The sunshining over a field

Tips for camping in a heatwave

Tips for Camping in a Heatwave

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Aug 2022; updated Jun 2023.

The extreme temperatures in the UK's heatwaves means some changes to the way we camp. Here are some tips for camping in a heatwave.

Camping on a sunny day is more enjoyable than cold, wet and windy.

However, the recent heat waves have caused unprecedented temperatures in the UK. We're not discussing a few sunny days that the press likes to talk up as heatwaves. We're talking 27 degrees Celcius and up.

Most tents in the UK are designed to keep the rain out. Camping in these higher temperatures needs a few precautions.

The Obvious Advice


Everyone needs to keep hydrated. That goes without saying, but I said it 😉

All UK campsites must provide clean drinking water.

However, not all kids will drink water, especially when it is warm.

Yes, warm.

The water will get warm if you have the container in your tent.

And depending on where the campsite has run its freshwater pipes, those pipes may heat up to.

If the pipes are exposed, the water may come out of the tap, scolding hot. So be careful, and don't let the kids play with the drinking water - especially as there may be a water usage ban in your camping area.


Keep your water container on the shady side outside your tent. And yes, this may mean moving it as the shadow moves during the day.

Another view of the Outwell Collaps water carrier

Keep your water container out of the sun

More Info: Outwell Collaps water carrier.

You may be tempted to fill water bottles and place them in your coolbox. Unfortunately, this will raise the temperature inside your coolbox and spoil your food.

Talking of which...

Coolboxes and Freezers

Some campsites provide fridges and freezers for campers to use. Use them to re-freeze freezer blocks.

Non-powered cool boxes will warm very quickly in a hot tent. If you are on an electric hook-up and have a powered coolbox, then that's better. But even those with these extreme temperatures won't stay too cool.

Again, try to position them in the shade, out of the sun.


Use the campsite's fridges and freezers. Use a powered coolbox if you can. Keep it out of the sun.

A powered coolbox in the sun.

Powered coolboxes help, but you must keep them out of the sun.

More Info: Outwell ECO Lux.

UPF and Sun Protection

The high temperatures bring a high amount of harmful ultraviolet rays.

Of course, everyone needs to wear sun cream.

Some tents have some protection from the UV rays, but others don't, so sitting inside the tent may not block those harmful UV rays.


Check whether your tent blocks harmful UV rays.

Our tent reviews detail the level of sun protection.

Our tent reviews indicate what level of sun protection the tent has. Note that UVF 50 has less protection than UPF 50.

For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 97&percent; of the sun’s

Venting and Airflow

The inside of the tent will get unbearably hot.

If you have a polycotton tent, you will be more insulated from the sun's rays than regular tents. However, with these heatwave temperatures, it will still get very hot.

Open all your doors and vents to get some airflow through the tent.

If you have bug mesh on all your doors and windows, you can open all your doors and vents with the bugs kept out. (Even better, if you have one of the Outwell Quick and Quiet doors, you can come and go and the bug mesh self-closes behind you).

Bug mesh on the tent closed but doors open

Doors open, but bug mesh is closed!


Open all the doors, windows, and vents.

However, bug mesh does slow the airflow a little bit. You might want to make a call to open everything up... except the bedrooms, perhaps.

BTW, if you have teenagers that like to sleep in, they will be roasting in their bedroom.


Rise a little earlier before the sun, and the tent's bedrooms, get too hot.

If you are on an electric hook-up, use a fan, but position it with an open door behind it so it helps bring cooler air in. Yes, it might be 40 degrees Celcius outside, but inside your tent, it will be MUCH hotter.


Position a fan with an open door behind it.

And something grosser...

Chances are it's going to be warm all night too.

Warm at night or in the morning as soon as the sun starts to shine can mean a sweaty sleeping bag and bed!


Dry your sleeping bags and beds in the sun.

And for all those inflatables.

Inflatable Tents

Reduce the pressure in your air-filled tubes.

This is very important.

The air will expand in the tubes. If you have them at max pressure, there is a high chance that your tube will burst.

Air in and air out

You need to reduce the air in your air tubes.

Reduce the pressure in the tubes so that the air has room to expand.

If you are experiencing colder nights and the beams start to sag, pump more air in at night. However, let that air out when the sun starts shining the next day.


Reduce the pressure in your air tubes so they don't split.

Inflatable Beds

The same goes for air mattresses and SIMs.

They may not be outside in the sunshine, but the tent's bedrooms will get extremely hot.


Let air out of your inflatable mattresses in the morning; add it back at night.

Laying on an air bed

Laying on the Vango AirHead inflatable mattress. But remember to let some air out on very hot days.

Happy camping!