Category Archive for: ‘FAQ’

Alaska RV 300x300

7 Ways to Keep Your RV Cool

Is Your RV Calling You to Hit the Road?

It’s 2018, and the Sun is already out in many places across America. Time to get on the road for many Weekend Warriors, the open road is calling. Of course, while your hot to trot, the Sun is raising the temperature by the day.

Traveling with your RV is an adventure that calls, but most RVs can quickly become a hot box in the Sun.

Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your RV against the rising heat. To help you, we offer 10 simple ways to cool down the hottest RV experiences this travel season.

Trick No. 1 | A/C Efficiency

Many people will take the easy route and just use one or more of the A/C units already mounted to their RV. Let’s face it, the electric is included in the cost of most RV park fees, so hit the switch and enjoy the instant cool. No worries.

But, remember that during storage many A/C units and the ventilation system in your RV will require a good cleaning. Clean vents ensure more efficient, and faster-cooling super-powers. So take the time to clean and prep your cooling system, before you hit the road.

Trick No. 2 | Shade To Go

Your RV windows and ceiling skylights can act like solar collectors, delivering extreme temperatures inside your RV. But, there are tricks to help mitigate this hot box problem. Pulling down your shades can make a huge difference, and don’t forget skylight covers.

Windows, skylights and ceiling vents can pour enough heat into your RV that your A/C can be completely defeated. So you will find it far more comfortable to have a plan to deal with these builtin heaters.

Where the heat is more extreme, we recommend “Reflectix Insulation” or “Cool Shield Thermal Bubble” insulation. You can find this cool and durable insulation at Home Depot or Lowes, and other hardware stores or you can order it from “uLine“.

It is a thin, 3/16” to 5/16” thick insulation with a silver-foil (metalized) finish on both sides. When used on windows it generally provides an approx R-6, and for skylights as high as R-16 insulation value (don’t focus on the R-Rating though, it’s not the real value).

The real trick is the reflective silver-foil works wonders to reflect the Sun’s radiation away from your RV.

You can buy this silver-foil insulation in rolls of various widths, and you need not waste a square in of it. Simply cut the closest fit and use a good Silver-Foil Tape to put the pieces together as needed.

Simply measure every window and skylight in your RV. Cut to fit nicely. Be sure to cut a bit extra wide so you can push it into the window frame grooves for a perfect fit. For skylights and ceiling vents, you can just cut it for a tight fit and push into place.

But there’s more… if you’re going to RV across the Southern part of the USA, places like Arizona and Texas can be blistering hot, and you are going to need triple strength protection on those sunny days.

So we recommend RV window screens on the outside of your RV.  These are not something you can just visit the local RV store to get. You will have to have them custom made for your specific RV, but you will never regret the purchase. The best sunscreens are made with a quality screen material and magnets to hold them in place. BTW, it is also a very good idea to have tire covers as blistering Sun will eat your tires for lunch.

Better, when it’s crazy hot, put on your sunscreens and push your custom cut silver-foil insulation between your sunscreens and the windows. This is basic thermodynamics, as your not letting the heat even enter your RV. In the winter, your silver-foil insulation goes inside against your windows, to keep the heat inside.

Expert Tip: You can add a bit more thermodynamic benefit by using swimming noodles. For larger windows, cut two about an inch shorter than the height of your window. Then place them vertically between the sunscreen and the window or silver-foil if you’re going all the way. This creates a small airspace and natural air flowing from the bottom of the window and escaping through the top of the airspace. The net result, substantially less heat will reach the window.

Lastly, if you value your privacy, you should know that having these screens on your windows, people cannot see inside your RV. Like a 2-way mirror, you can see out really well, but people cannot see inside at all. We depend on this, and once you try it, you will too.

Trick No. 3 | Shade Runner

Whether your boondocking or camping in an RV park, go for the shade. Nothing will cut the power of the Sun naturally like a great shade tree. So make it a point to park your RV under a good tree, or at least where a tree will shade your RV as much as possible.

In addition, using your RV awning(s) can add to the shade around your RV, so use them whenever you can. They will keep the sun off the side of your RV and if you have or add them to your windows, you will beat much of the heat the sun can pound you with.

