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Traveling in the summer can offer so many fun activities, beautiful landscapes, and easier time off for the whole family to take a trip together.
However, it can also be incredibly hot, sticky, and uncomfortable to travel in. Small spaces, like your truck cap, can become unbearable hot boxes in the summer sun. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t travel in your truck cap in the summer though.
So, how can you stay cool in a truck cap?
Staying cool in your truck cap is not too difficult. Picking a good campsite, staying in the shade, installing an air conditioner or vent fan (or purchasing a less permanent cooling device), dressing smart, and keeping your pets cool are all ways to be comfortable when camping in your truck cap in the summer heat.
Just like in winter, summer offers its own challenges to safe and comfortable travel and you need to prepare your truck cap for the weather. In this article, we explore all the best ways to stay cool while you’re traveling in your truck cap.
How To Stay Cool In A Truck Cap?
If you’re planning on spending your summer vacations traveling then you need to make sure your truck cap is set for your adventures.
So, let’s see how you can keep yourself cool in your truck cap!
Pick Your Campsite Wisely
In the summer months, or in hotter climates, where you decide to set up camp is an essential step in making sure you are able to keep cool. A tree-shaded forest or nearby a lake is clearly a cooler area than an open field.
Setting up camp nearby any body of water will always provide a nice way to cool down when the heat gets to be too much. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the ocean or a lake — rivers, ponds, and creeks can also give you the opportunity to splash around and cool off.
Even if you can’t be near any bodies of water, you might want to consider picking a campsite at a higher elevation. These types of locations will be a bit cooler than lower elevations in the summer months.
When you pick your campsite, know where the sun is going to rise from. That will help you know what areas will be in the shade during the day. Parking in a place that will be shaded from the sunrise will help you avoid waking up in a sauna.
If you can take advantage of the wind, definitely try to do so. You can position your vehicle so that the breeze will keep you cool. Creating airflow by leaving the windows open is a nice way to bring the temperature down using cross ventilation.
If you’re worried about bugs when opening up the windows of your truck, then you can add some mesh screens or look into a good mosquito repellent.
Air Conditioners and Fans
The most obvious solution to camping in the summer heat would be using an air conditioner or fan in your truck cap.
A 12-volt, or battery powered fan for camping, a vent van, or an air conditioner can be a great option to keep your truck cap cool when camping in the summer.
Install An Air Conditioner
If you usually travel to camps where you can hook up to power or use a generator, then using an air conditioner is easy.
A portable air conditioner is as easy as pie to just plug into your power and turn on, but you can also install a permanent air conditioning unit into the roof of your truck cap to keep cool on all of your travels.
To install the air conditioner unit, you’ll need to remove the vent from where the air conditioner will be installed. Make sure to remove all the caulking that held the vent in place to make sure that the air conditioner’s caulking holds fast.
If you don’t have a hole from a vent already, you can cut one into the roof of your truck bed.
You’ll want to make sure that all of the wirings are ready to have the air conditioner hooked up to it, and then get the air conditioner onto the roof of your camper shell. These units can be heavy, so make sure you have someone to do this project with you and a safe way to get it onto the roof.
Line up the unit with the hole and place it in gently. Fix the air conditioner with bolts to secure it in place. Install the interior parts of the air conditioning unit and rewire it.
Then you just have to turn it on and enjoy.
The video below shows the entire process of installing an air conditioner into a truck cap. The process can be modified depending on what kind of air conditioner you have and what kind of truck cap you have.
Install A Vent Fan
Installing a vent fan can also provide a lot of relief from the heat, but it doesn’t necessarily need a generator or shore power to work. They can run off of the vehicle’s 12-volt power.
These are great options because they can keep your truck cap just as cool as an air conditioner, but can cut down on condensation and don’t need that power hook up.
To install a vent fan, you’ll need to select the actual fan you plan on using first. You will need to be prepared to cut a hole in the top of your camper shell. That’s the hardest part of this installation, but it’s totally doable!
