The past 3 days the outside temperature has been above 110º F. It’s officially summer in Southern AZ and everyone is now counting down the days until the monsoon storms help bring the temperatures back down. Our number one priority is keeping cool. We’ve both lived here in Tucson for over 7 years, so we know what a Tucson summer entails. It is never fun. You spend A LOT of time inside. This summer we have the added fun of living inside a 30ft Airstream. We understood that these few months were going to be rough when we decided to move up our plans and move into our Airstream back in April. If we can live happily in this tiny space without being able to go outside much for a couple of months we should have no issues once we start traveling, that’s for sure!
I posted on Instagram this weekend about our indoor activities given the weather and had a commenter mention moving their home away from the heat. We wish we could! I still work full-time in an office here in Tucson and will until February. Steve works from home, so I am the only thing holding us here. Me quitting early is not something we’re willing to entertain. We thought about having Steve and the girls move somewhere cooler and me finding a place to stay and work but decided we’d rather suffer together as a family then split up (aww thanks guys). So we deal with the heat. I’ve had a couple of questions regarding our methods. So here are some of our tricks to keeping cool so far.
How we’re keeping cool in our airstream (when its 113º)
- Paying to be cool. We knew the summer was going to be rough. That was a HUGE part in our decision to stay at the KOA in Tucson. The KOA is pretty much an RV resort with pools, laundry facilities, fruit trees, a restaurant etc. We chose it for a number of reasons.
- Full hookups. We knew our AC was going to be important and most likely running nonstop during these months so we wanted someplace where that wasn’t going to be a problem.
- Shade. The Tucson Lazydays KOA has two large solar panel structures that provide power to the facility and also a number of shaded pull-thru spots. They are, of course, more expensive during the summer but it means we can touch the airstream without burning ourselves. It also means there are some shaded rocks for the dogs to use as their restroom during the hotter parts of the day AND the Airstream doesn’t get near as hot inside.
- Speaking of the dogs, the third reason we chose the KOA is that it is not one giant parking lot. Asphalt gets VERY VERY hot and people often burn their dogs paws by walking them on it. We wanted someplace with rocks and grass so the girls didn’t suffer while trying to go to the bathroom.
- The pools are a nice touch. We sat in those quite a bit this weekend to get our body temperatures down.
- Being smart about keeping cool. There are a lot of things we do to try and minimize the heat in the Airstream as best we can.
- We keep the windows open during the cooler morning hours (if they are cooler) and then shut them up as soon as the temperature starts to climb.
- We close all our night shades and curtains to prevent some of the heat from entering through the windows.
- We use Reflectix on our sky lights and the windows on the sunny side of the Airstream (our shade structure doesn’t produce shade until the afternoon so we still get morning sun) for even more heat prevention.
- We stay inside. Opening and closing the door increases the temperature inside the Airstream significantly so the more we stay in, the better the AC works.
- We run our AC pretty much non stop to keep the Airstream around 85° during the day and 78° at night. On these really hot days the AC can’t keep up when we have the sun shining on us. The Airstream gets up into the low 90s briefly. If it got much higher than that we’d take the dogs someplace with better AC and leave until the Airstream cools down but so far we haven’t had to do this. If we all don’t move around and do much the temperature is comfortable. Lots of sleeping for girls, and reading for me and Steve.
- We keep a fan running to get even more air flow. Extra air motion can’t hurt especially when the AC is struggling.
- We wear weather appropriate clothing. Even socks are a bit much on really hot days.
- We plan our meals. We do the least amount of cooking on the hottest days and we DON’T cook inside the Airstream. Cooler dinners are welcome in this kind of heat and if we do need to cook, almost anything can work on the grill. We love our cast iron pans for this.
- We’re being realistic and careful. We know this heat is extremely dangerous for us and our dogs. So we don’t let ourselves overdo it and make sure the dogs are drinking enough water, eating normally, and not panting too much. If we ever thought the heat was putting any of us in danger we would find someplace else to stay. We are also careful because power outages are common when it’s this hot. Everyone is using their ACs so sometimes the power grid gets overloaded. Things would go from fine to DANGEROUS very quickly if this where to happen to us. The Airstream is pretty much a vehicle and it heats up pretty quickly in the sun. For this reason we do not leave the dogs in the Airstream alone for long, especially during the hottest parts of the day. We want to get some kind of thermometer which we can access online for the future so we don’t have to worry as much.
In a way I’m actually grateful for the heat. It’s broken up our routine a bit. Steve and I went swimming together before dinner, ate ice cream for dinner (our promise to each other to celebrate the first 110° day), and our whole family lounged on the couch together for hours during the hottest part of the day. The heat is bringing us together. The family that sweats together….. 😉
Anyone out there have any ideas for us on how to beat this heat? I’d love to know!