It’s the heart of summer, and off-road camping season – heck, all-around adventure season – is revved up to 8,000 RPMs. Not a weekend goes by that doesn’t beg for a trip up a dusty forest service road or down to your favorite fishing hole. If you’re anything like us you’ve already been out camping a handful of times and your trailer camping skills are in mid-season form. But can you beat the heat? Summer heat adds a variable to the camping equation that can leave even seasoned off-road campers slumped in their camp chair, sweating and exhausted. Our years of experience overlanding and off-road camping have taught us a few tricks for staying cool (seven to be exact), and we’ve compiled them for you here, so you can keep yourself and your travel companions comfortable when it’s scorching outside.
A Note on Traveling in the South
The American south – places like Texas, Arizona, Utah, Florida, where temperatures regularly crack 100 degrees Farenheight – is the big leagues for managing hot weather. Whether you live there full time or you’re just passing through on your summer road trip, knowing how to stay cool in the south is skill numero uno. Blazing temperatures start in early spring and last into autumn, so even shoulder season adventures require a few extra preparations to guarantee a relaxing and problem-free trip.
The American South is also home to some of the world’s most iconic outdoor destinations. It’s known for towering red rocks, wide-open desert terrain, world-famous national parks, and dispersed campsites peppered along dirt roads (making it a great place to see what your Black Series Trailer is made of). And if you know how to keep cool when the thermometer starts boiling, you can explore this wild country in comfort, even when others are cooped up back in the city. So while the below tips are for anyone trailer camping in brutal heat, they hold extra weight for those whose off-road camping adventures include stops in the American South.
Okay, let’s get to it!
1. Cool Down With A/C
We know that if you’re lucky enough to have it (and if you have a Black Series off-grid travel trailer, you have a built-in 13,500 BTU Thermostat Control unit) Air Conditioning seems like a no-brainer for keeping cool. And it is. But there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your A/C unit to battle hot temperatures.
When traveling with access to shore power, you can plug your trailer into the electrical grid and easily use your A/C unit to keep a pleasant temperature inside your trailer at all times. You can run the A/C unit low and slow while you’re out for the day to maintain a comfortable temperature. This will also help alleviate some of the stress on your A/C unit caused by blasting it intermittently when you’re desperate for a cool down.
If you’re heading off-grid, and won’t have access to shore power, you’ll need a generator and a soft start to run the A/C. A soft start reduces the amount of power needed for air conditioners and other energy-sucking appliances. So, by minimizing the volume of power necessary for these features, you’re able to run more with less energy. Thus, you can run your A/C using a generator. This will come in handy when you’re trying to conserve power in the backcountry. In addition, having a soft start will help avoid immense strain on your power supply when off-grid without power or water connections.
2. Create an Oasis Under Your Awning
Not a fan of A/C? Well, if you’re an owner of a Black Series trailer, you can utilize your Premium Retractable Awning. Most trailers, from any brand, come with some type of manual or automatic awning installed on the side of the rig. If you don’t have a custom awning, you can store a canopy in your trailer’s pass-through storage. We promise it’s worth it!
Awnings are designed to expand the living space and provide you with the perfect shady area to lounge in, and it provides some crucial relief from the sun. Not to mention it’s a great place to host a happy hour while you wait for the temps to cool.
Black Series Team Pro-Tip: Bring some artificial grass from the hardware store, a lounge chair, and a few lawn flamingos for the ultimate desert oasis. And for the night, you can add a string of lights to set the mood.
3. Sunlight is Your Enemy
When your trailer sits in the desert sun for hours on end, it creates an oven-effect inside your trailer that isn’t sustainable for spending time in and can even become dangerously hot without good temperature management. Furthermore, if the trailer has been cooking in high temps all day, it probably won’t be habitable for hours after the sun goes down . To keep sunlight from entering, utilize your window shades (Eurovision privacy shades on Black Series trailers). Made of material that blocks light, the privacy shades act similarly to blinds, significantly reducing the amount of sunlight entering your trailer and keeping interior temps much cooler.
Black Series Team Pro-Tip: When in extremely hot environments, your best bet is to stay inactive during the day and plan for morning and evening activities.
You Have It Made in the Shade
Have you ever fought over (or waited impatiently in your car) for a shady spot in a parking lot so you could avoid returning to an oven? That’s because we know that parking in the shade is a small but smart move that will make a huge difference. Take a similar approach when finding a spot to park your trailer. It will help you maintain a habitable internal temperature. If you’re staying at a campground, call ahead and try to reserve a spot with ample shade. If you’re off-road camping, look for a cool spot under the shade of trees or natural rock formations.
Moreover, taking the time to work out what direction the sun will be hitting you will help you decide which way to angle your parking so that the side of your trailer with the most windows will be most shaded.
Black Series Team Pro-Tip: Use the desert wind to your advantage and angle your trailer to get the wind blowing through it (just be ready to change the angle, or shut your windows a bit if the winds pickup).
4. Hydration Is Key
Whenever you’re off-road camping, it’s crucial to keep you and your co-pilots hydrated. In hot temps you’re probably sweating more than usual. Most experts say you need at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to prevent losing moisture and electrolytes required for staying healthy on the road, so don’t skimp when preparing your water supply for your off-road camping adventure, especially if you’re going off-grid. Keeping your water tank full and buying extra jugs of drinking water will ensure that you have a safety net in case of an emergency. Another excellent investment is a large, high-quality hanging water filter that you can utilize on rivers, creeks, and lakes to source additional water and stay hydrated at camp.
Black Series Team Pro-Tip: Store a bottle of morning coffee in your Dometic Fridge Cooler for a refreshing iced coffee treat in the afternoon.
5. Utilize Your Outdoor Kitchen
If you do everything to keep your trailer cool in the heat, you’ll also want to avoid using your indoor kitchen or risk wasting all of that previous effort. Cooking hot foods on your stove or in your oven will increase the temperature within your trailer. Instead, use your outdoor kitchen. With a three-burner stove and plenty of prep space included in Black Series outdoor kitchens, you can cook all of your meals outside, under your awning. One great outdoor kitchen recipe option is a simple and delicious cast-iron pizza. Don’t want to cook at all? Prep some cold sandwiches, salads, or fruit and store them in your fridge or Dometic Cooler for a quick and refreshing meal.
6. Take Advantage of Being Able To Go Further Down the Road
Are you a fan of cooling off by the lake but don’t want to fight those summer crowds? Being able to take your camp farther down the road is one of the many benefits of traveling with off-road trailers like the ones we make at Black Series. With the most robust independent suspension system on the market, Black Series trailers allow you to go beyond the crowds to find a camp site that’s not only secluded and serene, but also better situated to avoid direct sunlight and access water. The American South (and North) has no shortage of lakes and rivers that are perfect for swimming and difficult to access without off-road capabilities. There’s nothing better than driving past the crowds to claim a swimming spot all to yourself.
Black Series Team Pro-Tip: Check out NPS, BLM, and USDA websites for updated information on backcountry campsites and watering holes. These resources make it easy to research conditions and availability before you head out.
Feeling refreshed? We hope these tips help you stay comfortable during your next off-road camping adventure, whether it’s through Texas, Florida, or anywhere where it gets mind-melting hot. If you have any additional questions, comments, or hacks for keeping cool, please let us know in the comments or contact us on social media! We always enjoy your feedback. Happy travels!
Caravans Shown In This Post