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When we hit the open road in November of 2019, we didn’t have insect screens in our build. Boy were we idiots! When doing research, you never see the interior of vans covered in bugs, but it is sadly a cold hard fact of living in nature. Do yourself a favor and add them to your must have items when doing your build-out.

Why do you get so many creepy crawlies in your van? Well, often times your home is going to get hot and keeping the doors open is a fast and effective way to manage heat gain and allow a massive breeze to exhaust the heat in your van along with using your roof fan. This huge hole in your home is an obvious entry point for bugs to get inside. The other, maybe less obvious situation is when it’s warm out at night and you have a door open with the lights ON in the interior. This is literally an insect beacon, as many bugs will be attracted to your bright, shiny LED fixtures. We have had times where there has been at least 50 flying hellions circling the lights inside. You don’t want this.

We were quickly convinced that we needed insect screens to manage the little flying bastards. We researched a lot of DIY strategies so that we could make our own screens. There are some clever solutions out there! However, we didn’t find a DIY solution that gave us supreme confidence that we’d end up with a durable and well fitting product. We really wanted something that was going to fit like a glove, as your insect problem is only as good as the amount of gaps in your openings. For this reason, we started researching pre-made screens.

Magnets keep the two screens closed

Magnets keep the two screens closed

The screens come with draw-ties

The screens come with draw-ties

At the end of the day, after hours of research, we landed on the Down by the River Medium/High Roof Mosquito Screens. These screens are really, really nice. The mesh is strong and the screen holes are small - even for tiny gnats that like to hang near your van to get out of the wind. The sliding door set comes as a pair, with a right and left screen that attach together via magnets when you want to keep the screen in the closed position. They also come with tiebacks located on the outer sides which allows you to secure the screens open when the bugs aren’t troublesome and you need easy access in and out of the van. The screens have very strong magnets all around the perimeter as well that attach directly to the interior steel around the opening of your door. These are made to attach on the inside face of your door opening, which allows you to close the sliding door without taking the screens down at night.

Our rollup hack

Our rollup hack

Velcro straps for the rollup hack

Velcro straps for the rollup hack

Since our build was already completed when we decided to purchase the screens, we had to do a little hack that we ended up really loving. We had built an over-door shelf above the slider to house our cheap DIY Awning and a few other odds and ends that we use frequently and wanted quick access to. When our Mosquito Screens came, we realized that the area where they would “stick” at the top was covered by this over-door shelf. We removed the shelf and then screwed the screens into the back of it and added velcro straps. Then we re-mounted the shelf with the screens and straps in place. We love this hack because the velcro straps keep the screens rolled up and out of our way when we don’t need them, but they’re right where we want them when we do. It also saved us from having to find a place to store the screens when we knew we wouldn’t need them for long periods of time (such as cold climate conditions).

Rollup hack used on the left panel

Rollup hack used on the left panel

Why we love it: The quality of these Mosquito Screens are top notch. The photos on the seller’s site aren’t great, but we can assure you that they are of the highest quality. The screen, the magnets, and the fit are terrific. Most importantly, they do a great job of keeping bugs out of your build!

Things to keep in mind: The magnets are strong! The screen has a tendency to “stick” to the outside of our van when entering and exiting. Learning how to open and close the screens takes some getting used to, but it’s well worth getting the hang of! We mentioned that you can keep the screens up at night when closing the slider, but this can be a bit awkward and the screens can occasionally get caught in the door. Be careful when closing!

The take-away: If you’re looking for top notch Mosquito Screens and don’t want bugs crawling on your face at night, then these are the ones you’re looking for. They aren’t the cheapest ones on the market, but we feel they are the best. Down by the River carries front, slider, and back door screens for Fords, Ram/Dodge, and Mercedes. They also carry a number of other products that you may be on the hunt for. Go check out their offerings now!

Screen open using tie-backs

Screen open using tie-backs

Enjoying a bug-free evening in the great outdoors

Enjoying a bug-free evening in the great outdoors

 

 

 If you need window coverings for your van, check out Down by the River Curtains....'Marcy'. We have had ours for almost a year now and recommend them highly!! They are beautifully made and insulated along with fitting snug on your windows as they are held in place with strong magnets. The magnets stitched in the seams are adjustable. The window coverings fold up nicely making them easy to stow away. Marcy does a great job!

