Home' Caravanning Australia : Summer 2012-2013 Contents 16 Caravanning Australia Summer 2012--2013
Keep it cool this summer
Summer in Australia. Depending on where you are, the
weather ranges from hot and sticky to dry and dusty, and
when you're on the road with that sun beating down,
staying cool can be a challenge. So how do you keep the
temperature in your caravan to something below roasting?
An air conditioner is an obvious choice; however, there are
some drawbacks. Air conditioning units can be an expensive
extra -- especially if you're fitting one to your existing caravan
-- and require an external generator, which are often noisy --
running the chance of disturbing not just your sleep, but your
neighbours as well. You should also take into consideration that
the use of generators is often restricted in national parks and
some holiday parks.
Solar panels attached to your roof offer an alternative to a
generator, and will cut down on your fuel costs, but they can be
expensive to install and only provide enough power to run your
air conditioner on its lowest setting.
Even if you don't have an air conditioner, or if it unexpectedly
blows up, there are a number of low-tech solutions that will help
keep you cool.
Simple things, such as closing blinds on the sunward side
and opening windows to create a cross-breeze, go a long way
towards keeping you cool. Make sure that you can lock your
windows open, particularly at night, and, if you have pets or
small children, a baby gate will allow you to get the most of any
breeze while still feeling secure.
Investing in a good-quality awning or annex is a great way
not just to keep cool, but to extend your living space as well. The
extra space provides a buffer between your caravan and the sun,
as well as somewhere to escape the indoor heat. It's also a great
place to entertain your fellow caravanners.
Appliances, in particular your oven, produce lots of heat.
Packing a barbecue is a great idea, as it allows you to take
the heat of your cooking outside. Just remember the insect
repellent and prawns. Changing your light bulbs from halogen or
incandescent, which get quite hot, to fluorescent or LED will also
help to reduce the temperature.
One appliance that you definitely shouldn't forget to include
is a fan. Useful in all situations, it can be a lifesaver on hot nights
when you don't have air conditioning. A
handy tip for these situations is to sleep
under a damp sheet with the fan blowing
towards the bed; you'll cool down instantly.
Parking in the shade, but not under a
tree, is another excellent way to reduce
the heat. For the best results, find a large
shady tree and park a little way away
with the tree on your western side. This
will afford you shade when you need it
most, without the inconvenience of falling
branches and bird droppings.
Another handy parking hint is to park
near water. Although it's not the best place
for avoiding mosquitoes, any breezes
will be cooled when coming over the
water, making sea- and lakeside camping
sites a great choice. These sites are also
particularly convenient for water sports
-- another great way to keep cool -- and
many areas, such as national parks, will
offer attractions like fishing and kayaking.
If you have kids, you might also think about packing some super
soakers and balloons for making water bombs.
When travelling in summer, particularly in remote areas,
it's important to keep an eye out for dangers such as snakes,
dehydration and your engine overheating. Carrying extra water
and equipping yourself with a radio are excellent ideas no matter
what time of year you're travelling, but are especially important in
Travelling during the heat of the day, in most cases from
10 am to 3 pm, can be quite unpleasant and can put a lot of
strain on your engine. If you have a long drive ahead, consider
starting out early, before the worst of the heat hits, or leaving late,
after the worst of it has gone. Alternatively, plan a stop during the
middle of the day, perhaps at a beach, waterpark or even a local
cinema, for a bit of cool time.
Summer is a great time to travel and, with a little bit of
common sense and know-how, staying cool while on the road is
a piece of cake. ●
Image © SATC
Image © Tourism Queensland
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