Climate change means that our summers are often heating up and extreme weather events like heat waves are becoming ever more common. RV trips can be a wonderful way to enjoy the sunshine and the warmth – but how do you stop your RV from becoming too hot? The last thing you want is to have a hot, sticky night when you are away from home. Here are some tips to help you keep your RV cool in a heatwave, or when you are traveling in a hot country:
Park in the Shade
A beautiful shaded site on the California coast.
If you unexpectedly find yourself camping out and about in an RV in high temperatures, you may well be unable to add any extra features. All you can really do to keep down the temperatures inside your camping vehicle is to position yourself in an area with as much shade as possible. Try to camp beneath trees, or on the northern side of a building, in order to get out of the sun as much as possible.
Park With Main Areas of Glazing Facing North (In the Northern Hemisphere)
Where it is not possible to park in the shade, you can still limit the amount of the sun’s heat that enters an RV by parking so that the largest areas of glazing face north, rather than south. By thinking about the patterns that the sun makes in the sky, and how the sunlight enters your RV, you can limit the amount that it will heat up during the day, and keep internal temperatures much more comfortable.
Make Sure Your RV is Well Ventilated:
There is nothing worse than trying to get inside to cool down only to find a stuffy and unpleasant space awaiting you that is warmer than outside. Make sure that your tent, motorhome or caravan is well ventilated so that you can breathe easy if you head in for a quick nap or a rest during the height of the day.
Ensuring good ventilation can be as simple as making sure that all the vents on your RV are free of obstruction and operating as they should. Simply opening a couple of windows a crack to create a through breeze can also be sufficient to cool the space.
Choose Your Destinations Wisely
Pitching up close to water can be one way to help you stay cool.
Where you choose to venture in your RV will, of course, have a huge bearing on how cool you can keep it in summer. When choosing where to stop your RV during your travels, consider that things are generally cooler on the coast, near large bodies of water, or at higher elevations, in mountainous areas.
Of course, you may sometimes be traveling in areas where the heat is hard to escape – but wherever you go, being aware of the climate and conditions in the area through which you are travelling can help make sure you do not get uncomfortably hot. Always check the weather forecasts before you go and make sensible decisions about your itinerary.
It is better to always plan ahead for hot, summer RVing. Here are some of the measures that you could consider taking to improve the performance and comfort levels of your recreational vehicle in hot weather:
Better insulation on your RV will not only allow you to use your vehicle more comfortably in winter – it will also help to keep you cooler in the summer too. Consider adding better insulation to the inside of your vehicle, where possible, to make your RV trips more comfortable throughout the whole year.
Use External or Internal Thermal Blinds
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In hot weather, the sun’s rays will quickly heat up the inside of your vehicle. Solar gain will be increased more where there is a high amount of glazing. As mentioned above, you should try not to park with windows facing south, which will increase the passive solar gain.
The best way, however, to cut down on solar gain is to cover your glazing with external or internal thermal blinds. External thermal blinds generally cut out the sun and reduce condensation much better than the internal versions, so are definitely something to consider.
Add an Awning
Adding an awning to your RV will not only give you a shady, covered area to enjoy outside. It can also be used to reduce the amount of light (and heat) from the sun that enters in through RV windows, and is, therefore, another way to help keep your RV cool in summer.
Improve Air Flow With A Fan
You can also aid cooling by improving air flow in your RV. You can assist air flow with a portable fan – there are many excellent examples on the market – or consider a built-in option, which can be built into your roof-light. These options will usually be more expensive, but will come with extraction capabilities, thermostats and speed controls.
A fan can use a lot of energy, so using renewable energy to power one is a sustainable choice.
A solar powered fan is one eco-friendly and relatively low-cost portable option for cooling your space when camping during a heatwave. To help you stay comfortable on your RV trips this summer, here are three of the best eco-friendly fans that you could consider for your next RV adventure:
PK Green Solar Fan
This high-quality 20W, 12V solar powered fan and solar panel is a great choice for an eco-friendly camping trip. It could be used in a tent, campervan, motorhome or caravan. The PK green solar fan is 12 inches in diameter and has three-speed settings and a sixty-minute timer. The cable is longer than many others on the market and a mains adaptor is also included so you can use your fan on mains, or you can use it with a 12V battery (not provided).
Peakstrom Solar Panel Powered Fan
This 10 inch solar powered fan in 10W, 5V. It is portable and easy to use. The solar panel is waterproof (though the USB port is not) and the included solar panel can also charge some mobile phones and other electronic devices. The fan will also operate independently and in addition to being used with the solar panel can also work when plugged into a working computer or power bank.
Sodial 4 inch Cooling Ventilation Fan USB Solar Powered Fan
This small fan can be attached to the included solar panel and, when the sun in shining this can provide enough power to adequately cool a small space. The fan can also be plugged with a USB connection into a computer or other device, or into a power bank so it can be used during the night or when the sun is not shining.
Consider Adding an Air Conditioner
If you are often too hot in your motorhome or campervan, you could consider adding an air conditioner. This is the most expensive cooling option,and will likely not be your best bet if you are trying to save energy in your RV, but will keep you cool and comfortable in even the most extreme of temperatures.
There are two main types of air conditioner for campervans and motorhomes – under bench air conditioners and roof-mounted air conditioners. Shop around to find the best option for the model and make of your camping vehicle.
Consider Cooling Yourself, Not Your RV
An outdoor shower is one way to cool off on your RV adventures.
Before you resort to spending a lot on money on your RV to improve it for hot summer RV trips, it is also worthwhile taking some time to think about how you can keep yourself cool even when things begin to heat up in your RV. It is usually cheaper to keep yourself cool than it is to buy items to cool down your vehicle.
Certain items will help you keep cool in summer on your RV trips.
For example, you might like to consider investing in:
– A collapsible water carrier so you can increase the amount of water you can take with you to hydrate and cool down when traveling in your RV and when out and about.
- A good quality cool box so you can enjoy cool drinks and food.
- An insulated water bottle, so your drinks remain cool and refreshing.
- A sun shade, so you can spend time outdoors in camp even when no natural shade is available.
- A solar outdoors shower, so you can cool off outside on your next RV trip.
Of course, when your RV gets a little too warm, you can still have a wonderful time on your RV adventures by embracing the joys of the great outdoors. Head off for a dip in a river, lake or the ocean – take a walk in a cool,green woodland or forest, take an early morning hike to a breezy mountain peak, or simply dine al fresco and enjoy a cool summer evening under the stars.
Elizabeth Waddington has an MA from St. Andrews University and a Permaculture Design Certificate. She is a green living consultant, with a passion for sustainable travel, permaculture and the natural world. She lives in rural Fife, just north of Edinburgh, close to the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland.
No stranger to RV travel, Elizabeth has travelled all over Scotland, the UK and beyond in search of natural wonders in her RV. Her camping adventures have taken her to the Grand Canyon, up the Pacific Coast of the US, to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons and to explore the wonders of Utah. She has travelled extensively in the Pacific Northwest, and around New England. In Europe, she has taken trips through much of the western part of the continent, travelled up to Norway, and down through Romania and Bulgaria to Istanbul. She looks forward to further eco-friendly adventures.