Last summer, my little family and I set out on an adventure up the east coast. Despite the cooler weather as we worked our way north, we found that we were running our A/C almost constantly as long as we had access to electricity. We also spent a couple of weeks camping without hook-ups, meaning we had no way to run our beloved cooling system.
That time spent boondocking, combined with the noticeable over-use of our RV’s cooling system, led us to make an attempt to find ways to keep cool without the A/C. After all, we can’t always plug in, and even when we can, we don’t want to wear our air conditioner out too quickly.
After a few weeks of experimentation, we had a pretty good idea of how to keep our little home cool even without the convenience of air conditioning.
Here is what we learned:
Seek Out Shade
Obviously, more sunshine means more accumulated heat. However, many campers don't realize what a profound difference even the smallest amount of shade can make. For this reason, it is crucial that people camping in warm weather and bright sunshine seek out some shade to park under. If there is no natural shade available, the RV awning can be somewhat helpful.
Cover the Windows
Another big step toward a cool home involves covering the windows in your rig. Sunlight that comes in through the windows fills the RV with heat, which then has no way to escape. By covering the windows with room-darkening curtains, shades, peel-and-stick window tint, or even car window shades, you can reduce the amount of heat coming into your trailer or motorhome.
Turn on the Vent
Even with plenty of shade and covered windows, heat will still find its way into the RV. This is where roof vent fans come in handy. These handy inventions pull the hot air out of the RV. By opening a window or two, you can also get some cooler, outside air moving around inside.
Don’t have a roof vent? I seriously recommend having one installed. However, if that isn’t in the cards right now, you can create a similar effect by opening two windows on opposite sides of the RV. Next, set up a fan facing into the room in front of one window to pull fresh air in. A fan set up facing the outdoors in front of the second window will then act as a vent, sending stale, warm air outside.
We found these three things have the biggest effect on the temperature of our trailer during the summer. However, we did do a few other things to keep cool. These included staying hydrated, cooking outside, and turning off all lights and electronics when we weren't using them.
By using the tips above, I am certain you can have a fabulous summer in your RV without burning out your A/C motor or sweating through the day and night. Give it a try and come back and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.