RV Window Shades – Custom Sun Shades for Insulation

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Insulation for your RV can make a huge difference in terms of comfort. One of the first modifications we tackled were custom RV window shades for the camper van. Pre-made reflective insulation shades are available, but depending on the type of vehicle, the cost can be prohibitive. The set we found for a ProMaster van would have cost us $100. To save money, we decided to make our own RV window shades using a roll of double reflective insulation.

Custom Sun Shades camper van insulation

Custom RV Window Shades

This is a simple DIY project that should take less than one hour. In that time, we made seven custom RV window shades for the camper van: three for the front and four for the back.

Tip: I recommend working with Reflectix in the shade. The reflection from the sun can be blinding.

Custom sun shades promaster van

What We Purchased:

1 roll of Reflectix 48” x 25’ Double Reflective Insulation

Note: some hardware stores sell Reflectix by the foot, which will result in greater savings. We ended up using 1/3 of the roll.

Equipment Used:

Tape Measurer
Permanent Marker

Reflectix RV window shades

DIY RV Window Shades:

To get an idea of the process, watch the video below.

Reflectix RV Window Shades custom sun shades video

Measure the windows from the outside and add an extra inch to each side as a buffer. You can always trim the sun shade if it’s too big. Once you have the piece cut out, from the inside, place it against the window. Gently push the shade into the grooves of where the shade will sit. Grab the permanent marker and trace along the groove. Remove the shade, cut about 1/4” outside the marking to give yourself room to trim down. We found that leaving extra material helps to keep the shades in place.

Custom sun shades reflectix

If you have windows that are the same size, once you’ve cut the first window, trace an outline of that to make your life easier. We made a custom sun shade for most of the windows in the camper van.

Promaster van side window insulation

The insulation keeps the camper van cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. When the temperature drops below 45 at night, we place insulation in the rear windows where we sleep. This helps minimize the amount of cold coming into the camper van.

Although our camper van did come with a front shade, we wanted good insulation for off-grid camping. Even when we’re not camping in the middle of a desert, the custom sun shades come in handy. On a recent trip to Red Rock Canyon, we pulled into a overlook to make lunch. Instead of having the sun beat down on us, we put the shades on the front windows to keep the sun off us.

NOTE: In extreme or prolonged heat, we’ve seen articles that suggest putting the Relfectix on the outside of the windows. This allows more cooling but it also prevents excessive heat build up in the glass that could potentially crack the window or damage seals.

Looking back, we wish we had made these for the Class A RV and tow car. Custom sun shades will make life more enjoyable for anyone living out of a vehicle.

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7 thoughts on “RV Window Shades – Custom Sun Shades for Insulation”

  1. I realize you posted this over a year ago, but was wondering if your Reflectix sun shades are still working out for you. Asking due to the fact that I viewed another youtube video that stated using this material in the summer could actually damage your vehicle’s glass because of the amount of heat it reflects back out – don’t necessarily like the idea of placing it on the outside, (where it could unfortunately come up missing one day) so I wonder if “buffering” the side that faces out by attaching a layer of light colored material would help with this issue – your additional insight and sharing your continued experience is deeply appreciated, thanks in advance.

    • Hey Sammy – we used the reflectix for over a year until we found some custom shades that are made specific for our van. The only issue we had with ours was that after about a year, they were starting to wear out. However, we simply cut another set from the excess material we had. We never had any issues with the heat damaging our windshield but if it’s something that concerns you, simply mount them on the outside during extreme heat (they work better that way anyway). I doubt anyone would steal them but if they did, it’s an inexpensive replacement.

  2. Thanks for the great idea and instructions as to how to do it. We did it this afternoon.
    We think it will be a great help in keeping the van warm in winter and cool in summer.
    Jenny and I enjoy watching your weekly video. Keep up the great work.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Ken and Jenny

  3. Great job on the reflectors! We have been on the road for close to a month now and Kait was right, we don’t want to go back. Kait had asked me in April what I thought about Thousand Trails Orlando. Overall I like it but it needs a LOT of work. As soon as I get our blog ready for prime time I’ll write about it. So far we really like the Ocala National Forest in Florida
    (near Lee’s Dad) and the State Parks in Georgia. ( Lake Seminole and Chatahoochie Bend) We will be in the Natchez Trace TT park later today and the Arley AL TT next week before we had to Red Bay AL for some warranty work at Tiffin. Enjoy the new home!

    • Thank you Ed. We’re very happy to have these sun shades for the new home. Didn’t get a chance to check out Ocala National Forest, but we’ve heard great things about it. Will have to put that on the list for our next visit to the area. Safe travels to AL and hope all goes smoothly with the warranty work.


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