Without a doubt, summer is the best season for camping trips outdoors. There is a little chance of rain, the weather is pleasant all season round, and the air is warm and nice. However, summer is also the hottest season to stay outside so you might want to know how to keep yourself and your RV cool for the summer season. You might also want to know of some ways and tips on how to keep yourself cool while you are exploring the great outdoors.
What are some of the different ways on how to keep your RV cool? Some of the tips include choosing your location wisely, parking away from the sun, insulating your doors and windows, closing your windows in daytime, cooking outside, using portable fans, staying hydrated, and exploring for possibilities outdoors.
We will discuss the different ways you can keep yourself cool inside your RV in the warmer months. We will also talk about tips and tricks you can use to maintain and optimize the usage of your insulation and vents inside your RV since they are important parts of your van. We will also discuss the different types of insulation available for your needs. Lastly, we will discuss the different tips and tricks in using your cooling devices, be it your air conditioner, vent fans, or any other device you use to keep yourself cool in your RV.
On Choosing Your Location, Angles, And Places
Stay Away From The Warmer Areas
Of course, it goes without saying that when you choose to go on trips to places with lower temperatures or cooler atmospheres, you will keep yourself cool throughout the course of your trip.
As much as possible, stay away from hotter and warmer areas with arid temperatures, such as the South and Southwest. Choose places near bodies of water such as lakes and seas because the temperatures are much cooler compared to the places without any bodies of water nearby.
Staying for a few days in the Bay area is much better compared to staying for a few days in El Paso. Choose places where there are mountains too since the mountains keep the cool temperature for a long time.
Pick A Shady Spot For Your Van
If we cannot really avoid going to warmer places, at least pick a spot with ample shade as your parking space for the trip. The shade keeps the heat away from the van, which keeps the temperature much more bearable than parking in a place without any shade at all (e.g. in the middle of the desert).
If you are camping in a camping ground, ask for the best spot to park your van in advance since a lot of campers also think the same way as you. Remember, great minds think alike. Reserve the spot if applicable so that you won’t exhaust your cooling devices yet you still feel uncomfortable inside your RV.
Park Away From The Rays Of The Sun
Let’s say you are in the worst case scenario possible: you are left to park in a space where there are sparse trees for shade, you have to park at an angle away from the sun. When you park your van away from the sun, the temperature is going to be significantly lower.
Park your RV at a spot where your refrigerator vents and the AC unit are covered. Try to park your RV at a spot where the largest windows receive the least amount of sun. It is definitely a no brainer to explain in choosing those said spots for your comfort.
Park Your Vehicle Facing North
You have to check first where the sun rises and sets from your standpoint then park with the front of your RV facing the north. The awning will block the morning sun from hitting your RV and shining through the windows if you park this way.
Your RV will cast a cool shadow over your seating area in the afternoon and early evening. This provides you with even more protection from the heat.
On Using Your Shades And Insulation For Your RV
Insulate Your Entry And Exit Points
A lot of hot air can go inside your RV if your windows and doors are not sealed properly.. If you own an older model, the doors and windows can be drafty if you have never tried to replace or repair the weather stripping or caulking.
Insulate your windows and doors properly so that cool air can stay in and hot air can’t go inside. This helps your AC function more properly as it won’t go overworked due to the amount of hot air penetrating the inside of your RV.
Choose The Insulation Perfect For Your RV
There are a lot of different types of insulation you can use to keep the cool in and keep the heat out. Most common ones include fiberglass insulation, rigid foam insulation, and spray foam insulation. All of these perform the task well but it’s up to you to choose.
Fiberglass is the most common type of insulation for most campers. This comes standard with most RV models. It has a high R-value, meaning it can provide you greater protection from boiling temperatures in the summer and freezing winds in the winter. It is also very effective at maintaining a consistent temperature inside. Lastly, it is also very affordable, and easy to install and replace.
