Saturday, September 30, 2023


A quick, easy way to make sure your RV stays cool at the next campsite

Whew! It seems that the last several campgrounds my husband and I have stayed at have been closer to solar ovens than cool, shady campsites. It has been so blistering hot under the sun that we haven’t even bothered taking the chairs out. If you think there’s no way to get cool in hot weather, think again. I’ll show you a quick, easy way to make sure your RV stays cool at the next campsite.

Today, before moving campgrounds, I checked out the upcoming campsite map and looked at our spot via Google Earth. Peak temperatures usually hit around late afternoon, so I wanted to be in the shade. More importantly, I wanted to make sure that our RV’s refrigerator was on the shady side too. At 90-plus degrees, the ice maker balks and starts melting the cubes and refreezes overnight into one lump. Not good.

I figured out ahead of time which direction the sun would set and which side would be shaded in the afternoon.

Just to double-check when arriving, I pulled out a compass to find true west. Without getting too scientific, I was assured that we were oriented west. That meant there would be no direct sun on the windshield or the passenger side (refrigerator side) so that the RV stays cool.

So, now I am writing this outside with a cool drink in my favorite camping rocker… even at 91 degrees and sunny.

It pays to use Google Earth and put a little effort into orienting yourself and your RV away from the sun, even when shade is hard to come by.

Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


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1 month ago

My experience, this summer, after Austin Texas and 104f daily temps is to have our class A motorhome patio facing north. If I’m outside in the summer I’d rather have the RV creating some shade for the patio.

Left Coast Geek
1 month ago

I like to park with the hitch facing north, curbside to the east, streetside to the west. This way my awning provides shade from mid morning through late afternoon. Also, being on the west coast, our predominant winds are from the west, so this way the trailer body is blocking said winds.

re: Ice above 90F ambient, I used to have that problem too, then I got a Norcold DC compressor fridge, and now my fridge stays 0F even in 100+ weather.

Tom Johnson
1 month ago

I do the exact opposite. I want the passenger side (fun side) with the refrigerator on the west to SW so I can put out the awning and have that side shielded from the afternoon sun. If the driver side faces south/southwest, that entire side of the RV is in the blazing sun without coverage from the awning. The awning also allows us to sit in the shade under the awning.

Sandra Adams
1 month ago

Thanks, I will definitely attempt to do this. Great advice.

1 month ago

comment overheard at check-in…
but, but, but I want site 23A, now… make those people move…NOW…

Bill Byerly
1 month ago

Great advice, thanks!

L. B.
1 month ago

If only we were given options at campsites as to which way we want to be turned. I have been to new RV parks that have the sites turned so your front door faces west. I just don’t get it! Who is designing these parks? That’s great in the winter but totally sucks in the summer.
Here I am in St. Clair Michigan, in a crazy rain storm and 72*F reading about people complaining about the extreme heat. Since we left TX in April, and traveled through NM, CO, UT, WY, SD, MN, WI, and now Michigan we have been chased by rain and cool weather. I don’t remember what summer feels like anymore. I wear shorts because I’m a rebel, shorts are for summer, the neighbors are in long pants and rain jackets.
Time for the northern weather to mix with the southern weather and we all enjoy nice temperatures!
Now, if only the evil mosquitoes would die off…..

1 month ago
Reply to  L. B.

Yes, I think a lot of campsites were designed by sun-starved engineers who want every patio soaked in afternoon and evening sun.

Sometimes it can help to just simply nose in instead of back in. Have an extension cord on board so you can use electricity from the ‘wrong side’ of the site. Doesn’t work in every case, but sometimes you can get cooler, and get a better view.

Ed Genaux
1 month ago

There is a downside to being in the shade under trees. Yes limbs falling during rain storms. The least obvious is ants and crawling critters falling on top and working their way into your rig.
My story and sticking to it. Since my popup days I have used the original eucalyptus ODO-BAN, I found fewer or none roaches and hardly and ants in all my rigs since the 80’s as well as my house for some 35 years even with a pet dachshund, bathed in and no more fleas.
At a campsite a new rig got the pad next to us and the next night while watching TV it looked like the floor was moving after looking there was a long line of what looked like ants piling up on one side, dead, but some kept coming. The next day the neighbor was a new host and he had the campground put mulch from around the camp put around his site. Turned out to be termites from deep in the pile and they had the same problem. I had some eucalyptus mulch delivered and put under and around my rig BUT also learned years ago to use comet all around the site but also around tires and tongue as well as all over my site. The comet repels the little sugar ants. When under trees ants and what not fall down on top of your rig and I spray some diluted ODO-BAN on top. You will know if you have sugar ants when you see little holes in your clothes.
Recently I was given a big popup and learned of the aluminum panels you put inside and on top of tent parts. The sheets are long and wide so for those in the sun get those sheets and cut to fit your roof area and put grommets on the sides to hold in the wind and storms or just remove during.
You have fight under the trees and out in the sun but there are solutions.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse
1 month ago

it takes more than a refrigerator with ice to make camping comfortable

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Thank you, Nanci! Great boondocking advice.

1 month ago

Our first motor home had an absorption refrigerator. I had a large piece of Reflectix with suction cups to attach it to the MH and a hole cut out to go around the exhaust area. It worked great to reflect the suns heat.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago

And what do you do when arriving late afternoon and the last site available is in direct sun with no shade?

1 month ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Jesse, what we have done is put window shades, like the ones in cars, on all our windows before we leave one campsite on our way to another. It helps to keep the RV cool while traveling without running the generator. Once we’ve arrived, the shades stay up. Also, we bring in a fan to help keep the cool air circulating. We live in a 36 ft. motorhome. Hope this helps.

T. Hudson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

She gave some good advice. We do this whenever possible. In your scenario, you either take the site, or move on. What else?

Tom Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Put out the awning.

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