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Seven ways to stay cool while camping this summer

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

camping in tents

Explore Manitoba’s beautiful provincial parks for free. Now until Sunday, July 18, Manitoba is offering free entry to all provincial parks.

In the midst of a heatwave, Manitoba parks with lakes and beaches can help people stay cool. The hot weather doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy camping, but you need to take extra caution to make sure you and your friends and family stay safe.

Here are some tips to stay cool and avoid overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke while staying the night and exploring the great outdoors:

filling up water bottles

1. Bring more than enough water.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important tips to help you avoid getting heatstroke. Drinking water regulates and lowers your body temperature to keep you cool. It also replaces all the fluid that you lose from sweating.

Think about bringing big jugs of water, so when you run out you can easily refill them from taps that are placed around the campgrounds. Bringing big containers means fewer trips to get water.

You can freeze your water bottles before leaving to keep them even colder. Frozen water bottles also double as ice packs to help keep you and your food cold.

If you find water too boring and want something tastier, think about bringing flavour enhancers like electrolyte powders or liquids to add to your water bottles.

a person wearing a hat

2. Wear light clothes and a hat.

Wearing flowy light-coloured clothing reflects the sunlight off you and allows the breeze to cool your body. Choose clothes that are designed to wick moisture from your skin, fabrics like cotton and wool can be helpful during hot days and nights.

Make sure you wear a hat that protects your head and face from the sun’s rays. A wide-brimmed hat is the best choice, but even a ball cap can make a big difference. Consider soaking your hat in cold water to keep your head cool.

person applying sunscreen

3. Remember to bring lots of sunscreen.

Re-apply often throughout the day to avoid sunburns, especially after you get out of the water, when the afternoon sun is at its hottest and when you change clothes during the day.

tent in the forest

4. Set up your tent in the shade.

If there isn’t enough shade you can always bring a tarp, some rope and maybe a couple of poles and set up the tarp above your tent to block out the sun from directly hitting your tent.

lakeside rocks and trees

5. Choose a spot closer to the water.

Where possible, it may be best to find a camping spot near the water but remember to set up at least 200 feet away from the water's edge (approximately 70 adult footsteps). The breeze which comes off the water will keep your site cool and you will have easy access for swimming—just remember to bring lots of sunscreen with you and maybe a floatie to relax in the cold water.

If the campground you’re at isn’t near a body of water, it’s a good idea to get a campsite near the campground’s water taps for quick access to refill your water.

hiking in prairie

6. Avoid strenuous activities.

If you still want to go hiking or biking during the heat wave, make sure to bring lots of water and snacks along with you. It’s best to plan to go during the coolest times of the day, like closer to sunrise and sunset. If you're not a morning person then you can go in the evening to avoid direct sunlight.

Stay wildlife smart and be extra aware of your surroundings during these times. Wildlife is most active around dusk and dawn, so encounters may be more likely to occur.

smoke in the forest

7. Be aware of smoke and fire restrictions.

Smoke from wildfires across Western Canada has spread across certain areas of Manitoba. With the heatwave and lack of rainfall, the province has declared a fire ban throughout most provincial parks with some exceptions.

Always check the latest updates to see what the fire and travel regulations are for the provincial park you will be visiting.

Remember to continue following COVID-19 guidelines while camping. Make sure you know the latest COVID-19 information and rules for provincial parks and province-wide.

To learn more tips about camping the lake friendly way, click here.

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