A lot of people go camping in the summer heat to take advantage of beach access and swimming. But going camping in 60-degree weather (16°C) can be just as good—if not better—than camping at the height of the season.
Is 60 degrees cold for camping?
At 60°F, you’re looking at slightly cooler temperatures that may be slightly uncomfortable, but definitely manageable for camping. 60 degrees isn’t too cold for camping if you have the proper gear and clothing to keep you warm.
You’ll typically see temperatures in the 60s in the shoulder seasons (spring and fall), but you can also see them sometimes in the summer. In the summer, you’ll probably see them more at night rather than during the day.
In fact, if you know that the nighttime temperatures won’t dip down below 60, you can get away with using a summer sleeping bag (as opposed to a three-season sleeping bag) if you bring extra layers to wear at night just in case you get cold. Most summer sleeping bags are rated for temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and up.
Do I need a sleeping bag for 60-degree weather?
Some people go camping in the summer without a sleeping bag and do just fine. But if the nighttime lows are on the cooler side, you might want to consider bringing one.
According to the Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature to sleep at—regardless of whether you’re camping or sleeping at home—is around 65°F (18°C). That’s a good rule of thumb to use when trying to figure out whether or not you should bring a sleeping bag.
For nighttime lows where the temperatures are expected to be 66°F or higher, you can get by with some cozy blankets and extra clothing layers. But for temperatures of 65°F or lower, you should probably bring a sleeping bag to stay on the safe side.
If you don’t like sleeping bags, you can try a sleeping quilt instead. These are similar to sleeping bags, but they don’t have the same constrictive feel. They work by draping over you like a blanket and trapping your body heat in.
Sleeping quilts are typically lighter and more compressible than sleeping bags, making them ideal for camping trips where space and weight are at a premium. Ross has a single one and we also have a double one for us both that we bought from Enlightened Equipment.
How to dress when camping in 60-degree weather
Temps in the 60s can be a bit awkward because you can be too warm or too cold depending on what you’re doing and what the weather conditions are like.
Hiking, setting up camp, processing firewood: Expect to feel warmer.
Sitting by the fire at night, prepping food, reading a book: Expect to feel cooler.
Lots of sun with little wind: Expect to feel warmer.
Cloud cover with lots of wind: Expect to feel cooler.
You might ask yourself, should I bring summer-friendly clothes like tank tops and shorts? Or should I bring more cold weather-friendly clothes like long pants and long-sleeved shirts?
You’ll probably want some of both, to be honest. But realistically, you need to tailor your clothing to the activities you plan on doing—in addition to the weather.
In general, layers are always best. This way, you can layer up or down depending on how warm or cold you’re feeling.
Dressing for the outdoors typically involves three main layers:
1. Base layer: The base layer is your first line of defense against the cold. It should be tight-fitting, breathable, and made from a material that wicks away sweat. Merino wool and synthetic materials like polyester work well for base layers.
2. Mid layer: The mid layer is designed to insulate you from the cold. It should be made from a breathable material like polyester—especially if you want to keep cool. For warmth, choose a mid layer made with wool, fleece, or down.
3. Outer layer: The outer layer is your final line of defense against the elements. It should be waterproof and windproof to protect you from rain, snow, and wind. Gore-tex and other similar materials work well for outer layers.
Your specific clothing choices will depend on the activities you plan on doing and the weather conditions you expect to encounter. But in general, you’ll want a mix of summer-friendly and cold weather-friendly clothes.
Layers for high levels of physical activity and sunny weather
If you plan to be very physically active, consider bringing tank tops, T-shirts, or long-sleeved shirts made from moisture-wicking synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. These are best for keeping cool, however you can also consider merino wool—a warmer material that does an excellent job of regulating temperature even if it gets wet from sweating.
For bottoms, you’ll want to bring comfortable shorts, capris, or long pants depending on your preferences. Again, consider quick-drying synthetic materials like nylon or polyester.
Layers for low levels of physical activity and cloudy, windy weather
When you’re hanging out at camp or the winds are really starting to pick up, that’s when you’ll want to layer up with warmer clothing items. This is where a base layer (top and bottom) made from merino wool really comes in handy, because you can wear it under your regular shirt/sweater and pants for extra warmth.
For those cooler mornings and nights, you’ll probably want a mid layer—something that goes over your base layer. This could be something as casual as a regular sweatshirt, or as cozy as a down vest or puffy jacket. You could also pair a wool sweater with a down vest. Again, it depends on your warmth level.
Your outer layer for rain
You must plan for rain, even if the weather forecast doesn’t call for it. Ideally, you’ll want a rain jacket and rain pants with a waterproof rating of at least 5,000mm and breathability rating of at least 5,000g or m2.
Check out the following charts for a summary of what waterproof and breathability ratings actually mean:
|Waterproof Rating (mm)
|0 – 5,000
|Water resistant only
|6,000 – 10,000
|Waterproof under light pressure
|Light to moderate rain
|11,000 – 15,000
|Waterproof under medium pressure
|16,000 – 20,000
|Waterproof under high pressure
|Waterproof under very high pressure
|The heaviest of rains
|Breathability Rating (g/m2)
|0 – 5,000
|Low levels of physical activity
|5,000 – 15,000
|Medium levels of physical activity
|High levels of sustained physical activity
Why dressing for the weather is so important
Your clothing isn’t just supposed to keep you warm—it should keep you dry as well. This is why layers and rainwear are so necessary.
If you get wet from rain or from sweating, that moisture will quickly cool down your body and make you feel cold. If your body temperature drops too low, you risk hypothermia—a potentially life-threatening condition.
Hypothermia can occur in air temperatures of 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C) if you’re in wet and windy conditions.
Keep in mind that it can also happen during or after swimming (or falling into water). Even if the water temperature is in the 60s to 70s, hypothermia is still a risk—especially if your body can’t properly warm up afterward.
What kind of sleep gear you need for 60-degree weather
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need any specialized sleep system gear for cold weather if temperatures are expected not to drop below 60°F. You may just need to get a little creative by making your existing gear a little warmer.
Here are the essentials you should expect to bring:
A three-season tent is designed to be comfortable in spring, summer, and fall weather—including temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C). If you expect it to be colder than that, bring a four-season tent or camping pod instead.
A three-season sleeping bag is typically rated to keep you warm down to at least 23°F (-5°C). Make sure you know what your sleeping bag’s temperature rating is so that you can stay warm when the temperature drops at night.
An optional sleeping bag liner can add an extra layer of warmth to your sleeping bag, and is especially useful if you have a summer sleeping bag or a three-season sleeping bag with a temperature rating at the higher end.
At least one tarp to act as a shelter at camp and potentially another one to put over your tent as an extra rain barrier. We’re prefer to use an A-frame tarp shelter because it’s so easy to set up.
Make sure to check out our guide on how to stay warm in a tent for more ideas on how to keep your camping setup cozy.
Camping in 60-degree weather can be a blast
Honestly, this is some of our favourite kind of weather to camp in. For us, it’s not too cool—but just cool enough.
Your biggest risk is getting wet and chilled. As long as you can keep the rain from soaking you and avoid breaking into a sweat, you’ll be in good shape.
Have a great trip, and stay dry!
Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).