There are many ways to keep your RV cool, including getting an RV air conditioner, using reflective insulation, relocating your RV to a shaded area, using LED bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs, using a roof vent fan, and so many more. Many of these options can be done by connecting solar panels to RV batteries.

It’s a beautiful summer afternoon, and you want to have a vacation on the road with your RV camper. However, the summer heat has made the interior of your vehicle uncomfortably warm, and you start to have second thoughts or regrets. Well, you shouldn’t let summer temperatures get in the way of what should be a great summer vacation.

Let me show you ways to prepare your camper for summer and keep the hot air outside.

Relocate Your RV to a Shaded Area

Sometimes, if the indoor temperature of your RV gets warm enough to boil an egg, it’s most likely because of where you parked it. During the summer, the afternoon sun comes with extreme heat, and if your vehicle is parked in a shadeless spot, it will be exposed to direct sunlight for hours. The sweltering sun will introduce heat into the interior of your camper and make it so hot it could pass for a sauna.

RV parked in shaded area under trees

To rectify this, we recommend relocating your camper to a shaded area with more or less natural air conditioning. Despite the hot weather, this new location will be relatively cooler, and it will help to prevent excess heat from getting into the RV. This will help to keep your RV cool in summer. In the worst-case scenario, it will reduce the heat that goes in.

Create a Shade for Your Vehicle

If, for some reason, you cannot move your RV to a shady spot, you can make a shade at its current location. Even if the vehicle is in a shaded area already, you can still make additional shade by keeping the awning down and creating shade using tarpaulins. You can tie the straps to trees nearby. We recommend using straps made of a tree-friendly material such as wide nylon so that you don’t damage the trunks of the trees you tie them on.

If there are no trees in your location, improvise by getting a large tarpaulin and trying one end to the roof of your camper and the other end to the ground using stakes. This will create a triangle-shaped shade for the vehicle and prevent its interior temperature from rising.

Using LED Bulbs

A straightforward way to keep the RV cooler is to change the lighting. Incandescent light bulbs emit a lot of heat while it’s on. This heat will make it hard for the camper to stay cool on hot days. Purchase LED bulbs before your camping trip and replace the regular bulbs with them.

LED bulbs are more expensive than incandescent lights but emit less heat and are more energy-efficient. They also illuminate more brightly. Even with this option, we recommend switching off this light during the day and when not in use.

Keep the Air Conditioning Filters Clean

If your AC filters are dirty, clean them thoroughly to emit cooler air, keeping your camper cool despite the summer sun. This is a simple maintenance activity that every RV owner should know.

Man cleans RV air conditioning filters

After some use, the AC vents and filters get clogged with debris and dirt. This will prevent the air conditioner from working optimally. With proper maintenance at regular intervals, your AC units will prevent heat gain and keep your RV cool in the summer.

Use Shades on Your Doors

This involves using the awning to shade your door during the mornings and afternoons to prevent the summer heat from increasing the temperature inside the RV. This isn’t easy to do when there’s extreme heat, but you can reposition your vehicle towards the south to keep the sun out and keep that space cooler. This method is most effective if your RV has small windows.

Use Reflective Insulation

Some RVs don’t have an awning to provide shade and prevent warm air from circulating inside the camper. An effective alternative will be to use insulation on your RV windows to block out the sun and prevent heat from entering your vehicle when the sun rises. You can get these window shades from nearby home improvement stores. They are available in various sizes.

Man attaches reflective insulation behind RV windows

When you get the insulation, cut it to fit the size of the windows and use mini-blinds. You can also use visors or nightshades to secure the insulation on your windshield or windows. We recommend getting the best quality of insulation for covering windows to keep most of the heat outside.

Cook Alfresco

One common heat source in RVs is cooking with an oven or stove. Even if you implement multiple techniques to keep your RV cool in the summer, it will be hard to keep it cool if you cook indoors.

If what you want to cook demands the use of a stove or oven, take your cooking outdoors and away from the camper so the heat will disperse in the outside air.

If you must cook indoors, it should be a meal that doesn’t require cooking on either a stove or in an oven. We recommend sticking to Alfresco grilling recipes with the use of lightweight cooktops. Ensure you clean the grill before and after cooking to prevent it from overheating.

You don’t have to use dish soap, a sponge, and water. Paper towels or wipes can do that job. When you finish grilling and switch off the cooker, take it outside to cool. This will keep the heat outside.

Close the Windows of Your RV Each Morning

This simple hack has to do with understanding the day and night cycle. The temperature is higher in the mornings and afternoons, then drops to a low point during the evenings. Since the evenings are significantly cooler, leave your windows open and then close them before the sun rises to trap the cold air inside and keep the heat out. Leave the windows closed all through the day and open them when the sun sets again. This should keep your RV cooler.

During the day, use towels, sheets, or blankets to prevent the hot and humid air from sneaking inside your camper. This hack saves you the expense of purchasing and installing an air conditioning system in your RV.

Use Roof Vent Covers

One of the best ways to keep your RV cool is to install roof vent covers on the existing roof vents. It doesn’t cost much to install vent covers, and they effectively improve fresh air circulation even during rainfall. We recommend installing vent covers on both ends of the camper for proper ventilation or air movement.

Install an RV Vent Fan

Sometimes, the roof vents aren’t enough. You may have to install a vent fan. Once plugged into a power outlet, these portable fans will pull air from the roof vents and move it around the RV, effectively reducing its interior temperature.

Keep your Electronics Off or Use Them Minimally

Do you know our mobile phones, PCs, and other gadgets emit heat when powered on? You may hardly notice because you’re mostly in big spaces. However, in a small space, such as the inside of your camper, it can be part of the reasons why your RV is warm. To reduce the heat from your gadgets, switch them off. You should only use them when necessary. After all, the idea of a camping trip is to spend some quality time with yourself and temporarily disconnect from the outside world.

Make an Evaporative Cooler and Use It

A swamp cooler is one of the best ways to keep the RV cool in summer without an air conditioning system. You can buy a readymade swamp cooler or make one yourself. You’ll need a fish tank pump, an air filter, a five-gallon bucket, and some creativity for the latter.

If you want to go old school, place a damp towel on your head or neck. This, combined with the cool breeze from the portable fan in your camper, should do the trick if the night is uncomfortably warm.

Close the Door when your Air Conditioner is On

This is a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter if your AC is on full blast; if your door is open, your RV will stay warm. To make the most of your AC, shut the door of your camper to keep the cool air within.

Buy a Portable Fan

This is a cost-effective way to keep your RV cool on hot days. You can purchase a small fan and switch it on to move the air around. To use this hack effectively, get two portable fans and place one at the window facing inward to draw cool air inside the RV and the other fan facing outward to push the hot air out.

Cover the Skylight

Aside from window covers, you may also need insulation for your skylight because it’s another outlet for heat from the sun to gain access to your vehicle. With the insulation properly insulated, only the light from the sun will come in, while most of the heat, if not all of it, will stay out.

Clean Your Fridge Vents

Many don’t know this, but the fridge vent is another way the inside of the camper can get uncomfortably warm. Like the AC system, once the fridge has been used for a while, it accumulates debris and dirt. The fridge takes out large amounts of heat to ensure it stays cool. This heat spreads around the RV and makes it uncomfortable. We recommend positioning the fridge in a way that most of the heat from the appliance goes out. Also, ensure you clean the fridge vents at regular intervals to maintain them properly.

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