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An Straightforward Hack to Make Your Automotive Tenting Hotter

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Once you drive a Vanagon, you be taught all types of straightforward, passive options to the indignities of vanlife. Take air con, for instance. Mine had it, nevertheless it was vulnerable to failure. One time, coming throughout the Mojave whereas driving again to California from Zion, we bought caught in stop-and-go-traffic for greater than 20 miles with the temperature throbbing between 113 and 115. My companion and I purchased a 10-pound bag of ice and crammed baggies, which we placed on prime of our heads.

I additionally made liberal use of Reflectix, the doubled-sided insulation, which is a staple of vanlifers in every single place. It’s low-cost, gentle, and remarkably efficient at bouncing the solar’s rays skyward and physique warmth again to you— generally it appears there’s extra Reflectix in Sprinters than sheet steel.

If you happen to don’t learn about Reflectix, learn on. If you happen to do, learn on anyway so I can let you know how I tweaked the widespread utilization in a method that I feel’s fairly cool.

With the van, I pulled out all of the cabinetry, carpeting, and headliner and crammed the areas with sound deadening supplies and a little bit of Reflectix. Then I made window insulators out of Reflectix. For my first effort, I used newspaper to make a sample, nevertheless it turned out to be simpler to press the Reflectix in opposition to the window, Sharpie the define, and trim away with scissors till the match was proper.

The issue was that a Vanagon’s home windows are flat, with no lip on the molding to carry them in place. Suction cups such as you see on business insulating blankets don’t work effectively when it’s actually chilly, and tape wasn’t actually an possibility. I opted for what appeared a intelligent repair—I hot-glued tremendous magnets contained in the Reflectix. They pulled towards the metal partitions, and bam! It labored completely.

Then I offered the van. If you happen to’ve ever had a Vanagon, or a ship, or cabin, or a two-stroke something, you’ll know why. Better of instances, worst of instances, and so on. So, I went again to my first technology Sequoia, 14 years previous and nonetheless operating sturdy, and included the very best components of vanlife. The very first thing I did was make new window insulators.


The Toyota’s home windows have lips, in order that they keep in place with out magnets, that are absurdly costly. After the expertise within the van, it went quick and easily (making them barely larger than you suppose they must be appears to assist maintain them extra securely in place—as you may see, I have to redo this one). However as a result of it’s not as simple to stealth camp in an SUV as a van, I additionally had the thought to extend the privateness by masking one facet of the Reflectix in black gaffer’s tape. And, whoa, does it work effectively.

Right here’s how I take advantage of it: When it’s chilly, I place the insulators with the silver dealing with inward and the black dealing with outward. This bounces warmth again towards the inside whereas making it practically unimaginable for anybody to see what’s taking place inside (with tinted home windows…clear home windows, you may see the tape). If the solar’s out and hitting the black gaffer tape, it additionally has the impact of warming the automobile from the skin, too. In my solo checks, it makes the inside 10 to 15 levels hotter; with two our bodies, the impact is larger.

Conversely, when it’s scorching, I now have a full set of window reflectors turning again photo voltaic radiation at each window, which makes a dramatic distinction in cooler or fridge efficiency, in addition to offering a bit of piece of thoughts for leaving laptops and different electronics inside on a sunny day.


Making the insulators is easy—you don’t want an Instructables step-by-step, that’s for positive. A roll of Reflectix is lower than 20 bucks at House Depot or Lowe’s and might cowl two medium SUVs no downside. Gaffer’s tape is best to seek out on-line—get the two-inch width to make the method go sooner.

Gaffer’s tape isn’t good. It fades over time and exhibits white on the seams. I’ve been planning to experiment with masking Reflectix in matte black spray paint or Plastidip, however have questions on how effectively the paint will adhere to the foil over the long run. If you happen to’ve tried this, tell us within the feedback. And you probably have different Reflectix hacks, share these, too.



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