For RVing, Florida is one of the most popular destinations in the world. People travel from all over to escape cold winters, relax on beautiful beaches, camp in the Florida Keys and explore Florida’s beautiful nature.
If you stay in a hotel, or rent a house or condo, you’ll be comfortably insulated from the killer Florida sun. But, if you stay in any sort of vehicle, or are tent camping, you’ll live much closer to Florida’s nature. You’ll experience high periods of bliss. And, low periods of misery.
To stretch the periods of bliss, and reduce the misery, there are some tricks you should know. They’ll help you thrive while camping and RVing in Florida’s unique environment, and intense heat.
Surviving Florida’s Sun
Florida’s sun is intense throughout the entire state. As you head south and approach the equator, it becomes even stronger. So, if you’re planning to camp anywhere, especially in South Florida or anywhere near the Florida Keys, you need to be prepared.
A good windshield shade is essential to keep your RV, or vehicle, cool.
The windshield is a vast expanse of glass. It’s a magnifying glass, and will intensify the sun’s heat to turn your living space into an oven very quickly. When choosing a windshield shade, here are some qualities you might look for.
The best windshield shades will guard against heat transfer through all three methods; conduction, convection and radiation. Look for RV heat shields which are:
- Cover the windshield fully
- Convenient to use
Try to make sure your shade fits the entire windshield. This can be tricky, especially if a chassis has unusual features, or is wider than usual. Your RV or vehicle may have a custom-sized version which may be necessary, depending on whether you can find a suitable “off the shelf” version.
Try to find a shade with both insulation and a reflective side. This will help cut down on both radiant heat and convective heat.
Exterior Windshield Shades
Any shade will be better than nothing, but exterior shades are the best. They sit on the outside of your windshield and block the sun’s energy before it ever touches your windshield glass. Some allow a nice amount of light inside, which keeps your space from feeling like a dungeon. You can find some which let you see outside, but still have privacy while inside. Folks who RV with dogs especially love this style.
Exterior windshield shades vary. Some are held in place by strong rare-earth magnets. Others are secured to side-mirrors, and some use other mounting methods. Some people find exterior shades difficult to attach. They may fly off during high winds if they’re not affixed securely, or properly. And, some models are prone to sagging if they’re not pulled tight.
There are a few other downsides to exterior windshield shades. You should be sure to clean under them frequently because they accumulate dirt. If you’re in an RV park on the beach they will accumulate sand and salt from the air. These can cause premature paint wear, and maybe even rust. Be sure to clean them frequently. All of these concerns are especially relevant if you’ll spend time in any of Florida’s state parks, or RV parks on the beach.
Window shades and awnings
In a modern house, windows and glass doors are insulated. Many have double-layers of glass, with an insulating gas between the panes to prevent heat transmission. Unfortunately, most windows in RVs, vehicles and boats are not insulated at all.
Covering windows with blinds, curtains or insulated plugs will help immensely. It’ll help keep your living space cooler, and will allow your AC to work more efficiently. Exterior coverings, like awnings, may also help keep Florida’s torrential rain from leaking inside your windows.
For maximum insulation, some people use full opaque, insulated window coverings over their windows. These can be used during the hottest part of the day, and left off on cool days, mornings and evenings. The downside of these is that they can truly make your RV feel like a cave. But, at least it’ll be a cool cave, right?
Reflectix for RV windows
Reflectix is a popular tool for RV and van insulation. It uses a combination of reflective foil material and air pockets. The foil reflects radiation heat, and the air pockets disrupt conductive heat. When used properly, it helps eliminate heat transmission through conduction, radiation and convection. Most people don’t use it properly, so it’s not effective. Without an air gap of several inches, or the recommended gap for the intended application, Reflectix offers essentially zero insulative properties!
RV skylights and roof vents are fantastic for ventilation. Everyone knows that heat rises; an escape hatch on the roof is great for letting heat dissipate from the living space.
However, during the heat of the day, when the sun is most intense, hatches, vents and skylights allow heat inside the RV living area. In the winter, they allow heat to escape, which is also undesirable.
Insulated plugs work well to block heat and cold transmission through skylights and vents. You can make one easily, or you can buy a pre-made one if your vents are a standard dimension. Today, pre-made RV vent insulators and skylight covers are so affordable that they’re probably usually not worth making yourself. They come with thick, high R-value insulation, and a layer of reflective material to reflect radiant heat.
