How to Keep Your Caravan Cool in Summer: 9+ Tips & Tricks
Caravan camping is awesome except for those moments when you can fry an egg on the dining table in the vehicle.
Alas, those moments basically extend to the whole of summer.
There is no magic wand that will keep your caravan absolutely cool in summer, when the sun turns from friend to foe and makes your campervan, static caravan or motorhome a scorching hell.
But these tips will definitely prevent you from calling it quits on your camping way too early!
9+ Tips to Purge Hot Weather From Your Caravan
1. Insulate the Hull
Maybe your caravan already came with ceiling and roof insulation. If it did, you’ll still have to take care of the walls.
It’s neither expensive nor tricky to DIY, even if you’re not the craftiest person. Just get enough Polystyrene foam sheets (or similar insulation materials) and stick them on top of your wooden wall panels.
This type of caravan insulation isn’t the most durable, but it should keep you going for a year or two.
(In case you’re flush, you may consider sheep wool insulation. It’s organic, cleanses the air, gets rid of moisture, and even reduces the noise.)
2. Install an Awning
An awning is especially good for a static caravan.
They come in all shapes, sizes, materials and functions. You can choose from full or porch awnings, poled or inflatable, depending on your needs and budget.
If you’re not ready to splurge a few hundred dollars, you can even make the simplest awning. All you need is a shade canopy, a few aluminium poles, some rope, and a few nuts, bolts and carabiners.
3. Tint the Windows
Caravan window tinting can help A LOT in reducing the heat in your camper van.
They work across two fronts:
- cutting down on UV radiation’s harmful impact up to 99% (no sunburns!),
- combating the infrared light, which is the main reason why your caravan turns into a veritable oven on a hot day.
Caravan owners who decide to tint their windows should pay attention to one thing: regulations. They will differ from state to state, so do your homework before installing tints!
4. Give the Fridge a Break
Obviously, you have a fridge in your van because you need one.
However, if you could just give it a break during the hottest summer days, you’d find huge relief.
Use an esky instead. Not an electric one though, because it will also heat up the place. Opt for an old-school esky that works on ice cubes.
This also goes for your laptop, TV set, or any other devices that give off heat while running. They don’t have an ice cube alternative. But the least you can do is NOT use them when there’s a climactic apocalypse outside.
5. Be Careful Where You Park
Another “duh” moment?
Overnight, you should use a caravan park if you don’t want to risk earning a hefty fine on your camping trip. But during the day, you’ll want to find a shady area with lots of trees.
Shade will keep you from getting a heat stroke by protecting you from direct sunlight, but also by giving out lots of pleasing coolness from the ground.
6. Spend Your Days Outside
The name of the game here is: park your caravan and walk away.
Spend the day out in the open: under a tree if you’re in the backcountry, or hit the coffee shops if you’re in an urban area.
The latter option comes with additional perks. You’ll charge your electronics too!
7. Spend Your Nights Sleeping in a Tent
Hot days are usually followed by balmy nights.
But that doesn’t have to be true 100% of the time.
Typically, roof vents and windows left ajar will let in some cool airflow. But if the night is extremely warm, you can get a summer sleeping bag and sleep outside, in a tent or even under the stars.
8. Get an Air Conditioner (AND a Generator)!
Okay, Mr. Obvious!
Caravan air conditioning is one of the most painful topics for ANY camper.
Everyone would like to have one. But not everyone can afford an air conditioning unit PLUS a power generator. Those two cost a lot of cash and take up enormous amounts of storage.
However, technology has gone a long way, and you can either get a rooftop Air conditioner or a cheap(ish) portable air conditioner that’s not bigger than a vent fan.
You can even consider an evaporative air conditioner (a.k.a. a swamp cooler) with a water tank where you can put some ice cubes to really cool you down within minutes. Best of all, these coolers are typically very affordable.
9. … Or a Solar Powered Fan
A solar panel on the roof, a fan on the inside. And it doesn’t feed on batteries. What’s there not to love?
Sure, it won’t bring down the temperature. But it will get rid of some of the humidity and provide some of that breeze your baked body craves so much.
If you happen to have some spare ice, put it in a bowl and place it in front of the fan. That’s going to be almost as effective as an AC.
The only shortcoming – this cooler air will only last until the ice melts down.
Bonus Tip: Do NOT Drink Cold Water
Most people do it. Most people even think it’s healthy. To make matters worse, your body craves it.
So how can you resist knocking back a bottle of chilled water?
Even more importantly, WHY should you ever go to such lengths?
Popular wisdom has it that a warm body requires cold fluids.
Well, according to Peter McNaughton, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, it doesn’t! While it definitely quenches thirst, cold water may affect your digestion.
Counterintuitively, warm water will boost sweating, which is your body’s way of regulating its own temperature better.
Now, let’s be completely honest.
Hardly anyone will be willing to gulp down a full glass of icky, tasteless warm water at 40 degrees Celsius just so they could sweat it out.
So middle ground may be the best way to go. Resist the urge and drink water at room temperature. Drink plenty of it, and you’ll be fine!