How to keep your cool this summer camping in an Offroad Caravan

Posted by Cameron Johnston

Jan 17, 2013 6:30:00 AM

keep you cool this summer camping in an offroad caravan

Summer camping has it's own unique set of challenges - staying cool is one of the most important! Between sunset and sunrise you want to be as cool and comfortable as possible so that everybody gets a great night's sleep! So read on and learn how to keep your cool this summer camping in an offroad caravan.

Airflow is your Best Friend
You know that feeling of trying to sleep during summer in a room with warm, still air? It is not pleasant and it can be even worse when you are confined in an offroad caravan! But this can be overcome with good airflow. Airflow is a great natural coolant. When air can flow in and then either across the caravan or up, it pulls through other stagnant air in the van and gets gentle air movement. 

You can use 'Cross Ventilation' and/or 'In & Up Ventilation' to achieve great airflow in an offroad caravan.

Options for great Airflow in an offroad caravan 

Good Airflow

Side Windows


Front & Rear Windows

Cross Ventilation

Windows directly opposite and as large as possible will give perfect cross flow ventilation. If the windows are only one third of the van wall then the effect is nearly proportional

 If the top “hot layer” of air inside a caravan can move through the  hatches easily,  then more air is pulled in through

Generally these don’t align as well and require air to move in and across a van

In and Up Ventilation

If the windows are open on one side but closed somewhat on the other, the air can flow in and up. The opportunities with large windows and plenty of hatches is endless.

 If there is wind coming from a rear direction, then raising the hatches and capturing this air can move the air downward on some hatches and upward on others if they are powered and the fan is switched to “exhaust”.

This can be effective depending on the wind direction but it may not work in all scenarios.





Keep the Insects Outside
Wonderful! You've found a caravan with great airflow to keep you cool this summer. Now you have to make sure you can prevent any unwanted 'guests' using those windows as portal to a feast! A lot of summer camping involves trips to the coastal areas where you'll experience mosquitoes and other flying insects. But the worst of all can be the Biting Midges found in Coastal Tidal Areas. These can be harder to 'screen' out so we'll focus on preventing these.

It is only the female midges that bite. Biting midges do not transmit disease to humans in Australia. They do not, as is sometimes believed, urinate on people to cause discomfort. In the process of biting and sucking blood, they inject a salivary secretion that produces a skin reaction of varying intensity, depending on an individual’s reaction. Bites usually produce a classic allergic response, with the first bite producing no noticeable effect, and the subsequent bites producing the reactions.  If you are affected, you will need Midge proof screens in your offroad caravan. These have to be on EVERY door and window. See the table below for requirements to look for from these screens.

Requirements for insect protection in offroad caravans 
  Mosquito screen Midge screen
Hole Size 1.0mm x 0.9mm
0.9mm square 
0.6mm x 0.6mm
0.36mm square 
% Restriction on Airflow 58% 64%

Good insulation is essential
A well insulation caravan makes it much easier to keep the cooler air inside and the hot air outside. The easy way to test this is to insist on sitting in a caravan in the hot sun and feel the temperature of the inside of the roof. A caravan with a roof covered by solar panels will be much cooler inside. When solar panels are attached to the roof, they absorb the sun’s energy and reduce the amount of heat transferred inside, as energy is converted to electrical power. 

Airconditioning is great - use it wisely
You may not want to be running a generator all the time while camping. If you do, it is tiring to move from an air-conditioned space to the outside “living area”.

There is 12V Air-conditioning available. This has a much reduced cooling capacity than traditional air-conditioning. Generally, the 12V units are about half to one third the cooling “power”. However, in a well insulated caravan at night and if the unit has been well ventilated during the day, the 12V unit should cool the bedroom area very effectively. Thermal curtains can be used to restrict the area to the bedroom and so give a very good nights sleep without the noise of a generator.

During the day, or if the caravan has been locked up with no ventilation, then a traditional 240V air-conditioner is needed to pull the temperature down.

To learn more about what features to look for in offroad caravans download our free guidebook below. 

Download Essential Guide  to design of Off-Road Caravans This is not a product brochure but a Guidebook

Cameron Johnston | Kimberley Group


Topics: offroad caravan, offroad caravan airconditioning, offroad caravans airflow, 12V airconditioning

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The Kimberley Karavan, a lightweight folding off road caravan that can go anywhere. Kimberley Karavans are unique with their internal shower and toilet, comfortable internal seating and luxury finishes.