Are you dreaming of your next camping expedition, or perhaps already planning it? Getting outside is always fun and exciting, but there are several considerations you must have to ensure that you get the best out of your camping exercise.
One of the most important considerations is the weather for camping. You need to know how cold or hot the temperature will be outside and how the temperature will affect you.
If you want to find out the best temperature for camping, the best month of the year to go on your camping expedition, and even the wrong times to go camping, then read on!
What Is the Best Weather for Camping?
The best weather for camping can differ, depending on the season you’re camping and what you consider to be the perfect warm or cool weather.
However, the ideal camping weather is nighttime weather that is not below 55°F and a daytime temperature that ranges between 72°F and 78°F.
Daytime weather in the high 60s also works well enough whether you’re camping in a tent or hammock, but at night, any weather below the 50s can be uncomfortable in a hammock as it will be too cold. The high 40s is also manageable for tent campers and won’t be too cold.
Campers agree that nighttime temperatures of between 50°F and 65°F are most comfortable for camping, especially in a hammock.
When the temperature is within the ranges above, you’ll be warm enough to not have to bother about what you’re wearing. However, when it gets colder, you’ll have to add some more garments to keep yourself cold.
If you’re going tent camping, temperatures ranging from 60 to 90F are considered warm temperatures and the most comfortable for camping, especially for family tents.
If you’re a tent camper in Southern America, you’ll find more of such suitable warm temperatures in the Spring and Fall rather than in the summer, as summertime can get quite hot.
However, if you’re a tent camper in northern America, camping in Spring, between March and May, when the temperatures are gradually rising and the snow is melting, is the most comfortable time for you.
For RV camping, an average temperature of 70°F in the day and 65°F at night is perfect. If you like to sleep in colder temperatures, you will enjoy 56 to 58°F at nighttime.
In summer, you can use the RV’s AC to maintain the level of coolness you need. You can also use a heater to warm things up in the winter. You can also use a fan, heater, or fireplace, depending on what works for you and what you have in your RV.
3 Things to Consider Alongside the Best Camping Weather
Beyond the current temperature, there are three things to concern yourself with when camping. They include:
1. Chances of Precipitation
The best camping weather is one with a lack of precipitation, because that way you won’t have to bother about how to shield your camp, deal with wet clothes, and other discomforts that come with rainfall.
Even if your tent or hammock is waterproof and you’ll be shielded in your RV, consistent rain will not only get your stuff wet and leave you worrying about how to dry them, but it can prevent you from going out and exploring.
2. Condition of the Skies
Less cloudy skies are better for camping because when the skies are cloudy, there are higher chances of rainfall.
Partly sunny to clear skies are the best; not only because you can rest assured that it won’t rain, but because the skies are prettier with fewer clouds during the day and clear skies at night also mean that you can see the stars better too.
3. Calm vs Windy
Camping at a time when there is constant heavy wind can be quite uncomfortable, even if your tent has windproofing. The wind can be chilling, noisy, and also uncomfortable for your tent or hammock as it can push against it.
When the weather is calm, all is perfect because you will avoid windburn, a disturbance to your tent and RV, and your food and drinks won’t be getting cold in a matter of seconds. You also don’t have to wear so much to avoid a chill.
Camping Location and Elevation
It is important to mention that your camping location can affect how the weather turns out for you, especially in relation to sudden weather changes.
For instance, if you’re camping in the desert, the temperature might remain predictably warm during the day.
However, there can be sudden temperature drops at night. So, regardless of how perfect the weather might be, always be prepared for a sudden and possibly extreme cold when desert camping.
Elevation can also affect the temperature when camping. The general rule is that there is less air the higher you go, and as the air cannot trap as much heat, you find that it will be colder, the higher you go, and warmer, the lower you go.
Here are some rules of thumb to help you when calculating elevation:
For every 1000 feet in elevation, the temperature decreases by about 5.4F when there’s no rain or snow.
For every 1000 feet when rain or snow is present, the temperature decreases by about 3.3F.
So, if you’re camping in the mountains, you can expect a temperature difference between the high and low elevations, depending on the height difference.
When a weather station releases a forecast, it is most likely not considering the same elevation as your campground, especially if you’re camping in the forest or a mountain.
For instance, weather forecasts for the Smoky mountains often consider the environment at an elevation of 1200 feet.
However, that’s not the highest possible elevation because there are campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains that are over 5,000 feet in elevation. To get the right temperatures at such heights, you will have to factor in the difference in elevation to get the right temperature.
If you’re a fan of mountain camping, you should look for weather channels and Apps that give you the expected temperatures at different mountains and different elevations. Mountain-forecast.com is a great choice to get the above data.
Now that we have explored what we consider the best camping weather, let’s look at the months when you’ll most likely have a lot of this weather to make your camping expedition bliss.
What Is the Best Month To Go Camping? Why?
Generally, Summertime is popular for camping because that’s when you get dry and warm weather. Summer spans from June to September mostly. However, that would depend on the climate where you reside and what kind of camping you’ll be doing.
If you’re in a climate that is prone to extreme heat in the summer, you might find that anytime between December and April is best for camping because it is cooler at those times than in the later months. For colder climates, the June to September window works fine.
The months of June and July are great for camping, especially when you want to undertake camping activities like kayaking, swimming, and fishing.
If you’re going camping as a family with kids, the summer months are best because you can take part in outdoor activities without being disturbed by excessive heat or rainfall.
If you’re going to be camping in a state park, June and July or September and October are the best months for camping, with the earlier two months being more crowded and the latter two months being cooler and less crowded.
Always check with your state park for the best time to visit because the months may vary from park to park.
