The Great Windshield Battle of 2015


We are approaching our third Winter in our RV. And I am still struggling, pondering,  muddling over what to do about our windshield.  That huge expanse of glass lets a lot of heat in through the glass and lets a lot of heat out through the glass.  This winter we expect to have the most severe temperatures that we have encountered thus far and it’s been something for me to fret over (at least a little  bit).

There’s no such thing as a Thermopane windscreen — so what’s an RV’er to do?

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Journey in 2012 at Potosi WI

You may remember that there was one winter that we spent back in Cudahy baby-sitting our failed-to-sell-house, and of course there was our first winter of retirement when we were downsizing.

Our first summer RV’ing was a hot one and it seemed as if every site we occupied that summer faced South or Southwest.  The A/C in that little Winnebago could barely keep up with the temps when it got to 85º and anything over that ended up being nearly unbearable even with the unit running full blast.  To say nothing about the IN-ability to sleep with the heat pump sits directly UNDER your bed.

windsheild_2
All sorts of windscreen covers
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All sorts of windscreen covers

That summer we saw quite a few RV’s with some form of windscreen covers;  both interior and exterior.  I started reading up on them and the idea of trapping the radiant energy BEFORE it entered the RV made a lot of sense to me. But the one thing I could not get over was the idea of having to drill numerous holes into the front of the coach for screw-in fasteners.  screw-in1 screw-in2I just could not bring myself to do that.

So I did nothing.  Well, not exactly ’nothing — I just didn’t address the problem completely.  What we did do was to invest in some Reflectix™ and cut numerous pieces to fit the windshield, and a couple other windows in Journey.  reflectix 

Reflectix is basically bubble wrap manufactured with reflective MYLAR instead of clear plastic. For what it is, it provides an actual reduction in heat transmission because of both it’s reflectivity and the small air-gap between the faces of the material.  It’s easy to work with — cut it out with scissors or a box cutter.  It bends to fit the contours of a window.  And if you make the panels slightly larger than the opening you can achieve a press-fit that holds the material in the opening until you’re ready to take it down.

You can’t see through the insulation!

Putting Reflectix in your windows may give you some heat/cold insulation but it has a negative impact as well.  With that stuff up in the windows you get no light.  It’s like your beautiful RV has suddenly been parked in a cave!  You can’t SEEEEEEEEEE!

$$$$$

But it’s cheaper than those fancy window screens!   And there’s the rub. Window sun-shades claim to stop 95% of the heat from entering your coach in the first place, and I don’t see any claims regarding preventing heat from leaving your RV.  The reflectix being what it is does both — perhaps not as efficiently in the inbound heat side, but certainly more efficiently on the outgoing heat side!

Magneshades

There is a product I have considered.  But Yikes, they are expensive. Enter the world of MAGNESHADE.magneshade These folks have solved the multiple holes in the front of your RV problem by making shades that stay in place through the use of high strength industrial magnets.  That also means they go UP and DOWN easier too.  The magnet snap the screen into place instead of requiring you to get up on top of a ladder and snap or twist the connectors into place.

Unfortunately, as with every really kewl idea — they also cost an arm and a leg!

But, look —you can get them custom printed with graphics of your own choosing.  Uhhhh…. Nope, not enough of an incentive for me to pay even MORE to get a custom printed windscreen shade.  Not nearly!

But I can’t stop thinking about those Magneshades …

As compared to windshield sun shades for several HUNDRED dollars, I can buy a roll of 48” x 10’ Reflectix from Camping World for about $23.00.  Or I can buy a roll of 48’ x 25’ from The Home Depot for $33.00.  Our windscreen is a bit over 8’ long and just about 4’ tall.  2015080608573210So for $23.00 I can blackout the sun and save a little heat.  We have done so, off and on (when the temps really demanded it), for a couple years.

But I can’t stop thinking about those Magneshades….

As we approach autumn and the prospect of winter in central NM I am thinking about this topic all over again.  Perhaps some year I’ll break down and spend the BIG BUCKS (if we start spending winters in places where it’s consistently hot and summers in places where it’s consistently hot) but we haven’t been able to do that in three years — an Oregon Winter, an abnormally cold S. Texas winter, and a winter in the old house — our track record for Winter Heat has not been anything to brag about.  When we were in S. Texas we didn’t even put the bubble wrap up in the windows — we enjoyed SEEING too much.  And in Oregon I’m not sure we used the bubble wrap at all.

So, here I am, really wishing I had those kewl window shades that you can SEE OUT of, but others can’t SEE IN — unless of course it’s at night and you have lights on inside the RV and it’s dark outside the RV when you can see in just fine!  What is it with obsessions — I guess I can call it an obsession that I just really WANT those sun shades.

I’m resisting though….

I really am…

Is there anything YOU have been wanting to get for your RV that you have resisted for some odd reason?  Surely there must be something.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Oh, that would be anything that would facilitate boondocking, Peter. We aren’t in that ‘mode’ yet, so the resistance is easy. I also think those Winegard Trav’lers are pretty awesome, but I am getting much better at finding my satellite with my phone app.

    I’ve always thought about the dual pane issue with a motorhome. What about some sort of awning or visor?

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    1. Ya know, Jim, we spent a bunch of money on solar and other than a few nights with Uncle Wally we haven’t been doing any boondocking and right now it looks like that’s not going to happen much before the autumn of ’16! Best laid plans and all that.

      The Trave’ler antenna is great! But it won’t work if you don’t have a sight line which is why we were carrying our tripod mounted satellite dish for a year – and wouldn’t you know it, the places we were for that year all had good reception — till we dropped the dish off in MKE — and got up to Highland Ridge, and now again here. Go figure. But in both places we’d either have had to put a dish a LONG way from the coach or put it up high.

      Our side awning helps with temps — but I’ve never seen a front awning and you still have the issue with high winds. For this winter we’ll resort to the Reflectix as we know it will be the coldest winter WE have spent in an RV. Which is an ok tradeoff for what we hope to learn and experience.

      If you travel to S. Texas at the multiple winter Flea Markets there are a lot of companies who will custom sew a windshield shade — at a decent price. But I didn’t do anything about it last year and I didn’t want to be drilling holes in the coach. I suppose as they say, Indecision IS A Decision — but one of these days I’ll figure out what I want to do.

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  2. Is this going to be one of those things that you will finally do but wish you had done much earlier? I suspect so. Just do it, Peter. Get the Magneshade already.

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    1. You know, Linda, I don’t know if I will or not (meaning finally get around to it and wish I’d done it earlier).

      Sure, there are some things like that. However, sometimes writing about these things gets comments I would never have considered. And other times I end up doing nothing — not because I can’t talk myself into the expense — but because I end up deciding that there’s more heat than light, more flourish and less substance.

      When it comes to windshield shades there are a lot of reason for the purchase. Some people want privacy. Some actually want the benefit of temperature mitigation. But the way we RV and the places we stay have not been heat issues all that much of the time. Most of the time we draw 1/2 of the windshield curtains (on the River’s side) and leave the rest open 16 hours a day. It’s one of those things that I just don’t know whether it’s something that would be worthwhile for US.

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