KEYWORDS: trailer, windows, air, type, curtains, window

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 18: Windows, Curtains & Shutters

David Berg


1. ONE OF THE THINGS I NEED TO POINT OUT IS ABOUT THE WINDOWS: Windows are extremely important in trailer life 'cause you live in a very small space, which means there's a very small air space & very little air. But there's lots of outside fresh air & breezes, particularly in the summertime when it's hot, to give you lots of air & to circulate inside your trailer or blow right through it.

2. SO YOU NEED TO HAVE WINDOWS WHICH OPEN IN AWNING FASHION, that means at the bottom, & they angle out & you have automatic props which keep them out in several different positions. This is very advantages to have the awning type of window which opens outwards from the bottom, 'cause when it rains & it's hot & muggy you still need air! But you have to have windows that prevent the rain from coming in or blowing in, & this is the only kind of window to have in a trailer.

3. THAT'S ONE DISADVANTAGE OF A CAMPER CAR OR MOTOR CARAVAN—it frequently has automobile-type windows. Sometimes they have the awning-type, but they most frequently have sliding types, or roll-down types which do not protect you from the rain when it rains in hot weather & you need ventilation. You have to roll them up to keep the rain from coming in, & you just stifle!

4. SO THE TRAILER WITH THE AWNING TYPE WINDOW THAT OPENS OUT FROM THE BOTTOM IS BEST! They usually have a prop or two on one side or both sides to prop it up, an automatic-catch prop, & you can raise it to various levels & positions until it's almost completely straight out horizontally‚ & in hot weather you can just let the breeze blow right through! You'll find that's particularly advantageous when you're cooking, because you need a lot of air both for ventilation & cooling & to let out the cooking fumes. So adjust your windows accordingly. We usually kept ours about halfway open or a little over halfway or slightly above the 45-degree angle most of the Summer.

5. BUT LET ME WARN YOU ONE THING ABOUT TRAILERS WITH AWNING WINDOWS!: WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE THE TRAILER THEY CAN BE ALMOST LETHAL if you don't watch your head & watch your step, because the trailer windows open to just about head-level, & if you have forgotten that your trailer window's open that way & you're walking around it, you can easily bang your head right into the sharp corner of a window & get a nasty bump or gash! So watch out when walking around a trailer that has awning windows! If you're looking down & not looking where you're going, you often walk along the side of your trailer or between your trailer & car‚ & you're apt to bang your head on open windows! So be very careful about that!

6. WE USUALLY KEPT OURS ABOUT HALF WAY OPEN, & if it was really hot almost horizontal‚ letting the breeze blow through. When it rains‚ normally even if they're out at the 45-degree angle, about half open, this will shelter you from the rain coming in. However if you find out that there's quite a bit of wind & it's blowing in‚ you may have to lower them even further. In fact, if it's a real storm & blowing hard, you may find that you have to either shut them altogether or just leave them open about an inch at the bottom. Some windows are built so that you can fasten them in that position so that they're almost shut‚ but you're still getting a little circulation of air.

7. TOP VENTS ARE VERY VALUABLE: Your windows let in fresh air, but your top vents in the roof let out the bad stale air & odors, as well as let in more light like a skylight, so they are extremely valuable in a trailer. So you may keep them wide open when it's hot. But when it rains, you may find you have to lower them a bit to keep the rain from blowing in. But often you can leave the one in the bathroom or over the kitchen sink open, because even if it rains‚ the water will only land in the sink or the toilet or the washbowl or the shower & won't hurt anything, & so you still have some ventilation.

8. IF YOUR VENTS ARE NOT SCREENED or your windows are not screened, you may have to either screen them or use mosquito–net curtains. Most of the modern trailers, especially in Europe nowadays, have no screens. Europeans never apparently got addicted to window-screens like Americans, as nearly every American house is screened. But in Europe there are almost no homes, apartments, hotel rooms or anything with screens!

9. INSTEAD‚ EUROPEANS USE THESE BEAUTIFUL FINELY-MESHED SEE- THROUGH CURTAINS which they draw across their windows to keep out the mosquitoes, flies & bugs, & they do a very good job. They're just about as good as screens, for if a mosquito wants to find his way in, he'll usually find his way in even through a screen, through a hole or a door or something. But you'll find it very practical to have this kind of curtains.

