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15 Ways To Keep Airstreams Cool

As I look to get my own airstream eventually, I wanted to see how hot they get and how to combat the extreme heat, as I’m from the south. So, I did some research. Here’s what I found.

Airstreams are usually equipped with roof vents, reflective surfaces, and air conditioning to stay cool. Yet, they struggle in extreme heat. To avoid heat, park in the shade, utilizing fans and awnings, and installing reflective insulation. During peak heat, keep windows closed, but open them when temperatures drop.

Now that we know airstreams are built to stay cool but struggle in extreme heat, what are some other ways we can avoid burning up in them?

1. Find Shade

When you’re traveling in your Airstream, finding shade is essential to stay cool and comfortable. Here are some tips to help you find shade on the road:

  • Plan ahead: Before you hit the road, research your route and look for places with plenty of shade. National parks, state parks, and campgrounds are great options.
  • Use apps: There are several apps available that can help you find shade on the road. Try using apps like AllStays, Campendium, and RV Parky to find shaded campsites.
  • Bring your own shade: If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors, consider bringing your own shade. You can use a canopy, awning, or even a beach umbrella to create a shady spot.
  • Park strategically: When you arrive at your campsite, park your Airstream in a spot that gets plenty of shade. Look for trees, buildings, or other structures that can provide shade.
  • Use window coverings: If you’re parked in a spot without much shade, use window coverings to block out the sun. You can use curtains, blinds, or even reflective window film to keep your Airstream cool. More on window coverings later.

2. Air Conditioner

Air conditioning unit inside of an airstream

The good news is that most Airstream models come equipped with an air conditioning unit. Here’s what you need to know about Airstream air conditioners:

  • Airstream air conditioners are designed to be efficient and effective, even in hot weather.
  • Most Airstream models come with a 13,500 BTU air conditioner, which should be sufficient to keep the interior cool.
  • To use the air conditioner, you’ll need to plug your Airstream into a power source. This can be a standard electrical outlet or a generator.
  • Airstream air conditioners typically have a thermostat that allows you to set the temperature to your desired level.

While Airstream air conditioners are generally effective, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re camping in an area with high humidity, the air conditioner may have to work harder to keep the interior cool.
  • Airstream air conditioners can be noisy, especially if you’re trying to sleep. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper.
  • If you’re using a generator to power your Airstream, keep in mind that the air conditioner will use a significant amount of fuel.

3. Reflective Insulation

Reflective insulation is a type of insulation that is designed to reflect heat away from your Airstream and is placed in the interior walls. This type of insulation is made up of layers of reflective material that are designed to reflect heat away.

One of the benefits of reflective insulation is that it is very lightweight, so it is easy to install and will not add a ton of weight to your Airstream.

Reflective insulation is also very easy to cut and shape, which makes it easy to install in hard-to-reach areas.

Another benefit of reflective insulation is that it is very effective at reflecting heat away from your Airstream. This means that your Airstream will stay cooler during the summer months, which can help to reduce your energy bills.

4. Increase Ventilation

To prevent your Airstream from getting too hot, you need to increase ventilation. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Open windows: Open windows on opposite sides of the trailer to create a cross-breeze. This will help cool down the interior.
  • Install a roof vent: A roof vent will help hot air escape from the trailer. You can install a manual or electric vent depending on your needs.
  • Use a fan: A fan will circulate air inside the trailer and help cool it down. You can use a portable fan or install a ceiling fan.
  • Add an awning: An awning will provide shade and help keep the sun from heating up the trailer. You can choose from a variety of awning types, including manual and electric.

We will go into depth with all of these options.

5. Open Windows At Night

When the temperature outside drops, opening windows at night can help cool down the interior of your Airstream.

This can be especially effective if you are camping in an area where the temperature drops significantly at night.

It’s important to note that opening windows at night may not be effective in all situations. If the temperature outside is still warm or if you are camping in a humid area, opening windows may not provide much relief.

Additionally, if you are camping in an area with high levels of pollution or pollen, opening windows may not be a good idea as it can allow these particles to enter your Airstream.

6. Install a Roof Vent

airstream with roof vent

When it comes to keeping your Airstream cool, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you’re using your roof vents. Your Airstream likely has at least one roof vent, and many models have two or more.

These vents are designed to allow hot air to escape from the interior of your Airstream, which can help keep the temperature down.

In general, you’ll want to have your roof vents open when it’s hot outside and you’re trying to cool down your Airstream. You’ll also want to make sure that the vents are facing in a direction that will allow hot air to escape.

7. Use a Fan

There are a variety of fans available that can help circulate air throughout your trailer, keeping it feeling fresh and comfortable.

One popular option is a ceiling fan. They are great for circulating air throughout the entire trailer and can be especially helpful in the bedroom area.

