Summer in Australia is notoriously gnarly. Beach festivals and pumping surf on the east coast are a contrast to the tropical thunderstorms up north and the unforgiving sun in the Red Centre. Meanwhile, cities and country towns swelter in the heat, and kids seem to have permanent icy pole–stained faces. Whether you’re trailblazing by the coast or opting for a country escape, keeping cool in the heat of summer is essential to ensuring that not only your caravan stays pristine, but also that you and your travel companions stay safe. After all, summer is all about fun – barbecues, adventures, swims and relaxation. The last thing you want to do is spoil the warmer months by being unprepared!
Plan where you go
If you’re wanting to keep yourself and your rig cool in the scorching summer months, consider making some adjustments to where you choose to park. If you’re concerned about the heat, try sticking as close to the coast as possible. That way, you’ll get some cool relief with a sea breeze, and you’ll be able to wash away the heat with a dip in the ocean. Alternatively, opt to set up camp for the evening close to other water sources, such as rivers, and make sure to park in the shade. If you can’t find a spot with complete shade, try to find a spot that is at least shady during the hottest part of the day, which is usually from around midday to late afternoon. On top of this, it’s also a good idea to look at the weather forecast. Take advantage of the rain or a cool change – both of which can provide some relief.
Keeping the caravan cool
Keep the sun out of your van by ensuring that all your blinds and curtains are closed, and if you need to cook up a feast, keep the inside of your camper cool by cooking outside. Alongside this, annexes and privacy screens can be used to block out some of the heat’s intensity and allow you to be outside but away from the sun’s powerful rays. On top of this, consider replacing your halogen light bulbs with LEDs to minimise the heat coming from your downlights and lamps. Plus, it’s more environmentally friendly!
Fans are also going to be your summer must-have. A great fan option for caravans is the Sirocco II!
Know the dangers of heat-related illness
Symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion include:
• a sudden rise in body temperature
• a dry, swollen tongue
• increased thirst
• rapid, shallow breathing
• a rapid pulse
• nausea and vomiting
• confusion, slurred speech or poor coordination
• seizures, comas or loss of consciousness
• red, hot and dry skin where sweating has stopped.
If you or someone you’re with starts exhibiting signs of heat stroke, ensure that person is staying cool and hydrated, and call 000. If that person is unconscious and unresponsive, lay them in the recovery position, ensure they can breathe properly and perform CPR if needed.
For more tips and tricks on staying cool this summer, read the Summer 2022–2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!