If you have ever spent the night in your campervan, bus, van or car you propabbly know the problems that are particularly significant in the deepest winter or in midsummer. In winter it is the extreme cold with condensation on the windows and strong heat loss – in summer it is the sun’s rays, which creates unbearable temperatures in the bus. Our bus already had tinted windows, which at least stops a bit of the heat in summer but that does not solve the handling of the cold in winter.
Thermo mats against cold and heat
After our first experience with winter camping in 2018, we noticed that thermo mats can reduce the heat loss and the formation of condensation in the van. With a standard thermo mat for the front window, we started our first tests and quickly realized that this already keeps the cold away and the bus remains snugly warm.
One thing’s for sure, we urgently need more of those mats for the other windows! After some research we found countless offers with custom-fit mats for our VW T4. When we saw the price we knew we have to create our own ones.
How it works – Do it yourself and save money
Our goal: A small thermo mat collection suitable for the VW T4 (Transporter) for little money.
So we added 5 more mats for unbeatable 3 € (Euroshop) for each window. Attention, always count your windows! Now the crafting part starts. None of the mats had the right size – so: we placed the thermal mat on each window from the outside and marked the right size. A waterproof pen is a good choice. At home, we separated the black fabric at the edges. For us this was the most distressing part – but with a seam ripper this step is much easier done. DO NOT DISCARD THIS BLACK FABRIC, WE’LL SEW IT ON AGAIN. Now cut the mats to the right size and sew the black fabric on again. A sewing machine is unfortunately essential here. In the last step, the suction cups have to be attached. It is best to get suction cups with screw-cap. These are available online for about 10 euros. For an easy attachment of the suction cups a punch is a usefull tool. To protect the holes from tearing, we used a strip of gaffer tape. Ta-da! Just six steps that make life in the van a lot better.
Yes true, it takes a lot of effort to tailor the thermo mats, but in the end we made this accessory for our campervan by ourselves. Compared to the price for perfectly fitting mats on the Internet, you can really save some money with this method. So we can absolutely recommend this upgrade to every vanlifer.
Here is a little guide how we proceeded: