Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Advice on keeping cool in a TC

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    • #31078
      Deb
      Participant

      We are planning to take a trip to the Utah national parks this August and wondered what kind of experiences people have had in similar climates, both with and without air conditioning. Our Fantastic Fan has made it bearable in 90+ degree weather, but we have only needed it a handful of times, since we tend to go UP in altitude where it is cooler.

      How necessary is having an a/c unit on a TC for travel into warmer climates? Also, would the amount of power for a a/c unit require shore power or could it be run off batteries? We have two 6v AGM batteries, 90 watts of rooftop solar, and a 160 watt portable solar unit (not yet used).

      Thanks to all in advance for your wisdom!

      Deb H.
      2017 Ford F-250 4×4 Super Cab long bed
      2017 Northern Lite 9-6Q SE

    • #31082
      ardvark
      Participant

      Can not be run on batteries. We are currently camped in Florida, high 70s, low 80s, but lots of humidity. We cover the entire country and regard AC as a nessesity!

      We built a rack on our Hsllmark for our 2000 watt Gennie and will do the same on our new Northstar.

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #31083
      ardvark
      Participant

      Forgot to say when we were last in Utah National Parks the temperatures ran 30-40 degrees above average. It was as warm or warmer than at home in Tennessee. Crazy hot!

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #31150
      Mello Mike
      Keymaster

      If you need to run an air conditioner then I would recommend getting a 2,000 watt generator. It’s the best, low-cost option that will run an A/C, unless of course, you have space for four or six lithium batteries, but that would be very expensive.

      We generally like to camp at higher elevations (about 7,000 feet) where the temps are cooler, generally in the 70s and lower 80s, but doing this isn’t always possible, so we recently bought a genny for such occasions.

      2021 Bundutec Roadrunner
      2013 Ram 3500 4x4
      2015 Toyota 4Runner

    • #31227
      Deb
      Participant

      Yeah, I was kind of thinking this would be the case. We are just debating whether or not the few times we would need it would justify the additional cost. We will probably bite the bullet and go for it, so that we will have additional options in the future. Thanks for your replies!

      Deb

    • #31708
      Travels with Yoly
      Participant

      Keep in mind that the largest A/C that will comfortably run on a Honda EU2000i from our experience is an 8.5K BTU unit. Some people have said that a 9.2K BTU will also run but I have no knowledge here. Many people then also install a “soft start” on the larger A/C units that do enable the smaller gennies to run the larger units.

      We traveled Utah in July one year with daytime temps at 118 degrees. The entire town of Moab had a major “black out” so only those with generators were comfortable. I might add that most A/C units have an efficiency limit and can only reduce temperatures by a specific amount no matter how long you run them. With temps at 118, our 14.5K BTU unit on our travel trailer at the time could not get the cabin temperature below 88 which still seemed uncomfortable for us.

      Neil & Yoly
      2016 Ram 2500HD Tradesman, 2WD Crew Cab, 6.4L Hemi
      2018 Travel Lite 840 SBRX
      Honda EU2000i

    • #33105
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      This is a conundrum. Our only defense, since we run sans AC is to not travel during hot season. If we must, we do like Mike does and head for the high elevations.
      jefe

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #33122
      ardvark
      Participant

      Man, to get to the elevations you guys are talking about means we have to drive about a 1,000 miles first. 🙂

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #33150
      Dumb Mick
      Participant

      I’m thinking I should have a second set of portable solar panels so that when at a campsite I can put up a giant tarp to shade the whole camper.
      Just a crazy impractical thought.

      It’s good to be a n00b - so I can aspire to be just stoopid.

      Monrovia, CA

    • #40525
      Taylor Xtreme
      Participant

      It’s really hot there. I also think that getting a 2,000-watt generator is a good idea because sometimes it can be too hot to handle. Also, be sure that your cooler is powerful enough. You need to have cold drinks to be able to make you feel better. I have YETI tundra haul portable wheeled cooler, and it’s the best little helper and saver. It’s perfect for the highest temperatures, so you can be sure that your drinks or maybe food will be cold, and the cold won’t leak.
      What is more, it has wheels, so when you fully pack it, there will be no problems with transportation. I recommend you to check this review https://under-the-open-sky.com/best-wheeled-coolers/ of the best wheeled coolers to find the one, if you don’t have, because it’s the must thing when you go on a trip somewhere. I hope the info there will help you.

    • #42221
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      We have a 2kw generator, but have yet to take it on a trip. Instead we make do with a combination of campsite selection (shade where possible), fans (ceiling and a little portable USB box fan), and altitude (as pointed out, higher = cooler). Since we’re in southern Arizona, it take a day’s drive to reach elevation. If going further, such as US 395 in California, we bite the bullet and stop at RV parks with electricity for a night on the way to cooler climes or if forced to it, a motel.

      Main reason we’ve not taken the generator is where do we put it and a couple gallons of gasoline? We like our minimal footprint – don’t want to hang a large platform off the back hitch – we’re not wild about hanging it off the front either, and are leery of putting the generator/gasoline in the back seat which is already pretty crowded. I know, picky, picky, picky!

    • #42222
      ardvark
      Participant

      Count us among the members of the generator crowd or else campgrounds with hookups. It is just not fun dripping sweat when camping is supposed to be fun.

      Ardvark

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #43880
      Daren
      Participant

      We have a 2kw generator, but have yet to take it on a trip. Instead we make do with a combination of campsite selection (shade where possible), fans (ceiling and a little portable USB box fan), and altitude (as pointed out, higher = cooler). Since we’re in southern Arizona, it take a day’s drive to reach elevation. If going further, such as US 395 in California, we bite the bullet and stop at RV parks with electricity for a night on the way to cooler climes or if forced to it, a motel.

      Main reason we’ve not taken the generator is where do we put it and a couple gallons of gasoline? We like our minimal footprint – don’t want to hang a large platform off the back hitch – we’re not wild about hanging it off the front either, and are leery of putting the generator/gasoline in the back seat which is already pretty crowded. I know, picky, picky, picky!

      I have an old ford truck (1982) It has two fuel tanks (front 19 gallon)(rear 38 gallon) I just use a squeeze pump to fill the generator. I guess you could consider mounting 5 gallon jerry cans on the rear of your camper to bring extra.

    • #43886
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      We have considered that! What stops us is we are unsure of the ability of the camper to handle that kind of weight attached to the outer walls.

      You’re fortunate to have the ability to pump fuel from your generous capacity — our Ram has only a 28-gallon tank and it’s diesel.

      Another thing we kick around is a small off-road capable trailer along the lines of the Tentrax cargo trailer (Tentrax.com), but that would put a crimp in our off-the-pavement agility. We’ve been a couple of places where we had to back and fill to get around some steep back-country hairpin turns and a trailer of *any* size would have been problematic.

      Appreciate the suggestion — we’ll keep looking!
      Bryan & Susan

    • #43922
      Coly Hope
      Participant

      What about an evaporative cooler? I know there only good for dry climates out west but have heard good things about them.

    • #44017
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Swamp coolers work pretty well, but I think the logistics of dealing with it on the road would be an issue. Been around them for many years – even owned a couple of homes in the Calif high desert that depended on them for cooling entirely.

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