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Summer Van Life Boondocking Just Got Better: A Review of the Dometic RTX2000 RV Air Conditioner

CEO Khai Intela
Camping in your van during the summer just got a whole lot cooler, literally. Say goodbye to sweating through those hot summer nights with the innovative Dometic RTX2000 RV air conditioner. This 12V air conditioner...

Camping in your van during the summer just got a whole lot cooler, literally. Say goodbye to sweating through those hot summer nights with the innovative Dometic RTX2000 RV air conditioner. This 12V air conditioner is a game-changer for RVers, van lifers, and overlanders who want to stay cool without the need for an outlet or generator.

A Good Night's Sleep, No Sweat

For those who enjoy boondocking in the southern states, getting a good night's sleep used to be a challenge. Either you had to endure the heat or rely on bulky and expensive 12V battery systems. However, with the Dometic RTX2000, you can now stay comfortably unplugged all summer long.

Dometic released this 12V air conditioner to the RV market in late 2020, coinciding with significant advancements in battery technology. I had the opportunity to test the Dometic RTX2000 in my Vandoit Ford Transit campervan over two summers in central Texas, and I was thoroughly impressed.

A Cooling Solution from the Trucking Industry

Did you know that the Dometic RTX2000 originally came from the commercial trucking industry? In that world, it's called a "parking cooler," used by truckers to cool their cab when parked overnight. Dometic developed this compact 2,000-watt unit to reduce fleet fuel costs by providing cab cooling without idling the engine.

With a cooling energy output of 6,824 BTUs, the Dometic RTX2000 proves to be a reliable and efficient option. Many RV rooftop air conditioners claim a higher BTU rating, but they require a 110V outlet. In contrast, the RTX2000 runs on 12V DC power, making it perfect for off-grid adventures.

Fitment and Installation

Installing the Dometic RTX2000 may require a few extra steps, especially if you're retrofitting it into a standard-size roof cutout. The dimensions of this 12V air conditioner differ from typical RV units, so some adjustments may be necessary. For example, my van had a curved roof, which posed additional challenges in ensuring a watertight seal.

Fortunately, Vandoit, the company behind the Vandoit Ford Transit campervan, engineered solutions for these fitment issues. They successfully addressed the different roof cutout and curvature, allowing for a seamless installation of the Dometic RTX2000.

The Power System

One of the main concerns when running an air conditioner off a battery system is power consumption. The Dometic RTX2000 draws 19 amps in "Eco" mode. Estimates suggest that every 5,000 BTUs of cooling energy require 30 Ah/hour of power. With this in mind, a lithium-ion 12V/100Ah battery can run the air conditioner for about 3 hours, whereas a standard 12V/100Ah lead-acid battery can run it for 2 hours.

During the testing period in Central Texas, where temperatures can reach extreme highs, the Vandoit 460 amp-hour lithium-ion system proved more than capable of handling the air conditioner's power needs. I never ran out of battery power throughout both summers, and I typically had at least 20% of battery capacity remaining in the mornings.

Harsh Testing in the Texas Heat

To truly put the Dometic RTX2000 to the test, I camped in my RV during the hottest and most humid months of the Texas summer. With temperatures hovering in the 80s at night and humidity levels exceeding 50%, staying cool was essential. The RTX2000's smaller air volume compared to larger RV air conditioners did pose some challenges. It took a bit longer to cool down the entire van, and obstructions like bed platforms could block the cold air.

However, I found a simple solution by using a 6-inch 12V fan to improve air circulation. This significantly improved the cooling efficiency and eliminated any drawbacks of the smaller capacity of the RTX2000. Additionally, the Dometic RTX2000 proved to be quieter than most 110V RV air conditioners, making for a more peaceful night's sleep.

Unleash Your Freedom

Thanks to the Dometic RTX2000, the freedom to camp almost anywhere is now within your reach. No longer do you need to plan your trips around electric campsites or rely on shore power. You can now park in any location, confident in having a restful night's sleep, no matter the temperature outside.

Admittedly, this level of convenience does come at a cost. The Dometic RTX2000 has an MSRP of $3,100, and investing in a high-capacity lithium-ion power system like the one used in the Vandoit campervan can be substantial. However, for those who value the freedom and comfort it provides, it's worth every penny.

As someone who has experienced the joys of boondocking with the Dometic RTX2000, I can confidently say that it has transformed my camping experience. I'm currently having another van built, and both the Dometic RTX2000 and a large lithium-ion system are at the top of my priority list.

So, if you're ready to take your van life to the next level and enjoy the freedom of unplugged adventures, the Dometic RTX2000 RV air conditioner is the perfect companion for your journey. Stay cool and comfortable wherever the road takes you!