I made curtains for the rear and sides, including driver and passenger windows. A feature I've always missed on "normal" cars: to block the sun while still being able to look in the side mirrors.
- doubled-up IKEA bed linen "africa" :-) - thermal-insulating lining - black-out lining for rear door - sewed-in magnets keep curtains fully closed - mounted to channel rails glued underneath the roof's frame
For windscreen and front doors we bought thermal insulations from project camper. Highly recommended! They're black on the outside.
2 - Mounting
For the curtain rails I wanted someting that wont rattle and would have as little gap as possible between rail and curtain. I found I could use PVC piping and piping rails which are usually used to attach a tent or awning to a caravan, for example. In German they are called "Keder“; I couldn’t find a technical term for it in English.
You cut the piping into 10mm pieces and sew them into the upper seam of the curtain. One piece at each end and one every 15cm to 20cm in between.
The plastic piping rail was glued to the underside of our pop-top roof frame. With a standard roof and inner trim it may be not be as easy. I used 3M double-sided transparent mounting tape. It’s advertised as being temperature-resistant from -40 °C to +80 °C, waterproof and UV-resistant. It’s also the "removable“ type but it’s still perfect after four years. Only the rail above the rear door came loose after a while; that curtain is heavier and we may have pulled too strong once. I then used SabaTack 750 to glue the rail. It’s similiar to Sikaflex but contains no toxic stuff.
To stop the curtains from being pulled out the rails, barrel nuts with grub screws were screwed in.
To block the heat of the sun a little, I put a „silver lining“ in between the doubled-up fabric. It’s a very light (45 g/sqm) and thin aluminium-coated polyester fabric. This lining can’t be washed though without loosing its properties.
With lined curtains you also wouldn’t produce „shadow puppetry“ at night when the lights are on inside the Defender :-)
For the rear door I used a so-called black-out lining. It’s a better thermal insulation, but it’s also much thicker (260 g/sqm) than the aluminium fabric, why I didn’t use it all around.
To keep the curtains fully closed, I sewed in magnets into the side seams. These will stick to steel-frame doors and seat-belt brackets.
There is an overlap between adjacent curtains of about 3 cm so no light (or prying eyes) would come through. When you do that overlap, make sure to insert the piping tabs not at the outermost edge of the curtain but with an offset of about 2 cm. Otherwise the tabs will „collide“ in the rails and you can’t overlap.
With the flat round magnets I used you also have to respect their polarity so they would attract rather than repel.
Behind the seats we have a curtain which is useful to hide what’s in the back while the Landy is parked up. This curtain is just knotted to the rails of our bed’s slatted frame.
5 - Fire Protection
Though our Station Wagon has seven emergency exits (eight with roof up) and an extinguisher, it seemed wise to take precations that we would never need any of them.
For the curtains this meant applying a fire protection spray. This should convert the former bed linen into a flame retardant fabric (class B1 as stated in DIN 4102-1, or B, C-s1, d0 according to EN 13501-1). Don’t ask me about those standards, I just looked it up on wikipedia... :-)
But I did a before/after experiment and with the spray applied it’s actually very hard to set the fabric on fire, it extinguishes itself, produces very little smoke and no burning droplets. What’s also important: the spray doesn’t smell weird and it doesn’t change how the fabric feels like.