The beauty of insulation is not only that it keeps the heat in over winter, but it also keeps the heat out over summer so for us it’s a really important step of the build.
Read on to find out more about how we insulated our Ford Transit campervan conversion.
Why should you insulate your campervan?
Temperature control - being made of metal, campervans are at the mercy of the elements - both hot and cold. The best way to keep a moderate temperature over summer and winter is to put a layer between you and outside.
Keeping condensation to a minimum - done right, insulation and a moisture barrier will mean there’s less condensation seeping into your campervan, making it damp, mouldy and uncomfortable to live in.
Longevity - as we’ve mentioned, a well-insulated van will help protect you from moisture and condensation which will help stop rust and rot.
What is the best insulation for a camper?
The first step you’ll need to take is deciding what method of insulation you’ll use. Anyone who’s done even the smallest amount of research will see there’s seemingly endless ways to go about it, so you need to decide what works best for you.
As we’ve previously said, we bought our Ford Transit from a vanlifer who’d started the conversion so he’d already done the floor and bought Earthwool insulation for the walls. We’re conscious of not to creating more waste so used the products he’d already bought.
With this in mind, we chose to insulate our van with:
- Earthwool fibreglass insulation
- Cellotex foil backed insulation boards for the ceiling
- Foil tape
Other tools for the job
- Our Ryobi drill to remove the ply panels
- Double-sided tape
- Craft knife
- Stick pins
Wooden blocks by the bulkhead
As we have an overhead storage unit in the bulkhead which we’re opting to keep and use, we needed to secure solid beams to the ceiling to drill the ply-panels in.
Do to this, we cut three pieces of timber and glued them to the ceiling using campervan specific adhesive from Sikaflex and supported them overnight while the glue dried.
This will make a strong surface, along with the Ford Transit’s ribs, to secure the ceiling to.
How do you insulate a van?
PRO TIP: if you’re planning on running wiring behind the walls, running conduit under the insulation will help make this easier.
We opted to do it slightly differently from other campervan converters as we saw how helpful double-sided tape could make the job.
We used EcoTherm rigid insulation to do the roof. First we measured how much we’d need between each rib, then easily cut them down to size with a craft knife. This is also a great way to carve out bits for different ridges in the Ford Transit.
We double-checked this was the right size by holding it up and if we were happy, we stuck the stick-pins up then secured the rigid insulation.
You can watch a really helpful video by Greg Virgoe about how to do this.
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2. The walls
For the walls we used Earthwool fibreglass insulation which its previous owner had already bought to save on waste.
This stuff is really easy to use and you should shove it in as many areas as possible. Again, remember if you’re putting wiring in the walls, putting in a conduit will be really helpful later on.
- The floor
Again, this had already been done by our van’s previous owner so we didn’t need to do this.
But for info, he’d used a foil-backed EVA foam.
4. The moisture barrier
As we’ve previously mentioned, the moisture barrier is going to be key to keeping your van temperate and dry.
Once we’d finished insulating, we put strips of double-sided tape over the rigid foam and along the exposed steel.
This makes the job so much easier as you can then just roll the reflectix foil out across the van.