12 Tips For Keeping an RV Cool in the Extreme Heat of Summer
It’s difficult keeping an RV cool in extreme heat, especially when you don’t have hookups. We’ll share tips with you on how to have a cool RV without hookups. You’ll see how we stay cool when the temperatures go into the 90s and even above 100 degrees.
1. Choose a higher elevation
Camp at a higher elevation. We are about 5,500 feet in Red Lodge, Montana, an hour away from Billings, Montana which is at a much lower elevation. We are 10 degrees cooler here.
2. Park in the shade
Park in full shade all day if you can. But that much shade will affect your solar unless you have portable solar panels. Ideally, you want shade during the hottest part of the day as the sun is going down.
3. Find a body of water
Park near natural bodies of water. The breeze across the water will make it 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding area. Or, take a dip in the water!
4. Extend awnings
On really hot days we extend our RV awnings for the whole day. We like the Solera shades. They add shade and a layer of privacy.
5. Park strategically
Park your RV so that the window side of your rig gets the least amount of sun. Park the side with the least amount of windows on it towards the sun.
6. Open windows at the right time
If it gets into the low 70s later in the day or evening, we will open up our windows and turn on our vent fans to circulate and bring in the natural cool air.
We’ll also leave the windows open all night if it doesn’t get too cold so we can cool off the RV. As the temperature climbs the next morning, we will shut the windows. We also don’t add heat in the morning because it is tough to cool the RV down later.
7. Pull your shades
Insulated materials or shades block the harsh sun.
8. Running the AC unit
We can’t run more than one AC unit at a time on our solar setup. We isolate the bedroom and the garage/office and only use the main AC in the living area.
We focus all the cooling power on that one area. We manage our AC carefully. We can’t use it that long. If we are trying to focus on keeping the temperature at 75 degrees, we will make sure the AC doesn’t run too long and shuts off to give the batteries a chance to recharge.
9. Invest in a generator
We do have an automatic generator setting so if the batteries get below 11 volts, the generator kicks on automatically and runs for half an hour or more. On really hot days, we’ve run the generator maybe two to four hours a day. We are able to stay in the RV during the hottest parts of the day and be relatively comfortable working and relaxing.
10. Maximize the refrigerator
Use your RV refrigerator for more than just food. We put makeup and insulin (for Type 1 diabetes) in the fridge so nothing is damaged or ruined in a hot RV.
11. Cook outside
Grill outdoors to keep cooking heat outside. You can take your air fryer, Instant Pot, or hot plate and plug it in outdoors.
12. Leave for the day
If it’s too hot, leave your RV and go have an adventure. If you have to work, find a local coffee shop with Internet access where you can work comfortably.
Keeping an RV cool in extreme heat
Have you used any of these tips to keep your RV cool in extreme heat? Do you have other tips on the cheapest ways to cool an RV? Share all your tips to help us beat the heat!