It’s no fun to overheat when you’re out camping! Readers who camp in the summer heat share strategies on how they keep their camper cool in hot weather. A hose mister on the awning. Yes, please!
Ways To Keep Cool While Camping
- Camp in the mountains and get higher in elevation.
- Park in the shade. Go to forested areas.
- Turbo Cool Swamp Coolers work great in dry climates.
- Hang a hose mister from the awning to cool off.
- Fantastic Vent Fan or an Endless Breeze Fans keep your camper cooler.
- Maxx Air Vent Covers allow for open roof top vents all the time.
- Use the air condition using your generator.
- Go to a campground, plug-in, and use the air conditioner.
“We have roof air but mostly stay in the mountains as much as possible and camp at Division of Forestry camps. They don’t have electric so we open our large windows and run the Fantastic Fan as required.” – Don Walker, 2009 Dodge 3500, 2008 Northstar Igloo
“Though our camper is factory-equipped with ducted air conditioning, we’ve rarely camped in a place with shore power. We have a Fantastic Vent fan over the kitchen/dinette area and use both intake and exhaust settings.
For quick cooling of the dinette area, we use the intake setting on the fan as this cools the area under the fan most quickly. For camper-wide cooling, once interior temperatures are down, we use the fan in exhaust mode to bring fresh air throughout the camper.
The single biggest bonus item we have purchased is the Endless Breeze portable fan, which is a Fantastic Vent 12V fan in a free-standing portable model. For sleeping in the heat, this can be positioned near a window to direct cool air quietly and efficiently directly into the cabover (or anywhere else desired). It is very energy-efficient and quiet for the volume of air it moves. It is definitely one of our must-haves when camping in warm weather!” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
Check Out –> Cool Camping Spots for Hot Weather
“First, our Lance is a four-season camper. Insulation works both ways. We park in the afternoon shade, choose a site with a breeze, and leave a vent open at night. There might also be a lake nearby. The air conditioner controls humidity and excess temperatures.” – Phil Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“We have two Fantastic Fans, a roof mount reverse cycle air conditioner, and under floor ducted heating. Depending on the weather we use what is needed. We also have three deep cycle batteries and two solar panels totaling 230 watts.” – Douglas Packer, 2012 Dodge Ram 3500, 2013 Eagle Cap 1160
“I live in Washington State, so I stay cool all year.” – George Cox, 2014 Ford F350, 2009 Arctic Fox
“To keep cool, I just open the windows. More often than not the furnace will be on at nights when camping at 10,000 feet.” – Fred, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Northstar Arrow
“We use our built-in Create-A-Breeze fan or, if it’s really bad, we use our air conditioning.” – Tim C, 2013 Ford F150, 2013 Palomino Bronco 1251SB
“We are lucky as we live and play in the mountains of Idaho. Very seldom does it stay hot enough for air conditioning. However, we did have an 85 degree evening while camped at an Outlaw Concert at the Old State Pen in Boise last summer.
As a result, we’re going to make custom screens for the two blocked off, lower side cabin vent areas and possibly add a Fantastic Fan. Our camper of the future will probably have air conditioning and a generator. We are starting to like more creature comforts!” – JT More and Sue Jurf, 2004 Ford F250, 2005 S&S Ponderosa 8.5
“Obviously, the rooftop air conditioner unit and Fantastic Fan are our first and second, or sometimes second and first, choices for keeping the camper cool.
One simple mod that we did to help keep the camper cool was to install the MaxxAir vent covers. It’s a simple and relatively inexpensive installation and it allows you to drive your truck camper with the vents open. If you live and camp in warm climates like we do, then this can make a considerable difference in the temperature inside the camper. It also makes it a lot easier to cool the camper down once you reach your destination. We went with the smoke colored vent covers to allow more light in.
With the MaxxAir vent covers installed, we even leave the vents open when we store the camper.” – Rex Carroll, 2004 Ford F350, 2006 Alpenlite Cheyenne
“No air conditioner, just a Fantastic Fan, open windows, shade trees, and higher elevations. It works for us.” – T and D Hoch, 2013 Ford F350, Northstar Arrow
“One of the best items we have used is a Turbo Kool (dry climates only). This is a 12 volt, water cool air conditioner. It works just like the evaporative air conditioner you may have in your home. It works great in an area that does not have a lot of humidity. Turbo Kools are built in Sparks, Nevada. We really love it.” – Alan Crawford, 2015 Chevy 3500, 1989 S&S 9.5
“We go to higher elevations and camp in the winter most of the time. The desert is great, cool and dry. Usually we use the Fantastic Fan, have a generator and air conditioner, but use it only when it is really hot.” – Dave and Lila Weinstein, Dodge Ram 3500, Arctic Fox 1150
“A Fantastic Fan came with the unit. I installed a MaxxAir roof vent covers and installed two Window MaxxAir vents on both sides of camper. I run the fan at various speeds for a nice cross breeze.” – Vic Smith, 1997 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2014 Adventurer 89RB
“I’ve only used this camper for a few years. I live in the mountains of western North Carolina and camp close to where I live. Cool nights and warm summer days. I mostly boondock so I have no power and the generator is not big enough to handle our air conditioner. The camper has a roof top unit, but seldom gets used except when I’m camping in a campground with AC power.
