Boondocking is our favorite way to camp, it gives you an opportunity to be off the grid and just enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings. But what do you do when the temperatures are in the 90s and climbing? Well one strategy is to turn on your generator and blast your A/C units. But that that kind of takes away from the experience in our opinion and we generally like to rely on our solar panels which do not provide enough juice for the A/C. Since we have been in Texas and New Mexico we have been experienced the desert heat and have had to get a little creative about how to keep our RV Wanda cool. Here are some ways we have found that keeps us cooler.
Site location and how you park your RV makes all the difference in temperature in your RV. While you may not have a choice depending on the site its an important consideration.
Shade vs Full Sun.
This is a tricky decision if you rely on solar to recharge your batteries. Do you need to maximize your solar intake? Or are you just boondocking for a day or two and can rely on the power you have already stored? Are you going to run your generator? Obviously, there are a lot of factors you need to weigh out. As a general rule for us, we always want to make the smallest impact on our surroundings and this includes noise. So, we often opt for sites with maximum sun for our solar and so we don't have to run the generator.
Cover Your Windshield and Windows
Your windshield is where the most heat enters your RV. Think greenhouse, it is the same principle. On the road, we’ve seen many approaches to blocking the sun's rays from the front window. We’ve seen solar blankets, reflectix, shades, blankets and even cardboard. Our front curtains have a thick black out liner which generally works pretty well to keep the front cool. For Big Bend we also parked our RV pointing North. By pointing your RV in the northerly direction your RV windshield receive the least amount of light compared to any other direction. Also, drawing your blinds will aid in keeping the temperature lower.
Lets face it, RVs are not known for having the best insulation. One of the best tools on your RV is your awning. The awning provides much need shade shade and on our particular RV the awning provides shade for the back of our refrigerator. The back of the refrigerator vents away the hot air it produces to keep the contents in our refrigerators cold. The refrigerator will struggle to keep cool if the ambient air is hotter than the temperature it is venting. Keep the back of the refrigerator shaded as much as possible to make sure you do not end up with soupy ice cream!
Maximize Wind or Keep the Air Circulating with Vent Fans
Check the weather and see if you are getting any wind in the forecast. If so, park so that the wind flows through your windows instead of parking head or tail into the wind. If wind isn’t an option, turn on your vent fans to circulate the air. On good solar days we are able run our electric fans without draining our batteries.
Make a Evap Air Cooler
This low tech A/C is simple, cheap and effective for keeping cool. Here’s a YouTube on how to make your own. We kept it power efficient by using a battery operated camp fan and hot wiring a USB A cord and powering it with a portable power supply. That way I could recharge the batteries with a portable solar charger that we have for our electronics. For ice, freeze a gallon jug of ice with a cup of salt in it. The salt lowers the freezing point and the ice will stay colder than traditional ice. The fan blows the warms across the cold ice water and cools the air temperature as it exits the bucket.
What are ways you keep cool while boondocking? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
By: Kevin Quiambao