How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer – Tips That Work

How to keep an RV cool in summer

This article is all about how to keep an RV cool in summer. Because nobody wants to be camping in their RV and be miserable while they’re doing it.

So here are some of my very best tips that I’ve learned about how to stay cool in your RV. And they are tips that we have learned during our full-time RVing adventures.

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How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer – Air Conditioners

The number one tip is make sure that you get your air conditioners serviced regularly. And keep the filters clean too.

Your RV air conditioners may seem like they can just run forever without any attention. But once a year you need to have them serviced.

Now you could have someone do it for you. In fact it’s not usually very expensive to do that.

Or you could actually do it yourself. There’s several videos on YouTube about how to perform the annual maintenance on your air conditioners.

That way you can keep them running at maximum efficiency. But you also need to keep your A/C filters clean too.

That’s because RVs are not airtight. So they pull in a lot of dust. And that dust gets caught in the A/C filters.

My recommendation is to clean them about once a month. Or sometimes even more than that if you’re in a really dusty and dirty area.

You need to pull those filters down and vacuum them. That gets all the dust and dirt out out of them.

Now if the filters are really dirty, then you may need to wash them instead. And then dry them out and vacuum them afterward. Or even replace them all together.

Just make sure that you keep your filters clean. When they clog up, the efficiency of your air conditioners is going to drop dramatically. So be sure to service your air conditioners and keep the filters clean.

How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer – Using Shade Wisely

My next tip is all about shade. And you’re going to hear about that a lot in this article.

Shade helps a lot in the summertime. So when you come to a campground ask them if you can have a campsite in the shade. Or even when you’re making your reservations you can ask for a shaded campsite.

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If they do have a shaded spot available, make good use of that. Because shade is going to keep the temperature down inside your RV. So use every bit of shade that you can when you are camping.

Now my next tip is don’t wait to turn on your air conditioner until the RV has already heated up a lot.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do this. But they really shouldn’t. In fact, when you notice that it’s starting to heat up a little bit in the RV, get those air conditioners on.

Because if you wait until it gets hot in there, you put that air conditioner in a hole. And it’s got to climb out of that hole to cool the RV.

It’s really not going to function at its best efficiency that way either. But if you start off when it’s still relatively cool, it should be able to maintain that as it goes.

And it runs at a much more efficient rate that way. So don’t wait until it’s really hot inside the RV to turn your air conditioners on.

Using Awnings To Keep An RV Cool In Summer

My next tip is to use your RV awning as much as possible to shade that side of your RV. Especially if that’s the side that’s always in the sun.

Really, the awning is a built-in shade for your RV. And it’s a great way to have your own shade and bring it with you.

But a word of caution here too. If you use your awning for shade, you have to watch it carefully. That’s because awnings can’t be out when the wind is up.

So if it gets very windy, you’ve got to take the awning in. And that’s just the way it is.

But if it’s not windy out, then put the awning out and shade that side of your RV. You’ll notice a huge difference if you do.

The next tip is to use window awnings on your RV if you have them. Now a lot of towables don’t have that. But many motorhomes do.

So use your window awnings. They are those little shades that come out over your window. We have them on our RV. And it always makes a huge difference in the room where we deploy them.

How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer – Using Sun Shades

Now the next tip that I want to give you is about using a sun shade for your awning area. Of course, the awning is great. But you can take that one step further and use a sun shade like you see here.

How to keep an RV cool in summer using an awning sun shade
Awning sun shade

Click here to view RV awning sun shades

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And that’s going to extend the shade even further in that area. Also, you’ll notice that the shade will really drop the temperature under the awning considerably.

You can get sun shades for the front of the awning. And you can also get them for the sides of the awning as well.

Click here to view awning side sun shades

A lot of folks don’t know you can do that. But yes, there are side awning shades as well. And that can lower the temperature under the awning even further.

So you can enjoy the outside even longer by having it really nice and cool under your awning.

Now my next tip is to use a sun shade for your motorhome windshield. And this is super important because windshields on motorhomes are huge heat conductors.

And they conduct the heat right into your RV. So you need to find a way to take that heat and reflect it out of the RV instead.

And having a good windshield sun shade is a great way to do that. Also, you can get ones that are relatively inexpensive like you see right here.

Class A windshield sun shade
Inexpensive RV windshield sun shade

Click here to view Class A RV windshield shades

Click here to view Class C RV windshield shades

Or you can get the ones that are more permanent. They often snap on or are put on with magnets. But they’re quite a bit more expensive.