Trick No. 4 | Air Flow Counts

Unless you are forced to run your A/C, and for many of us, the noise is a great reason to avoid the A/C. You will want to open all the windows and doors you can, to increase the fresh air flow inside your RV.

If your lucky, a light breeze will work in your favor, but if that’s not available, extra 12v fans mounted throughout your RV can provide the additional airflow you need.

When boondocking or dry camping, the lack of quiet electric to run your A/C unit(s) makes proper air flow a must.

So consider ahead of time installing extra 12v fans. When great airflow is combined with the previous tricks like awnings and sunscreens, in many cases the combined effect will help you to avoid running the A/C at all. Naturally, this is a real plus when you are not plugged into a power post.

There are a couple ways to go with this, the fan on the left above is a traditional oscillating style fan that can be easily mounted in various places inside your RV. The ceiling fan on the right above is a more expensive, but also a more powerful solution. If you use two of these at either end of your RV, you can set one to push air in and the other to suck the hot air out or maybe both can just suck if that’s better in your case. Both can be easily found at Camping Word or Amazon, and if you click the pics, they are linked for your convenience.

Trick No. 5 | Cooking with a Plan

When you are trying to beat the heat, get out of the kitchen. Planning your meals for hot days means not using the stove or oven during the hottest part of the day. While the convenience is great, the extra heat is a killer and you can just have a cold sandwich, a salad or other no-cook meal.

Or if you must cook, do it outside. It’s a great part of the camping experience and you will not be using gas and a fire, cooking your meal and yourself inside your RV.

Trick No. 6 | Turn Off the TV

While new technology is changing things for the better, most electronics still create some amount of heat when in use. From TVs to cellphones, the heat adds up to baking yourself.

So if you must watch TV, or use your laptop, do it outside. You’ll get more fresh air and you can enjoy the same entertainment while making the best of modern camping.

Trick No. 7 | Get Out of ‘the Dodge’

When all else fails, do what you came for, get the heck out of ‘the Dodge’ or whatever your RV, and enjoy the great outdoors. Often, this is the best plan for keeping cool on a hot day.

If you plan around the time of day, you can enjoy an outdoor meal, do your shopping, be touring, go for a hike, hit the beach, or just relax outside your rig during the hottest parts of the day or evening.

Let nature help you beat the heat, and stretch your legs a little too.

Bonus Trick No. 8 | Let Nature Solve the Problem

My wife and I did a good deal of RV travel in the Southwest and frankly, we decided to focus more on the Northwest. Today we hang mostly on the Oregon Coast. While we seldom have to deal with getting too hot, it is not really cold either, mostly it’s comfortable for outdoor recreation. Add that it’s absolutely awesome with lakes, rivers, ocean, beaches, and dunes to spare.

So much to offer… we came to Oregon for a visit 3 years ago, and have not found a reason to leave. We are still way too busy exploring 300 miles of the most beautiful coast in America, and we love to beach comb. The camping is the best America has to offer, and frankly, the hiking, fishing, boating, biking, and the whole outdoor experience here is very hard to beat.


These are just a few of the best tricks to keep cool. If you have more, please share and we’ll add them to the list.

Best wishes for your journey, and thanks for reading.

Accept all blessings, be excellent to everyone, work hard, live long, prosper, and party often.

Dustin Rodgers, A.G. Ret.


“Each of us is a unique strand in the fabric of this reality. The small efforts we make each day, helping each other. Is the foundation for our mutual success, thereby completing the ‘Circle of Life’.” ~Ambassador Rodgers




Dighy Feature

GUIDE | Dinghy Towing

Okay, so you have your motorhome, and now you want a car you can tow all 4 wheels down. This is called a “Dinghy” car. Which is less trouble than cars that must be placed on a trailer or use a tow-dolly.

There are hundreds of cars, trucks, 4×4 and AWD vehicles that can be used as a Dinghy.

Here we are making an attempt to list them all. But the process is very investigative. So first we catalog the best year-by-year guides we could find.