I have used the Fantastic Fan at night to draw the warm air out and cool the camper down. I have even left it on all night before and the batteries were fine the next morning. Cold drinks, shade and relaxing in my recliner under a shade tree is the best way to keep cool on a hot summer day!” – Jeff Hagberg, 2002 Ford F250, 2006 Travel Lite 800 SBX
“If it’s really hot and I have 110 power, I use my Duo Therm Briskair. Right at this moment, I’m sitting at Camp James on the Kern River and it is only 62 degrees out. I have all the vents open and some of the windows. I just let the breeze flow through.” – Tim May, 1993 W250, 1987 Vacationeer 9’10″
For Winter Camping –> How To Heat Your Camper
“We use a built-in air conditioner and a Yamaha 2000 generator to produce power when we’re off-the-grid. We also open all the windows and use a Fantastic Fan built into the vent over the bed during milder temperatures.” – Ray Jordan, 2004 Chevy Silverado 2500, 2012 Lance 825
“I have two Fantastic Fans and get under shade trees if it’s over ninety degrees.” – Philip, 2012 Ford F350, 1994 Lance Squire Lite 850
“I do it all. I’ve got an air conditioner on the roof and a Fantastic Fan. I also have a spare 12 volt fan that can go anywhere in or out. I camp mostly in the north, in the shade when I can. So far I have not had to use the air conditioner. If I go south in the Summer, I will plug in when I can, use the fans when I can’t and, if it gets unbearable, I’ll fire up the generator and use the air conditioner.” – Joe Woods, 2013 Ford F350, Northstar Igloo 9.5
“We use the Fantastic Fan for air flow when it gets warm. If it’s hot, then we use the air conditioner – if we have an electric hook up. If not, then we use palm leaves.” – Barry Schoenwetter, 2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2005 Lance 1030
“I have built in air, and go to cool places with plenty of trees and shade. There is also ample amounts of beer.” – Sam, 2002 Ford F250, 1995 Shadow Cruiser
“I mounted a 13,500 roof top air conditioner and have the original 12-volt fan over the bunk. There is a 12-volt circulation fan for additional air movement sitting on the counter. I use one or two Honda EU2000 generators as necessary when power is not available.” – Bob Cooke, 2002 Dodge Ram 2500, 1966 Avion C-10
“We use the Fantastic Fan and open some windows. By opening the right window(s) high/low we find there is no need for air conditioner. We are either in the woods or at the beach where it is always cool. We prefer a good breeze and open windows to air conditioning. In fact, when we bought out new camper last year, we opted out of getting an air conditioner.” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“I have an air conditioner in the camper and a box fan in my kitchen galley and a box fan under the awning.” – Joseph Brown, 2008 Toyota Tundra, 2010 Travel Lite 800SB
“Fantastic Fans at full speed to start pulling out the heat while the air conditioner kicks in. Once it gets livable inside, button her up and let the air conditioner work hard. If I am in 65 degrees or lower, I turn on the bathroom fan, open the front vent, and let the heat go out one end while cold air gets pulled in the other. That seems to work well.” – Roy Del Pozo, 1999 Dodge Ram 2500, 2013 CampLite 8.6
“On warm days we just open the windows and turn on the Fantastic Fan. On hot days, with full electric hook up, we use the roof top air conditioner unit. We camp mainly in the mountains of Virginia, so it is rare to use our air conditioner at night.” – Wade and Becky Johnson, 2004 Ford F-350, 2003 Lance 1161
“More often than not, we camp where its cooler. If were are in the heat, we have the Coleman Polar Cub 9000 that runs on the Honda 2000. It’s nice if you’re stopping someplace to make lunch and don’t need to run it for a long time. We have a Fantastic reversible fan and the Fantastic Breeze box fan we can set outside too. We also take a hose mister that we hang from the awning. If we know it’s going to be hot, we will usually be in a park with electric hook-ups.” – Chuck, 1995 Ford F250, 2009 Lance 815
“We have a built in air conditioner (Carrier), we open the windows and roof vent fans, we open windows without fans, and we sweat. It depends on available electricity and whether we have none, some or all power. We do not have a generator.” – Gary Veeder, 2001 Northern Lite
