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Matt Johnson

How to Open RV Windows

MattGlamperGear
Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jul 12, 2022Updated: Dec 13, 2023

There are many types of RV windows, but most of them open similarly. In general, you will need to open the window by unlatching the locking mechanism and then pushing or pulling the bottom of the window out. Some windows may have a second latch in the middle that needs to be released before you can open the window entirely.

Since there are so many types of windows, we broke them down by type so you can determine how to open your RV windows.

Window TypeDescriptionCommonality in RVs
Fixed WindowsThese windows are sealed around the windowsill and do not open, primarily used for viewing purposes. Some may have a small opening at the top for air circulation.Common
Venting WindowsThese windows have two parts: the main window and a smaller venting pane that opens to allow air circulation.Very Common
Picture WindowsThese are larger windows usually found in the front of the RV or slideouts. They do not typically open but may have a small opening at the top for ventilation.Common
Sliding WindowsThese windows can open either up/down or left/right, providing great views and maximum ventilation.Common
Awning WindowsHinged at the top and open outward from the bottom, these windows offer adjustable ventilation. They usually open with a hand crank or gas struts.Less Common
Exit/Egress WindowsLarger windows with a simple locking mechanism that can be used for emergency exits. They do not typically open for ventilation purposes.Required, at least one per RV
These are the various windows found in RVs and how prevalent they are throughout the industry.

Fixed windows.

These windows are often found in RVs, trailers, and 5th wheels. They are usually made of a single piece of glass that is entirely sealed around the windowsill. That means there is no way to open them, so they are primarily used for viewing purposes. In general, they’re pretty small compared to other types of windows.

Some fixed windows have a small opening at the top that can be opened to allow some air circulation. These windows are generally not meant to be used as an emergency exit or to get fresh air into the RV.

Venting windows.

Venting windows are one of the most common windows found in RVs. They have two parts, the main window, and a smaller venting pane. The venting pane is hinged at the top and can be opened to allow air to circulate even when the central part of the window is closed.

To open a venting window, unlatch the venting pane from the bottom and push/slide it open. Be careful not to slam the venting pane open or shut, as this could damage the window.

Pro-Tip:

Keep the hinges on a venting window well-oiled. We prefer to use PB Blaster or even WD-40 as these hinges tend to seize up after a few months and make it very difficult to open your window.

Picture windows.

These larger windows are often found in the front of the RV or slideouts. Picture windows are similar to fixed windows, but they’re much larger. They usually do not open. However, you may find some with a small opening at the top for ventilation.

Picture windows are great for taking in the views, but they do not provide much ventilation. If you’re looking for a window that will allow you to get some fresh air into your RV, picture windows aren’t the best option.

Sliding windows.

Sliding Glass Window for an RV
Sliding windows typically have a screen and can open either up/down or left/right.

These are similar to the venting windows, but instead, the entire window slides open from one side. Sliding windows are a great option if you want to maximize the ventilation in your RV.

To open a sliding window, unlatch the lock and then slide the window open. Make sure that the lock is securely latched when you close the window so that it does not accidentally open while driving.

These provide great views and the best ventilation of all the window types.

Awning windows.

Opened Awning Window on a 5th Wheel
Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward from the bottom.

These windows are hinged at the top and open outward from the bottom. They usually have a hand crank that is used to open and close them. Some do not have a crank but instead open with gas struts. These windows are great for ventilation because they can be opened a little bit or all the way, depending on your needs.

To open an awning window, first, unlatch the lock. Sometimes the cranking type does not have a lock. Then crank the handle to open the window. For ones with gas struts, just unlatch the bottom and push outward. You can adjust how far the window opens by how much you crank the handle or how far you push.

Exit/Egress windows.

RVs must have at least one exit/egress window that campers can use in an emergency. Depending on the size of the RV, there may be more than one.

These windows are usually larger and have a simple locking mechanism that you can open from the inside. Some may also have a second, smaller latch in the middle. This latch needs to be released before you can open the window entirely. Generally, you will lift on the locking arm and swing the arm outward, which will force the window to open.

Most RV exit and egress windows do not open, well, at least not for ventilation purposes. They’re a one-time open window. That means if you open it, it will fall out of place. And if it’s intact after crashing to the ground, they’re a pain to put back in.

Opening and closing your RV’s windows is pretty simple.

Now that you know how to open your RV windows, you can enjoy the fresh air and views during your camping adventures.

Be sure to close the windows when you’re done using them (especially when you’re driving) to keep the bugs out and the wind from blowing through your rig. We’ve seen windows fly off of RVs on the road before. They’re expensive to replace.

MattGlamperGear

Matt Johnson


Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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6 thoughts on “How to Open RV Windows

  1. Sally

    I didn’t realize there were specific exit windows for emergencies. I always thought it was just another window that came out all the way. It’s good to know that they’re designed differently.

  2. Mike Crawford

    I never knew that fixed windows couldn’t be opened. Good to know! I’ll keep that in mind when choosing my RV.

  3. ColoradoCamper

    I love how you explained how to open each type of window. Our RV has 3 different types and they all open differently.

  4. rv_enthusiast84

    I always struggle with opening my RV windows. Now I know how to do it properly. Also, PB Blaster is good, but graphite is even better.

  5. Josh L.

    These sliding windows sound perfect for maximizing ventilation in an RV. They can be a pain to open and close though.

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