Why I Decided to get one:
As you may know, a high roof Sprinter van is quite tall; the windshield is up there. This makes it difficult to wash your windshield, scrape ice, and remove snow. As I planned to embrace winter in my van, I’ve had to consider a lot about insulation, heat, and snow and ice. One thought that came to mind to help make life a bit easier in winter was to get an exterior windshield cover. I knew a product like this would make it easier on frosty and snowy mornings. By simply putting on the exterior windshield cover on at night and removing it in the morning, I would reduce windshield scraping and snow removal.
What I Decided to go with:
During my millions of Google searches about van building, van life products, and van building companies, I stumbled across RB Components (I have no affiliation with this company). I really liked how their vans looked. When browsing through their products page I saw that they made exterior windshield and side window covers. It looked like a solid option, and it was exactly what I was envisioning. Plus, I didn’t find too many other great looking choices that would fit the size of a high roof Sprinter van. If you’ve found good options I’d love hear about them in the comments.
The Price Point:
I can attest that the quality of the product and material is quite nice. This translates to a bit of a higher cost. I was hesitant at first to pay the $249.99 price point, but eventually I did. I can definitely see how this item might be a little expensive for most and probably not a necessary item for many van lifers.
It was winter when I purchased this item, so I was able to test it out right away. I was in the Northeast at the time, and most mornings I’d wake up with at least some frost on the windshield. After playing around with the straps and getting the cover to fit nice and snug, I let it sit overnight. The next morning I took it off with no frost on the windshield. It actually didn’t take that long before I got to test it out during a snowstorm. We got a good dump of snow around mid-January, and I found it pretty easy to pull off the cover, revealing a nice and clean windshield. Of course, with a high roof van, the snow from above the windshield will inevitably slide down to the hood. The big point, though, is that it does a great job of keeping the ice off your windshield. This is so nice since it’s not easy to reach and scrape.
How It’s Held Up:
Since I’ve only had this cover for one year, I can’t fully vouch for its longevity, especially since I’ve only used it a handful of times. However, it is made of some rugged material, and the straps seem to be very solid so far. I’m not thinking this is a product that is going to fail anytime soon.
There are only a couple drawbacks I’ve noticed thus far. One is that it’s slightly difficult to put on by yourself. The magnets built into the top seam of the cover help with this, though. By being able to toss it across the windshield and apply the magnet, it holds it in place long enough to walk around to the other side and finish putting it on. Once you’ve done it a few times you do get the hang of it. The other thing I noticed was that when you close the doors on the fabric cover to help lock it in place, it somewhat compromises the seal of the door. I have left the cover on during rain, which wasn’t necessary, but when I opened the doors the next morning I found some water inside the van. Of course, this isn’t a problem when using the cover in dry or winter conditions.
I’d definitely argue you might only need to use this cover in the winter season. Again, it helps keep frost off your windshield so you don’t need to scrape or have your defroster on forever, and it helps remove snow after a storm. With that said, you certainly could use the cover year-round. I haven’t used it in the summer yet and would be curious to see if it helped to keep heat out of the van, or if it would make it worse. I also have an inner sunshade to help with that during the summer.
Would I Recommend This?
If you can get over the price point and will find yourself in winter conditions, then I would totally recommend this cover. It’s super simple and easy to throw on, once you get the hang of it (probably much easier with two people). It offers an additional layer of privacy in your van as well. It can’t be stolen off the van easily as it locks in place inside the vehicle. It’s an overall good accessory to have with your van, and in the right conditions, it really can make life easier.