9 Ways to stay cool camping this summer

August is here and that means Summer time is in full swing! Beating the heat is hugely important for summer time RV Camping. Folks often ask us,

“How do you stay cool while RV camping during the hottest summer months?”

Since the whole reason for camping is to get outdoors and experience closeness to nature, we don’t like to depend on our AC to stay cool. Here is how the Home While We Roam crew keeps their cool in hottest summer months.

Stay hydrated during the hot summer months!

The science of hydration tells us that staying hydrated allows our body to regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration.  If you aren’t keeping hydrated, then in addition to feeling uncomfortable in the summer time heat, you could face serious medical issues like dizziness, muscle cramps, and rapid heartbeat.

The best way to stay hydrated is to simply drink water and drink lots of it! The tap water at your campsite often tastes a bit different than your home’s drinking water. This different or even bad taste, may prevent family members from drinking as much water as they should. We have solved this challenge by ensuring we always have a ready supply of pure tasting water from our Berkey Water Filter. The Berkey is one of our family’s favorite camping tools. We always have an unlimited supply of safe, bacteria, chemical, and even viruses free water. Let’s face it, when you have a ready water supply that always tastes great, it makes it so easy to reach for a drink and stay hydrated.

The Travel Berkey is the perfect size to use in an RV. We don’t leave home without it.

Home While We Roam Camping Tip:

Due to its size, we use the Travel Berkey. It is large enough to keep our family of four hydrated but small enough to fit nicely on our trailer’s limited counter space.

Hit the Pool

Nothing beats the heat of summer like a swimming pool! If you are staying in an RV Park or resort, take advantage of the pool amenity. We meet lots of campers around the swimming pool. It’s a great way to unwind after a long, hot hike!

Catherine’s Landing sits just outside Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and features a resort style pool and splash pad for the youngest campers.

Our three favorite campground pools are at these resorts:

The Campsites at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Orlando, Fl

Believe it or not, Disney’s Ft. Wilderness is one of the most epic camping destinations for a family.  The pools on property are resort style with great amenities. Anyone looking to beat the Florida summer time heat should consider spending some time at this resort.

Catharine’s Landing Hot Springs, Arkansas

In addition to a beautiful and large swimming pool, Catharine’s Landing also has a great splash pad for kids.

Sam’s Family Spa Dessert Hot Springs, CA

Hot springs often have cold water pools too. Sam’s Family Spa has 6 different natural spring fed pools ranging in temperature from cold to hot to very hot.

Go Tubing

Tubing is a great way to keep the whole family cool during the hot summer months. Generally, river temperatures are going to be significantly cooler than the outside temperatures and many tube trips are designed to last 2-4 hours. When it is 95 degrees out and 100% humidity, a 4 hour tube trip is a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

If you do take the family tubing make sure to bring lots of sunscreen, hats and water. It probably goes without saying but when you are in the middle of a river there will be very little in the way of shade options. We also recommend you bring a pair of shoes you can wear in the water. The little ones in your crew will be much more comfortable walking through shallow sections when they know their feet are protected. Our favorite place to tube is down the French Broad River in Asheville, NC and our favorite establishment is Zen Tubing

RV Ventilation and Airflow

The stock fans found in most rigs aren’t quite up to the challenge of keeping us cool in the extreme temperatures of Summer. The good news is that there are some great aftermarket solutions to keep you comfortable while spending time indoors.

In the world of aftermarket ventilation fans two, Maxx-Air Fan Fan-tastic Vent, tend to stand out as the market leaders.  Both offer great options like auto rain sensing, reversible fans for air-flow in or out, and quiet operation.  Installing an aftermarket vent is a pretty easy job and both options can be installed by a DIY minded individual.

We went with the Maxx Air Fan and could not be happier. We installed ourselves (while camping) and It took about 2 hours to install. If you go the DIY route, you will need a tube of Dicor and a role of Butyl Seal Tape to complete the install.

Camp by a Creek

Camping by a creek epitomizes the camping experience. There is nothing quite like the sounds of a gently flowing stream to really help you connect with nature. Camping by a creek can also help to manage that summer time heat. 

Snake River Grand Teton National Park
The Snake River in Grand Teton National Park is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the water. Keep an eye out for moose doing the same.

Of course, the real fun of camping by a creek is swimming and playing in it.  Our kids spend hours in the creek when we are encamped nearby, keeping cool and catching crawdads and salamanders.

Camp by the Ocean

At the height of summer, camping by the ocean is one of the best ways to keep cool. There are so many amazing places to stay by the beach.

On the Florida Panhandle, along the famous 30A highway there are many beach front campsites in every price range. If you are looking for affordable, clean, and easy, it doesn’t get much better than Top Sail State Park You’ll find shaded campsites under a canopy of pines with walkability to the whitest sand Florida has to offer.

If you want to spend a bit more Camp Gulf is a luxury destination you should keep in mind. They offer camp sites directly on the white sand beaches of Destin, Fl with great amenities including a pool and a big slide!

Beverly State Beach Park in Oregon
Beach side camping at Beverly State Beach Park in Oregon

Hike Zion National Park and The Narrows

If you find yourself to be lucky enough to be in Zion National Park in the summer time, make sure you plan a hike up The Narrows. The Narrows hike is one of the most famous river hikes you can do. It is also one of the best ways to keep cool in the summer because the Virgin River never gets warmer than 60 degrees.

The Narrows hike in Zion National Park follows the cool waters of the Virgin River.

Things to know about hiking The Narrows

  • You will likely find a huge crowd at the river entry point. Don’t let this dissuade you. The crowds thin significantly within the first half mile of the actual hike.
  • Most people hike the “bottom up hike.” No permit required and you can take the shuttle directly to it.
  • Rent a walking stick and shoes. It is possible to do the hike without this equipment but much more enjoyable with.
  • Be prepared for a walk into the hike. The trail from the shuttle to the Virgin River entry point is about 1 mile.
  • It is kid friendly but make sure you are prepared. Our 8 years old twins hiked two miles up stream. They didn’t need to swim at any point but there are some strong currents in some places where a crossing is required.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Having a chilled drink in the summer time is a must have. For those of you still relying on freezer trays for ice, or worse, just doing without, there is a great inexpensive technology solution available. Portable ice maker technology has come a long way which is great for cold drinks and also for our wallets. Look for an ice maker that creates ice quickly and is ok to store outside. We set ours up on a table outside where it’s easily accessible. Our research led us to Igloo’s version. It comes in cool colors and can make 26lbs of ice in 24 hours.

Cook Outside

Cooking a great meal to enjoy with your family is a great way to spend a summer evening but it is also a great way to put more heat in your rig than your A/C system can effectively handle. Choosing to cook in the great outdoors is another way to keep the inside of your camper cool. One of our favorite ways to cook when camped is over an open fire. It does take a little more work than using the outside kitchen or a gas grill but nothing takes like summer like food cooked on an open fire. Also, plan for easy preparation breakfasts and lunches and save the cooking for dinners.

Home While We Roam Tip: In order to maximize our camp fire cooking options, we always travel with a cast iron dutch oven.  A well seasoned dutch oven can make everything from breads, main courses, and desserts. We also love this collapsible dish drainer for drying our cast iron after use. Remember, no soap or you will need to re-season!

Keep Camping All Summer Long!

Whatever your plans are for Summer break skip RV travel just to avoid extreme temperatures. We hope you use some of these tried and true tips, create a plan to keep cool and travel on.

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