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Car secure window vent

October 05, 2022 — BarryK

Every year, in Spring-Summer-Autumn, I head off on camping trips, some of which are documented here:

The camping equipment includes a Waeco 12V fridge and a lithium "powerbox". Construction of the powerbox is described here:

I leave the powerbox and fridge in the car, the powerbox sits on the passenger-side foot-well and the fridge on the passenger seat. The car window has to be left slightly ajar for ventilation and cables -- which is a problem. The open window has these issues:

  1. Mosquitoes get inside the car.
  2. Rain comes in.
  3. Not secure.

Two cables, one to the solar panel, the other a 12V power supply into the tent. Inside the tent, I run laptop, lights and fan off the 12V.

There is a chair and table inside the tent, but I often like to sit in the car, and that's when I discover the mosquitoes.

I don't expect much rain in the summer months, but it can happen, so that is another problem.

Go for lots of walks, leaving the car unattended, and although they are really nice people I meet at campsites, there may be a rare someone who is an opportunistic thief. The window opening only needs to be open a little bit, so fairly secure.

I thought, why not, put something together out of the aluminium sheet and extrusions in my shed. OK, this is an experiment. Here it is:


The fibreglass mosquito screening is glued on with silicone sealant. Affixed to the window:


It isn't pretty, but should do the job. Will find out how well, very soon.

I constructed it without much forward planning, learnt a few things along the way. If I did it again, would make some changes:

  1. Used 0.5mm thick sheet, as that was all I had. About 1mm thick would be better.
  2. I riveted angle extrusion over the holes, for a modicum of rain protection, but I think a continuous strip of angle the entire length, with notches cut so that it can be bent to follow the curve, would offer better rain protection and rigidity.
  3. Sliding it over the window would be easier if the overlap was graduated. The overlap is 10mm, but next time I would cut the aluminium sheet to say 10mm on the right-side (above photo), gradually increasing to say 15mm overlap. This would make it easier to slide on.

Sometime in the future, if this one turns out well on a camping trip, will probably construct another for the driver's side window, so that there is thru-ventilation. I will endeavour to park the car in the shade; however, on hot summer days the car interior will warm up -- which is not so good for the fridge.

Having said that, the Waeco fridge is incredibly efficient and can easily handle high ambient temperatures.

Keen to go camping!

EDIT 20221006:
Was discussing the window vent with Mark C, and another reason came up why it may be very useful. Sometimes when driving to the South Coast of Western Australia from Perth, I don't get all the way on the same day. It depends which route and which destination, but many rural towns offer free RV overnight, and I have used those, sleeping in the car.

Stayed a couple of times at the free overnight site at the little town of Ravensthorpe:


...a nice place. There are toilets over the road. The town centre is just a short stroll away.

Anyway, this is another scenario where the secure vent is good to have, Keeps out the mozzies and provides ventilation.     

Tags: nomad