How to Stay Cool in Your RV This Summer

Jun 2, 2023 | Camping Tips

How to Stay Cool in Your RV This Summer

Staying cool at the campground during the hot summer months can feel like a losing battle. Follow these expert tips to keep your rig cold and comfortable.

By Campendium

Your RV provides you with many of the creature comforts of home, but your RV’s A/C might not be as strong as you’d like on the hottest days of summer. There are a few factors that will impact how well your A/C will work: the climate of your destination, the size of your RV, and the number of A/C units you have. 

As an example, if you only have one A/C unit on a large Class A and you’re expecting it to keep your interior cool in Florida during August, you’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you’re camping in Michigan with a smaller Class B, one A/C unit is probably enough to keep your interior cool. 

RV campsite with RV and car parked in the shade.
Photo: Mike and Holly

Tips for Using Your RV A/C

You should outfit your rig’s A/C system to fit your camping lifestyle. RV A/C units are either ducted or non-ducted and come in a variety of weights and cooling capabilities. If you’re looking for a rig with a built-in unit, or if you’re upgrading or purchasing a new A/C unit, keep the following in mind: 

  • If your RV runs on 30 amps, then you will only be able to run one A/C unit. If you think you’ll want more than one cooling unit, you’ll need a rig that runs on 50 amps. Not all 50 amp RVs are prewired or ducted for a second A/C, so it’s good to ask in advance when shopping.
  • A unit with a higher BTU (British Thermal Units) has more cooling power and typically ranges from 11,000 to 15,00 BTU/hour. Many RVs come standard with units around 13,000 BTU/hour. A more powerful A/C unit isn’t always your answer to cooling your rig as it depends on the size of your rig and the climate you’re in. 

Quick Tips for Keeping Your RV Cool in the Summer

  • Park in shaded areas. 
  • Use your RV awning and window shades to reduce sun exposure when parked. 
  • Clean your A/C filters regularly. 
  • Cover your A/C in the off season or during long periods of storage to protect your A/C unit from critters and prevent the cooling fins from any storm damage.
  • Check your A/C for any unwanted intruders or damage (small animals can chew on the wires).
  • Check the temperature of your A/C for proper operation.
  • If you have non-ducted A/C, close off smaller areas of your rig to cool off your main living area more quickly. 
  • If you have ducted A/C, some models offer a replacement ceiling assembly to add a direct vent feature so you can perform the above step. 
  • Cook outside using to keep extra heat out of your camper.
  • Use LED bulbs which are significantly cooler and use less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Looking out RV windows at a body of water.
Photo: Ing
  • Vent insulators will help trap cool air in your RV and make it more energy-efficient. 
  • Solar shields for your windshield, skylights, and windows will reflect UV rays and help regulate your rig’s interior temperature. 
  • Slide-out toppers also help protect your RV from the sun’s rays and keep the inside cool. 
  • Foil insulation works well for hybrids and pop-up campers. 
  • SoftStartRV is an easy-to-install device that allows you to run your A/C with more appliances by reducing the startup amps by 65 to 70 percent. It also reduces noise so you can sleep more comfortably with your A/C unit on.

How can I keep my RV cool without A/C?

Park your RV in shaded areas and use your RV awning when parked. Items like vent insulators, solar shields, and slide-out toppers (if you have slide-outs) can also help.

How do I keep my campervan cool in the summer?

Make sure you have an A/C unit that can handle the temperature and environment where you will be traveling and camping. Regularly clean your A/C filters and make sure you maintain your unit(s) throughout the year. 

How do you insulate an RV in the summer?

Purchase items like vent insulators and solar shields to help insulate your RV during the warmer months. 

RV with awning and camp chairs out next to a lake.
Photo: Laura Domela

Hopefully, these tips will keep your RV cooler during hot summer temperatures. Blocking out heat during the day and creating a cross-breeze at night will keep your RV in a comfortable climate, so you can fully enjoy your summer.

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