First up are the annual lists for approved new cars by year from:

Motorhome Magazine

2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  * pdf magazines

Remco Towing Guide – Search 1996 – to- current

FMCA Guide – Must be a member

Next, we are starting our list of maker-by-maker list below:

BMW **
GEO **
GM **
GMC **
KIA **
RAM **



Internet Access

Whether your in an RV or living in a Stix + Bricks home, Internet access is a modern utility many of us depend on. Particularly if your work or source of income requires 24/7 high-speed access to be successful or competitive. You need great Internet access. Here your going to get it all in one place.

LED Feature

SMD LED Modules

LED-FeatureAbout LED Lighting

As LED lighting has become one of the most energy efficient solutions since electric lighting was invented, it’s only natural it is a quickly evolving technology.

So, here, we will explain the technology and keep you updated as it evolves. We will also index the various LED Modules, so that you can quickly compare available products, based on the LED SMD used.

First, it’s good to know that “SMD LED” is an abbreviation for Surface-Mounted-Device Light-Emitting Diode. This way you can sound smart when you talk to your local geek.

An SMD LED Module is a type of LED module that uses Surface-mount technology (SMT) to mount LED chips on printed circuit boards (PCB). It is a self-contained Surface-Mount LED device designed either to function on its own or to plug into a compatible unit.

Index | SMD LED Modules

The various types of SMD LED Modules are distinguished by the dimensions of the LED package.

Currently, the most commonly available SMD LED Module types are the: 3528, 5050 and the 5630. The brightness may vary depending on the input voltage, which of course inversely affects the device lifespan.

(mm x mm)
lm/w (min)
3030 3.0 x 3.0 0.09 110-120   120    90 130
3020 3.0 x 2.0 0.06 5.4 2.5  120  no  80 90
5730 5.7 x 3.0 0.05 45-55 15-18 120 no 90 110
5630 5.6 x 3.0 0.05 40-55 18.4 120 no 80 110
5050 5.0 x 5.0 0.24 14-18 5.1-5.75 120 no 80 90
2835 2.8 x 3.5 0.02 11-12 8.4-9.1 120 yes 100 130
3528 3.5 x 2.8 0.08 5.4 3 120 no 80 90
3014 3.0 x 1.4 0.01 9-13 2.1-3.5 120 yes 100 130
7020 7.0 x 2.0 0.5 / 1 25-35    120    35 140 
4014 4.0 x 1.4 0.2 23-26 130
3535 3.5 x 3.5
3258 3.2 x 5.8
1206 3.2 x 1.6
1104 1.1 x 0.4

Sample Specs: EdisonBetLuxOSRAM Library

LED Applications

SMD LED modules are widely used, in LED lamps, for backlighting, home illumination, shop-windows, advertising, automobile interior lighting, Christmas lights, and numerous lighting I Am Heath Ledger

The Color Rendering Index

Another important factor in understanding lighting, is the color quality it will render. In some cases, it is very important to get the correct colors of objects being displayed. So the tie looks pretty much the same when you leave the store.

Can’t tell the difference between your Navy jacket and Black jacket? There a good chance your current lighting has a low CRI. Basically, different light sources render light differently. Not all light is made equal

In short, a color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are desirable in color-critical applications such as neonatal care, photography and cinematography.

Light-Sa,ple-101It is defined by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) as follows:

Color rendering: Effect of an illuminant on the color appearance of objects by conscious or subconscious comparison with their color appearance under a reference illuminant

The CRI of a light source does not indicate the apparent color of the light source; that information is under the rubric of the correlated color temperature (CCT).

In the pictures at right it can be noticed that the spectra have different structures; the incandescent lamp has a continuous spectrum, whereas the fluorescent lamp has separate lines in the spectrum due to emission of photons of discrete wavelengths by mercury.

LED Strip Lighting

LED strip lighting can be manufactured with a variety of LED chips. The numbers you see such as 3528 and 5050 refer to the size of the chip. The older style strips that have been popular for a few years now are the sizes seen above. Currently, there are even smaller and more efficient LED chips on the market with the sizes of 2835, 3014, 5630, and 3020