Keeping Your RV Cooler When Camping During Hot Spells

Published Categorized as RVs

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Whether you’re camping in the northern part of our country during the summer months, or RVing in places like Florida and Arizona during the winter season, there’s a good chance you’ll need to lower the temperature in your RV. While many full time RVers travel in rigs that had air conditioning units already installed on them when they were purchased, many folks have campers or conversion vans that lack these amenities. This is especially true for people that have vintage RVs and it’s also true for a lot of folks that camp with their family for short periods of time such as long weekends or a 1-2 weeks per camping season in RV models such as pop-up campers.

In this article, we’ll look at the best ways to keep your RV cool if you are located in areas where you’ll be camping in warmer climates. I’ll also share some of my tips for keeping your RV cooler if you have air conditioning units and how that may save you money in the long run if you are a full time RVer or a seasonal RVer.

Choose your campsite wisely

Take a look around your campground or your boondocking sites beforehand if you have the chance. Many campgrounds will you give you the opportunity to drive through their grounds and choose a site on your own. If you have that option, choose a sight that has plenty of natural shade in wooded areas. Blocking out the natural sunlight during the heat of the day is especially important when you’re RVing in a rig without air conditioning.

If you’re not given the opportunity to drive through a campground you want to stay at prior to booking your site, consider researching your choice by accessing their website or even through other resources such as Google Earth that will give you an idea of where the best campsite will work you.

Ventilation is a key to keeping your RV cooler

For RV owners that don’t have air conditioning in their rigs, the key is to always have air circulating. Remember, hot air rises, so it’s best to have 1-2 exhaust fans that are pulling the hot air out of your RV from the ceiling of your rig. However, you’ll need to open a window or two to keep the airflow through your rig consistent.

If you have a vent in your bathroom, you should turn that on and leave the bathroom door open to help circulate the air as well. Also, if you have an exhaust fan above your stove, turn that on too.

Don’t cook inside during the day

Using your stove or oven adds heat to the inside of your RV. Consider cooking outdoors or eating dishes like chilled salads and cold sandwiches.

Consider window coverings

Keeping the sunlight out of your rig is another way to lower the temperatures in your RV. One good way to do that is to block the sunlight coming through your windows or doors.

There’s a good chance that when you’re camping, you’ll be outside during the day so blocking out the windows of you RV won’t affect you much anyway, and an excellent product to block out your windows from sunlight is Reflectix®.

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This product comes in numerous sizes and lengths so buying a roll that works for you is easily accomplished. It’s also inexpensive, and very easy to cut and fit to your windows so I highly recommend using it to help keep your RV cooler.

While most of the RVs I have owned over the years have had air conditioning units on them, I have used Reflectix quite often and the reason for this was to save money. As someone that travels with a pet and as someone that has spent a lot of time living on the road and work camping, I have stayed in a lot of campgrounds that offer seasonal camping. Most seasonal campgrounds that I have stayed at have metered sites for those RVers and they charge you extra for electrical usage and in some cases even cable or satellite TV services.

Using Reflectix while I was work camping helped me save money because my air conditioning was being used less while I was at work and I needed to keep the AC working for my hound dog Lizzie.

Understand the weather patterns in the area you’re RVing

If you’re a boondocker or an have the opportunity to choose a campsite at a private or even a public campground, take a look around the facilities and choose a site based on the natural elements. For example, if you’re in a hot unshaded area with little to no air movement, consider positioning your RV so the door is facing toward the east. This will limit your exposure to the heat of the afternoon sunlight to the backside of your RV and at the same may improve the airflow throughout your RV based upon wind direction. Considering weather factors such as these will keep you more comfortable while you’re RVing, and I have been doing these steps for years. You should too.

Keep your appliances exhaust outlets flowing freely

In many cases while you are staying in a campground that has full electrical access, your refrigerator will be operating using electric as it’s source of power. However, when off grid, it may operate using propane. Either way, it’s very important that you make sure that those appliances are operating correctly so they can correctly exhaust the heat they are producing. Inspecting these outlets and correctly maintaining them is a must for any RVer.

Final thoughts

Keeping your RV cool shouldn’t be complicated. If you’re in North America between May and September, go north. In my opinion, the best way to keep your RV cool is to follow the weather. Thanks so much for following along here, and I hope to see you on the road sometime soon.

By Brian

Born and raised in Michigan, contributing writer Brian C. Noell is a retired hospitality industry professional that now works remotely as a visual artist, writer and photographer as he travels around the United States in an RV with his dog Lizzy, an eighty pound Appenzeller hound dog.