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8 Easy Ways to Stay Cool In Your RV

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person opening the window to their RV during the day

It’s no secret that summer is prime RVing season. Filled with sunny days, warm weather, and endless roads ahead, most RVers use the summer months to check off destinations on their bucket list. However, depending on your travel style, finding ways to cool down can sometimes be tricky in the heat of summer, and even early autumn. Although AC can work wonders, not all RVs have functioning units. So, to help you beat the heat, here are a few tips on how to stay cool in your RV.

1. Park in the Shade 

The best way to stay cool in your RV is to prevent heat from building up inside your rig. It requires less energy to maintain a lower temperature than it takes to cool down a hot environment. When out exploring, be conscious of where you park your RV. If you’re arriving at a campsite early in the morning, consider where the sun will travel throughout the day and park accordingly if possible.

Before deciding on a new summer destination, research campgrounds you’re interested in to learn if they have ample tree coverage that can provide shade. Campgrounds vary significantly, so you won’t always have access to shaded areas when RVing, but comparing your options when available can help you select campgrounds that do.

2. Use Window Covers

person pulling down an RV window cover to help RV stay cool

Large glass RV windows may be great for sightseeing, but they’re not good at keeping heat out of your RV. If your windows are in direct sunlight, the temperature inside your rig can quickly increase. To prevent this, you can install window covers or shades that will block sunlight.

Most of us only think about insulation when battling cold temperatures, but it can also benefit your RV in hot weather. Adding reflective insulation to your RV’s windows will prevent heat from entering and keep cool air inside. Most home improvement stores will have reflective insulation rolls for an affordable price that you can cut to size.

3. Cook Dinner Outside

If you’re having difficulties staying cool in your RV, the last thing you’ll want to do is cook a meal inside. Using your RV’s kitchen will add to the ambient heat inside your rig, so you want to avoid doing so when visiting a hot destination. Some RV sites may include a grill that you can use, or you can bring your own to cook up some classic grill recipes. By cooking your dinner outside, you’ll prevent creating a warm environment in your RV before going to bed.

4. Close Your Windows in the Morning

An easy yet effective way of staying cool in your RV is to close your windows in the morning. If where you’re staying cools down significantly at night, open your windows at sunset to allow cool air through. Once you wake up, close your windows and draw the blinds to keep the cool air inside for as long as possible. For this method to work best, you must avoid opening and closing the doors too often to stop hot air from entering.

Pro tip: be sure to add screens or bug nets to your windows to keep any critters out at night while the windows are open.

5. Switch Out Your Bedding 

Extreme heat during the day is annoying, but being hot when trying to sleep is even worse. Sure, we all love to snuggle up under a heavy comforter and blanket, but doing so is highly uncomfortable when it’s hot outside. Instead of spending your nights tossing and turning, consider switching out your bedding for something more summer appropriate.

Swapping thick bedding sheets with breathable materials will do wonders when sleeping in hot climates without AC. If you prefer the extra comfort of a mattress topper, purchase one made with cooling gel for additional cooling power during the summer.

6. Use Energy Efficient LED Lights

Are you still using incandescent lights in your RV? If so, consider replacing them with LED lights. LED lights will save you lots of power—which is excellent for boondocking—plus, they produce  significantly less heat than older incandescent bulbs. Although LED lights may be slightly more expensive up front, they’ll help save you money in the long run. By swapping older lights with LEDs, you’ll help keep your RV cooler.

Heat from electronics can slowly raise temperatures within your RV, especially when staying somewhere warm. Every bit counts when trying to keep your RV cool during summer, so always be mindful of the electronics you have on during the day to reduce overall heat.

7. Utilize Electric Fans or a Swamp Cooler 

person installing an RV vent cover with a fan at the top of their RV

If you don’t have AC inside your RV, you can improve air circulation by purchasing small electric fans and placing them throughout your interior.

Smaller fans are inexpensive and use less energy than a portable AC unit. Additionally, if you have a vent cover with a built-in fan, using portable fans inside with open windows will help create a breeze inside your rig.

Another lower-energy alternative to a portable AC unit is a swamp cooler (also referred to as an evaporative cooler). These units use water to cool down areas with motorized fans that move warm air over cool water. The warm air moving across the water causes it to evaporate and lowers the ambient temperature. Due to their size, however, swamp coolers may not be ideal for smaller rigs or van conversions.

8. Stay Hydrated and Cool Off When You Can

a woman inside of her motorhome pouring a glass of water

It’s important always to be hydrated, especially when exploring areas in high temperatures. High heat will make you feel sluggish if you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day. Prevent dehydration by packing plenty of water or ensuring your campsite has potable water access. If you leave your RV for daily activities, take plenty of water.

You can also purchase various personal items to help you regulate your body temperature. A neck gaiter, for example, is an inexpensive purchase that will keep your skin from being in direct sunlight. You can rinse the gaiter in cold water before putting it on for additional cooling power.

Stay Protected When Traveling with RV Insurance

RVing and summer go hand and hand, but it’s important to have the proper precautions in place. With a specialized RV insurance policy, you can add coverages that will provide aid in the event of a breakdown or accident. With roadside assistance, you’ll have access to mechanical help should you experience a breakdown on the side of the road. Other coverages, such as full-timers liability and personal effects coverage, provide financial protection in the event of a covered incident. To learn more about your RV insurance options, give us a call at (866) 501-7335.

The information in this article is obtained from various sources and is offered for educational purposes. Furthermore, it should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.