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5 Tips for camping in hot weather!

Camping on scorching hot days is always a hassle and very uncomfortable for everyone but who doesn’t love traveling all year round! Summer can be fun and enjoyable if you prepare right. Here are 5 tips to make your trip more relaxing and pleasant on those hot 30o days. 

  1. Pack the right items – Pack wet towels as they are very handy to put around your neck to instantly feel refreshed. Freezing old juice bottles and containers is also a great item to pack and highly recommended as they can be used as ice-blocks and once melted used as water.  
  2. Carefully choose your clothes – The type of clothes is significant as some materials are thinner and better for hot weather. Packing loose clothing with breathable fabrics will reduce the temperature whilst traveling and make it more enjoyable. 
  3. Pick the right location – A spot under trees is perfect as it generates shade and reduces camper exposure to the sun. An ideal location is near a water source (lake, river, dam) as it decreases the temperature and creates a breeze.  
  4. Cover all windows – Keeping the inside of your van unheated can be difficult but simply using the curtains in the camper and putting towels/ reflective film up against windows will enhance shade and cooler air. It stops the sun from shining through and keeps the heat away. 
  5. Keep your Camper Cool – Unzip the roof and open the roof windows to allow airflow. Try not to open the doors as it allows some cool air to stay in. Also avoid activities that create extra heat therefore cook everything outside and relax with mates under a tree. 

That is our 5 tips for traveling in hot weather. Hopefully you find these helpful for your next trip in boiling 30o+ days. If all fails, you can always bring a fan! 

camping in summer

CAMPERVAN SOLAR – WHEN DO YOU NEED IT AND HOW DO YOU USE IT?

ALL ABOUT SOLAR

Firstly, if you are only planning on camping in caravan parks and paying for a powered site you will not need solar power for your trip. (if you have access to 240 volt to plug into you do not need solar power).

If you love National Park and free camping (like us) you can stand with your van parked for between 1 and 3 days without using solar power or starting your van (and with no access to 240 volt power). The factors that will decide how long you can stand are as follows:
– The outside temperature: the hotter it is, the harder the fridge has to work and the shorter the time frame you will be able to run your fridge and lights without a connection to power or solar.
– How full your fridge is, how it is stacked and how often you open it: if your fridge is full it will stay cooler longer.
– How often you charge your appliances ie laptop and phone: charging these items sucks a lot of juice and will quickly run down your leisure battery.

When using solar it must obviously be placed in the sun. How quickly it will recharge your leisure battery will depend on the weather (how sunny it is) and how flat your battery is. If you wake up in the morning and your leisure battery is completely flat we’d recommend idling your van for 20-30 minutes to get the battery up to a good charge. You can then plug in your solar and let it do the rest.

I think I need solar, which one should I get?

The 180 watt slimline solar panel fitted permanently to the pop top roof is super handy as it will recharge your battery while you are parked in the sun or going on short trips to explore an area (lots of driving and parking in different spots).
BUT…
– If you plan on doing trips where you drive short distances to one spot where you’ll stay a while and are wanting to park in the shade then maybe solar on the roof isn’t right for you.
– If you are a surfer and will be carrying your boards on roof racks this will mean your solar will be covered. You can always take the boards down and put them somewhere else (ie underneath the van).
– If you want to park in the shade and keep the van cool the solar on the roof won’t work.

The 150 watt solar blanket is great as it is portable so you can always place it in the sun if you want to park in the shade and keep your van cool.
BUT
– You have to get it out, lay it out and plug it in (not a lot of time but still another job to do as opposed to doing nothing if the solar is on the roof).
– You might be worried about someone stealing it (although we’ve never heard of this happening).
– You have to make sure you move it often as the sun changes so that it stays in sunlight.

Do I need that Battery Management System thing?
No. You don’t NEED it. But if you are planning on doing mainly free camping/national park camping without 240 volt power then this system gives you piece of mind as it tells you exactly how much power you have left in hours if you continue doing exactly what you are doing at that point in time. So if you are running a fridge and have a laptop plugged in it might for example say 4 hours. But then you plug in your solar blanket and it recalculates to 8 hours. Then your laptop battery is full and you unplug the charger and the system recalculates to 12 hours.

There are also other more simple options such as volt readers that you can plug into a 12 volt outlet and will tell you how many volts are left in your leisure battery.

For more information on the leisure battery and 240 volt in your van see the following blog:
http://achtungcamper.com.au/blog/leisure-battery-campervan-electrics/

Solar Panel

Solar Panel on roof

 

 

 

Powering up your campervan – The difference between 12 volt and 240 volt.

Powering up your campervan – The difference between 12 volt and 240 volt

Many people don’t understand the different uses and requirements for 240 volt and 12 volt in a campervan or caravan and you don’t want to spend money on features or products you won’t be able to use so here’s a quick rundown of the two:

240 volt power is what you have in your house and run your normal household appliances from.  A normal rectangle shaped double powerpoint socket that you plug appliances into at home is 240 volt.  A microwave for example, can only run on 240 volt.  The issue with 240 volt in your campervan is that you can only use it when your van is ‘plugged in’ to an external power source – 240 volt power in a caravan park.  Without this you will not be able to turn on your microwave.

A 12 volt power supply can be used without ‘plugging in’ your campervan to an external power source as it runs from your van’s inbuilt leisure battery.  Surprisingly, camping fridges, TV’s, laptops and mobile phones run on 12 volt.  12 volt power outlets look like the cigarette lighter socket in your car – and to use them you’ll need an adaptor called an ‘inverter’ which is about $70, the size of a coke can and available from electrical shops like Jaycar or you can purchase a Dometic inverter directly from us.

Be careful with appliances that are traditionally 240 volt but have been manufactured for the camping industry in 12 volt.  Things like a 12 volt kettle will take about 20 minutes to boil and drain a lot of power from your main battery.   Some mini 12 volt hairdryers can be the same.  It’s worth asking the question before you purchase any 12 volt camping items as sometimes it might just be easier (and quicker!) to do things the old fashioned way!