Air Conditioning a MUST? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:43 AM   #1
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 16, previously Scamp 13
Posts: 738
Air Conditioning a MUST?

A question or two on Air Conditioning.

How many folks find an air conditioner a must have? How many folks consider it a luxury? How many fore go one all together?

My intent is to travel year round, but not necessarily in the south during the summer. At home here in lower Michigan I have a couple of window air conditioners, but, to be honest, don't remember turning them on in the past couple of years. Other years I have generally used them a few times each summer.

Several folks I've spoken to have told me that they have never used their installed air conditioner in their trailer except to test whether it works or not.

Has anyone ever tried one of the free standing portable air conditioners that vent out a window for occasional use?

The reason I ask, is that I have a possible opportunity to purchase a lightly used, late model Scamp later this fall, but it has no air conditioning, and no power fan - just a large roof vent. If I ordered new, I would include air conditioning and a power fan.

I'm not sure if the Scamp has the necessary reinforcement in the roof to add the AC unit, and, having perused the thread on adding a closet mounted air conditioner after the fact, I don't believe that I would like to go through that hassle. I'm not much of a "do-it-yourselfer" for major projects.

Opinions on options requested. Will I regret not having these based on your experience?
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:50 AM   #2
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 653
I consider a fan a necessity. AC only for hot weather camping. So I guess it depends on your plans. "Late" model Scamps come prepped for AC, not sure what year late means. I will bet others here know and will speak up.

I too have considered the portable ACs, but they are pretty large, and have other drawbacks. That said I believe they would be great for occasional use.

I chose a $100 window unit for our very rare hot weather jaunts.

Most of our camping is during the shoulder seasons in mountains or on lake or ocean shores. We use our furnace far more than AC.

John Michael Linck - Toymaker
Camping since 1960 - Scamp 13' Oak
Subaru Outback 4 cyl cvt
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:57 AM   #3
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: In the Market
Posts: 903
There have been discussions on the portable and here is one that links to a couple of others: and another sort of interesting unit:

I don't think your weather is a lot different most of the time since my brother gives me weather reports from Cassopolis, SW MI, regularly. It still gets hot and an RV heats up much quicker than a house, you know, the science thing and I can't think of it but the house can soak up the cooler night temps and hang onto them for a while.

We are in KS. We don't have a molded fiberglass yet but have had several RVs. Every time we go out, it seems all the shady campsites are taken.

I guess the biggest thing with not having one is that it could limit your enjoyment of the unit.

One thing we bought was an dc fan that we really like as it is so much more powerful than most smaller fans and we bought a ac/dc plug adapter: Fantastic Vent Endless Breeze Fan | Fantastic Vent | Endless Breeze Fan They sell them on Amazon and Camping World, probably many places. Ours uses the same adapter as our AC/DC cooler.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:13 AM   #4
Name: Dennis & Linda
Trailer: Leocraft 17ft fiberglass rv by Monarch Industries
Posts: 70
Air Conditioning

Lyle, My wife & I installed a 5000 btu window air conditioner in our '79 Leocraft 2 yrs ago. Best thing we could have ever done. Neither of us can take the humidity when trying to sleep at night. We do get some rather sticky nights up here in Ontario as we have experienced over the years. As a matter of fact I recall one August it got so bad that we had to leave the trailer and go back to our air conditioned house. We decided then that we needed air for the trailer. Our fantastic fan works fine when the humidity is low but when the humidity is high all it does is draw in humid moist air and we then have to turn on the air which draws out that moist air and replaces it with nice cool dry air. We don,t use it all the time but it is nice to know that we have it if we need it. Saves having to go home for a good nights sleep lol. Hope this helps. Dennis S.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:22 AM   #5
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 4,797
No power in public campgrounds in the north east. That's where we live and camp in the summer. For that reason I wanted jalousie windows. Every one said Escape was the best. I ordered and then cancelled an Escape because they would not/could not give me what I wanted. Never bothered with Casita. Scamp had them on 2 sides but Trillium had them on all four. Lousy build quality but the breeze is worth the frustration. Happy shopping. Raz
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:52 AM   #6
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 16, previously Scamp 13
Posts: 738
Ok, Thanks for all the replies.

The Scamp in question is a 2013 model, with less than 3000 miles under it's belt. I checked the Scamp FAQs and found that "most" 16 footers since 2000 have the wiring and reinforcement for an air conditioner, but not all.

Having looked over several of the threads suggested, I am convinced that their are plenty of options for adding some type of air conditioning either permanently or temporarily as I may find necessary. I will probably have one of the fans installed if I get the Scamp, as I'm certain I would use that often.