Another option is a portable fan. These can be placed on a table or counter and moved around as needed. They are great for providing a more targeted source of air flow, such as directing cool air towards your face while you sleep.

There are also fans designed specifically for use in RVs and Airstreams. These fans are often more compact and designed to work with the unique layout and needs of a trailer. Some even come with features like built-in thermostats or multiple speed settings.

8. Use Awnings

Awnings can provide shade and reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters your Airstream. This can help to keep the interior temperature down and reduce the need for air conditioning.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using awnings. First, make sure that you set up your awning properly so that it is secure and won’t be blown away by the wind.

Second, choose an awning that is the right size for your Airstream. Awnings that are too small won’t provide enough shade, while awnings that are too big can be difficult to set up and take down.

Tip: Vinyl and acrylic fabrics are great for blocking the sun, while mesh fabrics are better for letting air flow through.

9. Keep Doors and Windows Closed

To keep your Airstream from getting too hot, keep your doors and windows closed during the hottest parts of the day.

If you have a screen door, make sure to keep it closed as well. Even though it may let in a bit of fresh air, it will also let in heat and humidity, which can make your Airstream feel much hotter.

If you need to open a window for ventilation, try to do so during the cooler parts of the day, such as early in the morning or late in the evening. You can also use a window shade to block out the sun and keep your Airstream cooler.

It’s also important to make sure that all of your windows and doors are properly sealed. If there are any gaps or cracks, hot air can easily seep in and make your Airstream feel much hotter than it should. Check your seals regularly and replace them as needed.

10. Reflective Roof Coating

Reflective roof coatings can be made from a variety of materials, including acrylics, silicones, and urethanes. They are typically white or light-colored to maximize their reflective properties.

When applied correctly, a reflective roof coating can reduce the temperature inside your Airstream by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This can make a huge difference in comfort, especially if you’re camping in a hot climate.

It’s important to note that reflective roof coatings are not a cure-all for heat issues in your Airstream. They work best when combined with other strategies, such as shade structures and proper ventilation.

If you’re considering a reflective roof coating, be sure to choose a high-quality product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

11. Don’t Cook Indoors

Person cooking outdoors

Cooking indoors can quickly make your Airstream feel uncomfortably hot.

So what should you do instead? Here are a few tips:

  • Cook outside: The best way to avoid generating heat, odors, and moisture inside your Airstream is to cook outside. Many Airstreams come with built-in propane grills or stovetops that you can use. Alternatively, you can bring a portable grill or camp stove.
  • Use a vent fan: If you do need to cook inside, make sure you turn on your vent fan to help remove heat, odors, and moisture. You can also crack a window or door to help circulate air.

12. Cover Your Skylights

Skylights can let in a lot of sunlight, which can heat up your trailer quickly. Here are a few things to consider when covering your skylights:

  • Materials: You can use a variety of materials to cover your skylights, including reflective insulation, window tint, or blackout curtains. Reflective insulation is a good option because it reflects sunlight away from your trailer, keeping it cooler. Window tint is also effective, but it can be more difficult to install. Blackout curtains are a simple solution, but they won’t reflect sunlight away from your trailer.
  • Installation: Installing skylight covers will depend on the material you choose. Reflective insulation and window tint will require careful cutting and measuring to fit your skylights. Blackout curtains can be hung with curtain rods or clips. Before you start installing covers, make sure to clean your skylights and measure them carefully.
  • Effectiveness: Covering your skylights can significantly reduce the amount of heat that enters your Airstream. However, it’s important to note that skylight covers won’t completely eliminate heat. You’ll still need to use other methods to keep your trailer cool, such as ventilation or air conditioning.

13. Decorate With Light Colors

If you want to keep your Airstream cool, you should consider using light colors for the interior and exterior. Light colors reflect sunlight and heat instead of absorbing it, which can help keep the interior temperature down.

When it comes to the exterior, choosing a light color for your Airstream can make a big difference. Light colors like white, silver, and light grey will reflect the sun’s rays and keep the exterior cooler than darker colors like black or navy blue.

For the interior, you can choose light-colored fabrics and upholstery to help keep the temperature down. Light-colored curtains, bedding, and cushions will reflect heat and sunlight instead of absorbing it, making the interior cooler and more comfortable.

14. Install Heat Reflective Film on Windows

If you want to keep your Airstream cool during hot weather, installing heat reflective film on your windows can be an effective solution.

This film is designed to reflect the sun’s rays away from your Airstream, keeping the interior cooler and more comfortable.

15. Keep Appliances Off When Not in Use

Leaving appliances on when they’re not in use can generate unnecessary heat, which can make your Airstream feel hotter than it actually is.

This is especially true if you have a lot of appliances running at once. By turning off appliances when you’re not using them, you can help keep your Airstream cool and comfortable.