RV Window Shades: Interior vs Exterior for Your Camper

Last week we looked into RV window sizes as there are dozens and dozens of different sizes and several different types. This was a preamble to this next series of posts where we will look at RV window shades.

Types of Window Shades

  • Roller Shades – common, easy-to-use and familiar, these roll down by pulling and snap back up with a single pull
  • Pleated Shades – the fold up and down with an accordion like appearance to them, some like the aesthetics
  • Cellular Shades – aka honeycomb shades can help with insulation by trapping warm air inside during cold weather
  • Day-Night Shades –  a sort of 2-in-1 shade system depending on time of day and your desire to block out sunlight
  • Blinds – serving a similar purpose to shades, blinds are an alternative (think your apartment or house)
  • Blackout Shades – best for bedrooms, these totally block sunlight
  • Solar Shades – designed to reduce glare and lessen UV
  • Curtains – not shades, but noted hear as they can be used with or instead of shades, as a decorative choice

Exterior vs Interior RV Window Shades

Typically we would refer to exterior “window shades” as window covers, but colloquially people use both, that’s why the comparison is presented as such below. For more on the distinction, read our post ‘RV window shades vs RV window covers’.

Exterior Window Shades

Interior Window Shades


  • Insulation – heat reduction in the summer by blocking the sun, warming interiors in the cold by blocking the cold air
  • Privacy – though you can achieve this with interior shades also, the slight nod goes to exterior shades as the fully cover the window from the outside, leaving no openings or cracks
  • Protection – exterior shades offer a small layer of protection to the exposed part of the windows themselves
  • Aesthetics – this is another one that is sort of dealers choice, but exterior shades allow you to focus your interior decoration choices without worrying about working around interior shades (think exterior shades, with interior curtains, or no curtains at all, but a plant (see: The Best Plants for Your RV and How to Care for Them)


Installation – not always, but they can be more difficult to install


  • Installation – generally easier to setup with windows more easily accessible from the inside
  • Maintenance – for the same reasons as installing, cleaning/maintaining these are often easier than exterior shades
  • Aesthetics – interior shades can be chosen to complement the interior décor of the RV, though we are giving this as a pro to exterior shades as well


  • Insulation – they help here, but a con by default because the exterior shades insulate better
  • Protection – as they don’t cover the exterior glass which has the most exposure, they by default have less protection properties than exterior options

Stepping back from this long list of pros and cons, the interior vs exterior RV window difference isn’t a huge one, exterior shades offer more insulating properties, so these might be best for cold weather campers, hot weather campers, and full-timers. Interior shades offer easier installation and maintenance, so these might be better for those in more temperate climates or those that are less inclined to be able to access windows from the outside.

Closing Thoughts

We have a preference for exterior shades, but ultimately the choice between interior and exterior depends on your climate, usage, aesthetic preferences, budget, and preference towards performance vs ease-of-use tradeoffs.