While driving, we are constantly exposed to the sun’s dangers.
- Skin damage
- Heat exhaustion
- Sunburn while driving
Get a good sun shade to protect yourself from sun while driving, use a good sunscreen to save your skin, and sunglasses to protect your vision. You can also use best-practices to help keep yourself safe, minimize the dangers of heat, and maximize your enjoyment.
- Start driving early
- Be careful of overheated tires and vehicle
- Be aware of sun deteriorating rubber roof
- Know how to use your AC for optimal performance
- Be mindful of idling your rig in campgrounds
- Do a shakedown cruise before long trips, especially after stroage
- Use the generator and house AC if the cab AC is struggling
- Monitor RV engine performance
- Drive conservatively
- Check antifreeze before you leave and inspect all belts and drive components
- Be careful of tire danger: Consider getting a laser thermometer. Tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS)
RVing in Florida: Best Practices
Parking in the shade is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your RV cool. If the sun’s intense energy is reaching your rig, it’ll be impossible to keep it cool. No trick, hack or remedy is as effective as shade. Even powerful rooftop air conditioners will struggle to keep an RV cool if it’s exposed to Florida’s full sun. Parking can make an immense difference. If you use a tarp, be sure to leave an air gap so that air can circulate beneath it, and prevent conductive heat transmission.
When parking your RV, think strategically. If you can, face the broad RV sides away from the sun. If there’s a favorable, prevailing breeze, position facing the passenger side of the RV towards that side. Most folks spend a lot of time under their awning; a nice breeze will help keep you cool and comfortable. Remember that if you must choose between shade and wind, always choose to maximize shade.
When choosing a campsite, people usually pay attention to the site location relative to bath houses, pools and other amenities. Next time you choose a site, try to consider its location relative to shade, especially its exposure to morning and afternoon sun.
You can plan ahead by using campsite maps, and also ask the hosts if there are any unique factors you should consider
RV camping in hot conditions isn’t always fun. Sometimes it feels like you’re hiding inside a dark cave, with noisy air conditioners blasting away. Or, maybe you’re hot, drenched in sweat, wishing you had a dark cave and a powerful AC!
Sometimes you just need a break from the heat. When you’re selecting campgrounds, try to consider parking near easy “escapes” from camping life that may be nearby.
- Movie theatres
- Coffee shops
- Co-working spaces
- Water parks
- Florida springs
- Diving and snorkeling
- The beach
- Public pools
- Local attractions
Plan your days around the sun
In tropical locations, especially Florida and Hawaii, we have a term called Sunshine Guilt.
This refers to the guilt one feels when staying inside on a nice, sunny day. Be prepared to feel it, and deal with it!
The truth is that, although we love to be outside and enjoy beautiful weather, there are times when you just need to be indoors. Whether it’s uncomfortably hot outside, humid, or you just need to catch up on work or rest, you shouldn’t feel guilty for staying inside when necessary. Plan ahead for this, and have go-to activities, so you don’t feel restless.
- Read books and watch movies during the day.
- Use the time indoors to write emails, review your photography, update your website and stay in touch with friends.
- Find indoor activities for hot days: Springs, museums
In Florida’s heat and humidity, you’ll get sweaty with every trip outside. With poor planning, you might find that you need to rinse off multiple times per day. If you have full hookups, unlimited water and electricity, it may be fine to take frequent, short “rinse off” showers. But, try not to do it inside your RV because it’ll introduce a lot of humidity.
To combat this, consider taking showers somewhere else, besides your RV shower. If it’s appropriate, you could take outdoor showers using either your outdoor shower, or a portable camp shower. Or, if there are nice campground facilities this is often be the best option
Cooking releases heat and humidity into your living space. Whenever possible, we try to eat meals which don’t require the stove or oven. Especially in Florida’s heat, it’s nice to eat light, fresh meals and easy things which are nice to eat cold.
Fresh, cold meals will have the added benefit of cooling your body internally. If you need to cook, consider doing it in the microwave, or outside! Healthy campfire meals are one of the best parts of camping, and RV grilling sessions are always a great idea.
If you do cook a hot meal, consider cooking an extra large portion. You can refrigerate or freeze the rest, and you’ll have another meal ready without having to clean up again, or heat up your living space.
