Friday, November 13, 2015

Blackout EZ Window Covers

When my wife and I attend a star party we prefer to stay in our travel trailer on or near the observing field.  

While I'm out viewing my wife stays in the trailer and watches movies or  listens to music.  It is important to have the trailer windows and skylights covered so that my wife can do her thing with the lights on but avoid having the lights interfere with the viewing.  In our old trailer I covered the windows from the inside with aluminum foil.  It was effective in preventing light leaking out, but was difficult to remove and reapply.  With our new trailer as we prepared to attend the Deep South Regional Star Gaze I was looking for a better solution.

While perusing I came across an interesting product: Blackout EZ window covers.  These covers are an opaque fabric that attaches with hook and loop fasteners.  They sell these covers in small (36" width x 48" length), large (45" width x 66" length), and custom sizes. I ordered a large kit to try.  It arrived in a heavy cardboard mailing tube.  Inside was a piece of vinyl fabric that is white on one side and black on the other.  The fabric is stiff but flexible.  Also in the mailing tube was the hook and loop fasteners with adhesive backing.  

The trailer windows came with curtains and a shade.  They look nice but I had to remove them to install the Blackout EZ kit.

 So with the curtains and shade off I had access to the window frame.  Now to install the hook fastener.

The challenge with the rounded windows is to kerf the hook tape to fit around the frame.

It takes some time to fit the tape around the window frame.

With the hook tape attached to the window frame it is an easy matter to measure and cut the fabric.  It is easy to cut with scissors and on the black side of the fabric there is a grid that makes cutting in a straight line easy.   Then the loop tape is applied to the back side of the fabric.

Attaching the fabric with the hook and loop tape is easy and the result is a nice looking window covering.

Here with the curtains and shade reinstalled, the covering is attractive and doesn't interfere with the operation of the shade. 

When darkness fell I had my wife shine a flashlight all around the window on the inside and I stood outside looking for any light leakage.  There was none.    I was sold and the next day I ordered enough material to do all the windows, skylights, and door in the trailer.  It took 3 of the large kits to cover the 6 windows, 2 skylights, and door. For the two large picture windows,  I bought 2  custom pieces.  The kits come with the hook and loop fastener but I found for the large kits I needed additional fastener tape.

It took me several hours to get the openings in the trailer all covered, but I am quite satisfied with the results.  It looks good and is effective.  You can easily pull the fabric back when you want to look out the window and then firmly reattach the fabric.  When not at star parties we can peel the fabric partially back or even pull it totally off, roll it, and store it away.  The reverse process to reattach is quick 

So how did it do at the Deep South Regional Star Gaze?  Fantastic !  My wife enjoyed being able to have the lights and TV on without bothering the astronomers who were just 30 feet away.  We are happy with the purchase and highly recommend it.  Check it out.

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