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Whether you are a renter, use your own rig all summer long, or are a full-time RVer, you need to know how to keep your RV cool. Having the ability to do this without your air conditioning running or powering up the generators is important. You never know when you may decide to go boondocking during a heatwave.
How to Keep Your RV Cool
These tips will help you keep your rig cooler during the hot summer months or when the weather turns on you unexpectedly. Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
The Perfect Parking Spot
You are often given the option of a shaded camping site or an open, sunny one. If you’re smart, during the summer or warmer months, you’ll always opt for the shade. It is amazing how much cooler your rig will be with the added shade from the trees above.
Another consideration when parking your RV or travel trailer is the orientation to the sun. Figure out which side of your site will receive the afternoon sun. Park your rig so that the side with the fewer windows will be facing that hot, midday sun.
Unleash That Awning
Odds are that your awning (if your rig has one) is on the same side as the door or doors. Once you’re parked, don’t wait to deploy that awning and shade as much of the side of your RV as you can. You can go one better and get a mesh shade screen that attaches to your awning and blocks even more of the heat and sunlight.
Take Care of Your AC Unit
If you’re planning on using your air conditioner in the rig, you’ll want to make sure it is ready for the trip. Performing routine maintenance and cleaning or replacing the filters regularly can help. Don’t wait until you’re already out on the road to take care of these tasks.
Firing the AC up early in the day will also go a long way to keeping your rig nice and cool. If you don’t wait until the heat is upon you, the rig will never have a chance to get hot. You won’t spend time and valuable energy trying to cool off the entire RV and all of its contents.
Cover the Windows
A lot of heat is lost through your window glass. Tinting the windows helps with keeping it cooler, but you do lose that great natural light and visibility during the more temperate months of the year.
A great option is to use easily-removable heat reflective insulation. The majority of the midday heat will be reflected and not allowed in to heat up your interior. It comes in rolls that you can cut to the exact size of each window. Don’t forget about the window in your doors.
Cool Air In, Hot Air Out
It’s important to keep the air moving inside your RV. An easy way to create a natural airflow is to open the vents in the roof of your rig and the windows on the shadier side of the campsite. This should allow the naturally-rising hotter air to escape out the top while cooler air is drawn in through the open windows.
Take advantage of any breezes that may come up, especially at night. Using fans can make the world of difference in whether or not you get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to kick on the ceiling fans if you have them. They’re designed to pull that hot air up and out. There are many rechargeable fans on the market that won’t eat up your batteries if you’re dry camping.
Cover the Skylight(s)
Many of today’s RVs have skylights in their bathroom or shower areas. They are great for letting the sunshine in to brighten everything up. Unfortunately, they also let a tremendous amount of heat in as well. You can put something temporary (only while you’re camping & parked) over the skylight on the roof or you can cover it from the inside.
You can use something similar to the window covering we mentioned earlier or get a “vent pillow” like the one pictured above. They are usually sized to fit the majority of standard skylights and RV air vents.
Turn Off Lights and Appliances
Just like at home, we should turn off and even unplug lights and appliances we aren’t using. Lights and things like an X-box or other game consoles can create quite a bit of heat. Replacing the regular lights in your rig with RV LED lights can both save money and keep it a little bit cooler.
Host a Cookout or Two
Unless you’re microwaving everything (which can still create heat) or eating everything cold, you’ll need something to cook on. Many campers are quite the gourmets when it comes to campfire cooking. Others might need a little more modern help. Having a propane camp stove (preferably with 2 burners!) allows you to create full meals outside without having to rely on the campfire. AND it keeps the heat and smell of bacon out of your rig!
Were You Born in the Barn?
Did you grow up hearing “Shut the door, were you born in a barn?”. If you did, you’ll know it was because you were letting the heat or cool air out and the flies in. The same goes for your RV door. Keep it shut and minimize the opening/closing and in/out trips. Try to consolidate your journeys in and out during the hot hours. Every time that door opens the cooler air is sucked out of your rig. Close those barn doors people!
Venture Forth and Stay Cool
Now that you know some basic ways to keep your cool and that of your RV, start planning your next trip. Keep these tips in mind and remember that there is only so much clothing you can remove to stay cool before you get in trouble with the law! Enjoy your summer campers.