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Ways To Keep Cool While Living In Your Car

Ways To Keep Cool While Living In Your Car!

Living or camping in your car can create many challenges with controlling the temperature being one of the biggest you may face. Vehicles can become extremely dangerous in hot condition so keeping your car cool can be critical, In this guide we will explore some of the best ways to keep cool when living in your car.

We’ll explore the following methods for keeping cool to ensure you have the best night sleep possible in your car;

Portable Fans

Fans are most effective at cooling your vehicle when placed near open windows, you can face the blades to either draw cooler air in or flip them around to draw the hot air out.

Portable fans are a relatively cheap way to quickly cool down your car through increasing the circulation of air and air flow. There are plenty of portable fan options including, battery operated, 12v or even solar fans.

Each type of portable fan has their own unique advantages and disadvantages, with 12v plug in options the most reliable and requiring the least amount of maintenance in terms of recharging or having to rely on ideal weather conditions to use.

Ways To Keep Cool While Living In Your Car

Increase Air Flow

Increasing the volume and speed that air is replaced inside of your vehicles cabin can greatly contribute to the cooling process of your car. Below are a few ways to increase air flow.

Crack a window

This may seem like the most obvious option on the list, but cracking windows is often one of the most effective ways to cool down your car. With the increase of the replacement of air with outside, the temperature in your vehicle can be reduced quicker to that of shut windows.

A downside of relying on this method is that it is less effective the hotter the ambient outside temperature is, along with bugs and other critters able to access the interior of your vehicle.

Window shades are another great way to allow you to have your windows down whilst still keeping bugs and flies out, acting as both a shade screen and fly mesh. Shade window screens are not great for security as they can allow for easy access for opportunistic criminals.

Cracking a window is most effective when used in conjunction with other techniques such as using a portable fan, which greater increases the air replacement.

Note: Installing weather shields is the best way to have your windows cracked slightly without having to stress about rain or water getting inside.

Utilize a sunroof

For those lucky enough to have a vehicle with a sunroof. Having your sunroof cracked open is a great way to let the hot air escape your vehicle and will aid in cooling the overall temperature of your car.

Make sure to have your sunroof ajar during the day to avoid a build up of heat. A downside of relying on a sunroof to cool your vehicle is that they are not suitable for all types of weather, with water able to enter your vehicle easily when it rains.

Ways To Keep Cool While Living In Your Car

Portable Aircons

Portable aircons are a great way to keep your vehicle cool without having to rely on running your vehicles inbuilt air conditioner through the night. Portable air conditioners are usually run on a rechargeable battery or 12v system which is a much better alternative, both environmentally and economically, to running a ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle over night.

Using a portable air conditioner allows for great control of the temperature in your car, however, not all portable air conditioners operate the same. You will find most options are actually evaporative coolers and not as effective in humid environments as traditional style air conditioners that can remove moisture from the air.

For more information on portable air-conditions for your car make sure to see our top choices for portable air-conditions for your car.

Additional Ways to Keeping Your Car Cool

Here are a few more ways to help keep you cool when living in your car. A lot of these are not extremely effective by themselves, however they work great in conjunction with other methods to maximize efficiency.


Where you park can play a major role in how hot your vehicle will get during the day and over night. Spots in direct sunlight will cause your car to act as a green house with the glass magnifying the suns rays.

Being mindful of where you park during the day can greatly reduce the chance for your car to heat up in the first place. Parking in the shade can help make your vehicle feel “10 to 15 degrees cooler than it actually is” (SunSentinel).

During the day parking under a tree is the most common source of shade when camping or beside large buildings in urban environments. Be mindful of where the sun will rise in the morning and if you’ll still be covered by shade as morning sun can quickly heat up your vehicle.

Window Covers

Insulated window covers are one of the best ways to reduce the amount of heat coming into your vehicle. Products such as Reflectix, a type of foil laminated bubble wrap, is a great, cost effective material to make insulated window covers to reflect heat.

Custom window covers are easy to make and can be made as a D.I.Y or by purchasing ready made covers to suit your particular vehicle. Installation is just as simple, with most designed to be slid into place of a window track and wedging it to keep in place.

For more information on making window covers make sure to read our guide on Car Window Privacy Options.

Window Tinting

Tinted windows are another useful tool that is extremely effective that reducing the overall temperature inside of your car. They work by “By blocking the wavelengths that create heat, and passing the ones that create natural light” (Tint World).

Window tinting is readily available to install yourself if you are on a budget or there are plenty of professional services offering to tint windows. There are some regulations in particular states about how dark your window tint can be, however we recommend to choose the darkest legal tint as this is typically most effective at reducing heat.

Ways To Keep Cool While Living In Your Car

Car Tents/ Shade Covers

Car tents or shade covers are another great way to reduce your vehicle from heating up. Acting similar to that of a tree, these covers create shade for your vehicles windows which in turn reduces the greenhouse effect in your vehicle.

Shade covers are particularly useful in dry, desert climates with little to no natural shade sources from trees and can make a huge difference when it comes time to sleep. These covers are also great when it comes to protecting your vehicles paint long term from the UV and a great barrier to stop bird droppings.

When choosing a car shade tent make sure to pick one that is a suitable size for your vehicle with slightly larger, better as this produces more shade.

Avoid Cooking In Your Car

Cooking meals that require a source of heat can contribute greatly to heating up your vehicle when living in your car. Avoiding cooking inside of your car is the best way to avoid generating additional heat that can get stuck inside.

The best way to cook meals in your car when it is hot is to use a portable or camping kitchen setup outside of your vehicle. If you have a kitchen set up inside of your vehicle that is fixed and have no other options, make sure to fully open up all of your vehicles windows and consider using a fan to increase the air replacement inside of your vehicle.

Seat Covers

Leather seats, particularly black leather, are prone to heating up and holding heat a lot more than cloth or vinyl seats. Utilizing seat covers can help reduce the amount of heat held by leather seats which can help with reducing the overall temperature of your car.

We hope this article has helped with giving you some ideas and techniques on keeping your vehicle cool. If you have the opposite issue and are looking to keep your car warm during winter make sure to checkout our guide for Car Camping Winter Essentials.


  • Zaara

    Zaara, a kindred spirit of the open road, has nurtured a deep-seated love for RV travel since her childhood. Journeying with her parents, she learned early on to cherish the little things that make life rich and fulfilling. This emotional depth and appreciation for simplicity have become the cornerstone of her life philosophy. A firm believer in the idea that true happiness is found in nature's embrace, Zaara continues this legacy of exploration alongside her husband, Augustus. Her passion extends beyond landscapes to the joy of connecting with life's purest forms - the unconditional love of dogs and the innocence of babies. These connections reflect her nurturing soul and emotional acuity. Zaara is also a culinary enthusiast, delighting in creating meals that blend flavors from their travels, infusing each dish with memories and love. Her expertise lies in living fully, finding joy in every moment, and inspiring others to seek happiness in life's simple, natural wonders.

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