Vanagon – insulated window blanket prototype

I bought some material a week of so ago with the idea to try making an insulated window blanket. At the fabric store I found some brownish-red microsuede material that was deeply discounted, and some “Insulbrite”  sorry, “insulshine”. foil faced polyester batting material (about 1/8″ thick). I also bought some 1/2″ diameter, 1/10″ thick rare earth magnets. Today my wife sewed things up (and very nicely too) and I think it works out well.

The idea was to be able to have the shiny side in for winter camping – keep the heat in, and the shiny side out for summer camping – keep the solar gain down. I had thought about using snaps to fix the blanket in place but magnets seemed more versatile. I think it turned out well.





I’ll post a bit more on the construction later.

  1. #1 by nigel on March 10, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    Nice looking product. Whrn does the wife startmas production?

    • #2 by albell on March 10, 2013 - 8:17 pm

      After finishing sewing up the prototype (and sewing around the embedded magnets vexed her), my wife asked how much the Bus Depot ones were. When I told her she said “not enough”. I took the hint.



  2. #3 by famillysyncro on March 10, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    Looks really good, this is a good idea.
    I wasn’t lucky with the link for the “Insulbrite” it doesn’t work for me.
    Is that product easy to sew on the fabric?

    Thanks for the post.


    • #4 by albell on March 10, 2013 - 8:35 pm

      I’ll fix the link Jerome. Yes, the Insulbrite stuff sews well.

      Note that there is binding tape around the edges.


      • #5 by famillysyncro on March 11, 2013 - 6:25 am

        Thanks Alistair.
        I saw that binding tape around the edges, it looks really nice.

        I looked at Bus Depot stuff. We are not talking about the same quality…. Not sure about those suction cup either when it gets colder or hotter in the van….


  3. #6 by Dake Collins on March 11, 2013 - 4:36 am

    This looks like an idea I’ll try. Thanks for all of your ideas * follow up. –

  4. #7 by Patti on July 27, 2013 - 11:41 pm

    How many magnets did you use, and what kind and shape? What is the view that covers only half the window? Was that a “prototype?”

    • #8 by albell on July 28, 2013 - 8:46 am

      Hi Patti,

      I used 8 magnets (size in article). 3 along top, 3 along sides. I think I’d go up a size to 3/4″ ones for the next blanket. I got the magnets from Lee Valley, look them up on the web and you will see the range of magnets (many other sources of magnets of course). If you arrange the magnets with some thought, you can have the poles oriented so that you can fold back one end and the magnets will attract (not repel) each other and hold the blanket firmly. Same thing goes on when you fold the blanket up – magnets grab each other and it almost self folds.
      Yes, was a prototype, we need to get our butts in gear and make some more.

      Let me know if you make some.


  5. #9 by Sam on October 5, 2013 - 8:41 am

    How many yards did you order to make a full set?
    Olympia, WA

    • #10 by albell on October 5, 2013 - 8:48 am


      I can’t recall, but I just bought a couple of yards (micro suede was on remnant rack and cheap) to experiment with. I still need to finish the project.

      I really like the micro suede stuff. It looks me feels warm or cozy. The warm colour is very nice.

      Your interest has made me get off my ass and get going again with the project. You know how it Is, so many other things to do on the van.


    • #11 by albell on February 3, 2014 - 4:08 pm


      sorry about delay in resounding. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t made the full set yet 😦


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