Keeping Cool In Your Food Truck Without AC

Unless you’re living in the Arctic you’ve probably noticed that summer is here. Keeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn’t just about comfort. When it’s 100 degrees outside, it can be 120 degrees or warmer in your food truck. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

As it turns out that there are plenty of cheap, easy ways of keeping cool to beat the summer heat without beating the environment or your wallet. Green isn’t just cool: cool is green.

Keeping Cool In Your Food Truck Without AC

The following tips can help keeping cool all summer long:

  • If available, select a cool location when parking your food truck or cart. A spot in the shade is ideal. Make sure that any nearby trees or overhanging branches are stable and will not fall and damage your mobile kitchen.
  • Set up the awning (if you have one) when you are parked. The awning shades not only the service window but the side of the food truck, protecting your customers and employees from the sun’s sweltering rays.
  • Turn off as many kitchen appliances as possible. We understand that you run a mobile food business and the kitchen is where you make your money, but make sure you minimize the heat load as much as possible. Lights, televisions, laptops and other electronics generate heat. If you are using the refrigeration unit, you absolutely need to keep this running. To limit the amount of energy used, and heat generated, by the fridge, make sure the coils on the back are clean and well maintained.
  • Open the windows at night or any time there is a breeze. This will create a crosswind in the vehicle and can significantly help in cooling the temperature. Use small battery- or solar-powered fans throughout the vehicle to keep air circulating.
  • Cover the windows of the truck with blackout curtains or windscreen covers. These keep sunlight and heat out.
  • If it is an option in your area, cook outside. Using the oven or grill heats up the small space inside a food cart in no time.
  • Another great method for keeping cool is to wear loose fitting clothing, especially if they are made of cotton, to draw moisture away from your body. Dress for the heat by wearing shorts, and by all means, whites instead of dark-colored clothing. The dark clothing attracts the heat and will leave you hot and steamy.
  • A quick and effect way to cool yourself down is by wetting a towel with cold water and wrapping it around your neck. It cools the passing blood in your veins and cools the body’s temperature. Speaking of wet towels, jump in a cool shower to cool down when you’ve just had enough. This is a great practice just before you go to bed also. It removes the sweat from your body and opens the skin’s pores to allow the body to cool.

During our research for this article we ran across an AC product that can be used in the hot summer months, while allowing you to keep your vehicle engine off. Although designed with the RV camper in mind, we feel this is a good, low price AC unit that will help in keeping cool even in the warmest part of the summer.

If you have any additional suggestions to truck owners looking at keeping cool inn the summer, please share your input in the comment section below.

2017-03-31T08:43:11+00:00 By |Under the Hood|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.


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  3. mendy Jun 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I have a mobile business it is a shuttle bus we have tried those ideas but it does get over 100 degrees in the bus and I work 8 to 10 hours monday thur sat I am surrounded by steel and fiberglass and 12 windows. I really need some help
    to try and keep my business cool though the summer months!

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