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5 RV Boondocking Tips for Summer

Published on July 21st, 2022 by Contributor, Let's RV

Don’t worry if you haven’t tried dry camping in extreme heat. These RV boondocking tips for summer weather will help you stay cool and safe in hot climates.

How to Survive RVing in Extreme Heat (and Have Fun Doing It!)

Normal weather patterns are a thing of the past today. Summer used to be pretty predictable but not anymore. Case in point: two days ago it was 96 degrees Fahrenheit at our Oregon campground. Today, it’s a perfect 78. We always hope for these perfect summer camping days. But as the song goes, you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes dry camping in extreme heat is unavoidable. After 15 years RVing, here’s how we deal with this terrible weather.

First, keep everyone hydrated.

Above all else, drink plenty of plain water! Start drinking before you are thirsty. By the time you feel dehydrated, you may not be able to drink enough water to rehydrate.

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Staying hydrated in the heat is common sense whether you live in a stick house or you’re RV camping. But drinking enough H20 is essential when you’re boondocking in summer heatwaves. It helps you think straight, and keeps your body running smoothly. The ability to think straight is essential if an extreme weather event like a tornado or forest fire forces you to pack up and get out.

Next, Keep Heat Out of the RV

Position your RV for the most shade.

I love morning sunshine. But not when the weather forecast predicts a heatwave. If there’s one thing I learned living in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s that you can take steps to prevent heat build-up inside. Here’s how to keep heat out of the RV:

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy summer boondocking in dispersed camping areas, take advantage of the ability to choose your own parking spot. Position the RV at an angle that keeps sun and heat out during the hottest part of the day.

  • Point your RV’s windows and exterior refrigerator vent away from afternoon sun. This keeps heat out of your RV cupboards and overall living space. Your RV refrigerator works more efficiently when you keep heat off the exterior panels.
  • Pull shades down after opening your windows. This allow air flow in the RV. If you can feel wind direction, park so that you get a cross breeze through the RV interior.

Third, Don’t Cook in the Tiny RV Kitchen

With the exception of a countertop frozen beverage machine, summer is not the time to use your RV kitchen appliances. Ditch the InstantPot RV cooking too, that’s more work than necessary during a heatwave. And save the RV stove and oven for cooler weather. You always have plenty of hot weather cooking ideas that don’t require heat. Choose easy no-bake camping recipes like fresh salads, submarine sandwiches, and wraps. Or just go outside to make the most of your RV grill.

Lastly, Get the Soft StartRV A/C Kit for Dry Camping

Long ago on a hot summer day we tried beginner boondocking in a Walmart parking lot. Unfortunately we quickly learned our Honda EU generator would not start our RV air conditioner. There was nothing wrong with the generator, or our A/C. We just didn’t have enough generator power to kick on the A/C, so we suffered through the heat. Thank goodness those days are behind us.

Now you can get through any summer heat when boondocking by installing the SoftStart RV A/C kit on your air conditioner. This add-on is my one of my favorite RV boondocking tips for summer. The SoftStartRV A/C kit allows you to run one or more RV air conditioners when boondocking. Buy one for each RV air conditioner on your rig, and you reduce the power demand air conditioners put on your generator by as much as 70 percent!

One SoftStartRV kit is about $300. You can quickly recoup that cost by saving money dry camping instead of paying for RV parks in summer!

Bonus RV Boondocking Tips for Summer

Maybe you thought I was going to tell you to head to cool mountain campgrounds during summer. But I won’t insult your intelligence. Even the greenest beginner RVer knows at least that much! High altitude camping is my favorite kind of location in July and August. But not everyone can go camping in Colorado and other mountain destinations for RVs. If you’re stuck in the lowlands, you can still have fun dry camping in summer heat.

Just Wear Cool Clothes!

No, I don’t mean go buy expensive designer camping clothes from REI. You’re better off spending your money on cooling clothes made with sun and heat repellent fabric. One of the most popular options is a cooling vest like this $30 model by Ergodyne.

Forget style, this cooling vest works!

You can even find evaporative cooling vests for your dog. My favorite is the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Dog Vest.

Don’t worry, your dog doesn’t care about fashion.

Forget fashion. Cool clothes take on a whole new meaning when you’re just trying to keep the heat away during summer dry camping!

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