This type of insulation is perfect for those who stay in a single climate or those who are willing to change their insulation every few years. However, fiberglass insulation is prone to mold so this is not suitable for campers who go to trips to places with hotter and more humid temperatures.
Rigid foam insulation boasts of a longer lifespan and is also moisture-resistant. It is perfect for campers in hotter or humid temperatures since moisture and mold will not be problems at all. It does not collect moisture, so no problems of mold growth for this one.
Foam insulation panels are available in various thicknesses, with different R-values depending on the thickness of the panel. It can also be cut to size for your RV so points for versatility and effectiveness in insulation.
Spray foam insulation blocks out moisture, hot air, and even some degrees of noise. This kind of insulation is applied directly into your van while using a spray canister. Moisture is not a problem to this one as it is impervious to moisture.
It is also affordable and lightweight, which can also benefit your gas mileage for longer trips. Choose the insulation perfect for your needs and maintain them regularly so that you will not be stressed in the future.
Tips And Tricks On Insulating Your RV Properly
You should add new caulking to your RV. It is important to take care of your caulking in your doors and windows as it helps seal the air inside your RV, keeping the temperatures cooler for you.
If not taken care of, the caulking around them can crack or peel over time, therefore letting the hot air inside. New caulking should be applied whenever you notice a draft in your van, but ideally, every 2-3 years.
You should also replace weather stripping. It also helps keep your RV insulated so you need to take care of this as well. Always inspect the weather stripping if it has holes, cracks, or gaps in it and replace them immediately.
Lastly, add reflective insulation. To do that, place sheets in your RV windows and tape them to secure. This helps cool the interior of your van by blocking out the sun’s rays. Install plastic insulating film if there are still draft issues as this provides an air-tight seal to your windows.
Take Time To Upgrade That Skirting
Most people do not realize how important the skirting in your RV is. It is often an underrated way to insulate your RV for summer which can also help keep the temperatures lower inside your RV.
Skirting creates a barrier between your RV’s underbelly and the outside elements, such as heat and moisture. Since these cannot get inside your RV, the temperature is kept comfortably cool.
This is much helpful in the summer season because this helps block the heat radiating off the pavement, which can make your RV warm from underneath. It also helps keep the interior temperature more controlled and stable.
Purchasing an RV skirt customized to fit your van is good but you also have the choice to do a makeshift one made of plywood or foam board. Anyway, as long as it keeps the heat away from underneath, it works well and helps a lot in cooling your interior.
Close Your Windows In The Morning
By closing your windows in the morning, you are trapping the cool air inside your RV which makes the temperatures lower. It also minimizes opening and closing your windows and doors to keep the inside as cool as possible.
Putting blackout curtains can also help you if you cannot help but open your windows. Monitor the temperature inside to check when is the best time to open your windows.
Take Advantage Of Your RV Awning
Image Source: “Tango Hotel at Site 90” by istargazer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
You have to maximize and optimize the uses of your RV awnings for maximum satisfaction. These are designed to give you extra shade and comfort on the warmer days.
To do that, you must set up lounge chairs and other outdoor furniture under the awning. Do this so that you can enjoy the cool shade provided by your awning while staying outside. To give an added cooling boost, attach some portable fans or misters beneath the awning.
These can provide you a cool spray of water and a gentle breeze, the perfect combination for cooling outside your vehicle on hot, sunny days. Transform your awning into a shade room of your own. To do this, attach sheets or reflective screens to your awning. This creates an enclosed area underneath.
Shade room kits are available for purchase but you can always innovate using the things you already have. The point of doing this is to maximize the uses of your awning to your benefit.
Add Window Shades For Your Vehicle
Reflective shades are very helpful in keeping your RV stay pleasant overall in terms of comfort levels. Just like wide brimmed hats on our heads, it keeps the temperature and the sun’s rays out of your RV, and makes your interior cooler than ever.
