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How To Stay Cool Without A/C

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RV in the summer by the beach - feature image for how to stay cool without AC

Summer is upon us, so it’s time to prepare for hot weather. Traveling in an RV is great, but constantly running the air conditioning can be a major drain on your battery. If you want to conserve energy or don’t have a functional system, it’s important to know how to stay cool without A/C.

It takes a lot less energy to maintain a lower temperature than it does to transition a hot RV into a cool one. Even if you do decide to run your A/C, you can save energy by forming some habits that will keep the interior nice and cool. 

Below we have some tips that will help your RV (and the passengers within) stay cool without A/C. These range from interior upgrades to quick cool-down hacks. Try to implement some of these ideas during your travels this summer and see how easy it is to get by without relying solely on the air conditioner. 

Cover windows

Getting natural light into your RV is a great way to brighten up the space, but it also invites a lot of heat inside. If sunlight is allowed to enter your RV without any buffer, it could raise the temperature by 10 degrees or more. It can quickly become sweltering, especially if there is no outlet for the heat to escape. 

Covering your windows is the first line of defense. You can use anything as long as it blocks the incoming rays. Curtains and blinds are easy to install, but sometimes a more heavy-duty solution is necessary.

Reflective window covers are excellent at cooling down vehicles. Just put reflective covers over the doors and windows whenever you need to lower the temperature. There are also blackout coverings you can stick onto your windows if you want complete coverage. 

Use a swamp cooler

Swamp coolers (also known as evaporative coolers) are a wonderful solution for a hot RV. These coolers use age-old principles to cool down their surroundings. When hot air passes over liquid, a bit of the liquid evaporates and cools down the air. 

If you are looking for a good option, the Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Air Cooler is an excellent choice. You can also make your own swamp cooler if you’re interested in a DIY approach. Follow along with the video below to stay cool without A/C.

Unfortunately, swamp coolers won’t work everywhere. They require hot, dry air to work effectively. If you’re camping in a humid area, these coolers won’t be nearly as effective because the air is already so moist. But if you’re camping in an arid environment, these can be a real lifesaver!

Try electric fans

Electric fans are a simpler solution for staying cool. Although these don’t involve any evaporative cooling, they do improve air circulation and help prevent sweltering conditions. You can also run multiple fans at the same time and place them throughout your RV. 

Small fans don’t use up much energy and they’re quite useful for travelers who are trying to get by without A/C. The Honeywell HT-900 is a compact and highly-rated fan that would be perfect for RVers. 

Switch to breathable bedding

Being hot during the day is annoying, but being hot at night is miserable. If you’re like me, it’s hard to sleep at all when it’s too hot. You might be tossing and turning all night, sweating and trying to find the cool side of your pillow. 

One way to stay cool without A/C in your RV is to switch out your bedding during the warmer months. Although you might like to bundle up at night, heavy comforters and flannel sheets will become suffocating. Switch to lightweight, breathable bedding like cotton and linen. 

If you use a memory foam topper for your bed, there are also cooling gel toppers you can add during the summer. This will cool down the bed itself and make it easier to fall asleep. 

Keep windows open at night, closed during the day

A good airflow is essential to keeping your RV’s temperature stable. Luckily, you can let the natural heat cycle of the outdoors do the majority of the work for you. Even if you have air conditioning, it can take a lot of time and energy to cool down an entire RV. 

If you want to rely on the natural insulation of your RV, try to open up your windows at night to let cool air inside. Close them up in the morning as the temperature starts to rise. Try to avoid opening and closing the doors during the day because this will let the hot air inside. Make sure you use bug nets on your windows to keep the bugs out while you let the cool air in.

This method works well in homes and RVs, so give it a try. 

Cook outside

You also might need to change your cooking habits if you want to stay cool without A/C. Cooking indoors will raise the temperature, especially if you use the stove and oven a lot. Even with good ventilation, you’re bound to raise the temperature by a few degrees. 

So, if the weather is heating up, try to take your culinary adventures outside. Most campsites will provide a fire pit and picnic table, so you can do the majority of your food prep and cooking outside. If you have an outdoor kitchen, this is even better!

Invest in an ice maker

Nothing cools me down like an ice-cold drink. A lot of RVs have refrigerators and freezers, but they don’t always have an ice maker. Some campsites have ice that you can purchase, but again, this isn’t a guarantee. 

If you’re interested in making your own ice, try a countertop ice maker like the Silonn Self-Cleaning Ice Machine. This makes nine ice cubes at a time and it can freeze them in just six minutes. It also makes different sizes of ice, so you can choose the one that you need at any given time. 

A good ice maker will help everyone stay nice and cool, even if their surroundings are hot. For more portable ice makers, check out our top picks here.

Take a lukewarm shower

Sometimes you may need a full-body cooldown. If you’re sweating and overheating, you might think that a cold shower is the right way to go. Although this will provide some momentary relief, it can actually make things worse in the end. Your body will compensate for the heat loss and soon you’ll be back to where you started. 

A lukewarm shower will prevent you from getting too hot, plus it will cool you down once you’re done. As the water evaporates from your skin, there will be a secondary cooling effect. Plus, a lukewarm shower won’t be as shocking to your system as a cold one. 

Cool down areas with high blood flow

Sometimes you need to chill out, but don’t want to take a shower. In this case, you can focus your efforts on the parts of your body that have the highest pulse and blood flow. This includes your neck, wrists, and feet. 

Apply ice packs or a cold washcloth to these areas and watch the results. You will cool down quickly with minimal effort. A good foot soak in cold water is another great way to chill out.

Even if you don’t have air conditioning, you can still find ways to beat the heat this summer! For help mapping out your route for your next RV getaway, look no further than RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, all according to your travel preferences. Get RV LIFE Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today!

Related articles:

5 Things You Need To Know About RV AC MaintenanceSummer Camping Is Here: How Will You Stay Cool?Run Your A/C Units On 30-Amps & Keep Cool While Boondocking With SoftStartRV



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