10 Easy Ways to Keep your Caravan Cool on Hot Days

Last updated on 5 August, 2023

Beat the heat and be comfortable in your caravan this summer. Our tried and proven tips and tricks will help you to keep your caravan cool.

Josephine, our caravan is a 1994 Viscount Vogue pop top. She is our home on wheels and she does not have air conditioning. In our four years travelling around Australia, we have found several ways to help keep our caravan as cool as possible and us comfortable. 

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Keep Your Caravan Cool

Here are our tips to keep your caravan cool:

1. Add Insulation to Walls 

Most older caravans have no insulation in the walls. 

Caravan renovations are the only time to rectify this. So if you are doing a complete renovation or re-built on your caravan’s interior, it is worthwhile taking the opportunity to install the best quality insulation in the walls you can afford. 

Insulation will help to keep the caravan cooler on hot days. 

2. Use Reflective Paint on the Roof Exterior 

When Josephine needed a roof repair, Daryl used rubber paint by ASTEC Paints on her roof exterior that reflects sunlight and heat away. It has made a significant difference. Before on sweltering days, the ceiling inside would be hot to the touch. Not anymore.   

Without the heat radiating down from the roof and ceiling, we have noticed a significant difference inside. It is an idea to consider even if you are not repairing your pop top caravan roof. 

Beat the heat in a caravan

3. Travel Based on the Seasons

There are sound reasons why travellers stay south in the summer months and head north in the winter. Avoiding the worst of the heat is wise. 

Daryl and I also like to avoid peak seasons as much as possible. Overcrowded tourist destinations and higher prices are not for us. Instead, we try to travel to and through places during the shoulder periods and sometimes this means encountering hotter weather, although we try to avoid the worst of it. 

Protect Caravan from heat

4. Travel During the Hottest Part of the Day

Josephine may not have air conditioning, Stanley our 4WD does. On days the weather is horrendously hot, we will drive from one location to another during the hottest part of the day and make the most of the in car air conditioning.

5. Keep the Sun Off 

Direct sun on the exterior of your caravan is a sure way to heat the interior. Keeping the direct sunlight off will help keep the temperature inside as low as possible. 

Keep a caravan cool in summer

Keeping the sun off a caravan can be done by:

  • Using a caravan awning on your door side

Awnings are fantastic for keeping the sun off and provide a wonderful outdoor space.   

  • Using a caravan privacy screen on the backside of the caravan

A sunshade or privacy screen on the backside of your caravan adds additional protection from direct sunlight and heat. Ours slides into aluminum tubing purchased from a hardware store and Daryl fitted. Ropes and tent pegs keep the sunshade secure and at an angle. 

  • Park in the shade to keep the sun off the roof

A caravan roof in direct sunlight attracts massive amounts of heat and transfers that heat to the inside of the caravan. Keeping the sun off is a highly effective way of keeping the indoors of your caravan cooler. 

Note: to do this, we have had to invest in a solar blanket because our main solar panel is on our roof and we prefer to travel off the grid as much as possible. You may need to do the same. 

Keep cool in a caravan

6. Cook Outside

Nothing heats the inside of your caravan as quick as cooking inside. Instead, use a camping BBQ or fire and cook outside. It is often nicer to sit outside, especially in any of the top 12 best camping chairs for 2022.

7. Use Air Flow and Ventilation

Create airflow and ventilation, of course, by opening all the windows and vents or hatches, including the ones in the pop top skirt. Also, a fan helps enormously. Moving hot air is much more tolerable than still hot air. 

Our fan is a 40w desk top fan bought for $15 at a department store. Camping stores have 12V fans.

Stay cool in a caravan

8. Camp Up Near a Body of Water

Ideally, camp up in the shade by a body of water. The ground and air temperature will generally be a few degrees cooler by the water and just a few degrees can make all the difference. Also, you can swim or put your feet in the water to keep cool.

9. Have an Air Con Fitted or Installed

It is possible to have a caravan air conditioner retrofitted.

We have no done this because unless fitted at the time of construction, some older and vintage pop top caravans do not have the roof structure to bear the weight of an air conditioner. Retrofitting a window-style conditioner also has its challenges.

10. Have Cold Drinks Handy | Help Your 3 Way Fridge to Work Better in the Heat

To survive the heat Daryl must have access to cold drinks. The colder the beater.

Our fridge is a 3 Way Fridge so it can run off gas, electricity or 12V. As off-the-grid travellers, we use the fridge on gas mostly. The fridge struggles, however, on hot days when running on gas. 

We have found these strategies help it to work better on hot days: 

  • Use a sunshade screen

A sunshade screen to keep the direct sunlight and heat off the fridge air vents significantly helps our fridge to keep things cooler.

  • Use ice in the fridge

A couple of 1 litre bottles frozen or 2 kilos of ice cubes (buy in the bag) helps our fridge work much more efficiently. 

  • Fridge seals in good condition are essential

To stay cool it is essential your fridge closes and seals properly. Check your fridge seals regularly and replace them when needed.

  • Use a computer fan in the air vent 

Three-way fridges get hot. It has to do with how they work. A computer fan installed behind the air vent draws the hot air out and away and helps keep the fridge cooler. 

  • Do not overstock your fridge

In cooler or warm weather, our fridge copes with being well stocked. It does not, in hot weather. Instead, we only half fill it, leaving space for ice and plenty of airflow. 

  • Keep your fridge closed

The final thing we have found that helps our fridge in the heat is to leave it closed as much as possible. 

  • Plug into Power when Necessary

Some days are just too hot for our fridge to run on gas. On these days, especially when it is over 40 degrees, we will stay in a caravan park or campground where we can plug into power.

And Finally for Dog Owners

Keep Your Dog Cool | Let Your Dog Camp Under Your Caravan

Have you ever been under your caravan on a hot day? How much better is it under there? It is the best place to let your dog camp out on hot days. Chika does with access to fresh drinking water. It helps her to cope with the heat.

Related: Where Should My Dog Sleep When Camping in a Caravan? 10 Great Ideas and 4 Best Options for Tethering Your Dog When Camping

Thank you for reading my post on how to keep your caravan cool in the Australia. I hope it was useful. Stay cool and safe travels. If you have any other tips, please comment and let us know. 

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