If you will be cooking outside, think ahead. Always try to minimize the number of trips you take in and out of the RV. Every time the door opens it’ll allow cool air to escape, and introduce hot outside air. Plus, each trip will be an opportunity for mosquito and bug invasions.
Many RVers try to prepare a cooler with everything they need to cook outside, to avoid repeat trips in and out. If you keep it stocked with ice this can also help keep meat and other perishable foods fresh and maintained at a safe tempearture while you prepare your grill.
Coffee and Hot Water
If you’re addicted to tea or coffee like me, you’ll need to heat a lot of water. If you think it’s an adequate substitute, you could make a cold brew coffee. If you need hot water for brewing in a french press or pour over, consider boiling a lot of water in the morning, before the sun’s at its strongest. Use a large, efficient thermos to store the boiling water all day. This way, you won’t need to fire up the stove multiple times a day. This will help avoid heat and humidity, and it’ll also help conserve your LPG, if that’s a concern. If you have adequate electricity supply, you might also consider using an efficient electric kettle, instead of a stove.
Thermoses are also great for many other reasons! I truly think they are one of the best, and most important camping tools we own. We use them for storing hot soup and other ready-to-eat meals. And, they’re great for keeping hot water ready-to-use, so we don’t have to boil water while we’re driving.
One other strategy, which we prefer for many reasons, is to use the “Make-ahead meals” method. With this method, we prep large batches of meals and store them in our freezer. When we’re ready to eat, we just pop it in the microwave and we have a ready-to-eat meal, which doesn’t heat our living area or require very many dishes. We always try to have “tin foil meals” ready and prepared for easy-to-access meals during inconvenient times. Everything is always harder when you, or especially your partner, are hungry.
Other techniques and products which are highly recommended for RV cooking:
- Use a toaster oven instead of the oven
- Use a single burner electric burner instead of gas
- Use pressure cookers and instapots
- Shower Outside
Pet and Dog Comfort
We have an entire guide to Florida RVing with dogs, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But, always be mindful of your pets when RVing in Florida’s hot conditions.
RV Dog Beds
Raised dog beds are great because they allow increased air flow, and let your pet’s body heat dissipate. If a ground surface is hot, it’ll also help prevent conductive heat transfer through the bed. Raised dog beds are often made from canvas, which are great for RVs because the material is easy to wash and keep clean.
In hot weather, dog water bowls can get dangerously hot. They are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other bugs. Be sure to keep your pet’s water bowl full, cool and fresh. Clean the bowls frequently, and never give your dog water to drink that you wouldn’t drink yourself.
Using your RV AC Effectively
If the RV has been sitting and is hot, be sure to vent as much of the hot air as possible. Before you start driving, pre-cool the rig using the rooftop AC. You can either use the generator, or shore power for this. In extreme temperatures you may need to use the rooftop AC continuously.
In mild weather, an RV’s drivetrain AC may be sufficient to maintain comfortable temperatures. If conditions warrant it, consider using the rooftop AC again approximately 30 minutes before you arrive in a campground, especially during hot daytime hours. This way, by the time you arrive in your campsite, the rig will already be comfortable and ready to maintain the temperature with shore power.
Choosing Sites and Campgrounds
Your choice of campground and camp site can make or break your camping experience.
Florida suffers from massive overpopulation and a very high population density. If you’re staying anywhere near a major city in Florida, you’re probably going to be stuck in a parking-lot style campground.
This is unpleasant for many obvious reasons; the top being a lack of nature, privacy and the “heat island” effect which accompanies large expanses of asphalt. We try to avoid “parking lot” camping at all costs, unless it’s an overnight, intentional boondocking situation. In general, we prefer to be further away from cities, where campgrounds are more sprawling and less likely to be packed in like sardines.
Whenever possible, find campsites and campgrounds with a lot of shade and green space. These will help absorb the sun’s radiation and tempeatures will be much cooler.
Always look for shade! If there isn’t any, consider making your own shade using high-quality, light-colored, durable tarps. If you can break the sun’s direct rays from hitting your rig it’ll make a huge difference.
Ocean and Water Front Sites
And, if possible, a water-front location. Both will make an immense difference in your comfort and camping experience.
Camping by water is is great because you’ll enjoy a cooling effect from the water’s evaporation. Natural vegetation can also help avoid the heat-island effect. Nice, unobstructed breezes travel best across the water, which can make a huge difference to comfort and keeping bugs at bay.
