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How to Keep Your Camper Cool this Summer


Are you ready to head out on the road and see the sights in your camper? Vans offer the ultimate convenience in that you’re taking your living space with you. This means that you do not have to rely on hotels, and you can park and stay in the areas you wish to visit, sometimes for free. That said, if you’re traveling during the summer months, you may notice that your camper is a lot hotter than you’d like. To keep your camper cool and comfortable this summer, check out our tips on how to keep your camper van cool this season.

Park Your Camper in the Shade

The number one way to help your camper stay cool in hot weather is to park in the shade. Parking in the shade feels about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than being in direct sunlight. If your camping spot isn’t fully shaded, make an effort or orient your camper so that the shade falls on it during the hottest part of the day.

Make Your Own Shady Areas

You can use tarps, your camper and nearby trees to create your own shade. Most vans measure from 20 to 33 feet in length and 8 and 9 feet wide. This means that a sturdy 50’ by 50’ tarp can cover your entire space and give you shaded areas along the sides, front and back of your van. To use this method, use tree-friendly straps to anchor your tarp between the trees. If there aren’t enough trees, bring a few sturdy poles with you on your camping that you can stake and anchor to the ground with ropes and tent spikes.

Close off Certain Rooms

If you have a larger van with rooms or separate sections, you can close doors and hang blankets to block off the areas that you’re not using during the day. This is especially helpful if your camper’s air conditioner isn’t able to keep up with the load during the hottest part of the day. Once the temperatures start to cool, you can unblock rooms to cool them before you go to bed.

Cook Outside

When possible cook outside. Cooking in your van during the day can dramatically increase the indoor temperature. If you don’t want to pack a propane or charcoal-fired grill with you, you can also buy deli meats, sandwich fixings, cottage cheese, potato salad, chips and other foods that don’t need to be cooked so that you can eat them when the outdoor temperatures are at their highest.

Plan Your Trips for Maximum Cooling

A van makes you mobile. This means you can plan your trips, according to the average temperatures in the area. If you want to visit southern Texas, but don’t want to deal with the summer heat, go in January. May is the perfect time to visit Virginia and Washington DC. From June through July, take a trip through Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. If Southern California piques your interest, consider visiting year round, because coastal southern California has arguably the best temperatures. If you’d like to visit Florida, consider going in April or May when the average temperatures range between 71 and 77 degrees.

Keep Your A/C Clean and Well-Maintained

If your camper has an air conditioning unit, keep it clean and well-maintained. Bugs, especially bees and wasps can make their homes in the outdoor part of your unit, and the fan blades can get dirty throughout the road-trip season.

Utilize Your Awnings

Most campers come with awnings either on one or both sides of your camper. Pulling these awnings out can help keep your windows shaded. If you don’t have awnings, consider installing reflective insulation that can help protect the inside of your camper from heating up due to the thermal effects of the sun.

Close Your Windows in the Morning

If you like to open your camper’s windows at night to take advantage of the cool breezes, close them in the morning. This will trap the cool air inside your camper and help keep it cool.

Cover Skylights

If your camper has skylights, keep them covered. Your camper’s skylights, like your windows, can increase the sun’s thermal heating effect on your camper and increase the indoor temperature. If you have an air conditioner, this can also make the unit work harder and longer, which increases the wear and tear.

Cover Your Windshield

Do you use a windshield cover on your car when you park it to go shopping? The windshield in your RV is a large piece of glass that can absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to the interior of your camper. Putting a windshield sunshade or windshield insulator against the glass can help keep your camper cool.

Keep Your Door Shaded and/or Closed

To keep the inside of your camper cool, leave the door closed. It can be tempting to leave it open all day, but that allows hot air into your home away from home and can make the camper harder to keep cool. Not to mention, leaving the door open, allows bugs inside. If you just can’t seem to keep the door closed due to the in and out traffic of your family members, shade the door with a tarp or with your camper’s built-in awning.

Install Fans

To keep the air circulating consider buying a few small battery-operated fans. You can put them in the sleeping areas to help keep those areas cool.

Start the Air Conditioner Early in the Day

If you turn off your unit at night, start the unit before breakfast, even if you don’t need cooling. Air conditioners cool and dehumidify, and starting the unit early in the morning can help keep your camper cool all day long because the air conditioner doesn’t have to catch up after you’ve allowed your RV camper to warm up during the day.

Take Advantage of the Great Outdoors

During the hottest part of the day, it may be tempting to retreat inside your camper, but resist the temptation. The awnings on your camper increase your livable space and allow you to be able to sit in the sun with a cool drink. You can also take advantage of any swimming pools or lakes near your campsite to stay cool. While you’re outside, remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

Expanding Your Summer Vacation Options with a Camper from RecVan in California

If you’re planning your summer vacation but don’t’ like the idea of booking hotels and being in a specific location at a specific time so that you don’t lose your room, consider purchasing a new or used RV. RecRV offers new and used RVs so that you can make the most of your summer vacation. To learn more, check out our selection of RV campers or give us a call at 833-732-8261.