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Beat The Heat In Your RV This Summer: 10 Ways To Stay Cool & Comfortable

an rv parked in a gravel lot with a fence around it and a sign on the side of the trailer - image for beat the heat article

10 Ways To Beat The Heat While RV Camping

As the weather heats up, we all begin planning summer road trips and camping adventures. Warm temperatures encourage us to get outside, go swimming, and bask in the sun. But at the end of the day, you’ll need a nice, cool RV to help you beat the heat.

Many RVers overheat during the summer because their vehicle can’t compete with the blazing sun. A built-in AC system is great, but it can drain a lot of power (especially if you’re boondocking). Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies that you can use to cool down your living space and enjoy summer to the fullest.

Below we have 10 tips to beat the heat. They’re simple, cheap, and low effort, so give them a try! Feel free to use your AC as much as you want, but just remember that these tips might help you become less dependent on this system.

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1. Look for shade

The first way to keep your RV cool is to use your surroundings. Shady spots are noticeably cooler than sunny spots, so you should always try to park in the shade (if possible). Plenty of RV parks and resorts are landscaped to provide shade for most sites. Take a look at the map and campground reviews when you make your reservation so you can find an appropriate spot!

You can also create your own shade once you set up camp. Almost every RV comes with an awning, so take advantage of this feature. When the awning is extended, it can keep one side of your RV cool. This is especially helpful because it will prevent your windows and doors from getting too hot. You don’t want to burn yourself every time you go in and out!

2. Utilize windows for better airflow

During hot days, airflow is the key to staying cool. Even if the air itself is warm, you’ll feel much better if there’s a breeze. You can use your RV windows to improve the airflow within your vehicle.

At night, you might feel like the inside of your vehicle is hotter than the surrounding air. In this case, open up all the windows and let the breeze flow through your living space. Just make sure you have screens in the windows so you don’t invite bugs inside!

It’s usually best to keep your windows closed during the day because you can keep the cool air inside while running the AC. But if the weather is pleasant, you could also open them up during the daytime.

3. Cover your windows and skylights during the day

Speaking of windows, let’s talk about shades. Although you can open your windows whenever you feel like it, it’s usually best to keep them closed during the hottest parts of the day. But even if the hot air can’t get in, sunlight can still pierce through the glass and heat up the interior.

Glass is a poor insulator. Fortunately, you can use reflective window covers to beat the heat! These deflect sunbeams and keep the interior cool and dark. You may also want to invest in a windshield cover because the dashboard can get pretty toasty during the summer.

Don’t forget the skylights too. These features are great at letting in natural light, but they can also make you feel like you’re in an oven. For the best experience, you should cover them up during the hottest hours of the day.

4. Regularly clean your AC filters

If you’re anything like me, your air conditioner is probably one of your favorite features in the RV. It enables you to camp anywhere, even during the hottest parts of the year. But this unit needs regular maintenance in order to function at full capacity. 

Every AC unit has a filter to catch dust, pollen, and other airborne debris. If these filters become clogged, the system won’t be able to operate efficiently. Therefore, your RV might become quite hot, even if you run the AC at full power.

To address this issue, make sure you regularly clean or replace your filters. This practice will keep you cool and will also extend the lifespan of your heating/AC system.

5. Invest in a swamp cooler

If you don’t want to use your AC, you could look for low-power alternatives. One great option is a swamp cooler (also known as an evaporative cooler). You can either make or buy these, but they’re a great way to beat the heat when you camp in a dry environment.

Swamp coolers use evaporative water to cool down the surrounding area. They often use motorized fans to move air over a water tank. As the warm air passes over the water, it evaporates and lowers the air temperature. This method is simple and energy-efficient. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well in humid areas, so plan accordingly.

6. Bring electric fans

If you want to improve air circulation in your RV, you can always use electric fans. These provide a nice breeze that will keep you cool. If you’re sweaty, the airflow can help evaporate the sweat and cool your skin. 

Electric fans are great for RVers because they come in all shapes and sizes. You can use a handheld model, a box fan, or anything in between. They don’t consume a lot of power, and they also prevent your RV from becoming stuffy.

7. Travel with an ice maker

There’s nothing more refreshing than an iced drink on a hot day! If you’re planning a summer trip, consider buying an ice maker. There are several compact models that would fit well in an RV. In addition, all they need is water, electricity, and a little bit of time.

Once you have ice, you can rapidly cool down your drinks. You can also create ice packs to help prevent or treat heat exhaustion. These machines are pretty cheap, and the payoff is considerable!

8. Cook outside

In addition to the tips above, you can also change your cooking habits to keep your RV cool. Using the interior stove and oven will create heat and humidity inside the vehicle. You definitely don’t want that during the middle of summer, so take your cooking outdoors whenever possible.

Lots of RVs come with outdoor kitchen attachments, but there are also portable grills for sale. You could even go old-school and use the campfire to cook delicious meals. This practice will help you beat the heat and fully embrace the camping lifestyle. 

9. Use breathable clothing and bedding

The things you wear also play a role in temperature regulation. Stock your RV with loose, breathable, light-colored clothing. Swap out your bedding as well because nobody wants to spend a summer night beneath a heavy comforter. Light sheets and blankets are a better alternative.

10. Cool the hottest parts of your body

Finally, you can cool down your own body when the temperature starts climbing. A lukewarm shower will help you regulate your body temperature, but you can also target body parts with high blood flow.

Use ice packs and cool towels on your face, neck, wrists, armpits, groin, and feet. If you can cool down these areas, your whole body will feel better!

BONUS – Install a Soft Start Device on Every A/C Unit

Being able to start the air conditioning units on less power could be critical to keeping cool. A/C units can run on less power than you think, but getting them started is where the initial massive power draw occurs. An A/C soft starter on each A/C device from SoftStartRV can solve that problem!

Get tips from other RVers

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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