After a few years living in my van full-time, it’s time for my current window covers to be replaced. Seems like a small thing but I move them around 2 times per day so I’d love them to be more efficient. They are put up every night and taken down most days, then usually shoved behind my drivers seat. Originally, I hand-sewed insulated window covers. Their exterior material is canvas and they are filled with two layers of reflectix. You can see a few photos below from when I first made them back in 2016…
Because they are just stuffed tightly into the window frame/as they have worn over time, they no longer stay up on their own and usually require having something leaned against them. Not the end of the world but I have a lot of windows (4) so this can get annoying very fast…
Wondering what is most recommended. Magnets? Velcro? Snaps? Curtains? I’d like something that will last longer this time around. I have 3 slider windows and 1 t-vent window (pictured below), and I just want to make sure that light isn’t leaking through the sides. I stealth fairly regularly and am a solo female traveler so maintaining privacy is an absolute must for me.
Recommendations on your most preferred form of window covers would be very appreciated! Thank you all!
This will show you exactly what we did
Week 8 of our Sprinter Van Conversion series:
Hope that helps!!
Thank you so much! This is beyond helpful. I’ve been considering magnets (multiple people have recommended via Instagram) but wasn’t sure how to sew them onto the current window covers I have.
Super helpful video! Thanks guys!
I would just take the reflection curtains/shades you already have and embed them in fabric and see rate earth magnets on in “tabs”.
The video from Mr and Mrs Adventure above is awesome… but depending on where you plan to travel we actually had hot glue fail in hot temps inside the van. If you can see the tabs on (as well as the seam around the outside of the shades) all the better too make sure you aren’t having to redo it in the future!
For the record… in early van trials we tested/tried Velcro, snaps, etc and all failed. Magnets are the winner for sure (with a few suction cups in the middle of the front windshield because those panels end up sagging simply due to size/weight.
I appreciate this. I was definitely hoping to hear from some people who have tried various techniques so I could hear about the comparison. I didn’t even consider the hot glue melting in the sun…
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!
Now you can see little “cat paws”
I’m not real big on sewing stuff, so I use a combination of regular and magnetic binder clips.
In the picture below, on right you can see how I tuck a binder clip in above my windows, then I string twine through them for my curtain rods. Then I use the magnetic binder clips on the left, to secure my curtains on the sides and bottoms.
My current curtains are black fleece, but previously I got some quilted oven mitt type material from a fabric store. One side was a silver metallic type material, and the other side was patterned, with some sort of insulation in between. I spray dyed the patterned side black, and then if I was trying to keep heat out, I would use the metallic side out, and if I was trying to keep in, I’d use the metallic side facing in. Both types seem to work really well at keeping the heat out or in, although I rarely use them at all.
Another trick that I have discovered is that the cheap mylar emergency blankets are actually see through. You can spritz some water on the inside of a window, and apply one of them using a small squeegee to remove the air bubbles, and you will have mirror tint on the outside, and see through tint on the inside. It’s not light proof at night, but it’s great for privacy during the day, and really keeps the heat out. We bought the emergency blankets we used at a dollar store, and I’m not totally sure whether they’re all the same or not, but they’re really cheap and easy to apply. Just cut them slightly larger than your window, apply them, then trim them with a razor blade for an exact fit.
"Smiles are contagious, pass them on!" ~ Van_Dweller
I don’t know how difficult these are to build, but this sliding shade is my ideal style of window covering.
These are a great idea for someone starting from the beginning but my walls and general build frame have been setup for a few years. Redoing the windows would be much harder for me.
Hopefully this passes inspiration to somebody else though - thank you for the recommendation!
I’m also not a sew person. I simply used spray adhesive to bind black felt to the back of the reflexit. Gorilla tape around the edges and done!
I’m actually doing the same, the fabric is being sewn onto the reflectix right now.
I’m sure it’s probably specific to your design, but for mine…
I’m was planning on doing velcro around the interior edge of my window frames. That way it doesn’t just “attach” to the window, it is pulled to it. Plus, as I understand it, the “air gap” is a big part of Reflectix working properly.
My hope is that by creating a tighter seal, I can limit the amount of hot air coming into the cabin from the “air gap” space between the window and the Reflectix. Being that my windows have the smaller corner window on them, I’m aiming to leave those cracked so that the hot air simply rises and exits the vehicle.
But I’m still in the “toying around with them” phase, so please post an update on what you end up trying and how well it works for you.
To my understanding, to keep heat out you want the reflectix against to the glass to prevent it from entering at all… In the winter to keep the heat in is when you want the air gap between the reflectix and the window. Then that extra dead air space will provide extra insulation.
I rarely cover my windows myself, I prefer shade when it’s available, and if it isn’t or it’s still to hot, my swamp cooler can keep me comfortable. In the winter, I take full advantage of the sun coming in my uncovered windows, and supplement it with my heater as needed, and I still don’t cover my windows at night. I guess I really value my view, and if it takes a little extra heating or cooling to preserve my view, it’s worth it to me.
"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller
Depending on the need that you wish to fulfill, curtains or blackout curtains can be used. Curtains are pretty much what is expected of them; they help insulate your windows and keep out some of the cold. They serve as decoration in most cases but they can also be used to conceal various things. Some curtains come split up into two parts which is an added bonus. On the other hand, blackout curtains are curtains which do exactly what their name says. These curtains will prevent light from slipping through your windows and coming in, making them great for people who need to sleep during day time or simply don't want to be woken up by the sun. Drapes are curtains which are taped or glued to the wall, instead of putting them on a rod. Drape curtains could be used to conceal something but also help insulate your windows. They are harder to clean though and they tend to look less elegant because of their shape. Tie-back curtains are curtains which hold up with a rod, the back is tied in some way or another. They are lightweight curtains which can be pulled closed but still allow light through them. These curtains are perfect for windows which don't get too much sun and do not need to be completely covered. Pinch pleat curtains are curtains which have a number of pleats in them, giving them a more elegant look. This type of curtain is perfect for windows which get a lot of sun or for people who want to make a bold statement with their curtains. They are generally heavier than other curtains and can be pulled across the curtain rod with ease.