Camping in Summer: The Ultimate Survival Guide
by Mr Yellow
Air conditioners are every person's best friend in summer and it may prove to be quite painful trying to detach yourself from their presence. Time to ditch this clingy relationship and go camping! In summer? Of course! Why restrict this fun activity to spring and autumn, when you can plan a memorable outdoor weekend in summer with the right camping equipment and supplies?
Surviving the boiling hot temperatures and sky-high humidity levels which besiege the Maltese Islands in the summer months is not for the fainthearted. However, with the help of a few creative innovations and a number of outdoor investments, you can thwart a fainting episode and ride out the extreme weather elements like a pro.
Why go camping in summer?
Despite its struggles, summer guarantees delightful sunny days. Getting out of your tent and being embraced by warm temperatures and cloudless skies is one of the most blissful sensations you can ever feel. When the weather is bitterly cold, blustery and rainy, you won't enjoy yourself as much, while it will mess up all your plans. You'd need to get clothed with an array of warm attire, supplies will get wet, freezing toes will make it impossible to get a wink of sleep and the chances of catching a cold would be quite high. Camping in summer will free you of such issues.
Still not sure? Summer is the perfect time to take some time off away from work and immerse yourself in nature, away from the civilised world. Kids are out of school, giving you the time to go for an extended family outing and enjoy some precious quality time together, when they're not in summer school. Late sunsets enable you to make the most out of your camping days, and if you set up camp by the sea, you can take a dip any minute you feel like refreshing your body and mind.
And let's face it: the sun is out there to make you live a little and not to make you hibernate in an air-conditioned room.
Top 12 tips to stay cool and survive a summer camping trip:
1. Find a shaded spot next to an accessible beach
Brimming with breathtaking natural zones, the Maltese Islands are an ideal camping destination in summer. The location you choose depends on how solitary and adventurous you want your experience to be and whether having certain amenities at hand is a must. You can find two official camping sites in Malta: Ghajn Tuffieha Scout Campsite and L-Ahrax camping grounds, with the former having water, electricity, and bathroom facilities.
However, the number of unofficial camping areas in Malta, Gozo and Comino, which offer magnificent views to wake up to, is endless. Find time to go around the coastline of the Maltese Islands beforehand and explore hidden and secluded nooks. Selmun, Gnejna, Mistra and Delimara, are just some of the few locations with camping potential which can be considered. Always have a back-up plan! You may find the spot taken upon arrival and you wouldn't want to return back home after preparing so devoutly for this break.
Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect spot:
- Shade, shade, shade! The more trees and bushes your selected location has, the more you'll secure precious shade from the sweltering sun. Lounging in your camping chair in broad daylight will get you sun-baked, your food will go bad at a faster rate, and your water will become boiling hot if you have no shade. Drinking steaming water is in no way pleasurable and refreshing! Besides, trees are also useful if you intend to sleep on a hammock at night! Warning: if you are lighting a bonfire, make sure you do it in an open space and not under low-lying branches. Causing a wildfire is not the best way to make the headlines, so make sure you use the utmost caution.
- Close proximity to a beach! This is crucial if you want to dive in refreshing and invigorating water whenever the heat gets too oppressive. Camping on beaches is unfortunately illegal in Malta, and we have no rivers or lakes, but you can still find a spot which is adjacent to a beach.
- Accessibility! Choosing an accessible camping spot is imperative to keep huffing and puffing at bay. If you really need to hike in, make sure you go as light as possible and either hike in the early morning or late evening. Otherwise, you'll be dripping beads of sweat before even arriving at your campsite.
2. Bring breathable clothing and footwear
Forget stylish getups! UV protection and sweat reduction should be your top priorities. Taking the proper attire to a camping weekend will determine how sweaty and sunburnt you'll get at the end of the day. What are the best things to wear? Choose nylon and polyester over cotton as they won't retain moisture, opt for loose shorts and tops, and always wear light colours, as dark shades will absorb more heat. Don't forget your swimsuit as the beach will be your main oasis for the weekend.
A good sun hat which covers as much of your face and neck as possible will prevent unwanted sunburns and high-quality sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV harm.
With regards to footwear, breathable sandals will help air your feet. If you're more into hiking shoes, make sure the socks you take with you are breathable. Otherwise, your smelly feet will get you kicked out of the tent!
