Van Life Windows Or No Windows

Van Life Windows Or No Windows

Some people are just not meant to travel by car. They prefer to adventure through the country in vans and trucks with no windows, letting nature get its due. On the other hand, some people enjoy living with all their windows open to watch the stars at night. It’s a personal preference with benefits and drawbacks on either side; there is no correct answer regarding a van life window or none. But how do you know which way to go? Van life can be very sustainable, but only if you are careful about what you do and how you live.

The open road is a beautiful thing. Generally, there is no rule that states have to have windows in their vans and trucks. In the past, windowless vans were used for stealth as they traveled across countries without a problem. It’s not an endorsement of illegal activity, and it is also not a way to encourage people to break the law. It’s just an observation that you don’t have to have windows in your rig.

Do Camper Vans Need Windows?

Over the past few years, van life windows have become a hot topic in the community. There are many different ways that people travel on the road, and most of these methods are acceptable for others to do, but when a windowless van is discussed, some people tend to get bothersome. Is it good or bad for you to have your windows open?

First off, let’s think about what is keeping you inside your car with no windows. Usually, it’s because of safety concerns. Most people would never have their windows open to get a fresh breeze of air. It’s all about security and privacy. People are using their windows as a way to keep prying eyes away from their possessions or valuables. So if you want to have your little cove, it is not safe to drive around with the windows down, even when driving on the highway.

Types Of Camper Van Windows

When you think about a camper van having windows, you probably imagine that the windows would go right up without any problem. That is not the case with all of the different types of windows. The style of your camper van is one of the factors to consider when you are thinking about getting a windowless van (or not). You want your windowless vehicle to have an advantage over other vans and trucks, just like a fancy car does. The best type of window allows you to see the outside and provides privacy on the inside.

Roll-up Window.

Window types are numerous, but the most common one is the roll-up window. These are available for you to purchase and install in your vehicle. When you have the appropriate tools, this can be a quick and inexpensive project. You will also have the ability to buy a remote-control unit that will allow you to open and close the window. It is handy if it’s raining outside or a strong wind inside your vehicle.

Tilt-up Windows

The next type of window is called tilt-up windows. It will allow you to add a slide-out window to your vehicle. It will give you the ability to enjoy some fresh air while still keeping your privacy.

Sliding Window

In addition to offering excellent privacy, this type of window is also quite energy-efficient. These are perfect for drivers who want a little bit of privacy. However, it is not recommended to use your sliding windows when you are driving.

Ventilator Windows

It is more for the winter months or the summer months than it is a year-round option. It operates in a way that removes warm air from inside your van and replaces that warm air with cold air. To get a good flow of cold air, you need to make sure you put it in a setting to allow maximum airflow.

Screen Windows

There are several that you can purchase to install in your camper van in terms of screen types. Installing this type of window will give you the ability to sleep with your windows down. It also will help keep bugs out while you are driving. You can even use a screen door for more oversized windows.

Smoke Catcher Windows

The last type of windows that we want to talk about is called smoke catcher windows. These types of windows are not meant for camper vans. So why would we bring them up? Well, because some people feel that they may be helpful if you live on the road and your vehicle is a camper van. You can use these to help reduce the amount of smoke you have coming into your living space due to smoke from cigarettes or other sources. They are inexpensive, effective, and easy to install! The only downside is that they won’t work with all van window styles.

Why Van Life?

Many people choose to live on the road, living in a van is a good idea. It all depends on what drives them, but the one thing that they share is that they are ready to move on from their previous lives and start something new. When you live in a van, sleeping in a tent, or RVing, you can get away from your old life and chart your course.

DIY Van Conversion Window Installation

There are many different types of windows you can use for your camper van. Window types can vary based on your needs. The most important thing about this decision is that it will allow you to turn your windowless van into a functioning home.

The Rear Windows:

Your windowless van can be easily equipped with a rear window. To replace this glass window, you’ll need to find an auto glass repair shop specializing in auto parts. It may be a very pricey proposition, but it can be worth it in the long run.

The Side Windows:

Side windows for your van will generally only be used at night and are less important than the rear window and front windows because there is more road noise at night than there is during the day. If you have a side window, you can remove the panel from your vehicle and install some screws. In establishing the window, a hole will need to be drilled in the door or van shell so that the window can be inserted.

The Rear Doors Windows:

This rear door window will probably be the hardest for you to install. You will need first to remove the panel inside your door, then prepare the area for the window by removing a portion of the top corner of your shell and adding plywood and insulation where necessary so that you can create a straight edge. After this is done, you are ready to attach your new window panel.

The Driver Side Window:

A driver’s side window will be pretty simple to install. The window will need to be installed inside the shell of your vehicle, and you will need to cut a hole in the door for it. The rest of the installation should be self-explanatory.

The Back Door Windows:

If you want to add a back door window that leads into the camper part of your van, you will have to take out a wall that may already exist in your vehicle. After this is done, you can easily install your new window panel.

What Is The Window Tint Level?

Window tint level as measured by how dark it is. Usually, it would go from 15% to 35%. It is traditionally seen as a silver or dark gray shade. The lighter the paint, the more visible you are in direct sunlight. But if it’s too dark, you can get a headache.

There are some tips for choosing the proper window film for your purposes:

  • Make sure the window film you’re purchasing has an ASTM rating of 1,000,000 or more. It is an international standard that verifies the physical protection of the product.
  • Look for a UVA rating of at least 75. It measures how UV rays affect your skin. It usually ranges from 50% to 99%. The lower the number, the more vulnerable your skin is to sun damage and aging.
  • If you’re purchasing a more than 35% tint, the room should be darkened with some light filtering device, like a compact fluorescent light (CFL).
  • Make sure that you’re looking at the percentage of tint when purchasing. Many window film manufacturers are misleading consumers by using the term “light transmittance.” It has zero to do with how dark your car gets, and it makes no difference if you are on a sunny day or cloudy.
  • Don’t assume a higher percentage means better protection. Many manufacturers say that their tint will block 98% of UV rays, but this is NOT the case. Today, many products on the market are only a 7% UV blocker, meaning that it blocks 77% of UV rays. Keep in mind that of the 77%, approximately 55% of them go right through the film at all. That means that a 7% film will block only 35%.

A Transit Van Conversion: What’s The Best Way To Do It?

Vanlife is a culture-defining movement. From the freedom of the open road to the sheer simplicity of life, van life is about so much more than just vans. Van life has been around for decades. However, it was only recently that Internet communities and social media got behind the movement and made it the phenomenon that we see today.


What’s the worst part about living out of your vehicle with or without windows? A comfortable ride is mandatory, and a fully enclosed van can help improve the comfort level in extreme weather conditions. Unless you are doing an RV conversion, then you might not have windows at all since they are usually found in RVs, and you will be using either a camper shell on your van or build your custom pop-up top. The Chevy Express and Ford Econoline vans are two popular models that people buy to make their Van Life dreams come true.

Designing your window system is one of the many DIY projects you can do to personalize your camper conversion. The van is not only more unique, but it also reduces the cost of converting a van. Windows are a project that you don’t want to take lightly, though; see our other articles for more information on selecting the perfect windows for your conversion. As for your van’s interior layout, think about your lifestyle as a whole and what’s fun to do. Then consider when you are thinking about getting a windowless van (or not).