RVs with on-board laundry are great, but washers and dryers can be less efficient than normal household units. That means they can take a long time to complete a cycle, and they produce a lot of heat.
Consider the idea of using campground laundry facilities, even if you have your own on board. Even if you do your own washing, consider using a shore-side dryer or clothes line instead of your onboard dryer, if it’s allowed in your campground.
Look for parks with pool facilities you’ll actually want to use. Be aware that some are not maintained very well, and you may not feel comfortable swimming in them. RV pools are often small and overly-crowded.
Depending on your comfort level, you may not want to use a pool if it’s filled with loud or annoying groups. Especially during the summer season, when Florida’s schools are out, this can be a big issue.
For example, many folks refuse to camp near Ginnie Springs at certain times of the year– like Florida’s notorious Spring Break– becuase it is so rowdy, drunken and boistrous.
So, pay attention to the condition of ammeninities and features before making a choice or reservaton!
Speaking of crowds, I want to float one other idea about avoid crowds. The internet is a priceless tool for researching campgrounds. But, it also means that everybody sees the same thing when they type in “The best campgrounds in Florida”.
If you want to find hidden gems, be sure to talk to real people. Talk to snowbirds who come down to the same region year after year, and have gotten to know a place.
Talk to locals, and try to make real friendships with them so they’ll share their local knowledge with you. Try ot get your information from websites which cater to local local populations, instead of those geared toward travelers.
If you get a really good “inside scoop” you may find folks with spare drivway space, or land where you can park your RV for very affordable rates.
You’ll need to be aware of local ordinances so you don’t get you or your new friends in trouble. Especially near cities, these types of “unadvertised” opportunities can be hidden gems. The same principle applies when looking for boat slips; sometimes a homeowner has an unused dock space which they’re happy to rent out to friends or traveling boaters.
My favorite travels are spontaneous and flexible. So, I generally try to avoid making reservations at all costs. But, sometimes they’re necessary. In Florida’s winter months, they will almost certainly be required. During hot summer months, reservations may not be as critical, but they’re still a good idea.
If you want to spend a winter in Florida it’s a good idea to start planning a year, or more, in advance.
Especially if you want to spend time in popular destinations like the Florida Keys, make reservations! And keep them, because there may not be any other options. If there are other options, it’s likely that they will be very expensive and/or inconvenient. Many snowbird veterans recommend “checking in” with a human to confirm a reservation’s existence, and then again as the date approaches, to ensure your reservation is still valid.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are also not as crazy as the high-season, during the coldest winter months.
Stay in One Place
If you can, try to find a place you’d like to spend the bulk of your time. Rates are usually lower if you stay longer. Monthly and seasonal rates can be a fraction of the cost of the nightly rate! You’ll also save money in transportation costs, depreciation, per-mile costs, and the wear and tear on your rig. You’re also more likely to settle into a nice routine and find good, affordable restaurants, as opposed to hunting for the next place to eat all the time.
If you can spend an entire season in one spot, you’ll save in many ways and be able to explore from a home-base. I’ve found this to be the optimal way to travel because it gives you the chance to relax, unwind and really experience a place, instead of constantly being on the move.
You can get lucky by taking advantage of last-minute cancellations, but this is really not reliable, or a good way to spend your winter. It’s stressful, and it’ll prevnet you from making other plans or enjoying your time. It’ll also make you spend a lot of your time bouncing from place to place because the last-minute vacancies are likely to be one or two nights only, and may be far apart from each other.
It’s easy to become complacent, and start to rely on constant cellular coverage for everything. The southeastern U.S. has surprisingly bad cellular reception. I’ve had bad luck with Sprint, T-Mobile, and even Straight Talk, which uses AT&T’s network.
If you’ll be spending time outside of major metropolitan areas, and especially if you’ll be camping or boondocking, be prepared to be without cell coverage.
Be sure to download essential items like a map, campground resources, guidebooks, entertainment, and others should be downloaded for offline viewing. If you’ll need the internet to research important things like your next destination, maintenance, parts or mechanical information, be sure to plan ahead.
If you’re in Florida, do not miss Florida’s springs!
