We think every van ought to come standard with a ventilation supporter since fresh air is essential to a comfortable van life. Campervan insulation assists with water resistance and temperature control, and they also keep your van safe when preparing a meal or operating a heater. Running your ventilation supporter can assist move damp air out of your vehicle if you have moisture or condensation. Air conditioning your car by opening a window and turning on the vent fan is a great way to beat the heat on a hot day.

campervan insulation

The Materials You’ll Need for Insulating Your Van

Campervan Insulation Made From Havelock Sheep’s Wool

This renewable insulating substance is safe for humans and the environment, and it has many practical applications. Sheep’s wool absorbs moisture in the air without sacrificing its insulating properties, and it will drain condensation away from the metal walls of your truck. It’s also naturally moulded and mildew-resistant, has some sound-deadening characteristics, and even aids in air purification.

VERDICT: Excellent option for campervan insulation, particularly if environmental effects and health are important considerations.

Reflectix

The reflective surface on both sides of Reflectix’s lightweight bubble wrap makes it an effective radiant heat barrier. It’s popular for do-it-yourself van builds, but it’s also commonly misunderstood. The quantity of heat that enters a room on a hot day may be drastically reduced by covering the windows with Reflectix. Other materials will provide you with a higher R-value at a lower cost.

VERDICT: Excellent for window treatments and huge cavities.

campervan insulation

Foam Board Made From Polyisocyanurate

Polyiso is a kind of rigid foam board campervan insulation used in environmentally conscious construction and automaking. It has an outstanding R-value per inch of R-6, is quite simple to work with, and is reasonably priced. It’s significantly greener than XPS foam board, but not as green as sheep’s wool insulation.

VERDICT: An inexpensive and effective option for insulating your vehicle.

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Foam Board

XPS rigid foam board campervan insulation is another popular option. It is resistant to moisture and has an R-value per inch of 5. HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) are very hazardous greenhouse gases used in the creation of XPS. They have a considerably greater impact on global warming than CO2.

VERDICT: Use this if polyiso is unavailable.

Foam Board Made From Expanded Polystyrene

Expanded polystyrene is another kind of foam board campervan insulation (EPS). It’s practically the same as regular styrofoam. EPS works well and is inexpensive. However, it has many air holes that enable moisture to permeate and degrade the material over time. It is also often less sturdy and has worse vibration resistance compared to polyiso or XPS. On the bright side, no HFCs are created throughout the manufacturing process, making it somewhat ecologically friendly!

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VERDICT: If you’re going to use foam board, there are many better options.

campervan insulation

Structural Spray Foam with Closed Cells

Spray foam insulation, with its high R-7 value per inch, creates a vapour barrier that may prevent condensation on your vehicle’s metal walls if installed correctly. Polyurethane spray foam is available in two varieties: large spray kits used by experts to insulate homes and smaller cans of spray foam such as Great Stuff.

VERDICT: Skip the large kits and fill in the gaps with great stuff.

Fibreglass Batts

The most prevalent kind of campervan insulation used in houses is fibreglass, so it stands to reason that this material would also perform well in cars. To get the same insulating value as foam board, you’ll need to use more inches of fibreglass, which has a low R-value per inch. It’s also poisonous, difficult to deal with, and will scratch your skin.

VERDICT: toxic and difficult to deal with, yet beneficial in particular situations.

Batts Made From Rock Wool

Rock wool, a batting substance made from the fine threads of recovered stone, is a semi-rigid material. It’s highly widespread in Europe and Canada, but less so in the United States. The R-value per inch of rock wool is higher than that of fibreglass, and it is also far more durable and easy to work with than fibreglass because of its rigidity. However, it is much more costly, and installation may be a laborious procedure.