Thanks for your replies, helps a lot.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:00 AM   #7
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 124
Hey Lyle,
We live in Connecticut and head north for the majority of our camping trips. If installing a small unit in the future is an option, I would consider the trailer. As previously mentioned our little trailers heat up rapidly when in the sun. We camped at a great COE campground in June this year for the first time which is located in southern Vermont, our site was in full sun. The weather was unusually warm and there was a brief shower one day. The humidity after the storm reminded me of an August day in Alabama. My wife and I much prefer open windows to air conditioning but there will be times when you'll need air conditioning and be glad you have it. Good luck with whatever you decide and Happy Camping.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:11 AM   #8
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 3,513
Michigan Native, never had AC in camper, do recall some trips down south as a kid that were pretty uncomfortable. But out west the lack of humidity was enough to make a positive difference in my comfort.

Have a friend in Fla. that takes a window shaker with him tent camping at the lake. Sleeping it is the only way to get comfortable.

Were I ordering one I would order with AC but I'm not a fan (hee hee) of big AC units on the roof of a small camper, looks odd and out of proportion to me. But hey folks use AC as a functional accessory not decorative. Do not recall the year that Scamp started adding the roof support and bracing to support an AC unit even if not ordered with AC. But someone will know that cut over year, before which roof was only built for AC if camper was ordered with AC on roof.

I would look into a fantastic or maxxair 12 volt roof vent. Small camper, light colored with a breeze being pulled in from every window should be tolerable for most weather conditions. Bigger camper gets less benefit, fan moves x amount of air per minute, same airflow in bigger camper means less fresh air and reduced breeze from pulling air in through windows.

Always skeptical of "special" feature portable equipment. Lot of times it seems that the "special" part drives the market so manufacturers tend to shortchange on quality or performance. An outside or portable AC unit would set off that skepticism. When some piece of equipment folds to take up no space and weighs nothing chances are it falls apart soon unless really expensive and made from titanium alloy.

Older non-roof supporting campers get AC units installed through windows (front or rear usually) or through front or rear wall. In both arrangements the location has a support right there, rear bumper of front tongue. I do not think people travel with AC units in windows but I may be wrong about that, I would not trust the wall with that weight without reinforcement. Installing inside and under the front couch or in a side closet involve more planning for air flow to the AC heat exchanger and compressor but require much less cutting in the wall and allow one to put the AC out of the way.

Do some searches on the site you will come up with some ideas I'm sure. One that always struck me as very practical was on the floor under the rear table of a 13 ft. Scamp. With a remote control unit. For two people there is still plenty of leg room at the table and it is easy to get to both sides to work on it. Yes I'm lazy and like room to work.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:15 AM   #9
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Name: Rob
Trailer: Oliver Legacy Elite II, #70
Posts: 193
We have never had or used an AC until getting our Oliver this past Mar. The one in the Oliver will never be turned on and if I had it to do over again would NOT have had it included on the build. Over the years we have camped in very hot weather in various configurations from tents, to pop ups to a T@b with temps in the low 100's in Dinosaur National Monument for several nights, 3 weeks in Aug in AL, then another two weeks again last Aug-Sep later in the same campground (Monte Sano State Park), and we were in Glacier in late Jun with temps in the area that soared to 109, not sure it got that hot in the park itself but it certainly had to be in the high 90's on most days. Like all NP's we were off the grid, no AC and never felt we needed it. Thats what the windows are for. We slept well. Speaking for myself I could never sleep with the darn things running anyway. We have on occasion used the Max Air fan during the night both in the Oliver as well as the T@b which was plenty adequate.

We are all different but this is my take on them.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:38 AM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018- 21FT- FORD
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,227
We had temps in the upper 80's and humidity in the 70% range this weekend with zero breeze. We have A/C in our Casita and we used it. We go South for a month to six weeks each winter and again we use our A/C. We owned one trailer without A/C but never again,
We value a good nights sleep over saving a couple of bucks ,others have different priorities.
Just because you have A/C does not mean you have to use it but it is nice to know you can.
We use our A/C more than our furnace and we live in NW Wisconsin.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:48 AM   #11
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,487
It depends on you as much as anything. We installed a room air conditioner in the bottom of our closet in 4 years we've only turned it on a few times and mostly when Ginny's cooking some large meal using 3 burners.

For us I would say it's unnecessary. Now we spend time in the south, but only from October to May, the cooler months. We find we don't need it during that interval.

We only installed it because we traveled thru the midwest one summer, and at least that summer it was not needed. We do have a freestanding, very quiet endless breeze fan that we turn on some nights, it more than does the job.

Your Scamp would permit a rooftop Air Conditioner, personally I find them unattractive and they put the weight in the wrong place.

