Keeping cool in the van in summer!
If you spend a lot of time in your van in the summer, then you know that it gets hot. When driving you can use the cab air conditioning, personally I prefer to use the AWO system (All Windows Open) when travelling down country lanes or beside the sea but in town or on the motorway then the cab AC is probably best.
When stationary, the obvious way to keep it cool is to get use blinds, particularly on the roof. A large window in the van is great for letting light in but it also turns the van into a greenhouse. Nearly all blinds today have reflective material to keep the sunlight out.
Unfortunately this will make your van darker than you may want. The obvious answer is air conditioning, however that is expensive to install and is not much use except on hook up as it requires a 230V supply, unless you want to annoy your neighbours and yourselves by keeping a generator running. For a vehicle measuring six metres, one is looking at around EUR1,500 for an AC unit from Telair and EUR2,000 for an AC unit from Dometic - which will take up roof space as wel.
There are a number of companies offering cooling fans which work of 12v. Fans do not make the air cooler but because it is moving around, it seems cooler. I paid around GBP15 for my best one - it attaches to the wall via suction or crocodile clip. However it does make a bit of noise - which would put me off from using it all night. Smaller 5v models which you can use with your computer and not much use.
Another option is to place a fan in the skylight of the motorhome which works from 12v. This however will take up your skylight. It will still let some light in but will stop you getting out onto the roof for wild raves or whatever people do on motorhome roofs.
An excellent new system is the Adam Fresh produced by the Italian company Cablofil . It is a portable evaporative cooling system, not an air conditioner, so it doesn't substantially lower the room temperature, regardless of the size of the space. It produces a cool breeze, which reduces the excess body heat of individuals in the path of its air flow. This means that the cooling effect is local and personal. The resulting cool air that flows from its vents needs to be aimed directly at individuals rather than dispersed into the surrounding environment where it wouldn't produce any tangible effect. Personal wellbeing is enhanced by the “cool breeze” effect produced when the cooling system is on—this pleasant effect is similar to the feeling you get walking along the beach with a cool sea breeze. The Adam Fresh works off its own battery pack which can be powered from a 12v source. It uses evaporatated water to lower air temperature. Depending on humidity levels, around one third of a litre of water is needed per hour. As it weighs only 6 kg, it can also be taken out of the van. It costs around EUR1,200 and is available from Cablofil.