The extreme heat wave that has blanketed the American West and Southwest couldn’t have come at a worse time for RV campers that have planned vacation trips to America’s favorite national parks. At 129 degrees Fahrenheit, Death Valley National Park was the hottest place on the planet last week. While the mercury didn’t reach the 134-degree world record set there in 1913, it’s been hot enough to fry eggs. (Click to see how quickly an egg fries at 129 degrees. If you want to try it yourself, the park asks that you use a frying pan or foil and clean up after yourself.)

Temperatures were only slightly better at Grand Canyon National Park where it was a sweltering 95 on the rim. At Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks the oven-like rock walls have kept temps hovering around 100 degrees. The best parks to visit if you want to avoid the heat are Yellowstone where it’s a relatively balmy 80 and Glacier National Park where last week’s 95-degree temps have cooled to a refreshing 70.

With the dog days of August still to come, staying cool could be a challenge for RV travelers this summer. At some RV campgrounds the heat’s toll on electrical supplies has forced RVers to turn off air conditioners in their motorhomes and 5th wheels at least for part of the day.

If you have to go without A/C or need to stay cool while hiking or biking, use these tips to keep cool:

  • Keep water bottles full and stay hydrated. Keep a few water bottles in the freezer so water stays cold longer on hikes.
  • Stock up on battery-operated personal fans. They can go where you go and that bit of breeze is surprisingly refreshing.
  • Freeze a few washcloths and place them on the back of your neck or on your wrists for an instant cool-down.