Summer is almost here and it’s that time of year when your caravan can quickly turn into a sauna if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are some simple and cost-effective ways to stay cool and comfortable during Australia’s scorching holiday season.
Air conditioners and fans
Caravan air conditioning can keep the caravan’s interior cool during even the most severeheatwaves. They can be power-hungry, however, so be careful if you are visiting a national park, as generators are often banned except in certain designated camping areas. Household models may be cheaper than a specialist unit for a recreational vehicle (RV), but the latter usually comes with special mountings and fittings that dampen vibration during travel.
For medium and small-sized caravans, a caravan fan may be adequate. A good quality 12V marine fan can be quiet, reliable andeco-friendly, and a compact 240V fan can be a good option for caravan parks.
Most caravans come with roof insulation, but for improved efficiency, you might want to add wall insulation, too. Put it on your checklist if you are having a caravan custom-built. To create an even stronger barrier against the sun’s heat, apply an insulating paint such as Thermoshield or Barrier Shield to the caravan’s roof. Remember that old and peeling paint can significantly affectthe temperature inside your van.
You can pretty much do without insulation if you go with a pop-top caravan though. These are often touted as a more summer-suitable option due to the vents in the retractable skirt which let the breeze in and allow heat to escape.
Awnings and annexes
A pull-out side awning or annex can shelter you from the sun’s heat and rays while you enjoy a frosty beverage outside. An enclosed annex can also come in handy as extra living space. Check first that your caravan can support the weight of the awning. Some caravans have reinforcing material such as wood underneath the sill panel to support the awning unit and the screws that attach it to the van.
You can also purchase awnings that only cover the windows. Placing one above the bedroom window, for example, lets you keep the window open at night to aid ventilation, and protects you from the morning sun’s rays.
In addition to the above, consider changing your lighting. Halogen and incandescent bulbs can generated a considerable amount of heat, so think about replacing them with fluorescent lights and/or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Your caravan’s position can also make a big difference. If you can’t find a shady spot under a tree, see if you can park with the awning or annex facing east, which will shield it from afternoon heat.
Get the sun working for you. Find out about the advantages of fitting solar panels to your caravan.