RV Advice

5 Affordable Ways to Keep Your RV Cool


The heat is on and RV expert Mark Polk has a few inexpensive ways to keep cool this summer.

It’s fun to get outside and enjoy all the summer activities, but when your fun in the sun is over you want your RV to be an oasis to keep you cool. Did you know when an RV air conditioner is operating properly there will only be a 16 to 22 degree difference between the ambient temperature and the conditioned air temperature? So on a hot summer day with the air conditioner working at maximum efficiency you still want to find ways to stay cool in your RV.

Here is my list of five inexpensive products to help keep you cool when you are camping this summer.

1. Small portable fans

We take several small fans with us on hot weather RV trips. They can be used anywhere in the RV and they do a great job circulating the air and keeping you cool.

2. Patio awning shade

If you don’t have a patio awning shade you don’t know what you are missing. A patio awning shade provides extra shade and privacy at your campsite. To get the right length awning shade for your RV just measure the roller tube on your patio awning. The awning shade slides into the utility groove of the awning roller tube and it can be set up or taken down within a few minutes. This is one of my favorite RV accessories.

3. LED light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs get extremely hot. If you use several lights in the RV on a hot summer night it adds that much more heat inside the RV. LED light bulbs don’t create the heat other bulbs do, and they use less energy too. It’s easy to upgrade your RV lighting to LED bulbs; just match the base of the existing incandescent bulbs with the new replacement LED bulbs or search for replacement bulbs by number. Installation is the same as the incandescent bulbs.  Less heat, less energy and brighter lights, a win-win for RV owners.

4. Reflective Insulation

If you don’t have window awnings to help block the hot sun from entering the RV windows products like Reflectix® can help beat the heat. This type of reflective insulation can be purchased at home improvement stores in various sizes for a reasonable price. The concept is to use the product to reflect the sun and heat away from the RV, hence keeping the interior cooler. If you have windows in the RV that let the hot outside temperatures inside the RV just cut a piece of reflective insulation to fit the window. You can use window visors, mini-blinds or day/night shades to help secure it in place against the windshield or windows. Depending on the product you use this inexpensive DIY fix will reflect up to 97% of radiant energy away from the RV windows.

5. Ventilation

Proper ventilation helps prevent excess heat in your RV. You can install vent covers over the existing roof vents to help increase ventilation in the RV. They are inexpensive, easy to install and they let the fresh air in, even when it’s raining. I use a vent cover on both ends of our RV to help promote cross-ventilation.

A few more tips that don’t cost anything are:

  • Reserve or request a shady campsite.
  • Try to avoid opening the entry door as much as possible.
  • Cook outside rather than inside.
  • And if all else fails head to the pool at your favorite KOA.

About the Expert

MarkheadshotKOAKOA’s resident RV expert, Mark Polk, and his wife Dawn started RV Education 101 in 1999. Since that time RV Education 101 has helped educate millions of RV owners and RV enthusiasts on how to properly and safely use and maintain their RV. Mark’s favorite past times are RVing in their 35-foot Type A motorhome, and restoring vintage RVs, classic cars and trucks. For more information on using, enjoying and maintaining your RV visit RV Education 101.

5 Affordable Ways to Keep Your RV Cool