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18 Tips For Staying Cool In A Small Camper

This post was updated on April 18th, 2024

small RV cooling off at sunset

18 Tips For Staying Cool In A Small Camper

Keeping cool in a small camper can be a challenge during hot summer days, but with planning and a few modifications and accessories, it can be done.

“Whenever you travel, you need a game plan to keep your RV cool during your trip. With the right mixture of positioning, planning and a few other tips, you’ll be able to stay comfortable for your entire vacation.” Blog the folks at Quality RV Resorts

1. Park in the shade whenever possible

If you can’t keep your small camper shaded throughout the entire day, position it so that it will be shaded during the hottest part of the afternoon. Check RV LIFE Campgrounds to see how much shade is available at different locations.

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2. Position your RV to take advantage of prevailing winds

When possible, park your small camper crosswise to prevailing winds and open the windows to help let the air flow through.

3. Use portable fans

If you will be camping without access to shore power, consider rechargeable fans, 12 volt models you can power via the RV house battery, or self-contained battery operated fans.

4. Cook outside whenever possible

Check out these 10 Must-Haves For Cooking Outside On A Hot Summer Day.

5. Use a swamp cooler

If you are camping in arid areas with low humidity, try using a 12 volt swamp cooler which consumes much less power than a conventional air conditioner and doesn’t require shore power.

6. Position your patio awning to the south

Position your patio awning to the south or southwest to shade your small camper during the hottest part of the day.

7. Replace interior incandescent lights

Replace your RV interior incandescent lights with LED lights that emit much less heat when operating.

8. Only use electronics as necessary

Keep non-essential electronics (TV, computers, etc.) turned off and unplug the power transformers to avoid generating extra heat.

9. Get a good airflow

Open windows at night to capture cooler night air, then close them in the morning to keep your small camper cooler during the warmer part of the day.

10. Head to a higher elevation

If possible, take your small camper to a higher elevation. Statistically, it will be three degrees cooler for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained.

11. Camp by the water

Camp near a large body of water which will be cooler than inland areas. Check out this roundup of the 15 Best Campgrounds In The U.S. To Cool Off By The Lake.

12. Install reversible fans in your roof vents

Install reversible fans in your roof vents like Fan-Tastic Vents. Use one to pull air into your camper and another to exhaust air from your camper which will exchange the air and cause a breeze between the two.

13. Keep yourself hydrated

Consider installing an RV water filter system for cleaner, better tasting water.

14. Cover skylights

Cover skylights to keep the sun and heat out. It is best to cover them from the outside if possible.

15. Use reflective insulation in windows

Install reflective foil bubble insulation in the inside of windows to reflect the sun and insulate against heat.

16. Try RV window shades

Consider EZ Snap Shades that reduce the amount of sunshine that enters your RV windows while allowing you to still see out.

17. Install a SoftStartRV

If your small camper is equipped with a roof mounted air conditioner, consider equipping it with a SoftStartRV which will allow you to operate the air conditioner with a smaller generator or via limited 15 or 20 amp shore power connection.

18. Use insulated vent pillows

Use insulated vent pillows to slow heat transfer through roof vents.

Not all of the tips listed above will be applicable for your small camper, but with a little experimentation you can find the ones that work for you and enjoy cooler camping during hot weather.

Here’s a video titled Tips & Tricks for Keeping the RV Cool detailing many of the tips listed above plus a few extras:

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 much more.