“There is no air conditioner installed in our camper as of yet, although I am thinking about it. We have not had an issue with the temperatures. If I do travel to very humid places, then I might want an air conditioner. All we use now is the Fantastic Fan in the cabover. We keep a window open and the airflow is great. It’s worked for us with no issues.” – Rich Bain, 1999 Chevy c3500, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
“I installed a second Fantastic Fan over the bed. I also added the Arctic Pack insulation kit, which not only helps retain heat in the winter, it also does a great job keeping the heat out in Summer. With both fans pulling air out, and the windows cracked open, pulling fresh air in, I can keep the camper at a comfortable 75 degrees in 90 degree weather.” – Aaron Summers, 2005 Nissan Titan, 2003 Northstar TC650
“We use a Coleman Mach air conditioner, Fantastic Fan, and head for the mountains. Do not let anyone sit on the cooler of beer. The obstruction can be dangerous.” – Roy Garland II, 2011 Ford F350, 2012 Outfitter Apex 9.5
“Mostly I use a Fantastic Fan and shade. When it is too hot and humid, I go for hook ups and run my air conditioner unit, which is rare.” – Bill Gahafer, 2008 Ford F-450, 2013 Lance 1181
“If we are simply traveling from point A to B, and it’s a two or three day journey, we pull into store parking lots, like Walmart, parallel our Honda EU2000 generators, and run the air conditioner.
During the cooler shoulder seasons, we open the large vent opening above the bed and use the Fantastic Fan to circulate the air throughout the RV. Both work great. In a campground we use the air conditioner.” – Mike Chiles, 1999 Dodge 2500, 2004 Lance 915
“We use a roof top air conditioner or turn-on the Fantastic Fan with the windows open. It works great!” – Eric and Linda Anderson, 2001 Dodge 3500, Arctic Fox 990
“We love our built-in air conditioner on our Eagle Cap. It has proven very effective in some of the hot locations we have visited. We mostly camp in RV parks with full hook-up service especially in Palm Desert or areas of Arizona. I’ve only used the generator a couple of times to power the air conditioner.
We arrived in Cody, Wyoming the day before July 4th and there were no RV parks with open spaces. So the next best thing was being at Walmart, along with two dozen other campers. We ran the generator for about four hours to keep the interior cooled down. There was a lot of high wind and blowing dust so we had to keep vents and windows closed.
Most of the time we’re able to keep comfortable with the front, rear, and/or bath overhead vents open. If I turn on the bath vent fan and leave the door about six inches open it does a great job of drawing air through the camper.
When I reserve a campsite, I try and request a shady area. If we’re in an open area, I’ll roll out the left side and rear awning which helps make it feel cooler inside. One thing I’ve learned is to never leave awnings out if you leave your campsite. The micro-burst we experienced in Mills City, Montana seemed like a mini tornado, but I did manage to save the rear awning from being ripped off the Eagle Cap.” – Roger Odahl, 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 2004 Eagle Cap 950
“When it’s not too hot, a Fantastic Fan sucks in cool air and blows out hot air. Otherwise we use the camper air conditioner unit. We do a lot of beach camping and the mountains.” – Guy Cornell, 1995 Ford F350, 2002 Lance 1025
“We have a pop-up truck camper and we love it. The queen size bed is surrounded by screens on three sides which allows for a nice breeze at night. We have an air conditioner too, but have only used it once. Our lab was left in the camper when we took a half day train trip.
We popped up the camper in the parking lot, unzipped the screens around the bed and she stayed cool there in the shade watching people go by. If we had a hard side truck camper, we couldn’t do that.” – Jody and John Herman, 2001 GMC 1500, 2007 Palomino 1200
“Since my tent trailer days I have used a MightyKool MW1 by Swampy. The MW1 I have is a twelve-volt model. I also have a 110 volt adapter so it can be used when working in my garage.
On low setting, it draws just 0.8 amps (11.3 watts), which by air conditioner standards is nothing. It’s about the same as a small twelve-volt desk fan. It only uses just over a liter of water an hour, so it’s great in situations where water supply is limited.
One gallon (3.75 liters) of water will last around two to three hours in the daytime and four to five hours during the night when used for evaporative cooling in our dry desert climates. This model doesn’t need ice.” – Steve N., 2000 Silverado 2500, 2008 Stracraft Pine Mountain