3. Make your sleeping quarters as cool as possible
Sleeping on a summery night is formidable even in an air-conditioned room, so having a well-equipped camping tent is imperative if you want to catch a wink and re-energise yourself. Here are the top tips to ensure a good slumber and keep cool when you're in a no electricity zone:
- Invest in insect screens and keep tent zipped up to block unfriendly mosquitos from making a mess of your skin. Avoid using insect sprays inside your tent!
- Make sure the tent has enough ventilation to enhance air circulation
- Don't attempt to squeeze in 4 people in a 4 man tent or you'll be at each other's throats in no time. Summer is definitely not the time to get all cuddled up!
- Remove the rainfly if there's absolutely no chance of rain to make the tent cooler
- Buy a breathable sleeping bag or else sleep on top of it, rather than inside
- Take a tent made up of reflective materials
- Having a roof protector will help block UV rays
- If it's an easy to install pop up tent, disassemble it during the day and re-assemble it when the sun sets, so it won't absorb heat and become muggy
- Make sure it's lightweight so you set it up faster
- Invest in a portable fan which sticks on your tent's roof to produce a cool breeze
If, despite all attempts, you don't manage to zonk out, consider sleeping on a hammock under the stars. Make sure you spray mosquito repellent on every inch of your body or you'll scratch your skin raw!
4. Take cold food and drink supplies
Taking the right food and drink supplies will ensure you remain hydrated throughout your trip. You don't want to shock your friends with one fainting episode after another.
With food, splurge all you have on fruit, vegetables, salads and other cold foods. Believe it or not, you won't feel like nibbling on salty and sweet snacks in the hot summer temperatures. If you still want proper meals, make sure you do all the prepping and cooking from home as lighting a bonfire will augment the heat.
Next in line: drinks! Ditch your favourite soft drinks, juices, beers and alcoholic and caffeine drinks, as the only drink you'll be craving is pure water. Being exposed to sultry temperatures all day long, the standard daily intake of 2 litres won't be enough. If you calculate 3 litres of drinking water per person per day, you'll be good to go.
Apart from drinking water, tally how much water you'll need for washing, showering, and cooking, so you won't be forced to exploit your drinking water supplies. The volume of water you'll be required to carry will seem ridiculous, but we can guarantee it's necessary, especially if you're not camping anywhere near a grocery store.
5. Store food and water in a cooler
If you don't want your food to go bad and your water to be sizzling hot, investing in a portable insulated hard case cooler will be your best buy of the year. Buying two would be fantastic! Why? One can be dedicated for food and the other just for water! This is your best guarantee for keeping your supplies as cool as possible.
Top tips to keeping your food and water cool:
- Cool food and drinks beforehand
- Use block ice rather than crushed ice flakes
- Keep coolers in the shade to keep ice from melting
- If taking coolers is not an option, dig a small hole in the ground and store your supplies under a layer of soil. Needless to say, do mark it properly!
Discover other useful tips to keep your food cold.
6. Shower regularly
One of the perks of camping in an official campsite is the shower facility you'll have near at hand. However, this doesn't mean you can't shower when camping in a secluded spot. This is where the extra water and a stock of baby wet wipes come in handy. Fill up as many jerry cans as you can with water and invest in one of the best solar showers in the market at the moment. You'll be able to wash the sweat and sea salt away and feel as refreshed as when you get out of your fancy bath at home. Showering will also reduce your chances of getting banished out of your tent by fellow campers.
7. Buy a portable burner
If you really and truly want to cook, forget about lighting a bonfire as you'll be bathed in sweat in just a couple of minutes. Also, cutting firewood is too strenuous for summer. This is where portable burners will prove to be useful.
8. Use LED lighting
Although you'll enjoy long sunny days, appropriate lighting will serve you well after the sun sets. Make sure you bring lighting which doesn't emit heat and which is warm-coloured to retain a cool and mosquito-free environment. Remember you'll be drinking a lot, and thus, peeing a lot, so you need good lighting to go back and forth. You'll avoid giving an unexpected wet surprise to your camping fellows or tripping on tent pegs.
9. Bring as much shade as you can
Rummage around your garage or box room and grab anything which would help keep the sun's rays at bay. Gazebos, parasols and green shade nets will be of high value in summer to shelter you from direct sunlight, as trees will not offer maximum protection. Sleeping, cooking, washing and relaxation quarters need to be sheltered properly, at least during peak hours. Alternatively, you can invest in pop up standing tents which are easy to set up. Do make sure you set them up in the shade or you'll start roasting inside.
