May 24, 2024

Five Top Tips to Beat the Colorado Heat

5 min read

HeatSummer is a great time to get out and enjoy all that the outdoors have to offer. For Denver residents, the mountains and the fun are just a short drive away, so there’s no reason to stay inside when summer rolls around.

But, with average summer temperatures in Denver routinely breaking the 90-degree threshold, we understand if you’d rather stay inside with your air conditioning than face the heat. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to beat the heat and still get out to enjoy Colorado’s natural beauty. Here are our top tips:

1. Pitch Your Tent in the Shade

Tents are a critical piece of gear on any camping adventure. But, when left in the sun, even the best of tents will turn into a veritable hotbox with temps on the inside reaching well over 90 degrees. Plus, since your tent is designed to block the wind, you’re not going to get any reprieve from that intense heat when you’re inside.

So, the easiest thing that you can do to combat this issue is to set your tent up in the shade. That can be tricky, of course, thanks to the movement of the sun during the day. Thankfully, we can do some mental calculus to figure out where the shade will be under a tree throughout the day.

Since the sun rises just south of east and sets just south of west during the summer months in the continental United States, with a compass in hand, we can estimate the sun’s path throughout the day and plan accordingly. Look to pitch your tent where there will be shade in the afternoon.
beat colorado heat
Or, if you want to keep things simple, plan to arrive at your campsite by late afternoon. Wherever the sun is when you arrive is where it’ll be during the hottest part of the day. Look for whatever shade you can find and pitch your tent there.

Fortunately, if you’re looking to pitch a tent in Colorado, finding shade shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. Forests cover 747 million acres of land in the United States, about 33% of the country’s land. Throughout Colorado you can find gorgeous state and national parks that are perfect for a summer or autumn camping trip.

2. Make a Sunshade

At midday, the heat of the sun can be just too much to deal with. The blistering heat can make it difficult or even dangerous to be outside and active, but if you’re out camping, you might not have any other choice. Luckily, making your own shade is possible and is a great way to beat the heat in the middle of the summer.

The best way to make a sunshade while camping is to bring a lightly-colored tarp. Set your tarp up to block the sun, but make sure it doesn’t interfere with the breeze. Once your tarp is up and ready, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors without sweating up a storm.

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Dehydration is a huge problem during the Colorado summer. With temperatures in the mid-to-high 90s and that dry Colorado air, it’s no wonder that the state routinely sees case after case of dehydration and heat illness-related hospitalizations every year.

If that wasn’t bad enough, dehydration can quickly spiral out of control and become heat exhaustion or worse, the life-threatening condition of heatstroke, if not cared for properly. The best solution? Prevent dehydration in the first place. Juice is another great alternative (learn about automatic juicers). 

Preventing dehydration isn’t difficult, per se, but it does require one to take a lot of personal responsibility. Proper hydration, which involves drinking close to one liter of water an hour when hiking in high heat, isn’t difficult but can be time-consuming.

That being said, staving off dehydration also requires active replenishment of electrolytes, which can happen by adding electrolyte tablets to your water. Alternatively, you could drink a mixture of water and your favorite sports drink, such as Gatorade.

4. Get Out and Swim

There’s nothing better than a swim in a cold alpine lake during a hot summer afternoon. Thankfully, Colorado’s mountains have no shortage of awesome alpine lakes, so get out and enjoy some wild swimming when you’re out camping.

When swimming in alpine lakes, however, keep in mind that there are no lifeguards nearby and that help is a long way away. Be conservative in your judgment, especially if you’re not a confident swimmer, and know that wading is a noble pastime. Dry your ears to avoid swimmers ear, for which you will need an ENT doctor’s help

Oh, and shoes are recommended when swimming in the mountains as they can protect your feet from cuts an scrapes on sharp rocks. Crocs or other purpose-built water shoes are a great option. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

5. Use a Tent Air Conditioner

When the summer heat is just too harsh for you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, you might need to get yourself a tent air conditioner. Tent air conditioners come in many different shapes and sizes, but each has the same goal: to make you more comfortable in your tent on a blisteringly hot day or when nighttime temps make sleeping all but impossible while car camping.

While people often opt for a small tent fan or some other device to keep air moving in their tent, when tents get over 80 degrees at night, your fan probably isn’t going to make much of a difference, especially if it’s super humid outside. Enter: the tent air conditioner.

If you’re new to the world of tent air conditioners, however, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the different options that are available to you. With the right guidance, though, it’s possible to find the tent air conditioning unit that’s right for you. Check out some awesome advice on buying tent air conditioners here, so you can spend less time sweating and more time enjoying the great outdoors.

Stay Cool During a Colorado Summer

Just because the day time high is approaching the three-digit mark doesn’t mean you need to stay inside. While the heat of midday can feel overwhelming and oppressive, there are plenty of ways to stay cool and beat the heat at the peak of a Colorado summer.

So, whether you hike, climb, or just enjoy some good ol’ family car camping, you don’t need to suffer in the heat. With our top tips for staying cool in the Colorado heat, you can wave goodbye to sweat and say hello to the adventure of a lifetime.

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