Staying Cool in a Campervan During Summer - Some Tips

Overheating in a campervan is a nightmare - see how you can avoid it

As creatures adapted to mild climates, we humans find temperatures below 40ºF or above 75ºF too cold or hot for our comfort. We generally prefer to avoid such extremes. However, if you enjoy the summertime van life, it's important to learn how to stay cool during the hot season to ensure a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately, due to climate change and the increasing temperatures witnessed in recent years, even traditionally cool summer retreats have turned into uncomfortably hot nightmares. Therefore, acquiring the skill of keeping your van cool during summer van life has become essential. And if you find the heat unbearable, it's best to step out of the camper.

Before fully embracing the summertime van life experience,  it's crucial to learn how to prepare your RV or camper van for the season. And here, we do not mean draining the antifreeze from the pipes. We mean outfitting your motorhome with the necessary van life gadgets to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience during summer van life.

summer campervans

Below are some effective strategies to beat the heat during the summer van life:

Utilize Fans at Night

Running your fans during the night facilitates the circulation of hot air out of the van while drawing in cooler air from outside. By starting the day with a cooler interior temperature, it takes longer for the van to heat up as the temperature outside rises. Proper ventilation plays a significant role in keeping the van cool and comfortable.

See how to prepare for a summer of campervan touring.

Consider Air Conditioners

Nowadays, the availability of numerous options has made it possible to install air conditioners in motorhomes, providing the easiest way to stay cool during summer vanlife. However, it's important to note that acquiring an air conditioning unit may not be the most budget-friendly choice initially. The upfront cost of purchasing and installing the unit can be significant. Nevertheless, the long-term benefits and enhanced comfort make it a worthwhile investment, especially if you frequently travel in your own motorhome. Don't allow the summer heat to deter you from enjoying your vanlife adventures with the convenience of a motorhome air conditioner.

Invest In A Dehumidifier If You Are In A Humid Climate

If you live in a humid location, it is highly recommended to get a dehumidifier for your camper van. Humid climates can cause significant issues for vanlife. Insufficient ventilation coupled with prolonged exposure to high humidity can quickly lead to the growth of mold behind the walls, creating a troublesome situation.

humid campervan

Moreover, humidity has the tendency to make hot temperatures feel even more unbearable. By investing in a basic dehumidifier, you can save yourself from immediate discomfort and potential troubles in the future. It helps in reducing excessive moisture in the air, ensuring a more comfortable and healthier environment within the van. This becomes especially important during those days when the high humidity makes it feel like you're already drinking the air, and staying properly hydrated becomes a challenge.


When dealing with a heatwave in your motorhome, proper window management is essential. While it may be tempting to open all the windows during the hottest part of the day, this can actually be counterproductive. To prevent bringing in more heat, it's best to only open windows on the shaded side.  For optimal ventilation, consider opening windows during the cooler periods such as night or early morning to bring in fresh air.

During the daytime, drawing the curtains can help block out sunlight and reduce heat absorption inside the motorhome. Alternatively, you can add a touch of creativity by decorating the windows with large pictures, which can be a fun activity, especially with kids. Utilizing reflective bubble products on the windows can also provide immediate relief by minimizing heat transfer.

Also, do not overlook the importance of covering skylights, as they often allow a significant amount of heat to enter the motorhome during the day. By keeping them covered, you can reduce heat infiltration. Conversely, opening the skylights at night can aid in cooling the interior, as heat naturally rises.

Camp At Higher Elevations When Possible

Opting to camp at higher elevations can be advantageous during you summertime van travel. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the air becomes thinner and colder due to the lower air pressure. This natural phenomenon helps to maintain lower temperatures, creating a cooler environment for your van.

When searching for campgrounds in the summer, it is recommended to seek out locations with a high elevation rating. Look for campgrounds that offer water features like lakes or streams. Taking a refreshing dip in the cool waters of a lake or stream during the day can provide respite from the heat and help you cool down. Later, as the temperature drops at night in higher elevations, you can bundle up and enjoy a cozy night's sleep.

See our list of campervan tips for newbies.

Put Up The Window Covers Day Or Night

To combat the heat on hot days, you'll want to keep the sun out of the van. By preventing direct sunlight from entering, you can effectively lower the interior temperature. Window covers are an excellent solution for this. Our vans come equipped with window covers that can be easily placed over the windows, effectively blocking out the sun.

It is recommended to put up the window covers before going to sleep at night, as this helps to retain the cool night air inside the van during the day. Additionally, the covers serve as effective blockers of morning sunlight, allowing you to sleep in a bit longer if desired.


Parking in the shade is always an effective way to keep your van cool, but if shade is not available, you can create your own shaded area using tarps. Attach the tarps to nearby trees and enjoy a cool spot of your own. This shaded area also allows you to open windows for better ventilation.

campervan tarp

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential when in hot weather. Make sure to bring a few gallons of water on your summertime van adventure. This way, you can easily refill your water bottle whenever needed. As sweating is quite common in the summer heat, staying hydrated is necessary. Many campgrounds offer free fill-up points for water. Alternatively, packing a reusable water bottle ensures you always have water on hand. Proper hydration is key to prevent heat-related issues and make the most of your van journey. Having extra water can also help cool you down if the campervan gets warm.

Cook Outside

Cooking in nature is always a wonderful experience, especially with the kids! However, to avoid elevating the temperatures inside your campervan, it's important to consider the heat transfer that occurs during the cooking process. Opt for using a BBQ or campfire for your meals instead of cooking inside the van. This way, you can enjoy the outdoor cooking experience without adding extra heat to your campervan. You can also enjoy the morning ambiance by making tea or coffee outside.

Safety is paramount when cooking with an open fire. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the dos and don'ts of open-fire cooking. Additionally, given the scorching weather and dry grass, make sure to properly extinguish your fire to prevent any accidents. Always check the rules and regulations of the campsite to ensure open-fire cooking is permitted.

Sleep Outside

A motorhome trip isn't complete without camping in nature.  While it may seem unusual to sleep outside when you have a comfortable motorhome, it may provide a refreshing change on those uncomfortably warm evenings. Experience the old-school charm by spending a night under the stars.

Towels and Bottles

For those exceptionally hot evenings, here's a cool trick: fill a bottle with ice, wrap it in a towel, and place it against your body while sleeping. You'll enjoy a refreshing snooze like never before. Alternatively, place a wet towel in front of a fan for a delightful breeze. Another option is to freeze a hot water bottle and use it to cool your bed.

Rambling Rover should be your go to for campervan hire in Ireland.