They are honestly some of my favorite places in the entire state, and they’re fantastic adventures all year-round. When it’s too hot to breathe, or the ocean is too cold for swimming, springs will always be a pleasant 72 degrees. To many people, that’s a bit chilly, and a medium-thickness wetsuit may be advisable. If you can take the chilly water, you can definitely swim in the fall, spring and on warm winter days.
Florida’s springs fill to the brim during the summer, especially while school’s out. But, in the winter, they are truly magical places where you can find nature, solitude and natural wonder. There are some springs with campgrounds, which is always convenient. For others, like Ichetucknee Springs, campgrounds are nearby and easy.
When your RV is sealed up and exposed to the sun, the inside temperature becomes much hotter than the outside air.
When you return to a hot RV, open all ventilation as much as possible. Use fans to evacuate the hot air. Open ceiling vents to hot air escape. Use both the AC from the cab, and also the rooftop unit.
If you’ll be away from your RV for short or medium periods while plugged into shore power, consider leaving your RV’s AC running on an economical setting. It’s easier for your RV’s systems to maintain a steady level of temperature and humidity than to swing from extreme fluctuations. When leaving your RV in storage, or for long periods, be sure to take proper measures to protect it from the sun and heat.
Keep the RV shut
Especially if you’ll be having guests over for a barbeque, try to minimize the trips in and out of the door. Every time you open it, you’ll be letting the cold air out, and the heat inside. If you’ll be cooking out on the grill, consider using a cooler to carry your ingredients outside at once, instead of trudging back and forth.
This can be really useful too, because it’s often hard to open RV doors while your hands are full.
If you have an ice maker, or room to make block ice, this can help keep your meat and cold ingredients cooler for longer in the Florida heat. It’ll also help save valuable space in your RV refrigerator, which never have enough space!
Even if you’re not cooking, this is also great to keep cold drinks outside so you don’t need to go in and out while puttering around.
Other Tips to Stay Cool
For a very simple, affordable and low-tech solution, bring a bandana!
Wrapped around your neck, it’ll help cool the blood as it circulates through your carotid artery. Beach lifeguards use this trick to help cool overheated people.
If you dampen the bandana with cool ice-water, it’ll magnify the effects. Drink more water than you think you’ll need.
In some hot areas, you can use swamp coolers, or even home-made air conditioners to stay cool. If you have a battery bank with sufficient capacity, and a compatible AC unit, you can also use that to cool your RV. With a large-enough battery bank and an efficient solar panel bank, you can have truly off-grid air conditioning.
As humidity levels rise, there’s less molecular space for the air to absorb water through evaporation. This reduces the effectiveness of evaporative cooling. That’s why sweating is less effective at cooling your body in hot weather. It also makes your air conditioner work harder.
In a very dry environment, swamp coolers and cooling misters can drop the temperature significantly, as much as 30F. Sadly, in humid areas, like Florida or other coastal regions, the ambient humidity reduces the cooling effect to about 10-13F. In the winter, evaporative coolers are more effective in Florida because the relative humidity will is lower.
Hot Weather Driving
Don’t overload your RV! Excessive weight increases strain on tires, and increases the likelihood of a tire blowout. It also hurts your fuel efficiency and puts more wear and tear on the entire chassis. Besides your tires, it’s bad for other reasons, too.
Excess weight is hard on every aspect of your RV.
Excessive weight can cause dangerous instability and loading problems. In a motorhome, excessive weight stored up high, in cabinets, rooftop containers, etc. can cause vertical instability and contribute to rollover risk.
Excess stuff, especially in small living spaces can cause mental stress. It consumes mental and physical energy to deal with it, store, and move around.
Minimalism, or essentialism, is the best gift you can give yourself.
Tire blowouts are very common during hot weather. Hot asphalt heats up to extreme temperatures, which causes air particles inside your tire to expand with heat. Every responsible RVer should know how to prevent blowouts, and how to safely handle an RV tire blowout if and when it happens.
In hot weather, it’s a good habit to check tire temperatures every time you stop. If you’ll spend a lot of time on the road, it’s worth investing in a good TPMS! Or, at the very least, a good thermometer so you can monitor your tire temperatures manually.
RV Storage and Maintenance
RV maintenance is always important. Florida’s harsh environment, heat and humidity makes it even more crucial.
When storing batteries, remember that hot temperatures and lack of use are both very hard on battery life. If possible, use appropriate trickle-charging methods to keep your batteries serviced. If you can store them in a climate-controlled area, that may help prevent deterioration and reduced lifespan.