Class A windshield sun shade set
Better RV windshield sun shade

Click here to view higher quality Class A RV windshield sun shades

These kind of RV windshield sun shades look great. And they do a really good job. Also, they’ll last for years and years.

So make sure that you keep that motorhome windshield shaded. It will make a big difference inside your RV!

How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer When Cooking Meals

The next tip is to cook your meals outside your RV. Or just use cool meals instead when it’s really hot.

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When you put a stove or oven on inside your RV, it’s fighting against the effects of your air conditioner. And if it’s a really hot day, the air conditioner is probably going to lose.

So a great way to avoid that is to just do your cooking right outside under the awning. That way you can enjoy the awning too.

And you can set a table up out there and use things like a Blackstone griddle. There’s a lot of RVers that use those to cook their meals on.

Blackstone griddle
Blackstone griddle – click the image to learn more

Or you can use a an electric griddle if you want too. You could also use a grill or a smoker to cook your meals outside.

RV gas stove
Gas camping stove – click the image to learn more
Coleman portable grill
Coleman portable grill – click the image to learn more

There’s all kinds of things that can be used to cook food outside the RV And when you do, all that heat is not trapped inside your RV instead. So use the suggestion of cooking outside as much as you can on hot days.

The other way to do it is to just choose cool meals inside on the really hot days. It’s your choice, and both of those suggestions work well to keep your RV cool.

Insulate Those Windows And Vents To Keep Your RV Cool

My next suggestion is if you’re in a really high heat area, use Reflectix on your RV. It’s a material that’s insulated and has reflective covers on both sides.

Click here to view Reflectix material

We use it a lot on our RV on really hot days, like you might find in Arizona in the summertime. We cut it to the size of our windows and then we’ll tape it in place over the window area.

And you know what? It works great! Because it reflects that heat back out of the RV instead of allowing it in through our windows.

My next suggestion is to install roof vent insulators and skylight insulators in your RV. That’s because RV skylights are one of the biggest sources of heat that you can imagine.

So we put foam insulation up into our skylight. And then we use tension bars to keep it in place as you see here. And it has worked extremely well for us.

How to keep an RV cool in summer - our RV skylight insulator
Our skylight insulator installed

Also, heat can easily come in through your roof vent fans. So you can get insulated pillows or cushions that go up in there to keep that area cool.

Click here to view RV fan vent insulators

And when you do that for your vents and skylight, you’re keeping that cool air inside your RV. And keeping the hot air out.

How About Portable Air Conditioners?

But what if your air conditioner can’t keep up with the heat outside? My next suggestion is to get a portable air conditioner to help out. Especially on the really hot days.

Click here to view a portable A/C unit like we use

Some folks ask, how do you run a portable air conditioner in an RV? Well, if you’ve got a 50 amp service, it probably is not going to be an issue.

You can just plug it into a outlet inside your RV and run it. But if you have a 30 amp service like a travel trailer, you may have to do it differently.

If you look out on the electric pole where you plug in, you’ll often find a 120 volt plug-in or outlet. And you could run an extension cord to it through a window or a slide.

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You could then hook it up to your portable air conditioner. And then you have two air conditioners running, instead of just one.


My next suggestion is make use of campground pools to cool off and lower your body temperature. Because when your body temperature rises, you’re probably not going to get cool very quickly.

So it’s a good idea to go use that pool to cool yourself down. And it’ll make everything more comfortable for you on really hot days.

Finally, if the heat is too much where you’re at, there’s wheels on your RV. So use them to go to a cooler area for a while.

Well, those are my best tips for maintaining your cool in really hot weather.

There’s a lot of fun things to do in the summertime when you’re camping in your RV. And there is no need to be uncomfortable and miserable.

Especially while you’re trying to enjoy your RV adventures. But if you follow the tips I gave you here, you can stay cool in your RV. Even in the hottest days of summer.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!

2 thoughts on “How To Keep An RV Cool In Summer – Tips That Work”

  1. Carolyn Watkins says:

    I’d like to thank you for this article. We implement most of these tricks, but you gave others I didn’t even think of. I had put covers over the skylights, so it’s darker in the bedroom. I hadn’t thought about the heat aspect. So, again, thank you.

    1. So glad it was helpful Carolyn. There is a lot of summer left this year so I hope these suggestions will benefit you right away.

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