Lucinda Belden is the Program Director for MyRVRadio and a travel writer and advisor who has lived the RV lifestyle since 2019. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RVing, working full-time while traveling, traveling with toys, and unique location experiences.
If you RV in the summer, it’s challenging to keep RV cupboards cool. Whether a full-timer or seasonal, the heat likes to permeate your rig. Have you ever opened your cabinet and been faced with a heat wave? Or, looked through the shelves to find something melted onto the shelves? Not fun, right! But how can we save a cabinets’ provisions?
Managing cupboard heat
The first thing to keep in mind when prepping your cupboards, pantries and cabinets against heat is, the heat needs to go somewhere. It needs to be removed from the ‘box’ it sets in. Absorbing the heat and letting it sit in the cabinet is not a solution. There is nowhere to reflect the heat inside a cabinet. Your main solution is to manage the heats’ location and its contact to your cupboard items. Here are a few tips, tricks, and solutions that can assist you with getting your cool back.
This would probably be one of my top recommendations. Fans are easy to install, and they even have ones with temperature gauges on them. This is a great feature because you don’t have to monitor the heat or even be in the rig to make sure they turn on when it gets too hot. You will need to make sure the fans have outlets for pushing the heat out of or away from the inside of the cabinets.
We chose one of our coolest cabinet areas to store tech equipment, but it still gets too hot just because of the heat the equipment generates so we installed one of these temperature regulated fans and it keeps our equipment safe and cool.
Vent cabinet doors
You may have some very important or expensive items you do not want to wallow in the heat. Sometimes you don’t have a choice where you place items, and you can’t avoid the hot temperatures. Fans are great for moving the heat, but you need somewhere for it to go. To keep RV cupboards cool, we have tech items in a cabinet that we regulate with a fan. But we also modified the door with a vent. This helps give us an extra measure to protect the items we need to with work from our rig.
Be aware if you vent the doors, it will release the heat into your RV. Right now, the cabinets are acting as insulators for the inside of your rig. So, decide if this is the best option based on what you are storing in the cupboard.
Alternative options to modifying cabinets: Not all of us can successfully modify our cupboards to stay cool in the summer. Here are some alternative ways to protect your personal items.
Select storage item locations
You might need to consider rearranging items in your RV pantries and cupboards based on how they can handle the heat. For example, in the storage cabinets beside our beds, I do not store make-up or items affected by heat. In those cabinets I place folded clothing items which can absorb heat and provide extra insulation against the heat getting inside the RV.
Some suggestions to keep RV cupboards cool offer the idea of using insulating blankets. The problem here is we already know we have very little space in our cupboards and pantries. Insulating blankets will also retain the heat even after the rig starts to cool down in the evenings so I would not recommend this option. Instead use the storage items themselves for insulation like mentioned above, clothing, extra pillows, blankets, winter items, shoes, and more. Anything that is heat resistant and can absorb heat easily. Also try to store these items in cabinets you do not open often. This will help keep the heat at bay.
Storing more sensitive items in lower cabinets can give some minor relief from the heat since heat rises. Floor level shelves may provide a cooler location than those above your head for heat sensitive items.
Make it a treat, not a storage item
If it is a food item that melts, you need to store it in your refrigerator. If you don’t have a fridge, then look for a DC powered ice chest or plan those items as special treats when you are out and about. We can’t keep chocolate in the cabinets when the temp is over 80 degrees – it gets a white coating like it’s old because it can’t take the heat. It gets stored in the fridge. When it gets up over 100 degrees outside, we can’t buy ice cream. Our freezer can’t work hard enough to keep it frozen. So that becomes a treat when we are traveling.
Open cabinet doors
If your stay in the heatwave is temporary, just try opening the cabinet doors. This does remove a barrier between the outside of the rig and the inside. But your air conditioning can cool down these extra spaces if you have heat sensitive items inside. Not a long-term solution but possibly a quick fix.
Be creative on where you put your storage or pantry items.
You do want them accessible based on how often you access them, and you want access to be convenient. But you do not need to store items in traditional locations like you do in a brick-and-mortar. Thinking outside the box can help you come up with reasonable locations to keep RV cupboards cool in the summer.