With this weekend’s forecast in the Northeast (high heat and humidity) and with some of us taking the weekend to head outdoors with our friends and families, it made us wonder – what are some ways to make camping and being outdoors in that kind of heat, more enjoyable?
- HYDRATION & STAYING NOURISHED : First and most importantly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Don’t let yourself get thirsty. With these humid days, it’s much more dangerous because your sweat sticks to your skin. It doesn’t evaporate as readily, which can send your body temperature even higher. Keep in mind that sodas and alcohol are not the most appropriate drinks to have when you need to stay hydrated. Water is most definitely the best solution. Also, be wary of energy drinks. Many of them contain large amounts of sugar which can be counterproductive to maintaining your fluid balance. It’s recommended you drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes of activity. For those longer hikes, you will need something to snack on. Foods like dried fruit and nut mixtures are a good choice since they contain high amounts of potassium, sodium, protein, carbs and calories. The last thing you want to bring with you are sugary foods such as crackers, popcorn or energy bars that actually make you crave even more water!
- SUN PROTECTION & KEEPING COOL: Protecting yourself against the sun is crucial as well. Wear hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and spf chapstick. Sunburns are not pleasant to recover from. Especially for the kids! Of course, staying in the shade and taking advantage of any chance to swim or get some water splashed around you is always a great way to stay cool. My personal favorite, dunking a hat in some ice water. Wear loose, light colored, cotton clothing and sandals or mesh shoes if possible to keep your feet cooler.
- TIMING: If you’re planning on doing some strenuous activities such as hiking, biking, jogging etc., try planning them in the early morning or later on in the evening. Avoiding those times when the sun is at its highest and hottest, definitely helps. Take advantage of some shade or go for a swim throughout those hot midday hours.
- PREPARING YOUR FOOD & DRINK: Another good tip I found is to freeze everything you can… Meats, milk, sauces, all can be frozen. If you put uncooled items in your cooler, your ice will melt much faster than you were expecting. Speaking of coolers, make sure to have one with a good seal. Rather than constantly buying new bags of ice, try taking an empty milk jug, fill that with water and freeze it. The block of ice will melt much slower than ice cubes. I also found that if you get one of those silver emergency blankets and place it on the top, inside of your cooler, as well as a blanket over the top on the outside, the ice stays frozen longer. A more obvious suggestion is to keep your cooler in the shade and to try not opening it very often. It’s actually a good idea to have 2 coolers. One for food thats not opened as much and a separate one for drinks which should be opened more often. (hydrate!) When it comes to packing food, try to bring more canned items because they never spoil and if they’re not used, they’re not wasted. Plus, they don’t need to be added to your cooler… When it’s this hot and humid, the last thing someone wants to do is stand over a campfire, cooking some hotdogs or burgers. Try bringing foods that won’t require someone to constantly maintain the food while cooking over the fire.
- TENT TIPS: For me, my least favorite part about these hot and humid days is trying to sleep. It’s uncomfortable and makes for a long night. But, there are some ways to make it more bearable. Of course, pitching a tent in a shaded area is ideal, however if there is nothing to help with that, create yourself a sunshade with a couple of tarps to go over your tent. Place a tarp underneath your tent as well. This cuts any heat that radiates from the ground by adding insulation. Make sure to have a tent (the larger the tent, the better) with many mesh windows to allow airflow throughout and keep the rain guard off if no rain is on its way. When it comes to the position of your tent, try to place it facing the wind and keep all tent windows open to allow air circulation. Getting a battery operated fan and placing a bowl of ice in front of it will give you a cooler breeze inside your tent. If you have an easier tent to assemble/dissemble, consider taking it down every morning and pitching it back up in the evening to avoid heat buildup. Also, make sure you have the proper sleeping attire and bedding. If you have a winter sleeping bag, that would make for a very uncomfortable evening…
Hopefully these few tips help you as you plan your camping getaway with friends and family and we hope you all continue to have a wonderful and safe season!
And remember, hydrate!