VERDICT: An alternative to fibreglass is if you can afford the additional expense, but there is mounting evidence of potential health risks.

campervan insulation

Recycled Denim Batts

Denim batt campervan insulation is created from recycled cotton blue denim fabric. It is non-toxic and very eco-friendly. Even though it’s more expensive, denim has the same R-value per inch as fibreglass (albeit it is less expensive than rock wool). When it comes to van construction, one main disadvantage of denim is that it rapidly absorbs and retains moisture, so you don’t want to get this thing wet. It’s more expensive than both fibreglass and sheep’s wool.

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It outperforms fibreglass, but its absorbency and moldiness prevent its usage in automobiles.

3M Thinsulate

3M Thinsulate is a synthetic campervan insulation material. Thinsulate, which was originally created for use in clothes, has become popular in van construction. Its synthetic fibres do not absorb moisture, but they do enable it to travel through. It’s also non-toxic and simple to install; just stick it down using spray adhesive.

VERDICT: A great solution for nooks and crannies, but there are less expensive options for the remainder of your vehicle.

We recommend looking into sheep’s wool insulation as an alternative to Thinsulate due to its superior moisture control and breathability. It is substantially less expensive and has a greater R-value per inch.

Lizard Skin and Other “Insulating” Ceramic Paints

In van construction, Lizard Skin is an alternative to normal campervan insulation. The EPA advises against using these materials in lieu of bulk insulation. There have even been reports of households insulating merely with ceramic paint and experiencing significant heating and cooling problems. This substance is pricey; a 2-gallon bucket may cost up to £150.

VERDICT: There is no proof that this thing works. You’d be better off spending your money on tried-and-true materials like foam board or sheep’s wool because of the high cost and doubtful insulating characteristics of the former. If studies show that ceramic paint is successful, we may see it employed as an external covering in combination with regular insulation to keep the metal body of your vehicle from collecting heat.

campervan insulation

How to Install the Insulation on Your Campervan Properly

These instructions will walk you through the process of insulating your vehicle using foam board. If you decide to utilise sheep’s wool insulation, you may see some installation videos here. Use polyiso or XPS foam board that is 34″ to 1″ thick to insulate your car, and adhere it to the inside with Great Stuff spray foam or 3M High Strength 90 spray adhesive. We prefer 12″ XPS for floor insulation in the campervan because of its compressive strength. We prepared an article with thorough details on how we insulated our vehicle a while ago that you should read. But we’ve learnt a thing or two since then, so here’s an updated step-by-step:

  1. Create cardboard templates. Cut to fit between the ribs of your van’s walls and ceiling. Make templates for your floor if you want to insulate it.
  2. Cut out the foam board shapes using a utility knife and a Sharpie to trace the designs.
  3. Put in place each panel separately. Spray Great Stuff around the rear of the panel’s perimeter and in a few lines across the centre. Make certain that the whole perimeter is covered.
  4. Once the Great Stuff has been applied on the panel, push it against the van wall and support it with a piece of plywood until the spray foam has set.
  5. Use a lot of wood to make sure the foam sticks to the curving wall of your vehicle.
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Why You Shouldn’t Skimp on the Quality of the Material You Use for Your DIY Build

The sun’s heat travels from the outside to the interior of your car through radiation and convection. With reflective window covers, the inside of the van stays substantially cooler even while the vehicle’s engine is running. In cold weather, this heat is kept in by the ceiling’s thinner campervan insulation. When it’s particularly toasty, a fan may be used to draw hot air out of the room and draw cooler air in via a floor vent or open window. The impact of thermal bridging may be mitigated by insulating the inside of your van’s hollow frame. A thermal bridge forms whenever one material’s thermal conductivity is much higher than that of its surroundings. Putting up thermal breaks is an excellent idea if you spend a lot of time in really cold temperatures.

You can now go to Alaska in the middle of December or drive down to Baja in the middle of July. Eh, maybe not. It’s best to go with the flow of the weather, even if you have a well-insulated van. Insulate your van all you want, but living the van life isn’t about lounging about inside your van; it’s about seeing the world outside.