- Janet WC (10-13-19)

Down By The River insulated window covers Ford Transit

 

 

Window Coverings - Wanted to give a review of the window coverings I bought from Marcy Elizabeth of Down by the River Curtains a couple of weeks ago. I purchased the windshield, 2 rear windows, 2 side windows (passenger/driver), 1 slider window and 2 for the rear door windows.

Would I buy again - YES - in a heartbeat. They are super fast to put up, take down and store and they look GREAT! Along with a VanRug these were the first enhancements made to my van.

Ranking (1= worst, 10= best)
10 - Fit

10 - Finish

10 - Appearance

9 - Price - seems expensive, but they look SO PRO when installed. But to take the time to measure it all, get the fabric, magnets, sew, etc. They are a deal! Def work with Marcy for a discount if you order multiple covers. These are VERY nice quality!

10 - Packaging - They come USPS and in large water-proof zip-lock bags

10 - Black-out ability - 100% black-out

10 - Easy to handle
pull on, pull off easily - just magnets

10 - Stow-away capability
roll up, fold or store on your van wall if still metal

10 - Magnet Strength - very impressed with their strength!

10 - Magnet placement and ability to adjust
Love the magnet "tracks" where you can slide the magnet to a different location for you needs.

10 - Rear Window installation / removal
Fits like a glove. complete coverage and I have the Rear Defrost too

10 - Side/Slider Window installation / removal
Fits like a glove

9 - Driver/Passenger Doors installation / removal
At first I thought these were too big, but found it easiest to open the door, slap on the covers and then close the door. this got the covers max coverage on the metal and you can still pull them off easy from the inside as the edges are behind the rubber door seals. They can be installed without opening the doors, but they won't be as neat and tidy.

8 - Windshield initial installation
The front requires small clips (included) to be installed on your headliner plastic. I had the shelf and that plastic was hard enough that I had to loosen the headliner bolts on each side near the rear view mirror, then took a plastic bicycle tire lever to pry the plastic away from the windshield to be able to slide on the clips and then slide them across the top of the headliner area (this may be easier if you don't have the windshield shelf?). I pre-stretched the clips so they'd slide easier. once the clips are in place, you'll slide each of the magnets on the cover to match up with one of the clips. The magnets slide in a "track" sewn into the edge of the curtain. The clips are not ideal, but they work well given there is no metal to attach to in this area. There are 3 magnets on the sides that require clips on the side pillars too, but I did not use as the top magnets held the cover up just fine. Total install time - 1.5 hours (I spent too much time trying to get the clips installed without loosening the headliner bolts.

9.5 - Windshield subsequent installation / removal
Easy! Attach the 2 magnets around the rear view mirror (There is a 6-inch split for the rear-view mirror) , then spread the cover across the windshield where the magnets will make contacts with the clips and wa-la.

10 - Purchase to Ship time - Excellent!

10 - Communication and Question Response time - Excellent!

OTHER
All Panels are asymmetrical. The rip-stop material is intended to go against the window and the denier side toward the inside of the van.

I love the way you can partially roll back parts of the cover if needed and the magnets just attach where you roll them back.

R-Value - Unsure. The material in between the denier is 'Temptrol' an it reflects 95 of the radiant heat. I can definitely feel a temp difference in the van after a cold Iowa Winter morning if I have the covers installed.

Note - you'll always need at least a 1/2 inch of exposed metal around your windows so the magnets have something attach to. This may not work if your build goes right up to the window.

WELL DONE MARCY !

- Scott S (1-12-19)

 windshield insulated window cover ram promaster down by the river curtains Windshield cover. It is a BIG piece of fabric, but so is your windshield!!
front door insulated magnetic window cover promaster down by the river curtains Passenger/Driver coverings - These install best with the door open, but they do install with door closed too, but they won't be as neat/tidy. 100% back-out ability and you can still roll down the fabric if you want to crack the windows or see out some.
sliding door insulated magnetic window cover promaster down by the river curtains Sliding Door Covering
rear door window insulated magnetic window cover down by the river curtains Rear door covering (with Rear defrost)
Rear defrost area on rear doors. These ARE covered with the covering thus allowing 100% black-out
6 inch slit for rear-view mirror. It will still work just fine if you don't have a mirror.
Clips above the windshield. This gives a surface for the magnets to stick to.
close-up of fabric and magnet "track". VERY well sewn !!