The air temperature is often scalding in the summertime, reaching 90 degrees and above. Add humidity, as is often the case in Michigan thanks to the abundance of moisture from the lakes, and you’ve got a stifling combination that can make camping and RVing nearly unbearable.

It’s important to keep the inside of the RV as cool as possible when the mercury rises. Even if your RV has an air conditioner, it’ll be working hard all day to keep the inside of the RV at a cooler temperature. To be more eco-friendly and to help your air conditioner work (if you have one) at maximum efficiency, follow these seven inexpensive tips to stay cool.

LED light bulbs

The light bulb is considered one of the greatest inventions of human history. Now, we have moved beyond incandescent light bulbs to LEDs in order to use less energy, prolong the bulb’s life, and save money in the long run. Incandescent light bulbs give off heat, which can warm up the inside of an RV quickly if left burning brightly. LEDs, on the other hand, also give off heat but at 50-60 percent less than traditional light bulbs. Plus, LEDs are profoundly bright, making them an optimal choice for exterior lighting. Have you made the switch to LEDs? Here are some other reasons that may inspire you to make the transition.

Reflective insulation

Reflective insulation may make you think of your grandparents and their Oldsmobile, but they were on to something. We all know how much our vehicles warm up when sitting in the sun. That’s in large part due to the windows. Reflective insulation or sun shades can help reflect or reduce the impact of the sun and keep the inside of your RV cooler. Reflective material is easy to find, economical to buy, and a cinch to customize. If you have a motorized RV with a large windshield, then start there. Cut the material so that it covers the entire windshield. Mirror clips and thin metal rods can help keep the screen in place. Cut material for side windows and then put each shade between the window and the screen for a natural lock. You can also use wrap-around covers on the exterior of the windshield, some of which are mesh and allow you to see out, which can be an advantage. Reflective insulation can be a great choice if you’ll be gone for the day and don’t want to leave the A/C running.


Shade reduces the ambient temperature, so use it to your advantage whenever possible. Find a site that offers shade, at least for part of the day. Of course, you don’t want to be parked under a canopy of trees in case there’s high wind or a storm brews up if you can help it. Adding a patio awning will help to keep the entrance side of the RV cooled off as well as give everyone a pleasant outdoor sitting area. Also, draw the shades or curtains in the RV!

Portable fans

Small ones don’t draw a lot of current and can be placed practically anywhere: by the kitchen sink, above a bunk bed, off a nightstand. They are perfect for a direct breeze in a specific area. Use them in addition to any fans that are already equipped in your RV.


We already went over using reflective insulation and drawing the shades or curtains, which can block your windows from opening. However, just like at home, you may need to be strategic about which windows are open – and when. A breezy day is ideal for opening the windows of the RV. There’s nothing better than a nice cross-breeze. Plus, ventilating the RV helps to move excess heat out of your RV.

Cook outdoors

We’ve all experienced cooking in a hot kitchen on a hot day. Thankfully, camping allows you to cook pretty much anything you can think of outdoors as long as you have the right equipment, such as a portable gas or charcoal grill, a Dutch oven, a cast iron skillet, and a griddle that can be placed sight over a campfire. Hot days aren’t the most favorable for heavy or hearty meals, but there can still be plenty of spice. Move cooking and as much of the meal prep as possible to the outdoors, which will help save the interior of the RV from warming up.

Go swimming

Okay, so this one isn’t really RV specific, but when you’re camping in Michigan, a swim is a must-do activity. Swimming is great exercise and helps you beat the heat by taking a break from being inside the RV or around a hot campsite. Many campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts have pools or ponds as amenities, and most campgrounds are located near lakes, rivers, or one of the Great Lakes themselves.