10. Get insect repellents
Summer is synonymous with mosquitos so you need to stock on your citronella candles, essential oils, aloe vera and mosquito repellent sprays if you don't want to be chewed upon alive. Explore the best ways to repel mosquitoes.
11. Slap on some high SPF sunscreen
Forget about working on your tan! Rather than getting sun-kissed, you'll get a blistered sunburn if you stay all day exposed to the sun without protection and your skin will be ablaze by the end of the first day. So if you don't want to ruin your summer camping trip, squirt and spray water resistant sunscreen which boasts a high SPF and reapply regularly to guarantee maximum protection at all times. Even if you're enjoying the sea, go up and reapply between one plunge and another. If you have sensitive skin, drop by to one of the pharmacies or beauty stores listed on Yellow and buy specialised sunscreen for your skin type. Nevertheless, do try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
12. Refrain from physical exertion
You don't want to be labouring away on a highly complex tent or a backbreaking gazebo at high noon. Set up lightweight tents and shading solutions before 10am or after 5pm when the sun isn't blazing hot so the tasks wouldn't be as arduous. Plan water games and activities which will take your mind off the oppressive heat.
How do you avoid a heat stroke?
- Stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible
- Drink lots of water
- Avoid intense physical activities
- Take regular cool showers
- Wear breathable clothing
- Go for frequent swims
The ultimate checklist for a summer camping trip:
One of the joys of going camping is secluding yourself from the civilised world to totally immerse yourself in nature. If forced to return home to gather previously forgotten gear or supplies, you'll disrupt the harmony you'd have accrued in the wild. So here's a checklist of all the extra supplies you need for a summer camping weekend:
- Gazebos, parasols, shade nets etc…
- Summer sleeping bag
- Sun hat
- Loose shorts and tops
- Breathable sandals
- Insect repellents
- Portable fan
- Cold foods
- Drinking water
- Water for washing, cooking and showering purposes
- Outdoor towels
- Wet wipes
- Portable burner
- LED lighting
- Pop up tents
- Rope and laundry pegs
- First aid kit
Top gadgets you can buy for your next camping trip in summer
If you're a tech geek, you may want to consider investing in some useful camping gadgets. Here are our top 3 picks for summer:
1. Solar powered portable cooler
Forget melting ice and say hello to a durable and more reliable cooling solution! This sustainable solar powered cooler will help keep your food and drink supplies cooler for a longer period of time, and it will provide more space due to it lacking the need for ice packs. Check out some of these solar fridges to get inspired.
2. Solar powered portable fan
A portable fan is the best thing you can purchase to compensate for the lack of air conditioning. It can be used both inside your camping tent to boost circulation or even outside. Here are some solar fan devices you can consider.
3. Solar powered USB charger
Your electronic devices can remain fully charged until the end of your camping trip with the help of a solar-powered USB charger. By charging your phone, speakers, cooler, lanterns and other battery operated devices through solar energy, you won't need to worry about draining your car's battery anymore. Check out some of the best solar chargers on the market at the moment.
Surviving a camping festival
With Earth Garden coming up, here are some tips to surviving a camping festival in summer. You'll not have your car anywhere near your camping site so packing light is crucial to avoid making a zillion trips to your car. Take only what is really necessary and what you won't find in the camping site:
- If your tent is too bulky and intricate to set up, just book a tent in one of their campsites. Or else consider sleeping on a hammock.
- There will be various food stalls and bars to choose from so taking food and drink supplies won't be necessary.
- You'll want to take all the boho gypsy clothing which you wouldn't dare wear anywhere else, but do remain practical in your attire choice.
- Toilets and showers are provided so there's no need to take extra water with you.
- The campsites will be romantically lit and will look like they belong in a fairy-tale, so taking your own lanterns or other lighting devices is not necessary.
- Do take a portable cooler to keep all drinks cool
- Colourful shades will be set up so you may leave your parasol at home
- You'll be jamming, chilling and getting engrossed in the ethnic music and lively atmosphere. However, do keep your sunscreen handy in your boho trousers, or you'll be making your way home with a sunburnt skin after the first day.
Pay a visit to the number of camping shops across Malta and Gozo and immerse yourself in the outdoor world. If you're not a camping fan, but you have a weakness for adventure, check out these other fun outdoor activities which can be tailored just for you, and explore places you can visit to enjoy a summer holiday in the Maltese Islands.
Keep on discovering local with Yellow.