06-13, 04:41 PM
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I don't use a sleeping bag, Just the liner.

One goes to sleep when it is hot, but gets cooler as the night goes on.
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Old 07-06-13, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
-- pay attention to the direction of the wind, and position your tent so that as much wind as possible will blow into your tent.

-- if you use a fly over your tent, and if you know it isn't going to rain, remove the fly.
All of Machka's points are good, but I find these two to be most important assuming that you need to use a tent where you are. If there are no bug problems, sleeping in the open is even better. With or without the tent, the more air there is the better.

Also I find that laying very still on my back I can still get some sleep even if it is very hot. It is kind of a mind over matter thing though.
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