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Old 12-04-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

Hi:

I have a passenger/transformer style van. There's a lot of glass, and in the winter that translates to lots of heat loss, especially overnight.

Of course, in the summer, that means lots of heat coming in.

Reflectix vs rigid foam. Owen Corning's exterior rigid foam, 1/2" thick, has an R-value of R=3. It's a bit hard to determine the R-value of the Reflectix. Cutting the inserts will be about the same amount of work for either; storing the Reflectix might be a bit easier (less fragile).

Pros and cons? Strong preferences for one over the other?

Making it purdy. If I use Reflectix, then my van windows are covered in foil bubble wrap -- not aesthetically pleasing inside, and sort of screams "someone is in here!" to the outside world if I am overnighting in an urban area rather than remote boondocking. The rigid foam has the same issues, but in bubblegum pink.

I assume that the effectiveness of the foam will not be affected if I cover the exterior side with black cloth and the interior side with, say, light grey to match the interior of the van and reflect light. How about Reflectix? Will the performance be adversely affected if it is covered? I know that SMB sews fabric on to the interior side of their "arctic shades." Someone on this list from Colorado who spends 3 nights a week at work in his SMB, uses "reflectix wrapped in towels" in the windows.

On the flip side, if I cover either with black cloth on the exterior, will that make it significantly less effective in the summer in keeping heat out? (you know, dark colors absorbing heat).


Thanks. Eventually I will make window shades with Warm Windows insulation, but that's a way down the road. I need to get this taken care of ASAP, before hitting the road in a few days for 3 weeks!

--GreyDawg
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #2
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

I have been waiting for them to re-stock, but this is a great product that I had for my Vanagon.


http://secure.mycart.net/catalogs/catal ... prevnext=1
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

GreyDawg,

I have tons of windows in my van, and I have the same issue with heat gain/loss. I've looked at this site to maybe order some Reflectix-like insulation. They have an insulation comparison and some R-value info.

http://www.insulation4less.com/Insulati ... e-RBR.aspx

I do think black cloth backing would cause heat absorbtion (good in winter), and would look better than the silver. In summer, turn them around and have the silver side directed outward.


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Old 12-04-2009, 08:42 PM   #4
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

GreyDawg,

Added pictures to my gallery (haven't figure out how to put them in a post yet) of my windows showing Reflectix/towels/plexiglass on my windows. I originally tucked the towels around the outside of fabriced pieces SMB put around the windows to block light as I like it dark when I sleep. Why towels - I try to come up with multi-purpose ways to make things, I can use towels as towels if I don't want to use in windows in the future and also they are thicker than fabric so they provide additional insulation. I decided to put them underneath the day/night shades so I could remove them easier if I wanted to. I originally thought about putting a more solid piece in to hold the Reflectix/towels up but realized I wouldn't be able to slide them in and out and needed something more flexible and decided on Reflectix. $21 at home depot for a 2'x 21-24' (don't remember exactly how long it was now) roll which was enough for all my windows. I just push the Reflectix tight against the front door window weatherstrip and it stays in place. On the other windows the day/night shade or plexiglass holds them up and by default I have multiple layers providing insulation. Also didn't have to cut it to perfect size (yet) to get to fit, can just push tightly to hold it in and tuck/fold edges in where you need to. Don't remember R value of Reflectix but when I feel my shades they aren't cold. The plastic trim around the windows, the inside of my cabinets, and the floor is cooler even with carpet. I have a hard top and can really tell heat rises as it's warmer higher and gets cooler as you go down but the heat level moves lower through the night as it almost gets to hot at bed level by morning. I stayed in it Tues & Wed night and don't think it got to 20 degrees in the day time. I don't have propane, I plug-in and used electric radiator (it seems to heat higher parts) & heater fan (heats lower/floor level), electric blanket & pad.

Randy
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:21 PM   #5
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyDawg
Hi:

I have a passenger/transformer style van. There's a lot of glass, and in the winter that translates to lots of heat loss, especially overnight.

Of course, in the summer, that means lots of heat coming in.

Reflectix vs rigid foam. Owen Corning's exterior rigid foam, 1/2" thick, has an R-value of R=3. It's a bit hard to determine the R-value of the Reflectix. Cutting the inserts will be about the same amount of work for either; storing the Reflectix might be a bit easier (less fragile).

Pros and cons? Strong preferences for one over the other?


--GreyDawg

LeadDoggy also has a passenger/window van. Been using the Reflectix stuff that I purchased at HomeDepot. Worked great while I was camping in Mammoth with temperatures into the upper 30s. Also looked at the rigid foam stuff but did not like the stuff becaused it did look very fragile. The sight of the reflectix stuff does not look all that bad IMO, works good and stores nicely between the mattress and bedplatform as for I usually remove it from the rear doors, side doors and the window behind the drivers seat when traveling.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:24 PM   #6
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

Most of the rigid foam I've seen is on the order of 1/2" thick, so I would think storing a fair amount of it in a van might be a challenge.


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Old 12-06-2009, 06:57 AM   #7
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

Well, I think that all advice points toward using the Reflectix, so I picked up a roll of it yesterday (24" x 25') at Home Depot ($21.95 at HD compared to $28.95 at Lowe's ).

I think the windows are symmetric so that the covers can be flipped over (for example, the rear and side door windows) or swapped pairwise (front door windows), so I will probably cover one side in black fabric, wrapped around the edges the way SMB makes their shades so that the edges are stabilized. Then in the winter I can use black side out, and in the summer I can use silver side out.

As for aesthetics, I'll just have to move making window shades/curtains higher up the priority list! Then for deep winter camping, I'll have Reflectix and curtains.

Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

Hopefully I didn't mislead you on needing one roll for a window van. Mine's not a window van and needed less than one roll to cover side door, rear door, 2-18"x18", & 1-18"x42" camper windows. I had a piece left over that ended up covering windshield although not all the way to the top. I think you may need more than one roll.

Randy
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

I bought one of those cheap backpacking ground mats to cut out but have yet to try it. I just wonder if it will stand up in the window and I don't know how well it will guard against heat coming in. Definately looks better than reflextics.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:52 AM   #10
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Re: Reflectix vs rigid foam for windows (winter camping)

This may be too late for your application GreyDawg, but I came across this Reflectix-like insulation that has one face made out of a white polyethylene. Maybe it would be more visually appealing, and the other side could still be faced with a black fabric.

http://www.insulation4less.com/Insulati ... #fragment2


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