- Check all fluid levels
- Power steering
- Windshield washer fluid
- Brake Fluid
Windshield wiper blades
Be sure to check the condition of your windshield wiper blades. Florida’s intense sun will degrade the rubber wiper blades, and you will surely need them during Florida’s torrential summer downpours.
Be sure your windshield fluid stays topped up! In Florida, your windshield will be covered in Florida’s insects. If you’re traveling in lovebug season, prepare to have your rig covered with dead lovebugs.
Thanks to the internet, it’s much easier to find parts while on the road. But, it may require you to stay in one place while awaiting parts to arrive, and a mechanic’s shop is not always a pleasant place to camp. It can also force you to leave your RV behind when camping is not a possibility, so you may need to stay in a hotel. To minimize the disruption of any breakdown, consider bringing spare parts for any unusual vehicles, or if you have any parts which are hard to find.
Be sure you know how to change a tire on your rig. You should practice this before you get out on the road. Be sure you keep good flashlights, headlamps and stationary lights in case you need to perform maintenance at night. When it’s sweltering hot, nighttime might be the best time to do an outside job.
Rotate your tires to extend their lifespan; especially if they are commonly exposed to the same sun conditions. You’ll avoid having sun-facing tires damaged before the others. Check belts and hoses for signs of age, weathering, cracking or failure.
If you have a non-standard tire, which may be expensive or difficult to source, consider bringing an additional spare, even if it’s not mounted on a rim. While tires can be difficult to procure, you can usually find someone to mount a tire for you.
RV air conditioners suffer a lot of abuse. They’re subjected to constant vibration, extreme temperatures, extreme dust and dirt, pet hair, mold and mildew, and other harsh conditions. For efficient and reliable use, it’s essential to maintain your RV’s air conditioner.
- Ensure proper freon levels
- Ensure the thermostat is set for efficient operation
- Ensure the AC filter is always cleaned or changed regularly
- Keep spare fuses for every part of your system
- Ensure that your electrical system is properly sized and maintained
- Ensure that your generator is properly maintained
- Keep your RV level
- Know the specific maintenance schedule and details for your gear
AC filters need to be cleaned regularly. If you don’t keep them clean, it can restrict airflow and allow the inside components to become dirty. If the inside coils become covered in dirt, the AC will stop working, and it’ll need to be disassembled and cleaned. This is an unpleasant job for DIY, and it’s expensive to hire RV techs to do it. It’s much better to keep your RV’s air conditioner filter clean and avoid the problems.
RV electrical systems are sensitive, and are vulnerable to voltage fluctuations. You should be aware of how much voltage you’re using. You can use a voltage monitor. When it’s really hot, everyone in a campground will be using their ACs at the same time. This can overload the electrical system and lead to outages. It can also lead to a drop in voltage, as everybody consumes a finite amount of electricity.
If you experience low voltage, you shouldn’t use sensitive electronics like air conditioners. If you have a 3-way absorption fridge, you can reduce your electrical consumption by using propane, instead of the electric compressor.
LED light bulbs
If your RV still uses older, non-LED lightbulbs, consider switching to LED light bulbs! They produce minimal heat, and use very little electricity. This will help keep your RV cooler, and will help reduce your electricity needs! They used to be expensive, unreliable, and had limited lighting options. Today, they’re affordable, reliable and give off very pleasant hues!
Roadside Repair Kit
Extremely hot conditions strain engine cooling systems, so vehicles are more likely to suffer breakdowns during hot conditions. If you do break down, at least you’ll want to be prepared. It’s important to have a plan for emergency roadside assistance.
Make sure you have an emergency roadside kit prepared. If you are mechaniaclly savvy enough to perform roadside repairs, try to anticipate the things you may need:
- Spare parts, belts and hoses
- Fittings to secure belts and hoses
- Extra coolant
- Adequate tools
- Road Hazards
- Other Traffic
- Big Trucks
Hurricane Debris: If you arrive in Florida any time after a major storm or hurricane, you’ll see mountains of housing debris piled alongside the road. If an area was hit especially bad, piles of trash and construction debris can be piled several stories high. High winds, and other storms, may also scatter debris into roadways.
