I probably don’t need to tell you enthusiastic we are about campervan trips. This website is, after all, called Campervan Trips. But there are definitely some times in the year where the enthusiasm is higher than usual, reaching unforeseen levels. And one of those times is summer. A summer campervan trip is the best campervan trip. Warm sun illuminates the views you take in on your travels. Shivering yourself to sleep at night is a thing of the past (for now, of course).
But let’s not pretend that the sun and the heat are benevolent beings that cause us no trouble. As much as we may complain when it’s not here, the truth is that summer brings with it a host of pains and risks. When the weather is warm and the sun is roaring, there are several considerations you need to make before you head off on your trip.
Driving in the summer is more different than driving in colder weather than you may think. It’s not just that the interior gets warmer and possibly stuffier. There are a lot of things going on all over your campervan that are being directly affected by the warmer weather.
If your cooling system isn’t in top shape, you may run into trouble. People often don’t think about maintaining their cooling system. With any vehicle, you need to ensure that both the cooling fan is working perfectly and that the coolant levels are good. If these are broken, you can get problems with overheating or freezing, which can be catastrophic for your engine. In the summer, with the sun constantly beating down on your vehicle, the risk of things overheating is increased. Make sure it’s all running perfectly before heading off on a long journey.
A different cooling system to consider is your air conditioning. The last thing you need in a warm campervan is for the air conditioning to be on the fritz! Being too hot in your campervan can make you feel uneasy and dizzy. It will also get you drinking your water supplies faster than you should! Ensure that your air conditioning works by taking your campervan on a quick test drive before the actual journey. You should also ensure that all the windows still open so you can get some good ventilation in there.
Here’s another one you may not have thought about! The temperature in which you’re driving will affect your tyres. Those roads get extremely hot. Don’t believe me? I’d challenge you to touch a tarmac road during the peak of summer, but I don’t want you getting injured and taking legal action. But trust me, it gets hot. And that heat affects the rubber of your tyres. A softer tyre with increased grip in high temperatures is a good idea. There are actually specialised summer tyres you can get, so don’t worry; you won’t have to modify your own!
So what about the items you’re taking with you? You’re going to spending long periods of time out there in your campervan, so you need to keep it stocked with food and drink that will help you cool down. Of course, you also need to make sure those things stay cool! The answer here is, of course, a refrigerator. If you don’t have one in your campervan (which would be a surprise to us), you need to get one!
What should you put in there? As you probably know, a good water supply will definitely be needed on this trip. To keep your water extra cool, you can keep bottled water in the fridge. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted by sugary fizzy drinks! They have way too much sugar, sodium and other chemicals your body doesn’t really need in the summer. While their dehydration effects can be exaggerated, they still do a very poor job of actually hydrating you. Stick to water. If you do have some cans of cola in the campervan fridge, maybe just use them as something cool to hold against your forehead and neck. There is a really in-depth, well researched article on The Active Life site which gives 12 Ways to Keep Cool When Camping, it’s worth a read and could reduce the temperature in camp!
And what about food? A lot of people recommend things like ice cold gazpacho for hot weather. But we very much doubt that’s a very on-the-road-friendly meal. Salads and coleslaw are fantastic choices, though most will see those as sides as opposed to meals. You’ll want to avoid greasy, meaty foods (those will just make the caravan stink of grease anyway). Sticking to fresh fruit and vegetables is a great idea. Of course, there’s always the Mexican method of eating spicy foods like potent peppers and chilli. These can help you trigger your biological cooling mechanisms. Those mechanisms do include sweating, though, so keep that in mind!