While the summer months are kind of the all-around best preferred time for camping, other seasons also hold an appeal to many campers for different reasons.
For instance, some campers don’t like the fact that there’s always a crowd when camping in the summertime because of the perfect weather.
They would rather choose to go camping in Spring when the weather is just beginning to warm up after the winter, or in the fall when things are cooling down after the summer.
Although Winter isn’t quite the ideal time for camping, some people enjoy the challenge that the cold and snow bring in the winter.
Talking about cold weather, there are times when it is absolutely too cold to go camping. Let’s talk about that.
What Temp Is Too Cold for Camping? What Happens When You Go Camping When It Is Too Cold?
Temperatures from 0° to 30°F are considered cold temperatures of 40F are also considered to be cold, depending on how warm you sleep. However, this is quite a wide temperature range, so let’s get closer to the exact details.
1. Camping at 40°F
Camping at 40F at night can be quite cold, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous if you have the right gear, including a sleeping bag and pad.
2. Camping at 30°F
Not only is it colder when the temperatures reach 30 degrees, nighttime temperatures of 30°F or below almost always result in rainfall that can get everything wet, or a lot of frosts that could melt at daybreak.
3. Camping at 20°F
Camping at temperatures around 20F and below is the ultimate test for the camper and can cause the ultimate discomfort. At 20 degrees or less, you are at risk of frostbite or even hypothermia.
Camping in this weather is risky for adults and definitely advised against for children, which is why you find fewer campers at this time.
While some people have learned how to camp at colder temperatures of 20 degrees and below, it is no place for a newbie to camping or someone without heating options and gear fitted for the cold.
4. Camping Below 0°F
Camping in temperatures below zero degrees is not advised for anyone, because they are severely cold and potentially dangerous.
A family tent cannot handle the cold associated with these temperatures, except you have expedition equipment. Even then, it is too risky to camp under this weather because there is a serious risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and shock when exposed to such temperatures.
If you’re new to camping, a nighttime temperature of 30F to 40F is considered too cold to go tent camping, especially if you have only the basic gear and nothing designed to handle the cold.
When camping in an RV, the weather can be defined as too cold whenever the temperature is consistently below freezing, as that is when there are a lot of problems to worry about.
Once the temperature is below 32 degrees, you’ll begin to feel the cold, your heat needs will increase, and you’ll also have to worry about freezing pipes.
The wind can also be a problem when camping in an RV. Even with temperatures above freezing, cold winds are likely in the winter, and these winds can penetrate your RV windows and doors, thereby worsening the cold.
Dangers Of Cold Weather Camping
As we mentioned earlier, some dangers you face when camping in extremely cold weather include hypothermia, frostbite, and shock.
If your skin is exposed to such extreme cold, you might be 15 to 45 minutes away from frostbite.
The chill from the wind is also a major concern, so you must ensure that your camping tent is protected from the wind and properly sealed.
Hypothermia sets in once your body is unable to produce enough temperature to keep you alive. However, hypothermia only comes after warning signs of extreme cold and a period of discomfort during which you should take drastic measures to avoid deterioration.
Before suffering hypothermia, you will experience shivering, extreme cold and sleepiness, frostbite, and disorientation. It is very risky to fall asleep at this point because you just might die. So, staying awake and getting warm or getting help should be a priority.
What Weather Is Too Hot for Camping?
Just as the weather can be too cold for camping, there is such a thing as too much heat, and a camper should be aware of that.
When considering camping and heat, the temperature on your weather app or channel might not provide enough information on how hot your camping trip might be, which is why the heat index is as important as the temperature in this regard.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the heat index combines the temperature and humidity levels in an area to let you know how that environment might feel.
Whether you’re tent camping, hammock, or RV camping, there is a general heat range that is labeled one of extreme caution for campers. That is a heat-index range of 90° to 105°F.
While experienced campers might still be able to cope with this heat range, it is the maximum range that is considered safe for outdoor tent camping.
Once the heat index exceeds 105°F, you’ll find the NWS issuing excessive heat warnings as such weather conditions are considered dangerous or extremely dangerous. If you’re camping in a family tent, you shouldn’t be outdoors in this condition.
Amongst campers, the consensus held is that the maximum temperature for comfort is 80F at night and 95F during the day. Even at these temperatures, you’ll need cooling methods such as ACs and fans to get comfortable.
When camping in a tent, it is important to factor in a 5 to 10-degree difference in the heat because the tent heats up easily, and it is always slightly warmer in the tent than outside.
Nighttime temperature is an important consideration because, in some areas, the nighttime temperatures are perfectly cool and could be cooler and more comfortable than daytime temperatures. On the other hand, some areas will maintain the same or similar high temperatures 24 hours a day.
Heat and Camping Location
When camping in hot weather, your location has a massive role to play in the way the temperature affects you.
For instance, 90F in a swamp will be different from 90F in a desert. Many campers say they prefer dry heat to damp heat because heat and humidity combined can be more uncomfortable and leave you sweaty all day.
Also, when you’re camping at 90 degrees in an area where there is water or shade, you will be more comfortable than if you were in an area with no water and no shade from the sun.
It even gets all the more comfortable if there’s a pool around you where you can go for an occasional swim.
Camping can be an absolute delight when you’re at the right destination and you’re camping in perfect weather. To get the best out of your next camping experience and avoid discomforts that might take all the fun out of your trip, follow our guide on the best months and weather to go camping.
Feel free to stretch your limits a little, especially if you are an expert camper or you’re used to extremely hot or cold environments. However, ensure that you pack everything you need to manage the weather, and follow weather forecasts and warnings to avoid dangerous situations.