How to Keep Campers Cool in the Summer

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Everyone knows summer can be hot, but this year, the temperatures have been outrageous. It’s left almost all of us asking how to keep campers cool in the summer. RV camping is hardly any fun if you feel like melting despite blasting the AC all day. At a certain point, your air conditioner simply won’t be able to keep up, especially if you have a larger rig. You might even finding yourself waiting for the day you can put your RV in storage for the winter or worse, sell your RV.

So, what’s a camper to do? Fortunately, summer heat doesn’t have to make your miserable (and you defintely don’t need to say goodbye to camping). Keep reading for the best tips to keep campers cool in summer and bring the fun back to camping.

1. Keep Camper Cool in Summer Using Reflectix

One Cool RVer, Butch Cummings, found a way to actually keep his camper cool this summer. When temperatures soared to 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, Cummings went to work. He took data over a two-day period to compare his RV temperature without and with Reflectix.

Reflectix is a lightweight foil-lined bubblewrap that you can use to line things for better insulation. So, does Reflectix really work to keep campers cool in summer?

You bet it does! Even better than expected. Cummings has a 28-foot travel trailer with a single 13.5k BTU air conditioning unit. Despite running the air conditioning constantly, the temperature in his rig wouldn’t drop below 78 degrees, according to his digital thermometer.

Testing the Effectiveness of Reflectix for Keeping Campers Cool in Summer

After spending a day melting, Cummings installed Reflectix on all the interior windows. To hold them in place, he used the pull-down blinds and a few small Velcro dots for the larger ones.

Cummings stressed you should attach the Reflectix to the window frame rather than directly to the glass. The air gap helps with insulation effectiveness. In turn this helps keep your camper cooler in the summer. Before putting up the Reflectix, the window temperature was a whopping 91 degrees. After the install, it dropped to 80-82 degrees.

Once he finished installing all the Reflectix and vent cushions he blasted the AC. The temperature inside the RV dropped noticeably. The interior temperature quickly reached a comfortable 71 degrees. He said he could likely bring the temperature even colder, but it wasn’t really necessary.

To keep your RV cool hot summer day, Reflectix is a clear winner for RVers. One caveat is that it tends to work best on single-paned windows since double-pane windows can trap too much heat between the panes. But most RVs have single-paned windows which is why they heat up so quickly.

Also Read:  The Easiest Ways to Camp For Free

2. Use a Vent Cushion

Another way to keep campers cool in the summer is to use an RV vent insulator cushion to each vent. When Cummings measured the temperature without the cushion, it was 97 degrees. After adding the cushion, there was at least a 10-degree drop immediately.

When Cummings initially tried installing Reflectix on the bathroom skylight, which was multi-paned, he hit a snag. Rather than reducing the temperature, it actually made things hotter. That’s why Cummings recommends using a vent cushion instead of Reflectix in all the skylights and vents since most have multiple layers.   

3. Use a Roof Vent Fan

Some RVs come with a roof vent fan already equipped, but if yours doesn’t, you can also install one. If you’re handy and feel confident working on your roof, you may even be able to complete this project yourself.

To keep your camper cool in the summer, crack a window or two and turn on your roof vent fan. You’ll be surprised how much cooler it gets!

Other Tips to Keep Your RV Cool

Besides Reflectix, there are several other straightforward ways to keep your RV cool. You can keep your AC running cooler and more efficiently by maintaining it. If it has been a while check your filters to see if you need to replace them.

Another tip is to open your windows if it cools down overnight. Then lock the cool air in by closing the windows and drawing the shades during the day. Adding the Reflectix as discussed earlier will be significantly more effective at keeping cool than shades alone.

There are also some tips that are tough to implement at a campground since you sometimes have little control over your site. If you can pick the perfect campsite, then keep these tips in mind. They are also perfect for boondocking when you don’t have an endless supply of power.

One obvious solution is to park in the shade when possible. You can also try to point your windshield or largest window so the sun doesn’t hit it as directly. Some RVers also recommend keeping your fridge and AC vents in the shade whenever possible to keep your RV cool.

Other Considerations for Hot Weather RVing

Another thing to keep in mind when RVing in the summer is pets. Don’t leave your fur baby inside a potential hotbox with no way of knowing they are safe. Using a temperature monitor for pets is a must for all pet parents and will make RVing with pets more enjoyable.

What are your best tips to keep your RV cool in the summer? Leave us a comment with your favorites.

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Kathryn Mancewicz

Kathryn Mancewicz is an RV expert who has been a full time RVer since 2019. She has bylines for her RV related content on major publications including MSN, MSN Canada, and AOL. She has also been featured on Yahoo and quoted on KOA. Kathryn is also a regular RV content writer for Cheapism.