When It’s Just Too Hot – Tips for Staying Cool, in the RV or Elsewhere

July 12, 2022

I was born in Texas in summer, grew up in Florida, returned here after 5 years away in the Air Force, and now RV in Florida. In my travels, I have tent camped in summer along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., RV’d around Texas in summer in a small travel trailer with a tiny AC unit, lived in England and survived the few weeks of hot summer with no AC (while pregnant), spent hot summer days bouncing around Disney and theme parks since that is when I was off, and many other experiences of unavoidable heat.

I am also the one that will pass out if I get overheated and had the doctor’s note for Gatorade at summer camp.

To say I understand hot would be an understatement.

But that also means I’ve tried a lot of things to keep cool and have found some things that work well. so let me share those with you.

CAMPING & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES For some reason, most people do their activities midday or in the afternoons, which are the hottest parts of the day. The best idea is to plan them for early to finish before 10 or 11AM, or not start until after 4PM. If you must be outside during those times, have on light colored, lightweight, cotton clothing or UV protective, wear a mesh hat that gives good coverage and stay under shaded cover and off of light colored, reflective surfaces. Drink lots of water and have a paper or electric fan to move air over you. Swimming in the heat can actually cause more heat issues for you, so also avoid this during the heat of the day. I also suggest avoiding the beach midday. It may be tempting with the ocean and the breeze, but the wind can be deceptive in terms of both sun exposure and body cooling.

RV’ING RV’s can get very hot, very fast, especially in newer campgrounds where tree coverage is little to non-existent. The AC’s can do the job, but only to some extent. They will only cool by 20 degrees from the outside temperature, so don’t expect miracles. It won’t be based on the inside temperature like some thing because the air intake is on the outside and, if it did, it would constantly be getting colder on the inside (yes, I did have someone argue this with me once). First, be sure you turn your air on and start cooling before it gets hot. Cook outside when you can, or early in the day. Better yet, have one cooking day a week and meal prep in the morning, then you can heat up, instapot or grill outside the rest of the week. Open up your vents and windows early to air things out and close up by early mid-morning. Invest in Reflectix for all your windows and inserts for all your vents. Lowe’s has a huge roll of Reflectix type product for around $40, and it is twice the thickness of the RV specific stuff. We spent an afternoon custom cutting and velcroing in place covers for ours and can maintain a 76-78 degree temp in the rig, even in the bunk room that has no AC. We do have a tower fan we place in the door way to pull the cooled air in, which helps. We do also keep it on auto during the cooler parts of the day or night so it gets a break. A final tip is your front door. When you can, choose spots facing north or east to avoid late afternoon sun, and limit how often you open the door. If you need to take stuff to outside storage or go do something outside, make a pile and do it all at once, say when you take the dog out for a break. That will help you maintain a temperature in the AC and not strain your system too much.

HOME If you live in a home that isn’t mobile, there are things you can do, as well. You’ve heard the news and experts tell you to keep your AC at 78 optimally. Using a programable thermostat to vary the temp when you are home or away, and daytime to night time, can be very helpful. Be sure to get semiannual check ups on your system to stay ahead of issues, your local AC companies can provide this service and often have a package deal that can also give you discounts should you have issues. Be sure to keep blinds and curtains closed on windows and limit how often you open doors to go outside. Run your dishwasher and laundry early in the day or late at night and meal plan and prep to avoid cooking in the hottest part of the day. With increased population in some areas and electric car purchases on the rise, our infrastructure is seeing its share of challenges, so these will help immensely.

GENERAL COOLING TIPS Having lived in England and AC’s not being an option on those rare weeks it got extremely warm, I learned some things that I still practice today. Plan outings to indoor locations in the heat of the day. Not all have to cost money, and some can be errands. Grocery stores and other shops malls will be cooled, as well as the library, movie theaters, arcades, bowling alleys, bounce arenas. I spent many days during my first pregnancy hanging out with the other prego moms in the freezer section of the commissary on our post. If you have pets, find places that are pet friendly–many stores allow non-service animals to enter, so a stroll through the hardware store or local pet store could be just the thing, and it works on their social skills. If it’s in the budget, find local restaurants or ice cream shops and enjoy a meal, dessert, coffee or cocktail in a cool outdoor seating area with your furry friend, if they are well-behaved. I also suggest afternoon naps, even if only for 20 minutes, since this can allow your body to slow down and cool down naturally. A cooling towel or hat is very handy for those that overheat easily. Be sure to drink lots of water early in the day to stay ahead of heat related illnesses and pay attention to warning signs.

Like or comment below and share with others to support the blog. I post twice a week about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1 or on Tiktok: @sonya.BOMSquadleader. You can find more about our adventures on our our website at BarnesOnMove.com, Facebook, TikTok & Twitter: @BarnesOnMove . Support us and get more in depth and personal interactions at Patreon: Barnes On Move

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