12 Essentials to Make Camping More Enjoyable This Summer

Here's everything you need to stay cool and comfortable on a family camp-out this summer.

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June 20, 2021

Over the past year, many of us have turned to camping for a much-needed summer escape. As in, one that doesn't require stepping foot onto a plane or attempting to navigate a new city. Unfortunately, scorching summer temps have made getting outside a challenge, but we've got what you need to keep it cool around the campsite. Take a look at our top picks.

The inside of your tent can quickly get hot and stuffy in the heat of the afternoon. It helps to keep the tent flaps open to encourage cross-ventilation, but honestly, flaps can only do so much. Set up a heavy-duty pop-up canopy over your tent to create much-needed shade. When it's time for bed, the tent will already be cooler, giving your fan or window AC unit a jump on further lowering temps inside your tent.

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$39.27

A high-velocity floor fan is beyond critical for circulating air, cooling down a campsite and keeping pesky bugs away from your hammock and picnic table. On summer afternoons, you'll be thankful for the gentle breezes provided by this durable three-speed fan as you sip on an adult beverage. Some fans even have a misting feature to spray water into the air, helping to further cool down the space while you relax.

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$29.99

These battery-powered misting fans are ideal to have on hand as you relax in your camp chairs at the end of the day. This top-rated, lightweight fan has three speeds and is foldable so you can go hands-free and set it on a picnic table to enjoy the cool breezes as you eat dinner or play a family board game.

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$169 $159
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Yes, you can reap the benefits of air conditioning when spending time in the great outdoors. A simple window unit is all you need to keep it cool inside your tent on steamy summer nights. It's such a game-changer, particularly for those who value shut-eye. You may need to make a few modifications to your tent to effectively allow cold air in and push warm air out, but you'll quickly find it's worth the extra effort.

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In summer, even the most chilled beverages warm up quickly, requiring a desperately-needed infusion of ice. Make your own ice in less than eight minutes with a portable, tabletop ice maker. This tiny but powerful machine can pop out 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours. Now that's a lot of ice for cold drinks, to add to the cooler or to cool yourself down.

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An outdoor extension cord may not seem as important as cooling towels or insect repellent, but when it comes to comfort at the campsite, it's actually more important. You will need it to power up your fan, charge up your phones and keep your window AC unit chugging along all night long. First, make sure your campsite is equipped with an electric outlet. (Not all sites have one.) A cord that runs at least 50 feet with room to plug in at least three devices is worth its weight in gold.

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$4.99

Not all insect repellents are created equal. Mosquitos will actually laugh at you as they chomp through your clothes if you go for repellent bracelets. Never again. Instead, opt for a top-rated DEET-free repellent, like REPEL's Lemon Eucalyptus Spray. This spray smells nice, is plant-based (i.e., not chock-full of chemicals), isn't sticky and best of all, it works. You can happily discourage mosquitos for up to six hours before you need to reapply.

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$17.99 $13
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To further discourage gnats and mosquitos from settling in around your campsite, spray down your tent, backpacks, hammocks and camp chairs with a specially formulated insect repellent. Sawyer makes a top-rated odorless trigger spray treatment for fabrics that creates a protective barrier against irksome biting insects. Pair this with an insect repellent made for skin to keep pesky bugs away.

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$24.99

To keep cool, set up an inflatable splash pad at your campsite (just make sure you've got a water spout at your site). Bring along a garden hose and get this going for hours of fun. This is great to have if your campground pool is closed or over-crowded with fellow campers eager to cool off, too.

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$17.99 (Pack of 4)

On hot days, quick-cool towels feel heaven-sent. Simply soak one of the colorful towels in water, wring it out and drape it around your neck as you settle into your camp chair. These breathable towels cool instantly and stay icy cold for up to three hours. Use them at the campsite, in your tent or on a hike. Even pets can wear these cooling towels to help comfort them in summer's sweltering heat and humidity.

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From $24.99

Your pup also needs to stay cool while lounging around the campsite. This cool pad is a must-have to keep your favorite doggo comfy on a hot day. Since it's made from a non-toxic cooling gel, you don't need to freeze or chill to use — it's cold right out of the box. No dog? No problem. This cool pad works well for humans, too. Put it inside your sleeping bag or on top of your cot when it's time to turn in for the night.

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From $18.99

It's easy to manage the heat of summer with an ultra-cooling throw blanket, which claims to keep you cool all night long. This is a must for summer camping. There's no rule that says you have to snuggle into a sleeping bag while camping, so go for the cooling throw blanket instead.

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Prep for Your Next Camping Adventure

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