Summer is finally here! That means camping season is in full swing and it’s time to take on your camping bucket list items.
For many, one of those bucket list items is going out into the wilderness and boondocking (camping without hookups or a pre-established campsite). This is an excellent goal, and something every camper should experience at least once (if not every day) over the course of their camping lifetime.
That said, boondocking does require a certain number of preparations, especially in the heat of summer when the threat of heat stroke and dehydration is very real.
Unsure how you can prepare for and prevent these emergencies? Lucky for you, we’ve made a handy list of the top summer boondocking essentials. Of course, these items are summer specific and should never take the place of the items on the usual bookdocking checklist, as the items on the latter will be needed no matter the season. Therefore, you’ll want to make good use of both lists and know you’re going in as prepared as possible.
1. Battery-operated fans
A fan can really help cool down a hot, stuffy RV. For this reason, this is one item you won’t want to be without—hence the reason it made it onto both boondocking lists.
While your rig probably has a vent fan—something that should definitely be put to good use—go ahead and pick up a few battery-operated fans or low-voltage fans as well. For best results, open the windows, turn on the vent fan, and place the battery fans near the windows to pull and circulate more air into the RV.
While this certainly won’t work as well as an A/C, you might be surprised just how much it does do.
2. Good sunshades and an awning
Another thing that can seriously reduce the temperature in a hot RV is shade. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to find tall trees in your preferred camping area. This is where man-made shade steps in.
An awning on the outside of your RV—along with a good set of room darkening window shades—should help keep your rig at a comfortable temperature in the middle of the day.
Even if you don’t plan to spend afternoons indoors, these are a good investment because the awning will provide shade outdoors and both items will help keep the interior cool, making it easier to stay comfortable when bedtime rolls around.
3. Ice packs
Ice packs are a great way to keep cool on the hottest summer days. Since most RVs have gas-operated refrigerators and freezers, you can just pop a few of these into your freezer even when you’re not connected to shore power. When you get super hot, pull one out and put it on your neck or forehead to cool down quickly.
Don’t have a propane freezer? Try putting your ice packs in an ice-filled cooler. While they won’t freeze, they will get pretty darn cold and will definitely still feel refreshing.
4. Outdoor grill
Cooking inside the motorhome or travel trailer is only going to make the place hotter. Instead, head outside when it’s time to cook. A simple outdoor grill will make this easy enough to do. Besides, nothing says summer quite like a burger grilled outdoors, and a grilled steak can’t be beaten.
Another option is to cook over a campfire. Who doesn’t like a good campfire meal wrapped in foil and cooked on hot coals, or a hot dog cooked over an open flame? When you’re finished eating, be sure to top off the meal with a delicious s’more!
5. Bamboo sheets
Nobody wants to sleep with a heavy comforter in the summer. This is especially true while summer camping with no A/C. However, sleeping with absolutely nothing covering you will likely feel odd too. In these cases, bamboo sheets can help.
Bamboo fabric is the most breathable and lightweight fabric out there. That means sheets made from bamboo are going to keep you cool even on the warmest summer nights. Slip some on your RV bed and feel the difference for yourself. You’ll be happy you did!
6. Water, water, everywhere
Of course, staying hydrated is always essential, especially you’re when spending time in the heat. Unfortunately, nature doesn’t tend to provide clean water wherever we roam. For this reason, it is crucial that you pack plenty of clean, drinkable water when boondocking in the summer.
Your freshwater tank should be full when you head out. You may also want to pack several jugs of drinking water in order to ensure you have plenty.
On top of all that, a very thorough filtering system will help ensure you get clean water from nearby sources should you need it. This is great for giving you peace of mind during those blazing hot summer trips.
7. Drying rack or clothesline
Summer camping usually means there will be swimming involved. This is great, as it gives you a chance to cool off while having a great time.
What isn’t great are the wet bathing suits. Typically, these end up hanging to dry in the RV bathroom. The problem is that the moisture in the suits in addition to the heat in the rig can quickly create an environment similar to a sauna. Luckily, this issue is easily solved by hanging the swimsuits outside to dry. Make sure to pack a clothesline or a drying rack, and your humidity problem will be history.
These items may seem simple enough, but they can make a world of difference during the dog days of summer. You’ll definitely want to grab them all before you head out on your next great adventure.