Best way to insulate a cargo van

What is the best way to insulate a camper van?

The best way to insulate a cargo van is to cover the ceiling, walls, window and floor with the proper insulation for each type of surface material and to slowing the transfer of heat loss to a minimum.

There are 3 Heat loss mechanisms

  • Radiation
  • Conduction
  • Convection
wikipedi diagram

First, is understanding the 3 Heat loss mechanisms and how insulation works in slowing down these reactions. Radiation or Radiant heat transfer can be the rays of the sun striking the vans metal skin, heating up the metal and transfer the heat to the inside or passing through the windows. Making the van a hot box.

Second, Conduction is the transfer of hot or cold through a solid. In the winter the outside is below freezing if you touch the metal the cold temperature would transfer thought the solid mass as conduction.

Third, Convection is when a fluid such as air is heated where it expands away from it source.

How insulation works

Insulation works by slowing the transfer of heat. Heat moves in three different ways, radiation, conduction, convection, The sun rays (radiation) strikes the exterior of the van heating the metal. The heat transfers through the metal (conduction) to the inside heating the air (convection).

Insulation in winter conditions, a van campers heater provides Radiant heat that heats the air (convection) the warm air heats the surrounding surfaces, walls and ceiling (conduction). Insulation between the ceiling and metal van exterior will slow provides a barrier to slow down the Conduction and loss of heat.

Do you need a Vapour barrier in a campervan?

I personnel don’t think so.Van campers are small living spaces that are made to be water and air tight to an extent. My belief is you need to have some material that will absorb the moisture you exhale and proper ventilation to keep the moisture from staying inside for too long inside. Better ventilation.

How do I stop condensation in my van?

Good ventilation! Two electric roof vent fans. One fan pulling in air and one set to evacuate air outside.

Cargo van sound Deadening

The inside of a van camper can sound like reverberating tin can. The thin metal walls will vibrate and eco sounds almost like a bell. This effect can be reduced with the use of one of the following products.

How to Soundproof a Van (Sound Deadening)

Soundproofing a van camper starts by adding small strips of FatMat Self-Adhesive Rattletrap to the uncovered metal shin panels in the cargo area. These open thin squares of metal between the metal frame work is were the reverberations come from. Adding a small strip of this FatMat dapens the metal sound.

Types soundproofing materials

  • FatMat Self-Adhesive Rattletrap
  • Noico 80 mil 10 sqft car Sound deadening mat
  • LizardSkin 50100 Ceramic Insulation
  • Under Carpet Lite Sound Absorption and Insulation

Van Engine Soundproofing

The following images show how to soundproof a Van campers engine noise along with how to insulate a van floor. This method will both insulate from heat and cold along with deadening the road noise

How to Insulate a Van Floor

How do you soundproof and insulate a van?

Select the type of insulation that best meets your needs. Most of the insulation materials can be layered to provide a stronger insulation system.

Types of Insulation

  • Havelock wool (Sheep’s wool)
  • Polyisocyanurate
  • Fiberglass
  • 1/2 in Thick Ceramic Fiber Insulation
  • 100 sqft Vehicle Car Insulation Heat Sound Deadener Thermal Automotive 1/4 Foam
  • Kilmat 50 mil 50 sqft Car Sound Deadening Mat
  • 3M Thinsulate Acoustic/Thermal Insulation 
  • Reflectix
  • Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Kit
  • Soundsulate 1 lb Mass Loaded Vinyl MLV, Soundproofing Barrier

Havelock wool

Polyisocyanurate

Fiberglass

1/2 in Thick Ceramic Fiber Insulation

3M Thinsulate Acoustic/Thermal Insulation

Reflectix

Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Kit

Mass Loaded Vinyl MLV

Van insulation for hot weather

Van insulation for hot weather begins with understanding the heat striking the exterior of the van camper needs to be slowed down and reflected back out. The video below show how to use a combinations of Reflectix, 3M Thinsulate Acoustic and Mass Loaded Vinyl that will slow the heat coming in and help reflect it back out

How to install insulation van floor 

Installing insulation on a van floor is quite easy. FatMat Self-Adhesive can be cut and place in between the small structure groves on the floor to help with noise. Then apply Mass Loaded Vinyl on top covering the entire floor surface. Then proceed with whatever floor you decide.

Humble Road Van Build Series – Four Layers of Ceiling Insulation

What is the best way to insulate a van?

Best way to insulate a cargo van in my mind is the way covered it the videos provided by the Humble Road Van build Series. One other step that could be taken is after placing all of the insulation between the van frame.

Best insulation for van

Professional van insulation made easy video

What Is The First Step In Building A Van

Professional van insulation

If insulating your sprinter conversion van seems a little too daunting search your local area to find a profession van builder for a professional van insulation installer to have the job done correct.

Professional van Insulation Cost

How much does it cost to insulate a Sprinter van? Insulating a van camper can cost between $250 to$1000 depending which insulation is used in the van. Cost will also depend on if the work is done professionally or by the owner. Professional van insulation cost can be upwards of $1950.

Insulated Van Window Covers

Custom sprinter van camper insulated window covers can provide a barrier between the heat from the summer sun and the cold from the winter nights. Campervan thermal window covers will help retain heat inside the sprinter van during the winter.

  • Made with 5.0mm double faced aluminum crosslinked PE foam Insulation which reflects up to 95% of radiant heat and durable ripstop UV resistant Polyester fabrics and use powerful N52 Neodymium magnets.
  • Sold in pairs (LH + RH)
  • Black Fabric is on the outside to support stealth camping.
  • Storage Sack included. Please follow instructions for best use

Van Divider Thermal Curtain

Installing a ProMaster thermal curtain will keep the heat in the living area during the winter time or keep the heat from entering from the cab area in the summer.

Van insulation and soundproofing kit

Links to Sound Deadening materials

Links to Insulation

Check out my Blog Post on How to heat my van in the winter

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