Hang window shades or curtains inside the windows and keep them closed during the day. Blackout curtains are the best ones for this task since they block not only heat but also noise from the outside, hitting two birds in one stone by doing this approach. Curtains also work as a sort of a seal, keeping the heat away and keeping the cool inside your vehicle.
Other Helpful Tips And Tricks
Always Have A Supporting Cooling Device
Of course your RV has its air conditioning unit provided which is the primary cooling source but if you run it all day, it can quickly drain your RV battery. To avoid that from happening, use small portable fans instead, or in addition to your AC which is set on low.
Fans help keep the cold air produced by your AC circulating inside your RV instead of settling on the ground. Think of strategic locations in placing your fans so that you can keep your whole cabin cool and comfortable all day.
Always Take Care And Maintain Your AC
Before going on trips, especially the longer ones, give your AC a quick inspection. Check the air filters as well as the fins on the condenser coils. Make sure these are clean and intact; if not, have them cleaned and replaced if needed.
Test your AC if it’s functioning properly before setting off to avoid stress during the trip. Go to the nearest RV expert and have your cooling devices checked properly. Do not risk ruining your AC by doing things by yourself, asking for professional help is the best way to avoid hassles and complications your AC might cause throughout your trip.
Cook Your Meals Outside The Vehicle
Of course, it is not an outdoor trip without al fresco cooking. Cook your meals outside as much as possible to prevent the heat from being confined to your kitchen inside your RV.. The heat might get absorbed and it can cause your AC to overwork, causing your battery to be drained quickly.
Invest on an outdoor grill or chop some firewood to create a bonfire for your meals. After all, nothing beats the crackling of the fire while you grill your barbecue outside your camper, as the ultimate outdoor camping experience.
Stay Hydrated At All Times
Store lots of ice and drinks inside your cooler when you go on trips. Keep yourself cool too aside from keeping your RV cool.
When it is too hot, your body loses the fluids and electrolytes from sweating as it is the mechanism of our bodies when faced in hot temperatures. Drink lots of water and fruit juices to keep yourself hydrated. Stay away from carbonated drinks and sweet drinks as much as possible. These contain sugar and these can heat your body up, making you lose more moisture and water inside your body.
Avoid exerting yourself too much during the peak hours of the sun shining up above. Take a bath more frequently as the sweat can make you smell bad and feel icky throughout the trip. Always practice proper hygiene and comfort is always guaranteed.
Try To Elevate Your Water Hose
If you put your drinking water hose on the hot, scorching ground, the tap in your RV might run warm because of the heat the hose got from the road. It might also take a longer time to cool down since it got warmer.
To solve this problem, elevate the water hose to keep it up the ground by placing cardboard, styrofoam or anything you can use to elevate the hose. Put these underneath your water hose to keep it away from the heat.
Another tip is to insulate your hoses using pool noodles or foam wrap. These help your drinking water flowing from the tap cooler, not wasting time waiting for it to be cool enough to drink or use.
Explore The Outdoors To Keep Cool
You are already outside, so might as well go explore for places that can make you feel cool and comfortable while you are on your trip. Fortunately for you, nature has a lot of offerings to keep ourselves cool while we are enjoying her creations outside.
If you are near bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, do some activities like swimming, boating, kayaking, and other water sports. If you are in a camping ground, some of them might have amenities such as swimming pools or water parks.
If you do not want to get wet but still want to get cool, go to the mountains and explore some cool spots there, like hiking trails where rest stops can be found. Keep your eyes peeled for these opportunities Mother Nature has to offer.
Summer season is the best season for camping trips outdoors, and even though some things have changed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we can still enjoy the great outdoors as cool as possible. From choosing the perfect parking spot to cooking your meals outside your camper to making use of your awnings, down to keeping your body fresh and hydrated, there are a lot of ways to keep yourselves cool inside and outside your RV. Always remember to clean things up before leaving and disinfect everything to prevent the spread of viral diseases, such as the coronavirus.