We have previously discussed how to stay warm while practicing van life or car camping. Now as the weather advances towards the extreme of summer, it is crucial to discuss strategies on maintaining a comfortable temperature against the sunlight scourge. After all, sweat might build muscles, but sleeping with a thick layer on the skin doesn’t quite hit the spot, unless sauna sleep has some type of hidden benefit.
Pick Your Location Wisely
Humidity can always be an issue depending on the region, yet there are ways to diminish the overall burden. For starters, choose a spot where the sun don’t shine (not in the traditional sense), such as a shaded area of the parking lot of neighborhood street. Run a quick orienteering check using a physical compass or an app like Digital Compass. This should give you a good sense of where the sun will rise and set, and allow for optimal positioning of the vehicle to avoid those adamant beams.
Block The Heavenly Fire
Once the sun’s placement has been determined, look at the windows and figure out if they need reinforcement. Even tinted panes can benefit from some added love, whether in the form of a peel and stick screen or the classic suction cup options. I personally have used a model similar to the Enovoe version, finding respectable success. If there is a way to lie down that locates your head away from direct window shine, consider that option. Few things are less pleasant than waking up to a bolt of sun right between the peepers.
Bed Down Right
When it comes to the choice of a mattress, materials matter. Some folks opt for raised platforms and will attempt to build a normal Sealy shindig inside their vehicle. This strikes me as unnecessary. A couple of solid foam sleeping mats topped with one or two inflatables should be adequate. The material works well against sweat and is often designed to keep body temp where it needs to be. I advise using this Wakeman foam option, the Coleman Self-Inflating pad, and the Wellax sleeping pad.
One the same subject, a sleeping bag’s nature is important. Obviously during the summer you don’t want some thick ass deep cold option like the WolfTraders version, although it works great for colder weather. Instead, a basic Coleman bag or simply a light blanket can suffice. I use an older version of the Mummy Bag, which is actually a bit warmer than is ideal. Especially in humid areas, being locked inside a bag won’t be fun, so you will probably unzip it at some point.
For a pillow, finding something light and cool remains absolutely paramount. I personally have employed a MyPillow Medium Fill for some time now, and find it to be more than adequate. The key is to use a light pillow case so your head does not sweat too much. Alternatively, there are specialized options such as the TEKAMON available for use.
Become The Airbender
The general humidity on a hot summer night cannot really be controlled, but there are valid ways to cope with it. First on the list would involve securing a good battery-operated fan. These can be charged at the library or at work with a USB cord and provide respectable circulation for between 8-10 hours on low speed. In the past I have employed the AceMining model, which is fantastic. It charges in a little over 2.5 hours and will run well past 12 hours without difficulty. In addition, the Holmes option is respectable, and actually runs much longer than the advertised 6 hours. Unfortunately, charge time clocks in around 4 hours, which is a lot less convenient. The advantage with each one is the low price tag, so you can snag 3-4 without blowing the bank. I also meant to check out the solar-powered fan offering from STYLOOC, but the reviews turned me off. Maybe they will improve performance in the future.
Preparing for the Sweat
While it is difficult to prevent the glands from opening up, there are some ways to make the experience more comfortable. Dressing light is an obvious strategy, but retiring for the day in a dry state (by cleaning off existing sweat) makes things much better, and you avoid rolling around in excess sweat from the start. Applying deodorant before sleeping will also improve on this front, holding in the sweat for a longer period of time.
Another valuable factor can be the use of a re-hydrating towel. These guys can be soaked and then rung out, but will reactivate when the body sweats during or after a sleep. The flagship brand is Frogg Toggs, but I opted for a third-party brand that offers larger sizes, because I am also a pretty big guy.