You’ll need to pick where your vent fan is going to go, and then cut the right size hole in your truck cap.
Gently lower and place your vent fan into the hole. Depending on the fan you’ve picked, it should come with specific installation instructions. Typically, you’ll need to screw the fan into place so that it’s secure.
Once it is secure and water-tight, you’ll want to get the wiring figured out. It should be able to be wired into your 12-volt power supply, but make sure you have the correct fuse to do this wiring.
With all electrical work, if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional to help you.
After the wiring is done, you can sit back and enjoy the cool breeze.
If installing either a fan or an air conditioner sounds too permanent for you, there are other options out there. You just invested a lot of money into your truck cap, I don’t blame you for not wanting to cut a hole in its roof just to cool off a bit in the summer.
There are battery-powered fans that you can plug right into your truck’s 12v outlet, a dual battery setup or even a solar generator. If you don’t want to have to plug anything in, then there are also fans out there that have self-contained batteries as well.
We already mentioned the option to use a portable air conditioner if you know that you’ll have a generator on hand. Additionally, you can also look into a swamp cooler that uses ice or cold water to produce cold air.
Other Tips & Tricks To Keep Cool
Aside from picking out a good campsite and utilizing fans or air conditioners, there are a few other things you can do to help beat the heat on a summer camping trip in your truck cap.
Curtains can make a huge difference to the temperature inside your truck cap. You can use reflectix or black-out curtains to keep your truck cap cool during the day.
Cutting the reflectix to the shape and size of the windows in your truck cap will keep the sun out and the cool air in. It’s also possible to make the reflectix covers removable by adding velcro strips along the edges.
Hydrate and Refresh
Drinking water is vital in the heat of the summer sun. If you plan on doing any exerting activities like a hike, bring extra water and leave earlier in the day to avoid hiking during the hottest times of the day.
If you were able to park nearby the water, a quick dip or splash around is always going to offer some refreshment from the heat.
You can use a cool towel across your forehead or neck, or an icepack for really hot days. A small mister can also offer some relief from the heat as well.
Smart Summer Clothing
Lighter clothing will keep you cooler than if you wear darker colors because the darker colors absorb heat. Consider wearing moisture-wicking clothes that will help with keeping you from getting damp from your sweat.
Don’t forget that even on a hot summer day, leaving your shoes outside can result in dew making them wet, so keep that in mind before putting them outside your truck cap at night. You might want to consider wearing some closed-toed sandals instead.
A wide-brimmed hat will keep the sun off of your head and face, and sunscreen is probably the most important thing to wear when you are out in the summer sun. It will protect you from the harmful rays of the sun that can burn your skin and that can lead to skin cancer.
Sleeping in the Heat
It can be tough to cool down enough to fall asleep in the summer heat. You’ll want to make sure that you can get your truck cap cold enough to sleep.
If you usually use a sleeping bag, swapping that for a sheet might help you sleep better.
Air mattresses can be a better option than foam ones when you are camping in a truck cap. Not only is it easier to store, but it can also actually keep you cool because your body heat dissipates easier when sleeping on one.
Once again a cold shower or dip in the water right before bed will lower your body temperature and can help you sleep better.
How To Keep Your Pets Comfortable?
Pets are our best friends and are often great traveling companions, but you need to be careful with them when you’re traveling in the heat. Dogs can overheat easily, so you should make sure that you are familiar with the signs that your dog is struggling.
Never close your dog inside of your truck cap without proper ventilation or for a long period of time.
Try to get your pup’s energy out before the afternoon, that way they aren’t running around in the high heat of the day.
Being nearby water is a great option, but if you can’t, then pack enough water for yourself and your pup.
A cooling vest can make sure that your pet keeps cool, especially if they are extra fluffy or have darker fur.
There are plenty of ways to beat the heat in your truck cap when you’re traveling. From just picking a smart spot to installing an air conditioner, there are tons of options that will make sure you stay comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside.
Don’t forget to keep your pet in mind when trying to keep cool and stay hydrated!