Be especially cautious if you find yourself in this situation, because that debris can be dangerous for your rig. Roofing nails are notorious for falling onto roadways and causing tire damage. Especially after hurricanes, many roofing contractors load their trailers with roof debris and other sharp materials.
Because many motorhomes are only used infrequently, RV tire tread may outlast the useful life of the tire. Be sure you have good, safe tires before any trip. If you’re not sure you can evaluate them yourself, have them inspected by a professional. No matter what, you should know the age, and remember that some tires can already be old when you buy them. To avoid any question, be sure to check the manufacture date, which is stamped on the tire.
If you have older tires, use good judgement when deciding whether to use them or not. Don’t use any tire which is at risk of failure, or which shows signs of age, or sun-related deterioration!
No matter what, it’s a good idea to become conscious of your tires, and use best-practices to ensure safety. Make a habit of checking your tires every time you stop. Each time, check your tire’s temperature with a laser thermometer. Know the safe operating range, and make sure that all of the tires are within a safe, similar and consistent temperature range. To avoid any uncertainty, it can be a great idea to use a paper RV log, or an app, to record these sort of things over time. Checklists are also a great way of making sure you don’t overlook, or forget anything.
Install a TPMS, or a tire pressure monitoring system. These are fantastic innovations, and can greatly enhance the safety of your RV road trips. They can monitor your tire pressure and temperature, and alert you at the first sign of danger.
Cover the tires if it’ll be stored and exposed to sunlight! Sunlight degrades your tire, and will shorten the lifespan. Be sure to cover any spare tires which are not kept covered.
Hot Weather Camping Tips
When RVing, camping, or traveling, it’s important to be true to yourself. Especially in hot weather. Find your own rhythm. Find the pace and style that works for you, and enjoy it! Don’t compare yourself with other travelers, whether real-life or online. Focus on your own enjoyment, and don’t let comparison be the thief of your joy.
Although the mentality of “never giving up” is admirable in some situations, it’s wise to recognize when something isn’t working, and change course. Everyone goes RVing to have fun, and enjoy themselves.
You’re not trying to prove anything to anybody. Don’t let FOMO rule your life. One of the greatest lessons about travel is to learn to be present and happy where you are. It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking “I’ll be happy when…”. But, the things we think will make us happy usually don’t.
Stay in touch with your partner, and always “check in”. Because you’ll likely experience various forms of discomfort, try to be attentive to their needs, and sensitive to their feelings. Try to ensure the “load” and “burdens” — whether travel planning, maintenance, cooking, dishes, driving, logistics — whatever — are shared in a way that you’re both happy with.
We’ve found it useful to experiment with different distances that we travel in a day. If we’re exhausted after a long drive, we try take notice, and plan for a shorter distance next time. We also try to notice the types of locations we enjoy, and those which we don’t care for.
Well-intentioned folks often love to give advice on “must-see” locations, and things they enjoyed. While those sources of information can be great, be sure to take it all with a grain of salt, and apply your own judgement to decide whether it’s a good excursion for you and your own preferences.
Manage your Relationship
Living in a small space is hard. Traveling is hard. Living in the heat is hard. This lifestyle, or even short trips, can become exhausting. Stay in touch with your partner, and always “check in”. Respect their needs, and be sensitive to their feelings. Try to ensure the “load” and “burdens” — whether travel planning, maintenance, cooking, dishes, driving, logistics — whatever — are shared in a way that you both are happy with., and everyone stays.
We always suggest keeping a close eye on budgets, so financial worries don’t become stressful.
Avoid debt and over-consumption. Your greatest sources of joy and fulfillment will come from the places you see, the people you meet, and the memories you make. Be mindful of the distractions you set for yourself. Do you really need global satelite TV while you’re goal is to be out in nature? Avoid debt, it’ll make your life less stressful, more flexible, and more enjoyable.
Forever, Always and Never
Be careful with dangerous words: “always, never, forever”. There is a time, place and season for everything. When it’s time to move on, be OK with it.
A famous sailing and cruising quote is that it’s good to do something “as long as it’s fun”. “Go small. Go simple. Go now”.
Don’t fall into that trap. RVing is not a competition, or a challenge to see and do as much as possible, unless you want to. Above all, travel is supposed to be fun. Don’t feel pressured to do anything just because other people claim it’s a “must see”. And, don’t feel guilty about taking your time and resting. All long-term travelers learn this, eventually.