Most of us are familiar with the original “Slip, Slop, Slap” SunSmart Campaign which was one of the most successful health campaigns in Australian history, with the mantra still uttered today. But we’d like to contribute our own sun-smart philosophy, aimed at keeping cool at camp this summer. We call it our iHEAL approach; insulation, hydration, evaporation, aeration, location.
Many caravans are constructed with double fibreglass insulated bodies and pop-top roofs. Fibreglass and other insulators will do a lot to moderate temperature variations in your van.
If you’re sleeping under canvas, consider adding a tropical roof to your camper. The additional layer of material will create an air gap, which will allow heat to be absorbed by the air underneath and escape before reaching your living space. Alternatively, suspend a high quality space blanket from the internal framework above your bed space. This lining will create a reflective barrier, deflecting the heat that is beating down on the roof of your camper.
Ensuring you and your family stay cool and hydrated on the road is a lot easier these days with the advent of in-cabin fridges. Ours is a 10.5L capacity fridge that, while small, is a great back up/overflow fridge that sits on the back seat, safely seat-belted via the lap-strap. Filled with fluids and whole fruit, it’s a great way to ensure that everyone arrives at camp with a full tank.
Turn your cabin fridge onto “freezer” setting and you open up a whole new range of hydration options. Electrolyte ice blocks and jellies are the perfect way to combat dehydration and the kids will love them. The products include water, glucose and electrolytes, which are essential to rapid rehydration.
Use the same space to freeze the “ice core” that is inbuilt into some water bottles. These types of bottles are a great way to keep your drinks cool for longer once you move away from the vehicle.
If you want a bit more technology to help the evaporative process, you might want to think about purchasing a travel-size evaporative cooler. Ours is less than 25cm high and wide and weighs just 1.5kg, so it’s a simple fix. We took it to the Red Centre during 40°C conditions, and our then two-year old enjoyed the experience.
Also consider using fans to increase aeration when the wind drops. These days, 12V electric fans are an easy and inexpensive addition to your rig. Fans will increase circulation and are most effective when they are boosting the breeze in the prevailing wind direction.
When things get really warm, you might want to consider getting the kids off the floor/mattress and into the air. Set them up on a simple stretcher or rig up a hammock. Both techniques will increase airflow and help cool them down. In the middle of the day, string a damp hammock between trees to make a cool hangout zone – pun fully intended!
So invest a bit of time in choosing the right campsite. If you set yourself up in the shade of a tree with prevailing crosswinds, you can almost guarantee you’ll have a happier holiday experience from the get-go.
Also, consider options for “mobile shade”. We have camp chairs that come complete with shade via a simple, flip-up canopy that creates instant sun relief, wherever you are.
Source: Without a Hitch