Heating and air conditioning
When the weather becomes bad, you have a lot of alternatives for heating and cooling your camper van. It is mostly determined by how much money you are willing to spend and where you intend to vacation. Even the most frugal people may get by with a little ingenuity and elbow grease.
Air Conditioning in a Camper Van
Staying comfortable is one of the most crucial aspects of living in your van. If you are not comfortable in your mobile home, you will not want to spend time in it, which will make you unhappy!
Living in a van has some advantages over living in a house, but being comfortable should not be one of them.
Building your van with comfort in mind can offer you a much better night’s sleep and will make any long road trip go much more smoothly. Furthermore, if you have dogs or children, keeping your van cool is a must.
As a result, our first piece of advise for remaining cool as the temperatures rise is to drive to where the cool weather is. Hopefully, there are some mountains around…
You can keep cool and comfortable in a well-insulated vehicle with a fan. We especially emphasize to new van lifers how crucial a fan is for your comfort, and it also helps to get rid of any odors when cooking inside. Nothing beats parking beneath a nice shady tree, of course! Nobody wants to be a sticky, sweaty mess, and you shouldn’t have to!
A fan or a shaded parking place won’t always suffice, which is why we propose an air conditioning unit. If you frequently travel to extremely hot locations, a portable ac unit for your van is a lifesaver.
There are numerous ways to keep cool in your van. Consider the following suggestions based on your budget and available space.
1. Air Conditioner Dometic Brisk II Polar White
This Dometic air conditioner is the best way to keep your conversion van cool. It can generate a lot of chilly air and does so efficiently. Because it is on the roof, it takes up no room in your vehicle and does not obstruct valuable window viewing space like the alternative below.
BTU: 13,500 Watts: operates at 1,500 to 1,800 watts
2. Window Air Conditioner from HomeLabs
One of the best-selling ac units is the homeLabs Window Air Conditioner. This isn’t the best way to cool a camper van, and it’s not as powerful as some other solutions, but it does the job and certainly captures the spirit of a do-it-yourself van conversion. A window ac unit in your van isn’t the most stylish or discreet option, but if you’re on a budget, it’s a good answer.
When running, the cost is $175 BTU: 5,000 Watts: 460
3. Portable Honeywell Air Conditioner
This item, like the window ac unit, is not commonly found in camper vans. However, it will complete the task at a fair cost. The fact that this aircon unit takes up so much space in your van is a major disadvantage. You will also need to create a hole on the side of your van for the hose to exit the hot air using this unit. You should also install a thin layer of insulation over the hose because it will get quite hot, heating up your van.
BTU: 12,000 Watts: ranges between 1,000 and 1,500
4. Evaporation Air Cooler by Honeywell
This air conditioner is fantastic because it is inexpensive and only consumes 102 watts of power. Remember that this does not actually blast cold air; rather, it lowers the temperature through water evaporation. If you want it to blow chilly air, it does come with an ice chamber. Overall, it’s an excellent unit for van lifers who aren’t staying in extremely hot regions. It will lower the temperature by a few degrees, which is worth the money for most people.
Price: $150 Watts: 102
Roof vent fans are the most common type of camper van air conditioning. They don’t generate cold air like some of the other choices, but with reverse airflow, they may quickly blow hot air out of your van. They’re inexpensive, discreet, non-clunky and won’t take up much room, and simple to install.
The secret to keeping your van cool is a Fan-Tastic Fan. It has some wonderful features, such as a rain sensor that closes the vent automatically when it gets wet, reversible air flow, a thermostat, and a remote.
Price: $260 Watts: around 17
Deluxe Maxxair Fan
This fan is little more expensive, but it is an excellent substitute for the Fantastic Fan. It has all of the advantages of a Fantastic Fan, plus the ability to keep the fan operating even while the door is closed, allowing air to circulate in the vehicle. It can also remain open while driving, unlike the great fan.
Price: $$$ Watts: about 14
Materials Required for a Do-It-Yourself Air Conditioner
12V Adapter Plug Socket with Eyelet Terminal Elbow PVC-U Water Pipe Lifoam Styrofoam Cooler 12 Volt Oscillating Fan ECO-WORTHY 20W 12V Solar Panel Kit
Additional Cooling Tips: If you’re going in a hot climate, paint your van, or at least the roof, white. A light-colored van will absorb less heat. @brisbanegirlinavan stated that she is usually looking for shady spots to park and that she frequently keeps all windows and doors open to allow for air circulation.
Heating for a Camper Van
No matter how effectively you insulate your vehicle, it will never be as well insulated as a house. Period. I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is a fact. This entails feeling the temperature’s highs and lows, which can be difficult to adjust to at first. You might even come to like waking up in the fresh crisp air and watching the sun slowly warm you as it rises.
The most important factor in remaining warm in your vehicle is to install adequate insulation. This is covered in detail in the insulation chapter. However, even the best-insulated vehicle will not keep you warm overnight; it will simply slow down the cooling process, so other solutions will be required. If it’s really chilly, try a propane heater, but always, always have a window cracked for ventilation. On the coldest nights, a mummy sleeping bag and a blanket over the top will suffice. The sleeping bag folds up compact, which is important when room is limited. Large, thick blankets may take up a lot of space. Also, don’t be scared to layer up. Wear warm socks, a sweater, and a beanie to bed to keep your head warm. Of course, cuddling up with your dog or partner always works!
In your vehicle, place a heavy curtain or blanket behind the front seats. Because of the windshield and glass, cold air will enter your van through the front. Many cargo vans have a built-in wall that makes this easy, but if not, you can hang the curtain with a rod or hooks.
And, of course, our most important piece of advice: if the weather turns cold, become a snowbird and fly (drive) south! Don’t be frightened to drive somewhere where the weather is better! Good luck and stay warm out there!