Heat Wave Camping


Our entire state is under an excessive heat warning until tomorrow night as the mercury continues to pass the 100-degree mark. For the past week we’ve been sweltering in oppressive temperatures that have exceeded 105 degrees. Yesterday, heat index values hit 115 degrees. And we’re not alone; more than 7,000 high temperature records were smashed this week in cities across the nation.

To say it is “hot” is an understatement.

In fact, for the first time in my life, I actually heard a warning to travelers to think twice about camping this week because of torrid temperatures.

Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go camping in 105-degree temperatures. It’s one thing if you are roughing it in an air conditioned RV, but quite another when you are having to beat the heat in a two-window tent.

If you are lucky enough to find a spot near a lake or pond, then you can cool off in the water all day. However, when the mercury is still in the high 80s at night and you have to build a fire to cook dinner, then I would seriously rethink my passion for outdoor living.

Still, if you refuse to call off your camping trip during our current heat wave, consider the following tips to stay safe:

Know Before You Go: Get the facts on heat-related illnesses since they can strike at any time. Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, headache, absence of perspiration and dry, hot flushed skin. If you or anyone in your group experiences these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Keep an eye on your pets too. If they are joining you on a camping adventure, make sure they have plenty of water and are kept in a shady spot.

Stay Hydrated: When you’re outdoors for a long period of time, drink plenty of cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Water is the best option and should be consumed even when you are not thirsty. Experts recommend consuming 16 to 32 ounces of cold water each hour, regardless of your activity level.

Forget About the Fire: Making s’mores and pudgy pies on a roaring fire may be a camping tradition with your family, but when the temperatures are in the high 90s and 100s, you may want to stick with cool, light meals such as salads and sandwiches.

Camping Couture: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. You may also consider wearing a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.

Activities: Limit your outdoor activity, such as long hikes and geocaching to morning and evening hours.

Related Articles:

Camping Etiquette

Camping Options For The Anti-Camper

Camping: A “Devil” Of A Good Time

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.