How to Stay Cool in an ATC Toy Hauler
Being that ATC toy haulers are made completely out of aluminum, they can accumulate a lot of heat quickly inside the cabin. The good news is that there are ways to keep your toy hauler comfortable inside…
Where all the Heat Comes From
When the sun shines directly on an ATC toy hauler, the support beams, that make up the frame, soak up much of that heat and transfers it into the trailer. If you put your hand against an interior wall, you will find hot spots, and these are all places where an aluminum support is transferring heat to an Azdel panel.
The ramp door is a huge culprit because it's heavily criss-crossed with aluminum support beams.
One Air Conditioner or Two?
Most ATC toy hauler owners eventually get two air conditioning units, at least those with trailers having a front bedroom. While the 15,000 BTU Dometic Penguin II that ATC installs as options are pretty strong units, they can still struggle against those very hot aluminum support beams. If you choose to get two AC units from the factory, both will be ducted, and both will have their own thermostats.
If you choose to buy one AC unit from the factory, you can have ATC pre-wire the front bedroom for a second AC unit. When it comes time to add the second AC unit, it will not be ducted and not have its own thermostat. It will instead have controls directly on the vent and will only blow directly down on to the bed.
Also, if you buy only one AC unit from the factory, the front bedroom will instead have a vent fan in its place. Thus, when it comes time to add the second AC unit, the vent fan will be removed, leaving the front bedroom with no vent fan. However, if you choose to buy two AC units from the factory, ATC will install a vent fan next to the AC unit so that you have both.
Maxx Air Fans
While these are listed by ATC as options, you really should get these installed by the factory. These are very efficient fans that can move a lot of warm air up and out of the trailer, at the same time drawing cooler air through the windows.
If you want to keep your initial costs down, most ATC toy hauler dealers can install them for you after the fact.
ATC will install as an option a second awning that drapes over the driver’s side of the trailer. Awnings will cast a shade across the side of the trailer, thus blocking a lot of heat from entering. Having a second awning on the opposite side of the trailer will help cast shade during earlier or later hours of the day as the sun travels across the sky.
Getting an awning for the other side of the trailer will actually help the refrigerator do its job better because it's located on that side.
Ramp Door Cables and Vinyl Cover
If you get the optional ramp door cables and vinyl cover for the ramp door, you can leave the ramp door down during the day, allowing cool air to pass through the trailer. The vinyl cover for the ramp door will act as a bug screen to keep mosquitoes and gnats out. This works best to position the trailer so the sun does not shine in through the rear.
Using Reflectix Effectively
Reflectix is that shiny silver bubble-wrap material you get at home improvement stores. Most RV supply stores sell them too.
Cut out pieces of Reflectix to fit inside cabinets, up against the wall. This will give you some additional heat barrier. Also cut out pieces to fit into the windows, but only place them when the sun is hitting those windows directly.
ATC actually installs Reflectix inside in the walls, but cannot place it over the aluminum support beams.
Close off the Bedroom and Bathroom
If you don’t have a second AC unit in the bedroom, keep the door closed to help block warm air from entering the main cabin. Change the AC unit vent in the main cabin to blow directly down instead of through the duct.
Don’t Let the Sun Hit the Ramp Door
While ATC’s ramp door is the strongest in the industry, it’s also the least insulated. The door contains so many criss-crossed support beams that the entire door becomes a frying pan if the sun is allowed to hit it directly. Just by positioning the trailer so that the sun never hits the ramp door will cool things down dramatically. You may even find that you no longer need that second AC unit.
Don’t Buy Black?
While ATC’s black trailer and black trim options look pretty sharp, the color itself will draw a lot more heat into the trailer. On the other end of the spectrum, the color white has the most heat resistant properties. The difference between black and white paint schemes is enough to see a 20 to 30 degree F temperature change.
But if you really do want that all-black trailer, then getting dual AC units is a must, along with Maxx Air fans.
Get the Upgraded Wall Insulation
ATC offers upgraded wall insulation, elevating the R3 value from the standard insulation up to an R6. It’s enough to block a little more heat from coming into the trailer, and will help keep you a little more warm in Winter.
Use the Geography to Your Advantage
Always park your trailer in the shade of tall trees and tall rock croppings. Head for higher ground, or head to the coast. The good news is that ATC toy haulers are made for traveling long distances, and are rugged enough to get up into high country. You’re not limited to camping local.