You have choices and none of them require immediate attention. You can add AC at any time in many forms.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:03 AM   #12
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 "Past Tents" 2018 F150 Lariat 2.7L EB SuperCrew
Posts: 1,300
Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
My intent is to travel year round, but not necessarily in the south during the summer. At home here in lower Michigan I have a couple of window air conditioners, but, to be honest, don't remember turning them on in the past couple of years. Other years I have generally used them a few times each summer.
Lyle, I think you answered your own question. If you've found previously that you seldom use A/C, and you don't intend to camp where it's hot, I see no need for one. We use our MaxxFan quite a bit, and for most of the year it does an excellent job of keeping the trailer comfortable.

There is only one caveat: it's hard to add A/C later, and depending on your rv model, it may not work at all.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:07 AM   #13
Name: Dale
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 80
I have a freestanding 8000btu air conditioner that vents out the small window above the stove. Its the one from my bedroom at home that gets brought out anytime we know it will be warm.

sleeping in cool is a MUST for me, i wouldn't go without it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:22 AM   #14
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Posts: 1,693
Hardly ANYBODY has commented from the SOUTH! If you bring that camper down here and camp without A/C, you will nearly die from heat exhaustion and the humidity. You people that have never been in the south this time of year have NO idea what we're talking about. Water POURS out of A/Cs from all the humidity (Including the one on my Scamp). Some people can take it. God bless you!

Bottom line is as someone's already mentioned: It depends on you. I would NOT even consider an rv without a/c living here in Tennessee. AND, again, if you plan on traveling here without one, you'd better consider doing so between October and May.

So my answer is clear. BUT, if I lived and camped mostly up north, it would probably be the same as most of "yalls".
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:28 AM   #15
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
W. Mass
Posts: 440
Turned on the A/C in my last trailer 2 or 3 times in 8 years, and then to try and dry things out as opposed to cooling off the trailer. We normally pass on summer camping but did go out this past weekend, were very glad we had it.

As we plan on keeping this trailer long term and have no idea where we might end up, we got it. We've always looked for CG's that have electric when it's going to be real cold so we can run the small space heater, will do the same when it's hot.
Bob & Deb
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:28 AM   #16
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 "Past Tents" 2018 F150 Lariat 2.7L EB SuperCrew
Posts: 1,300
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Hardly ANYBODY has commented from the SOUTH!
I wouldn't go with out it Darral, living here in South Texas. But, the OP mentioned specifically that he didn't intend to camp in the south when it's hot. If I lived in the UP or some place like it, and found I didn't use A/C much if at all, I'd probably do fine without it.

Geography is most of the issue. For example, I suspect that if Escapes were made in Texas instead of BC, the A/C would be standard, and not an option.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:40 AM   #17
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Name: Rob
Trailer: Oliver Legacy Elite II, #70
Posts: 193
Just for the record I grew up in AL and lived in the deep south the first half of my life, backpacked, and tent camped in the summer. And as previously stated have RV camped there during Aug and Sept heat and without AC. My wife and I lived in AL in the mid 80's for a couple of years and tent camped with our newly born daughter down there and along the gulf coast in the heat of the summer months. Not once have we ever felt the need for AC while camping. In a closed in house or auto well thats a bit different, but not camping.

On our way to TN to tour the Oliver factory last Aug/Sep we stayed at a KOA in Little Rock, it was 98 and very humid that night but the Northern Breeze ceiling fan in the T@b was adequate enough to get a good nights sleep, and at least to us far surpassed the noise of running an AC. YMMV as the saying goes.

It really comes down to you and your own personal needs or requirements. But for us given our past experiences, AC never.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:41 AM   #18
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Name: Caroline
Trailer: Currently Shopping
Posts: 11
I live in southwest Georgia and it’s not uncommon in the summer for it to be 98F in the shade with 100% humidity. This combination of heat and humidity can be debilitating. If you ever plan to travel to the South between May to October…your gonna want Air Conditioning.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:03 AM   #19
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Name: Ruth
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 210
Have a Fantastic Fan of Maxairre installed but NOT the AC. Find your temp limit with no AC (85? 83?) and check forecasts. If it'll be higher than you want, drag along a 5000 btu window unit. You can rig up a stand for it outside the back window on the bumper like several have on here. I've seen Coolers, buckets, ladders...
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:22 AM   #20
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,912
As mentioned it NOT temp limits in many places, it humidity. The last time I was in Augusta, GA I left for the airport at 4am. It was "only" about 80 degrees, but after a 10 minute wait outside for the shuttle, we were both soaking wet with perspiration.

Sleeping without A/C in the summer in the south for one night will seem like a week in a sauna bath..... YUK

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