10. MOST OF YOUR NEW TRAILERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH THIS SEE–THROUGH TYPE OF CURTAIN which is kept drawn across the windows even in the daytime, so that you can see out but people can't see in. Because usually in trailer parks you are pretty crowded & there are lots of people around & peeping toms & curious people, & if you have these see-through curtains that my mother called "glass curtains"‚ very much like mosquito netting, fine-meshed netting, white–mesh curtains drawn across the windows, no one can see in at all, but you can see out quite clearly.—And they also help keep out the flies, bugs & mosquitoes. Also you need these over your vents. If you don't already have screen on the vents or the windows & don't already have some type of curtain across the vent in the roof, you may just have to make one. You may just have to make it & put it across in such a way that you can still operate the handle to lift & lower the vent, to keep the mosquitoes out—not only the mosquitoes at night, but the flies in the daytime‚ particularly when you're cooking you'll find the flies love to swarm!

11. ONE THING WE'VE FOUND IN EUROPE HOWEVER, THERE ARE NOT NEARLY AS MANY BUGS, mosquitoes, flies, varmints‚ snakes, poisons insects etc. as there are in America! Either Europe has been civilised so long & has so many people there isn't room for bugs, or they're not so cursed as America! So there're not as many mosquitoes & there are not as many flies. But what few there are will be kept out by these screen-like or meshed-net curtains. They also let the breeze through when it's hot, & you'll appreciate that.

12. YOUR TRAILER SHOULD ALSO HAVE SOME TYPE OF OPAQUE CURTAINS that you can pull down at night. Most of them have either the train-type curtain, a pull-down blind, a no-see-through blind, so that when the lights are on in the trailer after dark people can't see in‚ & the daylight won't wake you too early in the morning. Please don't forget that the mesh curtain, the see-through or so-called glass curtain that prevents people from seeing in the daytime work just the other way at night: You can't see out, but people can see in very clearly if it's dark & you have your lights on!

13. SO BE SURE THAT, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SEEN & WANT ANY PRIVACY AT ALL AT NIGHT for any reason, while doing your work or typing or whatever, & you don't care to have everybody know what you're doing, pull down you opaque no-see-through blinds! Some trailers have venetian blinds that you can tilt & keep sight out but till get air through. Otherwise just the straight pull-down blind type gives you some air but not a straight breeze & makes it a bit hot sometimes. So you may find that if you're working at a table in one dinette at one end of the trailer‚ that you can pull down your blinds there, but leave your blinds up in the other end where it's dark & nobody's seeing in anyway.

14. WE'VE SEEN AT LEAST ONE TRAILER THAT HAD THE ROLL-DOWN & ROLL-UP TYPE OF SLITTED SHUTTERS that are so common in so many European & African homes, apartments & hotel rooms. They seem to be an Eastern Hemisphere specialty, & I'm amazed that the Americans have not adopted them! Because at night you roll down these shutters & the room is completely sealed off from the outside except for these little tiny slits between the slats through which you can barely peek out yourself, & yet at least let some ventilation & air pass through. Or you can close them up completely in the Wintertime so that the air cannot pass through at all!

15. THIS TYPE OF ROLL-DOWN, ROLL-UP SHUTTER IS VERY ADVANTAGEOUS FOR HOUSES, APARTMENTS, HOTEL ROOMS & EVEN TRAILERS! And we did see one trailer that had this type of shutter made of very light-weight plastic, but they very effectively closed the window openings completely. This also not only helps to shut out the light when you're trying to sleep‚ but also the noise, & is also a security measure, as nobody can reach their hand in through the window, which is possible in the case of open trailer windows which have no screens but only curtains!

16. SO BE SURE TO KEEP YOU VALUABLES TUCKED AWAY OUT OF SIGHT in secure places, not lying on the window ledge just inside of an open window on which there's only a curtain at night! Not everybody in all trailer parks are honest, & we have lost a few things sometimes, such as clothes off the line, storage from underneath the trailer, & I even lost a camera once from inside of the trailer when someone carelessly left the trailer unlocked!

17. WATCH OUT THEY DON'T STEAL YOUR GAS BOTTLE WHEN YOU'RE GONE! Be sure you've got it locked, boxed or chained! If you don't have a locked box for it on the trailer tongue & it's just sitting out, the type you carry inside the trailer when you're moving & you just set it out & hook your stove to it when you're stopped, be sure you have a padlock & chain attached to it that loops through the bottle handle & wraps around the wheel or axle or tongue or something, so they can't just pick it up & walk off with it! Because such little valuable necessities are invaluable!—And you don't want to have to keep buying new ones!—Amen?—GBAKY!