How Do I Keep My Pop Up Camper Cool?

Whether you are planning to rent an RV for some summer RVing or you are a seasoned RV owner that loves dry camping and boondocking, the hot summer sun is hopefully on your horizon!

The summer temperatures can be brutal without air conditioning though, so here are some tried and tested tips and tricks to help you keep your pop – up camper cool during those hot nights and days.

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Orienting Your Camper

Just by simply parking your camper at the right angle to the sun you can drastically reduce how much your camper heats up during the day.

Keep the side of your camper with the least sunny windows facing the sun with sunrise to sunset running the length of your camper towards the bunk ends.

You cannot afford to underestimate the power of shade!

If at all possible, take advantage of any natural breeze that might help keep your camper well ventilated throughout the day by parking in the direction with air flow as this will keep the humidity down which is a significant source of heat.

We shall be covering shade and ventilation in more detail below.


The shade factor can make or break your vacation in high-temperature regions and there are many cheap hacks to keep your RV cool. Cover your windows!

Request a Shaded Campsite

It never hurts to ask and with a shaded campsite, you will have more parking orientation freedom to get the most out of that breeze day and night!

Shaded Windows

By preventing the sun from getting through your RV windows you can reduce great amounts of heat in your RV.

An insulated window works well in this regard, but you still might want to consider awnings or window covers to avoid hot air penetration.

When you cover your RV windows as opposed to curtains, your RV stays cooler as the heat on the covers are not inside your RV like the curtains would be.

Cover Skylights/Shower Skylight

It is not just the RV windows that need coverings, don’t forget the skylights, especially the shower skylight.

Tarps Help To Keep Your RV Cool

Even if you don’t have a shady tree to rely on, nearby trees could provide perfect structures to secure a tarp for shade.

Keep Your Door Shaded by Extending the RV Awnings

Keeping the outdoor space cooler will help regulate the RV temperature better. The shade from your awning is not only useful for keeping your door shaded, but also provides a great day lounge to be enjoyed.

No awnings on your RV? Shop around for light weight compact popup gizmos! They come in various sizes and forms and cater to many a budget.

It might be worth mentioning that if you do have ac installed, you best keep that door shut if you want to stay cool.  

Proper Ventilation

A well-ventilated camper is a cool RV! By keeping the sunny side of your RV closed off from the sun and the shaded side windows open, heat build-up can be avoided during hot days.

High humidity will raise the heat heat in your RV, a great idea is to air your bedding and damp clothes in the sun while at the same time keeping your shaded windows open.

Buy a Small Portable Fan (or Two)/Keep Air Flowing Using Portable Fan

Portable fans are the next best thing to an air conditioner for keeping the inside temperature down.

A portable fan is not too expensive and there are many types to choose from. You can get a battery operated fan to clip on the side of the table for instance and another on a cupboard or fixture to create a comfortable wind indoors.

There are many options to consider here even battery-operated ones if you have power concerns.

Use RV Roof Vents if available

This is another perk to covering your skylights as they can act as roof vents and still stop heat transfer by being covered.

Keep them open to release hot air, and increase air flow, as we know that hot air rises.

Keep Electronics Powered Off

Appliances running unnecessarily are sources of heat easily avoided. Switch off anything not in use, even the lights and this can make a huge difference.

Keep Your Cooling System Efficient

If you do have a cooling system like a real air conditioner or swamp cooler to make some cold air, then maintaining it in perfect working order is highly recommended, especially in extreme heat!

Clean Fridge Vents Regularly

Dirty vents lead to extra heat generated by limiting the airflow and efficiency of your fridge and other similar appliances.

Reflectix Insulation

There are several benefits to using an insulation product as they are typically made from cheap materials, are easy to install, and are effective for heat and cold. This is an added bonus for those times you want to stay warmer.

This product is a step up from regular bubble insulation as it is polyethylene bubble wrap enforcing a reflective aluminum foil casing.

Though some might warn against non-breathable insulation as it may cause unwanted condensation.

More Helpful Tips To Keep Your RV Cool

Now that we have covered shade and ventilation we can look at other tips and tricks to help keep you cooler in your pop-up RV this summer.

Cook Your Meals Outside During The Day

No one enjoys cooking in a hot kitchen on summer days in your own home, nevermind a cramped kitchen with little to no moving air or air conditioning.

A hot oven by definition gives off lots of warm air which will raise your interior temperature. Cooking in a crock oven or outdoor barbeque can help you avoid a hot camper.

Try cooking larger meals for lunch less cooking at night. Heating food up instead of having to prepare everything at once.

Switch to LED Lights

Often Rv’s will come installed with bulbs or halogen lamps which give off more heat in comparison to LED lights.

LED lights are easy to install, require less power, and also last for much longer making them a cost-effective alternative.  

So you can keep your RV cool and save money!

Do Not Take Extended Hot Showers

A good hot shower raises your body temperature which takes time to cool again, especially in a warm or hot environment.

If you are someone that can’t live without a long hot shower, consider cooling off afterward with a cold shower before bed.

Want an Air Conditioner in Your RV?

Most pop-up campers don’t come with an AC unit installed like their bigger  travel trailer and motorhome counterparts. This does not mean you can’t have one in your RV.

Types of ACs for Pop-Up Campers

There are three different most popular AC units to select from when it comes to making your selection.

Though it is possible to install these units yourself, it is not recommended as it can be very technical, even the more basic AC requires proper wiring and drilling.  

Each unit comes with it’s own advantages and disadvantages.

Roof Mounted AC on Your RV

Even though these untis are almost always the most expensive option for air conditioning your RV, they are also the most popular. These units out perform others when it comes to BTUs and are far better at warming your RV on a cold winter night.

The unit itself is not light though, so be sure to keep that in mind when considering the overall weight of your RV.

The unit will also add a few inches to the overall clearance of your RV! These units will require holes being drilled into the roof of your RV and have high power requirements.

Window Mounted AC

This is a rather popular choice second to roof-mounted units as it does not add any extra height to your RV.

It is also often a cheaper option and is great for cooling a specific area in your RV which is otherwise too hot.

Portable AC

Though these units are typically less effective than the previous two options they do come with some considerable advantages.  

These smaller portable units are easy to move around so you can have the most cooling effect exactly where you want it most.

They are cheaper by far so you might even buy one to supplement your roof or window unit.


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