top of page
Search

Overland Truck Windows - How to choose for your camper

by Matthew Payne Adventurer. 05/05/23


Overland windows are an essential part of any self-built vehicle. They provide natural light, ventilation, protection from the elements and most importantly, allow you to enjoy the views around you. After all, that's why we are there. We overland to see the world and have new experiences. With so many options available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the right windows for your build. In this blog post, we will explore the options for your self build and why some are better than others.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Overland Windows

  1. Size - The size of the windows will depend on your vehicle and your specific needs. Large windows will provide more natural light and better views, but they may also compromise security.

  2. Materials - Overland windows can be made of various materials such as glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate. Glass is found on the premium windows and it offers excellent durability and scratch resistance. Acrylic is lightweight and shatterproof as is Polycarbonate, but plastics are far less scratch-resistant. Even touching polycarbonate with your finger can leave scratches.

  3. Ventilation - Proper ventilation is crucial for any overland vehicle. Windows that can be opened and closed easily will allow for better airflow and prevent condensation buildup.

  4. Security - Overland vehicles are often left unattended in remote areas, making security a top priority. Consider installing windows with secure locking mechanisms to deter potential thefts.

  5. Strength - Which ever window you choose it needs to have a strong robust frame. Windows placed in bodies that have some flex can easily break. Ive known of large Seitz acrylic windows crack when placed in large panels before.

  6. Cost - is obviously a big factor. Its better to be out there living life and exploring than to have the best overland truck parked in a barn but no money to travel.


I see there being 5 main choice's of brand for overland truck builders when it come to windows.


KCT windows

Outbound Windows

Motorcraft Windows

Seitz / Dometic windows ( they offer a few different ranges and price )

Other / horse box type windows


KCT windows are nice. If you have a build budget over £250,000 then you may consider KCT. But expect to pay around £20,000 just for your windows. KCT windows are also more difficult to fit for the home builder. It may no longer be the case but there was a time when self installation wasn't possible. I think it's hard to justify having KCT windows being twice the price of other premium windows. Maybe they are 10-20% better than the competition but you pay a high price for it.


Outbound and Motorcraft sit in a similar price band. Construction methods differ, Motorcraft use GRP fibreglass frames and outbound use aluminium. Both use toughened double glazed glass and are E marked ( certified for road use ) Both offer the ability to lock the window in a slightly open position allowing ventilation. Motorcraft includes a blind with their windows, Outbound does not. This pushes Outbound to be more expensive.


Motorcraft is a UK company based in Doncaster, who also build expedition vehicles for customers. It was during their own build process, and not being able to find quality products for their builds, that led them to create their own doors, windows, hatches and skylights. Off all the brands mentioned here Motorcraft is the only one constantly adding new products to their range. One very appealing benefit to using Motorcraft products is that all of your doors, hatches and windows will match. All frames are made using fibreglass, are super tough, lightweight and you can have custom colours making it a very simple process to add new windows into an already painted body. A big win in my book for Motorcraft windows is the wide opening aperture. The plastic windows by Seitz don't open very far. The Motorcraft windows open very close to 90° giving you the best view. Blinds and mosquito nets are included making Motorcraft windows the lowest cost premium window.

All Motorcraft windows have user replaceable parts. If you break the glass, a new piece can can be sent yo you. All parts except for the bonded in frame are user replaceable and easily available.


Outbound is based in the Netherlands. Windows are made from aluminium and toughened glass and they fit in a similar way to Motorcraft windows. Personally I am not a fan of the blinds. They are very snappy. And I also feel the door mechanism on the outbound doors is not a smooth as the Motorcraft doors. This may seem like a small thing but when compared side by side the Motorcraft door is a clear win. Windows also open to 90° and are held by a gas strut. However, on all the Outbound windows fitted to the Styre in my workshop they all sag down to about 75-80° after being opened to 90°. I also find the frame flexes when force is applied to the locking mechanism. Blinds and mosquito nets are not included making outbound more expensive than Motorcraft.


Seitz windows are a product of Dometic. Personally I feel the majority of camper van products are over priced, flimsy and plasticky. You just have to look at them and they are scratched. Prices of plastic windows are less than the premium glass windows but not by a lot. The largest plastic Seitz S4 window is only 20% less than Motorcraft's large premium window. Personally I would pay the extra 20% and get the premium glass windows. If you need to cut costs then I would use a Seitz skylight as the prices are reasonable and you can also upgrade to a premium Motorcraft skylight at a later date as they offer one the exact same size. This isn't an option with Outbound skylights as the sizes don't match. Blinds and mosquito nets are included with Seitz windows.


Other There are many other windows you can use. Horse box windows are easily available. Normally single glazed and small. I feel these are not suitable for Overlanders. Large windows are important. I want to see what's around me no matter the weather and have the insulation a double glazed window offers.




Conclusion

Overland truck windows are an essential component of any overland vehicle. They provide ventilation, natural light, and protection from the elements and just as important is the view they give of your surroundings. For this reason I would eliminate Seitz windows and all other plastic , polycarbonate, acrylic windows. You just have to look at them and they scratch. Looking through a milky haze is not my idea of enjoying the view. They also crack. You only need to search Seitz cracked window and you will see many examples. Security is also poor and even when open they obstruct your view.


For the reasons mentioned above I would choose a good quality double glazed window, and remember Motorcraft and Outbound windows can cost approximately 20% more than plastic windows. Well worth the extra money. Don't forget that outbound windows will need to be imported so may incur extra fees as well as the extra cost of blinds.


Overall I believe Motorcraft windows are the overall winner and best solution.

Premium toughened E marked glass.

Overall lower cost.

The quality is excellent, the range of products is huge and grows daily.

All your doors, windows and exterior hatches can match.

Custom colours available.

Made in England.

All parts are user replaceable.


This post has only covered windows and very briefly mentioned doors. Motorcraft also offer

Safari hatches, with a huge open viewing area offering large open spaces and the security of a smaller glass window.

When traveling in Matilda my favourite thing about her was the safari hatch. Dining in doors with the views and feeling of being outside. When it comes to building an interior, the first question I ask, where do I fit the safari hatch.


Matthew Payne Adventurer.




Cappadocia View from safari hatch overland truck Matilda
Safari hatch. Overland truck Matilda in Cappadocia, turkey

One reason to have a safari hatch. View from Matilda, Cappadocia, Turkey.


Motorcraft


Seitz



Outbound


291 views0 comments

Comentarios


bottom of page