We're going to an area in France where the expected daytime temperature will be 30°C or higher. We use a light brown (beige) coated cotton tent.

Wildebeast Mt. Chinamba

We have to decide whether to put it up in the morning or evening shade.

I realize this is opinion based, but since I have no idea even of the criteria that I would use to make this decision, my question is:

What are the criteria I can/should base this decision on?

I'm specifically thinking about sleeping conditions; if we are on the camp site during the day we will find a place with shade.
Food we will (try) to keep cool by putting it in the shade covered with wet towels (not necessarily in the tent).

Hottest part of the day will be in the afternoon, some time after the sun is at its highest point. Let's say 15:00 CEST.

Shade will be from trees; not mountains.

  • I like an afternoon nap so I can rally for a fun evening, I am also an early riser. So I like my tent set up for afternoon/evening shade. Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 20:44

2 Answers 2


Most people on vacation spend their afternoons and evenings outside their tent, going to sleep after dark, but they get up when it's already light. So evening shade doesn't really matter, but morning shade buys them maybe as much as an hour of sleep. Tents in sunlight get hot fast. For the typical scenario therefor: morning shade.

That's what I do when kayaking in the summer in the Alps anyway.


I've just got back from the French Alps and while I was in a camper van, the others were in tents. There are a few things to consider:

  • Will the sun light/heat wake you in the morning? This is a function of you, the tent, and the time of year.
  • Can you ventilate the tent well enough to cool it before bed and/or overnight? Consider mosquitos etc. as well as the tent's vents.

As an example: My preference is for morning shade when in the tent, because I'm easily woken by the rising temperature in the morning (and the light, but an eye mask can deal with that). If you're going in summer the days are long and the sun rises early. Where we were there was mountain shade until about 7am, so evening tree shade was more possible, and that was what I aimed for in the van. We also had a couple of nights sleeping in the open. Morning shade gets you a bit more sleep then.

  • Not directly answering the question, but you can also help matters by drying towels over the tent at night, in fine weather at least
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 18:46

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