There’s no doubt that a blazing hot summer’s day, a fading barbecue and the prospect of a week camping with friends or family is the motorhome owner’s dream, but with sunny days come plenty of difficulties. The heat alone has caused plenty of motorhome owners to suffer and struggle during the finest months of the year, but glare, insects and heatstroke are all problems that a motorhome owner needs to be prepared for. Here’s our guide to protecting your motorhome over the summer months.
Heat Inside the Van
When you think about it, your motorhome isn’t all that different to a greenhouse: the light comes in through the windows and windscreen, reflects of the shiny surfaces and begins heating up the others. Those rays that reflect start bouncing around and, eventually, the whole vehicle starts to become extremely hot. We’ve all noticed that feeling of stepping into a motorhome which has been heating up all day.
Unless you’re planning on running your air conditioning system dry, you should take precautions before leaving your motorhome in the sun. A sunscreen on the windscreen and putting the blinds down on the windows all help to keep things cool. Where possible, park underground or in the shade and, however hot things get, don’t be tempted to leave open a window. It’s too tempting for many thieves and you’ll almost certainly struggle to reclaim the cost of damages on your motorhome insurance.
During summer months the sun is not only brighter but it’s closer to the earth, so the light it gives off is considerably stronger. At certain times, usually during sunset and sunrise when the sun is just in the driver’s eye-line, this can cause glare which can easily dazzle even the best driver. This effect is even more noticeable if you’re close to the equator.
A good pair of sunglasses is the first level of protection against glare, so have them handy at all times. Polarised sunglasses will be even more effective in filtering out wayward light. On top of this, you should always make sure to clean your windscreen inside and out before driving. Dust on the screen will cause unusual reflections and will allow more light through that you really want.
Bugs and Insects
Summer presents more problems when it comes to bugs and insects; the warm climates make exploration very appealing for wasps, mosquitos, bees and flies. Every camper has their own remedy for stopping the bugs getting in, but we find that a citronella plug – available from most camping shops – is the most efficient and economical.
As for bees, wasps and flies, they tend to be attracted by human food and, of course, food waste. It’s best to keep windows and doors closed and if you do need the ventilation it can be helpful and reasonably cheap to fit insect nets. Keeping food covered is essential and make sure to dispose of your waste as often as you can, being sure to leave nothing lying around your motorhome.
As we’re not all that used to heat in the UK we tend to be a little blasé about the problems it can actually cause. The risks of sunburn are very well documented and arming yourself with at least a factor 30 cream is essential, but the lesser known dangers come from sunstroke and dehydration.
Your body sweats more during the summer to keep itself cool and this leaves supplies short for the rest of our body. When this happens, most of us flick on the air-con to cool us down. In many vans, this acts as a dehumidifier and dehydrates us further. The solution really is to keep your fluid levels up, drink plenty of water and if you’re ever feeling faint or nauseous while driving in the heat make sure to pull over and take a break to rehydrate.
The summer months are definitely designed for motorhome owners and dry days and good views all help to make those holidays feel extra special. However, you do need to take a little extra precaution in the summer and make sure that you’re not underestimating the power of the sun. Though we don’t get all that many hot days in the UK, when we get them they’re often strong, so be prepared and keep yourself protected against the sun.