Creating your own shade while RVing can come in handy! Some of the most beautiful RV Resorts out there may have some areas that are sunnier than you desire at certain times of the day. Heat can be one of the most challenging aspects of living the RV lifestyle. States where heat and humidity are extreme are especially difficult. Many campers head north for the most difficult months and spend time exploring the cooler mountain climates in places like Colorado but even a moderate day of sunshine is better when a nice shade option exists.
Some of the best shade comes from the natural sources. Park your rig beside a big tree or artificial structure and enjoy the benefits of a shade source that requires no setup. You can even position the camper to accept the morning sun and block out the hot afternoon sun. This natural form of climate control reduces your need for air conditioning and makes it more comfortable inside and outside the camper.
Natural shade sources are nice when available but they should never be expected. Assuming natural shade is available is a recipe for disaster because it’s simply not possible for every RV park space to have a shade source. When you head off boondocking, finding shade is also difficult in many cases. Use the natural shade when possible but make alternative plans to block out the sun and manage your heat.
Natural shade also can block the sun when you want extra heat. This makes the parking position especially important. The winter months in Texas can have cold nights and mornings, followed by warm days. That morning sun is really nice and it can warm you up during breakfast and morning coffee. Make a full assessment of the shade and the relative position before parking. It’s no different than building a house with a passive solar design. Use the resource to your benefit whenever possible.
Attached vs Detached Awnings
When it comes to awnings, you have two very different options. The attached awning is common, convenient because it stores on the camper and it works really well. Attached awnings are excellent for campers that remain stationary and do not double as a daily driver. Adding an extra flap to an attached awning can block additional sunshine and help cool the outside patio area. It also keeps that sun off your RV and helps with interior cooling. A simple tarp or shade cloth will work in most cases. Position the flap to directly absorb the hottest section of sun that penetrates the awning.
Detached awnings are also excellent for a variety of reasons. In some cases, using an attached and detached awning in conjunction is effective. The best detached models also function as a screen room to keep out insects. You can setup the area for outdoor cooking and eating without worrying about mosquitoes, flies and other insects. It can stay intact if you need to drive the RV for the day as well. Many of the independent standing awning and screen room models pack down reasonably well and are easy to transport. They are really ideal for campsites where the RV is coming and going frequently.
Interior Sun Blockers
All of the shade in the world is still not enough to make the outdoors more comfortable and some days simply require that you spend the hottest hours indoors. Camping in an area where the heat extremities are a known norm calls for an air conditioning unit. The air conditioner is a life saver but taking a few extra steps will also limit the need for air conditioning by blocking out heat and helping to maintain a comfortable indoor air temperature.
Shade blinds made specifically for campers are a nice touch. Drop the blinds during the day to block out the sun. Also, block your entire windshield with a good sun reflecting screen. The Reflectix style style screens work exceptionally well for blocking not just the sun but the associated heat. You can buy rolls of the material and cut it fit all of your windows. Use Velcro to make attachment easy and you can cover every opening in the camper with ease.
After taking the measures to block out the sunshine, you can run the air conditioner for a short period and keep that cold air trapped inside. The window insulation prevents the need for non-stop air conditioning. This saves power and also reduces the strain placed on your air conditioning unit. Fixing and replacing these units is a hassle and you can make them last for a very long time through reduced usage in the worst heat waves of the summer.