Opinions on windows

iac27

Member
I'm looking for people's opinions on their experiences with insulated window options for vans or other overland vehicles. Arctic Tern seems to be the most popular in North America. What are people's favs and what would you change about your existing window? I'd be using it for either a van or a FRP habitat, undecided at the moment. Cross posted in the Van forum as well because they use different style habitats.

Seitz
Tern
Outbound
KCT
others?

Thanks,
Ian
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Tern is great with an excellent customer support! Seitz( Dometic) is next to impossible to get in North America. Can't imagine needing parts...
Real glass is of course nice but heavy and expensive. Those are no option for a van due to the install requirements. All of the glass windows come from Europe with usually fairly long lead times.

I would rather safe weight and money with the Tern Windows.
 

iac27

Member
It certainly looks like Seitz is next to impossible to get here. With the aluminum on the Tern, is there any cold bridging or condensation on the interior? Also how's the insect protection? I've had bugs get around my Seitz windows which have been a real pain.
 

Trail Talk

Well-known member
Tern is great with an excellent customer support! Seitz( Dometic) is next to impossible to get in North America. Can't imagine needing parts...
Real glass is of course nice but heavy and expensive. Those are no option for a van due to the install requirements. All of the glass windows come from Europe with usually fairly long lead times.

I would rather safe weight and money with the Tern Windows.

Would you happen to have actual weight comparisons? I'll admit I'm glass curious.
 

Trail Talk

Well-known member
I've had bugs get around my Seitz windows which have been a real pain.
Agreed, that is exceedingly annoying! A design (and logic) flaw to put open slots outside the coverage of their insect screening. For a quick fix I cut aluminum tape into strips and placed over the slots. Looks kinda OEM...sorry I don't have a better picture but hopefully you get the idea.

windows before.jpeg

breakfast copy.jpeg
 
All of these companies make good windows, doors and hatch doors (except I don't know anything about Seitz). In the end I chose Outbound for my live aboard full time needs. Some things to consider:

- Outbound and KCT are around double the price of Tern

- Took me about 7 months to get Outbound windows, door, and hatch doors

- Outbound windows are about 50% heavier which for my 4 windows totals about 100 pounds more than Tern. 100 pounds on my truck is mostly meaningless but 100 pounds in a van build could be significant.

- Outbound windows can open to 90 degrees vs 60 degrees for Tern

- None of the companies list an 'R value' on how well they insulate. Just a guess for me but I feel like double pane glass will have a higher R value.

- Plastic scratches easier than glass which may or may not matter depending on your travel patterns

- I added the finer mesh option to all my screens and they perform better against gnats and no-see-ums than the standard size mesh

- The Outbound entry door is very solid with 3 point locking

Overall I’m very happy with the fit and finish and overall quality of the Outbound products on my truck. But like I said above, all of these companies make good products. I think it’s important to make a list of your intended travel plans and style. Part-time? Heavily off road? Below freezing / over 100F? Etc. That way you can see which features are important for you.
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
The criteria for windows in my new build included:
Hopper style for maximum ventilation and maximum visibility.
Very fine fly screens.
Ability to open and close the window without having to open the fly screens and let the bugs in.
Ability to open the window a little, or a lot.
Clear or tinted glazing of light weight 3mm scratch resistant polycarbonate.
Decent quality and parts availability.
Insulation was not a top requirement.

All the commercial offerings that I found failed in one or more requirement, so I decided to have a go at developing my own.
I got as far as building a prototype using pencil linear actuators to open and close the hopper (without removing the fly screen).

The window frame is a simple aluminium T section with a self adhesive seal between the outer T and the outer wall. It needs no 'wall frame'. I use this basic design for internal and external hatches and it works well.
You get the idea, but it needed a lot more work and the linear actuators that I tried were poor quality. Eventually I ran out of time and bought some relatively poor quality commercial offerings and re-glazed the acrylic with scratch resistant polycarbonate to get me moving again. Like these...
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 
Last edited:

Iain_U1250

Explorer
We have the Seitz/Dometic windows in ours, and they scratch quite easily, we have external canvas covers on them to stop . The built in flyscreen can stop mozzies, but not sandflies/midgies. We replace our flyscreens with a finer mesh.

We have had them for 10 years, no problems with them other than the above.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
That is interesting! Wonder if this is market-specific? Unfortunately I’ve done the runaround with Dometic trying to obtain a replacement roller blind to learn they won’t sell parts. A shameless $$$ grab considering these are wear items.
Tern sell replacement blinds. Wondering if there is size that would match with yours?
 

Trail Talk

Well-known member
Tern sell replacement blinds. Wondering if there is size that would match with yours?
Hey, I’m going to look into that!

Edit: Tern does have an equivalent size for our one 500x450 Seitz S4 window but not the others. Great info to keep in mind for the future.

Further to the lack of replacement parts: our Oceanair Skyscreen (distributed by Dometic) roof hatch blind fabric was delaminating so, after being ignored by Oceanair and told to buy a new Skyscreen by a Canadian dealer, I tried to replace with local fabric store vinyl. That proved too thick and binds up in the roller. A tip from a YouTuber led me to Europatex Eclipse blackout fabric sold for marine use which is the correct thickness. Available by the yard on Wayfair.ca at a good price so I've ordered.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
185,805
Messages
2,878,337
Members
225,352
Latest member
ritabooke
Top