I thought I would take the time to write up how we stayed cool during the last trip we made. The daytime highs were between 90 and 98 for the 4 day trek from Utah back to Atlanta. And, we had no problem keeping the Axis cool for the entire trip.
We knew going in to buying the Axis, that keeping it cool was probably going to the biggest issue (thanks to this forum). So, after a few improvements, and some good thermal management, we had no issue keeping the RV down in the 72-74 degree range.
Improvements that we made:
1. We put in a curtain behind the captains chairs. I used this
as the track and used this as the curtains
and these curtain carriers
. I had to hem them up some and we also went to a fabric store and lined the curtains with fleece. (I also learned that I shouldn't quit my day job to sew curtains!).
2. We made "pillows" for the vents. I simply used some foam that I had laying around and the left over fleece from the curtains. Or, you could just buy these
3. Used windshield shades for all of the windows except for the kitchen sink window. We used windshield shades that we cut down to fit each window because we were on a trip (and dying from the heat) and the only thing around was Walmart. You could use Reflectix if you have a good big box hardware store around.
4. We added vent
to the cover of the AC that has been discussed all over this forum. If you don't think this will help, take off the cover on your AC and turn it on. It will blow you away--literally.
5. Windshield shades for the main window in the cab area. We used this
. The neat thing that I discovered (unfortunately on the last day of the trip) is that if you place the top in first, there is enough of an overhang from the trim at the top of the windshield to hold them in place.
6. I taped off the wholes in the outside shower. On the last trip, I was lounging on the sofa and there was a draft coming up behind the sofa from the outside shower. So, I just took some metalic duct sealing tape and taped over the holes in the external shower--no more draft.
With all of these improvements in place, it all became a matter of thermal management. We discovered that we needed to start the air in the house we are going to atleast 2 days before our arrival to get the house cool. It took that long to get the 85 degree house down in to the low 70s. There is a lot of thermal mass there--so, you not only have to cool the air, you also have to cool everything else. That got me thinking about how we were miserable when we got off the road on our trips and the RV was over 90 and the air would take forever to cool.
So, on this last trip, we would break down camp each morning and leave the curtain open. The cab AC would keep everything cool up until around lunch time. By that time, the back of the RV would be around 82ish. We fired up the generator to make lunch and start the AC. We'd set it 78-80 and let it run for the rest of the driving that day. When we got to our destination, I'd put up the windshield shade, drop the built in shade, put the curtains along the windows, and pull the curtain behind the seats. It took the AC no time at all to get the RV down to 74.
Possible additions I might make for the next trip (which will be just as hot) are:
1. Right angle faucet for outside shower (so it doesn't have to go in and back out of the box), or simply cap it off and insulate the entire cavity.
2. I will probably make passenger and driver window shades from Reflectix. The cap still get's really hot.
I hope this helps. I don't think any of these ideas are particularly novel (I did get most of them from the forum). But, all together they seem to work really well.