I travel full-time with my two dogs, and because we’re gluttons for adventure, we frequently find ourselves boondocking or dry camping. We don’t like to disturb other campers, so we rely on our solar setup more than our generator. And, as northern portions of our country start to experience warmer summers, the dream of escaping the Texas summers we know becomes more of a challenge.
This has led us to get exceptionally creative about how we stay cool while camping in the heat.
We have altered schedules – we only go on walks/hikes/adventures in the mornings and evenings when the sun is a little more bearable, we get out of the rig and seek shade or waterfront parking spots at the hottest portion of the day and we, of course, pack up and leave when temperatures get into the high 90s/triple digits.
Keeping pets cool in the summer is especially important considering that pets don’t generally have sweat glands in the same way that humans do, and are more susceptible to heat stroke and overheating. Plus, no one enjoys marinating in the summer heat wearing a fur coat.
If you travel with pets, it feels like a given that you love them like family and want the best for them. That includes keeping them safe and comfortable as they accompany you on your adventures. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for six of my pups’ favorite summer must-haves for making travel bearable during the warmest months of the year.
Small portable fans are a personal favorite of ours. No matter how hot it gets outside, circulating air is an easy way to make your RV a respite from the temperatures. One of the wonderful things about fans is that you can purchase them in a variety of sizes suitable for your needs. Depending on the electrical power available to you, you can use either 12-volt (USB/DC operated) or 110/120-volt (traditional AC power – a wall plug) to keep your home on wheels cozy and comfy for you and your pets.
One of our favorite fans is a battery-powered camping fan– these charge from DC or AC power and can be operated for hours on a full charge. These are wonderful for low power consumption and continuous operation in the event that your generator fails or your battery bank dies out while you’re away keeping your pets safe and comfy until you return.
2. Wifi-Enabled Camera with 2-Way Audio
A wifi-enabled security camera is something I’ve had for my dogs even before we moved onto the road full time. I like to see and hear what’s going on – I can tell if they’re in distress, if someone is around the rig, and can talk to them in the event that there is something they need. The camera I have can send notifications to my phone when there’s movement or noise above a certain threshold. While I check it often to see their cute little faces, in the summer it’s nice to be able to open an app on my phone and check on my pups to make sure they’re okay if I’m out at the grocery store or grabbing a drink with a friend.
3. Ice Trays
These seem like a silly addition, but I swear ice trays make summers better for us. It really is all about the little things when you live on the road. Our ice trays work overtime in the summer, creating ice for our drinks and water bowls. We also have a dedicated Dog Tray in which I’ll create “Pup Pops” for my dogs by pouring chicken or beef broth, tiny ham cubes, carrot pieces, and other things dogs love in and letting them freeze up.
These are a very quick and easy way to cool the pups off/give them a little relief from the heat and entertain them for the days/hours when it’s too hot to go out and have adventures. There are countless combinations of “Pup Pops” to make, and experimenting with your pups can be so fun. Try a few and see what sticks.
4. Lippert Screen Door Protector
I’ve owned large dogs for a while and never had the issue that the Lippert Screen Door Protector is made for – keeping pets inside while the door is open. And then I became a small dog owner. My tiny dog shredded the screen to our front door and created a second entrance for himself, my large dog, and every fly in a 100-mile radius, I swear. It’s been a nightmare, to say the least. Installing the Lippert Screen Door protector allows us to keep the main door open and get extra airflow into the rig while keeping the dogs safely inside. The best part? It has allowed us to elevate our outdoor experience tenfold.
5. Waggle 4G LTE Pet Monitor with GPS
Pro tip: if you experience any issues during setup/activation of your subscription, CALL for faster/more effective help.
This is one of my absolute favorites! The Waggle 4G LTE Pet Monitor with GPS easily exceeds my expectations. It connects to the Verizon Wireless network (meaning there’s coverage almost anywhere you take it) and sends text and email alerts regarding the temperature, humidity, and power status to up to five different numbers and five different emails. The device is also equipped with a customizable geofence that can be set to a range of your comfort– should your RV leave the geofence you’ll be notified by text/email.
The best part about this is that while all this information is pushed directly to you via email and text, you can customize everything about them including the thresholds that trigger them”
- how hot/cool
- how humid/dry
View it all in the app’s interface.
As a full-time RVer I, unfortunately, have to leave my fur babies at home sometimes. While I’ve always included security cameras to keep eyes on both my rig and dogs while I’m out, the Waggle provides a more multidimensional look at what’s going on inside the RV, granting peace of mind regardless of where we are. It’s one of many helpful tools and tips for RVing with dogs.
6. Cooling Mats
These cooling mats are a personal favorite of my dogs. They can be attached together by velcro to accommodate any size dog/cat and can also be washed and cleaned should there be any accidents (or like mine, if they just get covered in dog dirt more often than you’d like). Cats may not enjoy these as much as dogs, but I’ve found that laying a towel or light blanket over the top can make them much more pleasant for pets of all kinds.
Pro Tip: Toss them into the fridge or freezer for a boost in the cooling sensation your pets experience.
These are just a few of the things that have stuck with us over the past two years of traveling full-time with pets. If you’re planning on hitting the road with your pets this summer, start here and feel free to experiment or add to the list to see what works for you. Happy travels!
In what ways do your pets find relief from the heat when RVing in the summer? Tell us in the comments below!
Bio: Jupiter is a 20-something wanderer who has traveled the US full time in a Class C RV since 2019. They are accompanied by their two dogs, and enjoy hiking, writing, reading, seeking out the best food on the road and finding new Black & LGBTQ+ friendly places to explore.