5 Smart Tips for Keeping Your RV Cool in Hot Weather
Plus, helpful gear items to block out the heat!

By: GoLife Staff

If you are visiting destinations with soaring temperatures this summer or just plan to boondock without air conditioning, there are a few ways you can help keep the heat out and make sure you are keeping the cool air in when you do decide to use the A/C! We asked some Winnebago owners and long-time RVers to share their best tips and gear items for staying cool.

Please note all gear recommendations and other tips are suggestions from fellow RV owners and not direct recommendations from Winnebago.

1. Seek Out Shade 

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but it is easy to get excited when booking your campsites and forget to check if you chose a shaded spot. Even with hookups, it is nice to help set your A/C up for success by not being in the direct sun. When boondocking, make sure you keep in mind where the sun will be hitting in the middle of the day if you plan to be there for more than just a night. 

“While our Revel has air-conditioning, we’ve only found the need to run it a couple of times, despite spending summer months in our van in Utah and Colorado,” Kelly Laustsen and David Somach shared. “We plan our camp spots around finding locations with shade and water, if possible. We also try for higher-elevation spots that will cool down in the evenings and provide a nice breeze.”

They also share the importance of planning around cooler times of the day: “We plan our day around the weather. If we want to do a bike ride or hike, we get up early to take advantage of cooler weather and spend the afternoon in a hammock in the shade or doing an indoor activity. Libraries, coffee shops, and museums are great midday activities for cooling down.”

2. Bring Your Own Shade

Kenny and Sabrina Phillips spend a lot of time RVing in warmer weather, so they have invested in a few gear items to combat the heat, and the Magne Shade is one of their most-used items:

“Our Magne Shade attaches to the outside of our windshield using magnets that are attached to the inside of the windshield. It's fast to set up or break down and really works! We have had a reduction of dashboard heat of up to 30 degrees. Before we had the Magne Shade we would never let our dog Belle lay on the dash in the summertime, now it’s her favorite spot in the RV.”

You can also use your awning to help shade one side of the RV, so keep that in mind when getting parked at your campsite.

3. Block Out the Heat

“Insulation, ventilation, and circulation are three factors to address when keeping our 2022 EKKO cool in warm weather,” notes Noel Fleming and Chris Miller. “The cab is where we have recorded the highest temperatures. Due to the amount of glass it acts like a greenhouse, absorbing and holding heat.  Minimizing the amount of heat that enters the RV is key to maintaining livable temperatures.”

Aside from parking in a shaded area, Noel and Chris recommend insulated window covers. “We appreciate the quality and efficiency of vanmade gear shades for our windshield and cab windows when parked because they significantly minimize heat absorption. We also reduce sunlight and heat by covering the MaxxFan when not in use and keeping our coach shades closed while driving.  Additionally, tinting the windshield and cab windows deters heat both while driving and while parked.”

Making sure you cook outside if it is already hot in your RV is another great way to keep the heat out. Many RVers travel with pop-up shelters to stay out of the direct sun when spending time outside at their campsite.

4. Increase Air Flow 

While aligning your RV with the wind to make sure you get a nice breeze helps a lot, most RVs also have powerful fans that can be used to really help improve the air flow inside. Kelly and David note that “the exhaust fan in our van cycles all the air in the van in seconds, meaning that as soon as the temperature starts to drop, we get a nice cool breeze.”
 
“Ventilation plays a key role for achieving comfort in hot conditions,” Noel and Chris explain. “The ceiling MaxxFan in our EKKO does wonders to draw air through the coach when even one window is open. In this manner you can target an area of your coach. The air flow created by the draw of the MaxxFan is amazingly effective.”

For extra air circulation, Noel and Chris use USB fans above the beds for cool air movement while sleeping. “The fans we opted for have clips and a flat base so that they can easily be moved around the rig.”
 
Another unexpected way to improve air flow comes from the Phillips: “We installed an RV A/C silencer which is used to make ducted A/C units run quieter. But one of the side benefits is that it increases airflow from all our ductwork vents. This increased airflow helps to cool our RV down faster and helps the A/C keep up with the rising temperatures outside. This has been especially useful now that we live out in Arizona.”

5. Know How to Use Your A/C Efficiently

Of course, if you have access to electric hookups or enough power to run it while boondocking, your air conditioner is your best friend on a hot day! Knowing how to best use your A/C for maximum efficiency is key. Peter Holcombe shares some valuable usage tips in this video: 

We hope these tips can help you have a more comfortable RVing experience when met with hot temps! 

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