Reflectix® is your friend.
You will not often see me touting a specific product or brand name on this blog, because that’s not what we’re about here. But occasionally, something comes along that’s just too good not to share. Wildheart Wanders is about sharing ways to make your full or part-time life on the road easier, safer, more affordable and just plain better. So when I come across a product I consider a must-have, you can bet I’m gonna share it with you.
Reflectix® is just such a product. I had never heard of it before I became a nomad, though I had—as most of you likely have—seen it before, without knowing what it was. The most common way to be introduced to it is to see one of those shiny, metallic-looking, lightweight accordion-style windshield sun shades. In fact, I’d owned a couple of these, when I learned that the material out of which they’re made is called Reflectix.
About the Product:
Reflectix double reflective insulation is a versatile, energy-efficient product whose characteristics include ease-of-handling and installation, to make it widely popular for people who need a very effective heat and light insulation product that doesn’t weigh much; in short, nomads! You can find this versatile product at most do-it-yourself retailers, hardware and building product stores, and any place that caters to RVers.
- The product consists of two 96% reflective layers of a plasticized film, bonded to two internal layers of heavy gauge polyethylene bubbles (total thickness 5/16”).
- Available in a wide variety of widths and lengths
- Insulation R-value and/or Radiant Barrier vary per application. Learn more here.
I first learned about this amazing product on Bob Wells’ Cheap RV Living YouTube channel, which was, more than any other, responsible for me finally deciding the fulltime nomad lifestyle would work for me. (If you haven’t visited there, you’re missing an astonishing treasure trove of nomad living resources.)
Though the official Reflectix website is curiously devoid of references to the use of its product by nomads, I feel confident saying there are few of us who don’t know about and use it on a regular basis in any number of applications. Here are a few:
- Windshield and window shade – As previously mentioned, Reflectix is the perfect flexible, lightweight shade material to keep the sun’s heat out of your living space during the day, and to prevent it from leaking out through your glass areas at night. This is probably the most wide use of the product among nomads.
- Firewall insulation – Especially for vanlifers and Class C dwellers, Reflectix reduces heat gain through engine firewalls as well as the pass-through from driver/passenger cab to living cabin.
For both of the above applications, Reflectix can be covered in thin fabric for better looks, though this may lessen the effectiveness because the shiny surface is what allows it to reflect light.
- Cargo trailers – Reduces inside temperature when adhered to the walls with screws, staples, contact cement or other adhesives.
- Pop-up trailers – Maintain warmer indoor temperatures by lining interior walls and roof of the living cabin, attaching it to the frame with hook-and-loop fastening tape, and seaming with Reflectix Foil Tape or duct tape.
- Coolers – Maintains a cooler temperature so ice and food will last longer. Create an outer “skin” that covers the entire box and create seams with Reflectix Foil Tape.
- Food Containers – If you don’t have a cooler but need to insulate individual containers, simply construct an envelope similar to that described for coolers.
- Mobile Greenhouses – Many nomads construct some kind of greenhouse in which to grow their own food or decorative plants. Reflectix can be used to insulate necessary parts of these structures.
- Cargo Bay Insulation – This thin, lightweight material can be used effectively in insulating storage areas that you want to keep at relatively steady temperatures, so plumbing lines don’t freeze and you can use those areas for pass-throughs for animal housing and litter boxes.
- Generator box reflector – Reduce heat transfer into your living space by lining the power generator space, being careful not to cover needed ventilation slots.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you can do with this great product, but it gives you some great ideas for the most effective ways you can use it on the road. I often travel with a roll, just in case. It’s light and doesn’t take much room.