How do I keep my van cool? (13+ tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How do I keep my van cool? We will discuss the best tips for keeping cool during hot summer days, including anti-heat equipment and DIY tips. 

How do I keep my van cool?

How to keep your van cool during hot summer days must be on your mind as soon as you get the keys to your camper! You are now ready to travel and enjoy your stay even if the weather is hot. 

Whether you are staying in a tent, mobile home, van or whether you have come with your motorhome or your caravan, we tell you how to keep your outdoor accommodation at a good temperature:

  1. Park your van in a shady place during the day;
  2. Water your van with fresh water;
  3. Place a wet towel on your van;
  4. Air your van during the cooler hours;
  5. Many vans are equipped with air conditioning and/or fans, use them;
  6. Use the wet towel trick in front of the fan;
  7. Only open windows and shutters in the evening or early in the morning;
  8. Close windows and shutters during the day, open them during the cooler hours;
  9. Whenever possible, drive at the coolest times;
  10. Turn on the air conditioning and fan before bed;
  11. When you go on vacation, take regular breaks: after an hour’s journey or as soon as you feel tired. Be careful, the hot weather makes you fall asleep at the wheel.
  12. Equip your motorhome or vehicle with sun visors, solar films for the rear window and the rear side windows (they protect from the sun, reduce the light and the temperature inside the passenger compartment).
  13. Shift your trips to the cooler hours: Avoid driving between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and avoid rush hours, which encourage traffic jams and considerably increase the heat in cars and motorhomes.

The basic rules of travelling with a van during hot days

During hot periods in a van, always arrange to park in the shade. Also, favour shaded service areas and campsites with lots of trees and vegetation.

We cannot repeat it enough: it is essential to stay hydrated! No more than 2 litres per day and in small sips. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink: if you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated!

Watch out for electrical appliances. Avoid cooking or watching television as much as possible during hot weather in a motorhome. The production of heat from electrical devices will only increase the temperature in your vehicle.

Don’t ride during the hottest hours. Driving in a heat wave is even more dangerous if your motorhome is not equipped with air conditioning. In addition, heat and engine do not mix!

Fight the sources of light. Close shutters, skylights, blinds and curtains to keep out the heat and reopen them after dark to create drafts.

How to keep cool in your van 

Choose air conditioning before dark. To avoid catching a cold, we recommend that you turn on the air conditioning before going to bed to cool your vehicle.

The “improved” fan. Place a bowl of ice cubes right in front of your fan: the stirred air will mingle with a little freshness!

Long live the misting. Invest in foggers or fill garden sprayers with water. Keep them cool: so you can cool off at any time!

The cold shower. To endure the hot weather in a motorhome, there’s nothing like a cold shower before going to bed. Be careful, however, to start with lukewarm water so as not to rush your body.

Sleep cool. To stay cool during the night, there are many solutions:

  • A few moments before going to bed, create air currents by opening large skylights/windows/doors or run the engine and air conditioning for a while.
  • Hang wet towels on the windows.
  • Sit as close to the ground as possible.
  • Sleep with a damp towel.

Anti-heat equipment for van life

The cooler. More efficient than a simple fan or column and less expensive than an air conditioner, the air cooler is particularly effective in small areas. A good compromise to help you endure the hot weather in a motorhome.

The air conditioner. Stationary or mobile, the air conditioner is undoubtedly the most effective solution for instantly cooling the atmosphere. Indeed, it is the only one to really lower the temperature of a room and, in our case, of the cell. However, this solution is quite expensive and energy-intensive.

The turbo-wind. These ultra-powerful devices operate by means of turbines and are fixed to the floor or to the wall. Often integrated into the skylight, they operate on a hot air suction / extraction or ventilation mode, are relatively silent and also often equipped with external mosquito nets. Enough to kill two birds with one stone! However, their high price may turn off many.

Exterior aids. A good alternative to the various equipment mentioned above, shutters and blackout blinds will make very good insulators. Installed outdoors, their efficiency will be even better.

➡ Example of blackout blind.

➡ Example of an external shutter.


We often want to take advantage of every minute of our family vacations. However, you must remain aware that the heat can spoil your pleasure. To make sure you are on top of your game throughout your stay, here are a few tips:

Swimming and water battles will be your greatest friends! The heatwave is a great excuse to take a campsite with a swimming pool and make the most of it. Take a dip and play with your family and friends: Besides refreshing, you will have fun! 

Ditto for campsites by the sea, lakes and rivers, they will allow you to enjoy pleasant swimming and practice water activities (canoeing, rafting, stand-up paddle, surfing, etc.).

If possible, try to rearrange your vacation days:

  • Starting your day earlier in the morning can allow you to enjoy the morning sweetness.
  • During the hottest hours, avoid going outside or in places where it is hot.
  • Instead, take advantage of these scorching moments to wander, learn or relax in cool places: Cinema, library, shopping centre, museum …
  • Take advantage of the hot hours to try refreshing activities: canyoning, parachute jumping, caving, diving
  • For the more athletic, forget about jogging at 2 p.m. and we favour physical activities early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is not too strong.

So these are our recommendations for withstanding the hot weather in a van. Your advice and tips are of course welcome!

FAQ on How do I keep my van cool van life?

How not to be hot in a van?

You can avoid the heat in a van by slightly opening two skylights, the air circulating from the cold (the floor of the motorhome) to the hot (the ceiling). Rubber degrades slowly (but surely) under the effect of the strong sun; therefore put protections on the wheels exposed to the sun (there are some commercially available

How to refresh a van?

To refresh a van in the evening, before bed, open doors, windows and skylights to naturally ventilate and cool the interior. In addition, do not drive in the middle of the day if your motorhome is not equipped with air conditioning. Engine and heat don’t mix.

How to avoid condensation in a motorhome?

To avoid condensation and fight against humidity inside a motorhome follow these tips:

1 – Thoroughly inspect the motorhome and plug the “air holes” 

2 – Improve insulation and glazing. 

4 – Slightly heat the vehicle. 

5 – Activate the ventilation in the water parts.

6 – Ventilate regularly.

How to keep your mobile home?

To keep cold in your mobile home, close windows and shutters during the day, and open them during the cooler hours. Whenever possible, drive at the coolest times. Turn on the air conditioning and fan before going to bed. For cooler air: Place a damp towel in front of your fan.


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