How To Keep An RV Cool – The Top 10 Tips

Keep Your RV cool on hot summer days
Good Sam ESP

When the summer sun is blazing, lots of RVers want to know how to keep an RV cool. This is because RVs don’t handle temperature extremes very well.

Both very hot and very cold temperatures can be a challenge for RV life. But it’s a challenge that can be met and conquered.

This article will show you how to keep your RV cool even on the hottest summer days.

Video on how to stay cool in your RV during the summer heat
Watch my video on how to keep your RV cool in the summer heat

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Tip 1 – Get the right campsite

If possible, try to plan your campsite in advance. If it’s in a campground, do your best to get a campsite with as much shade as you can.

Shade from trees or other objects can go a long way toward keeping the temperature down inside your RV.

Tip 2 – Face Your RV The Right Way

Along with choosing the right campsite, you also want to face your RV in the right direction.

The best choice for motorhomes in the summer is to face the front of the RV north. This keeps the sun off the front windshield as much as possible.

That’s because that big glass front end on motorhomes can be great for traveling. But when you park it, the windshield becomes a huge heat radiator in the summer.

If you have a fifth wheel or travel trailer, try to park the side of the rig that has the most windows away from the afternoon sun. This is because windows are heat radiators too, so keep as much sun off them as you can.

Good Sam Club

Tip 3 – Use Your RV Awning And Window Shades

Almost all RVs come with some kind of awning. So use it to your advantage in the summertime.

Deploy your awning as long as you can in the daylight hours and it will help cool that side of the RV tremendously.

And if you have window shades, use them too. When you keep your RV window glass in the shade it will radiate a lot less heat into the RV.

Tip 4 – Keep Your ACs Clean And Serviced

Of course, one of your best defenses against the summer heat is your RV air conditioners.

So don’t wait until it’s already hot in your RV before turning them on. If you do, they will always be working harder to keep up with the heat as the day goes on.

Instead, start them early and establish a cool temperature right away. Then they can more easily maintain that temperature through the day.

And be sure to clean the RV air conditioner filters. This will help the AC work at it’s best efficiency level.

Finally, be sure to have your air conditioners serviced at least once a year to keep them in tip-top working order.

Tip 5 -Cook Outside If You Can

One of the biggest sources for heat inside your RV is the stove. And the more you use it, the more pressure you are putting on the AC units to cool the rig.

So why not use a portable grill and cook many of your meals outside instead? Besides, a lot of people feel that food cooked outside tastes better anyway.

RV Trip Wizard

And you could also choose to have more cool meals in summer that do not require cooking. Foods like salads and sandwiches can be a much better choice in the heat of summertime.

Coleman portable grill for RVing

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Tip 6 – Use Reflectix

Reflectix is a product that looks like bubble wrap covered with tin foil on both sides. But it is a great insulator and is very adaptable to many uses.

For instance, many motorhome owners use it behind their windshield to keep the heat out. But it can also be used behind windows, or vents and skylights too.

Some have even lined the inside of their RV cabinets and closets with Reflectix.

I have been told that using it that way in the summer has helped lower the inside RV temperature significantly. And it can also help keep the heat inside the RV in wintertime too.

Wherever you decide to place it, it can help insulate your rig’s interior from the hot summer sun.

Class A Reflectix windshield sun shade

Class C Reflectix windshield sun shade

Reflectix – 24 inch X 50 foot roll

Reflectix – 48 inch X 50 foot roll

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Tip 7 – Use Ceiling Fans

If your RV has ceiling fans, use them as much as you can to make it more comfortable inside the RV.

Just be sure that you have the fan turning in the direction that will bring the cool air down instead of up.

Tip 8 – Close Off Unused Areas In Daytime

If you can, try closing off areas like the bedroom during the day and shutting off the AC vents in there.

This will make sure that all of the cooling power of your air conditioners is going where it is needed most.

Of course, as evening comes on, it may be necessary to reverse the process to provide a cool sleeping area.

Tip 9 – Use Portable Fans

One of the best things you can do to make the RV interior feel more comfortable is to get air moving. And small portable fans in strategic locations throughout the RV can do this very well.

The air movement does not really lower the temperature in the RV, but it makes the living area feel more pleasant. So use fans as much as you can!

Small portable fan for moving air in an RV

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Tip 10 – Consider A Portable AC Unit

If all else fails, maybe you just need more raw cooling power. And here is where a portable AC unit can come in very handy.

There are many of these portable ACs that are getting very good reviews if they are used correctly.

And some RVs only have one AC unit from the manufacturer to keep the cost of the RV down. So you may need to add a portable AC at times inside the RV to get the cooling job done on very hot days.

Portable air conditioning unit for RV

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Conclusion

It’s hard to enjoy RV camping when you are hot and miserable inside your RV.

But the tips I have shared above can help change your RV trip from hot and irritating to cool and enjoyable.

Depending on the RV, you may need to put more than one or two of these tips in use.

We have spent time in the Phoenix AZ area in the summer months. And when the mercury starts going over 100 degrees, it puts a lot of strain on any RV’s cooling system.

But we have personally used many of these suggestions and tips to be able to stay cool even in that kind of extreme weather.

So here’s wishing you safe, happy and COOL travels my friends wherever you may go!

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