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Shortly after getting our EKKO, Number One, we realized we didn’t totally love the shades that were in there. They worked, but they could be improved. This started us down a long road of trying different window shade designs, and going back and forth with a manufacturer until I finally gave up bought a good sewing machine and made some myself. I learned a lot on that journey, and I share it in this video:
Hopefully, this is helpful to people who want better performance from their window shades. The 46 degree difference you see in the introduction is a real number, but I didn’t spend a lot of time on designing a proper experiment. The RV was just parked out in the driveway in the sun. I wondered what the temperature difference was, and I measured it. I never even bothered to turn on the air conditioner to cool it off inside. It’s possible that I’d get better or worse results if I changed the test conditions.
But don’t let my lack of a controlled experiment dampen your enthusiasm for proper window coverings. These things really do work! Mine turned out fairly complex, but you could use these same ideas to come up with something that works just as well and was far simpler to make.
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Here are some of the tools and supplies you might want to consider, if you want to make some for yourself.
- Radiant Barrier Blackout Fabric
- Thinsulate (200 Series)
- #5 Coil Zipper chain
- My beast of a sewing machine, the Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1
- A Hotknife fabric cutter
- Bar magnet strips
- Noseeum Screen (Lots of options)
If I’ve left something out that you’re interested, hit me up down in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list. Just don’t ask me where to get the rope magnets… I haven’t found a good source yet.
If you want to just purchase something ready made, VanMade Gear is a company we’ve had a long relationship with, and we can vouch that they make good quality stuff. We have a set of their cab window shades up in our EKKO as I type this.
If you do decide to make some on your own, using these ideas, do come back by and let us know about it. We love it when our stuff inspires others!