insulating window van

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May 13, 2023
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Buying a Mercedes Sprinter passenger van. Saw the insulated window covers on van Wow! They're so expensive? Anyone have any ideas for a cheaper solution? Seems like it wouldn't be that hard to make them yourself. Also, I was thinking it would be a lot of trouble to separately cover and uncover each window. Was thinking what if I just had one big piece for the left side, right side, back, and front. Anybody do this for your van?

Man you all are so helpful!!! Can't thank you enough for all the advice received so far! Hopefully one day I'll be experienced and can do some teaching myself!
I thought professionally made window covers were over priced. My initial attempt was DIY, I traced the patterns and cut Reflectix. In my second attempt I bought the WeatherTech kit. On the third try, the Heat Shield kit. None of these products worked satisfactorily. The covers were flimsy, delicate, didn’t stay put in the window very well, setup and take down were a hassle, and they required storage when not in use. I finally bit the bullet and bought VanEssential and VanMade Gear covers. They are available for the Promaster, Sprinter, and Transit. At the time of purchase, it was the single most expensive element in my build, even exceeding my EcoFlow Delta power station. The covers attach magnetically to the metal around cargo van windows. For passenger vans with plastic clad windows, small magnets are glued in place as attachment points for the covers. The covers are well made and durable. They are thermally effective. They prevent (or dramatically reduce) condensation on the windows. They are easy to use- taking only a few seconds to deploy up or down. They stay in place, there's nothing to store away. They prevent interior light from leaking out at night or daylight from entering in the morning. With Sprinter’s OEM window tint, the covers are invisible- it just looks black (except for the front windows and windshield).

Whether I’m driving or parked, I like being able to see outside. I wanted windows all around and keep most of the covers folded up in place, deploying them down only when I want privacy. I don’t use window covers in the front for several reasons. First, they would be of limited use since I don’t have swivel seats. Second, they need to be stored when not in use, which is most of the time. Third, I prefer a blackout curtain, which makes the van look unoccupied when parked.

Professionally made Insulated window covers are expensive but DIYers are not likely to create a better solution without seamster skills and equipment. In my opinion, it is money well spent.
What conditions are you insulating for?
With hot weather coming, I made a pair for my drivers & passengers door windows for a little less than $10 dollars. Dollar Tree has windshield covers made of silver mylar film on a foam backing. They come with two black rubber suction cups and black fabric edge binding. Once the window covers were cut out, edge binding was removed from the surplus and glued where needed and later sewn on.

My rig isn't insulated yet and that may wait for awhile until I can full time.

I picked up a small grommet kit at Harbor Freight, and some sticky back magnet disk at WalMart. I had a tube of multi purpose glue on hand and used it to secure the binding to the covers I made until I could sew them in place with my mini sewing machine.

The suction cups mounted thru the holes I made with the grommet tool. Thus the window can be rolled down and the suction cups hold the screen in place. I made some ventilation screens awhile back using home rain gutter screens. So these can be used together for ventilation and reflecting heat. Three stick on magnet disk are located at the bottom corners and one near the top of the wing vent metal brace. So this can all be used with or without the vent screen at the top of the window. If the suction cups need to be replaced similar sized clear vinyl ones can be purchased at Dollar Tree to replace them with.

1/2 inch grommet kit Harbor Freight


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I'd like to find Tyvek housewrap rolls (4'x50') that were just blank white - did not have man'f & trade name name printed all over every inch (seems like) and then use the paper as EXTERIOR sun blockers on my window van that has forty feet or so of windows...

Tyvek is nearly inert, light weight and thin so the magnets gets the best bite to tie it down.

If* we can keep the glass from ever heating up let alone the sunspot hot spots inside that goes a long way to making late afternoon van use kinder & gentler : )

Also - most anything across the roof will bounce away 1,000's of watts of sun heating - I've put lengths of 48" wide prodex up there to experiment and it works. Also works to keep convection from stealing heat once weather turns brutal cold...
I've been around quite a few Aircraft Hangars and noticed the insulation with the plain white plastic backing facing into the interior. Of note was that so many of them had "chicken wire" reinforcement over it to hold it in place. Don't know if anyone would want that set up in their rig but if they did, it could be done until paneling could be installed over it.

The plastic insulation cover is all white with no print on it.

Steel Building Single Layer Insulation