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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 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.
What We Purchased:
Note: some hardware stores sell Reflectix by the foot, which will result in greater savings. We ended up using 1/3 of the roll.
DIY RV Window Shades:
To get an idea of the process, watch the video below.
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.
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.
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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