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Keeping yourself insulated in your van should be a top priority when thinking about your van build. One of the best ways to do this is with van window covers.
After two years on the road, we have realized the value of having professionally made window covers which dramatically help keep the heat out when it’s hot outside and cold out when you want to stay warm.
There are several options from DIY to professional van window covers that you can choose from. Read on to find out our favorite vanlifer to purchase your shades from and how you can make your own.
Why you Need Window Covers
You might be asking why you even need window covers in your campervan. You have well insulated your van and don’t feel that you will need any extra insulation. Although you can absolutely survive without window covers, I personally feel that they are an absolute vanlife essential.
4 Reasons Why You Need Van Window Covers:
1. Keeps Your Van Cool – Even if you do not plan on staying in super hot areas, the sun can be potent anywhere you go. Having well-made van window covers can drastically reduce the temperature inside your home and keep you nice and cool. This is especially imperative if you have dogs in your van as it’s super important that you keep them nice and comfortable.
2. Keeps Your Van Warm – Chances are you are going to end up in colder weather during your vanlife journey. We are always chasing the temperate locations and that often means being in the mountains or the desert. The mountains and the desert can be oh so cold at night. Alongside a heater and/or proper insulation, van window covers can make a huge difference in keeping you cozy at night!
3. Privacy – The main reason we have van windows covers is that we don’t want just anyone to walk by our van and peek inside. There are so many times when we are stealth camping in the city or at a crowded campsite where we don’t want to worry about anyone seeing inside our van. With van window covers, you are a quick step away from having all the privacy you need.
4. Stealth and Protection – Another benefit to having van window covers is it keep people from seeing inside which means they have no idea you are living in your van and don’t know what is inside! This could also lower the possibility of theft!
DIY Van Window Covers vs Professional
We chose to make our window covers ourselves in the beginning when purchasing them wasn’t an option. DIY window covers will absolutely do the job; however, purchasing professional ones will likely insulate your windows better, store much easier and you don’t have to worry about figuring how to cover them in fabric, which was a big hurdle for us.
For our Sprinter van, we only had the back window covers but for our Ford Transit, we opted for the back window covers, windshield, and even a cover for our fan.
Our Favorite Professional Window Shades
There are several options for professional van window shades ranging from all prices and all designs. Our favorite Window covers are made by Van Made Gear. Not only are they a small business but they are vanlifers who made these covers with vanlifers in mind.
VanMade Gear has some of the best covers I have seen at the most reasonable prices. They are made with Rare Earth Magnets and fold up, accordion-style while staying magnetized to the back windows. In a van with so little space, it is so handy to have a way to store the covers on the windows.
They offer van window covers in many different vehicle styles:
- Sprinter Van Window Covers
- Ford Transit Window Covers
- ProMaster Window Covers
- Chevy Express Window Covers
We personally highly recommend them for anyone needing well designed and made window covers!
Instructions for DIY Window Covers:
- Buy a roll of reflectix
- Use cardboard to use as a template for your window cutout. Make sure you cut the template to the metal around your window, not just the window itself. You will need the reflectix to hit the metal surrounding the window so magnets can adhere and keep the window shade in place.
- Once window cutouts have been established, place the template on reflectix to trace out the design then cut the template. We chose to cut it a little bit bigger and trim off excess as needed.
- We used rare earth or neodymium magnets and taped them on reflectix with magnetic/thermal tape.
- If you have a sewing machine you can then add fabric.
No matter if you choose to buy your van window covers or to make them yourself, make sure you have them! They will make your vanlife experience so much easier and more enjoyable. What do you have in your van? Did you make your window covers yourself or purchase them?