Campervan Insulation: Everything you need to know

Are you a little confused when it comes to campervan insulation? Thankfully, we've created this in-depth article that covers everything you need to know regarding campervan insulation.

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Overview

Keeping warm inside your campervan when it’s cold outside will make travelling in a campervan an absolute pleasure.

But, get it wrong, and you’ll soon find yourself checking into the nearest hotel for some much-needed warmth.

This is why campervan insulation is so important.

If you want to stay comfortable inside your campervan, then insulating the vehicle correctly will have such a dramatic effect.

When it comes to keeping the heat in or out, insulation is one of the most important steps you can do for your campervan conversion.

There is also quite a lot of confusion when it comes to the correct type of insulation to choose from for your van build.

So, to keep it as simple as possible, here are some common questions you may face when it comes to insulating your campervan.

Frequently Asked Campervan Insulation Questions:

  • What’s the best material to use?
  • How do I install it correctly?
  • Is a vapour barrier important?
  • How much is it to insulate my campervan conversion?
  • What are R and K-values?
  • Do I still need to insulate if I am going to travel to hot countries?

In this article, we will try to give you all the answers you need about insulating a campervan.

We also take an in-depth look at the most commonly used campervan insulation materials, their pros and cons, and whether you should use them.

Before we jump in, we must first understand the properties of heat transfer and see precisely how it works.

Campervan Insulation and Heat Transfer: What You Need To Know

There are three types of heat transfer: radiation, conduction, and convection;

Campervan Radiation, Conduction and Convection process.
Campervan Radiation, Conduction and Convection process.

Radiation

Radiation is a method of heat transfer.

It does not rely upon any contact between the heat source and the heated object. One of the most notable examples of radiation heat transfer is the heat of the sun beaming down onto the earth.

How does heat radiation work in a Campervan?

One of the primary sources for radiating heat coming into your campervan is going to be your windows.

They allow sunlight to pass through, which heats the inside of the vehicle.

In winter, this is a great benefit as it will soon warm up the inside of the campervan. However, it can have the opposite effect in summer, making the interior feel extremely hot and stuffy.

By installing reflective window coverings inside your window frames, this will help deflect unwanted sunlight coming into the vehicle.

It will also have a huge benefit in keeping the van cool and creating a pleasant, ambient temperature.

Conduction

Conduction is the transfer of heat between two solid bodies.

A good example of conduction heat transfer is leaving a teaspoon in a hot cup of tea; due to conduction heat transfer, after a short period, the end of the spoon sticking out of the cup will start to get hot.

How does conduction work in a campervan?

Heat transfer in a campervan
The body of a campervan is an excellent conductor of heat. Using insulation slows down the process.

When the sun shines down and heats the external body of your van, the heat will eventually make its way inside.

Heat conduction allows heat to travel through the body and the walls of the vehicle.

By installing the correct insulation, you can slow down the process of heat transfer.

In winter, insulation will have the opposite effect, slowing down the heat transfer going out of the vehicle.

Convection

Convection occurs when heat transfers through a gas or liquid by a hotter material moving into a cooler area.

A brilliant example is a Hot Air Balloon.

The gas heater inside the balloon heats the air, and so the air moves towards the top of the balloon.

Because of the trapped hot air, the balloon will now begin to rise. When the pilot wants to descend, they let out some of the hot air from the top.

Cool air is drawn in from the bottom, which then causes the balloon to lower.

How does convection work in a campervan?

campervan convection
In a campervan, hot air will rise while cold air will fall.

Because of the way that convection works, when the van begins to warm up, the heat will naturally rise.

By installing thicker insulation in your roof, this will help considerably slow down heat loss.

Insulation will keep the van interior nice and warm for longer. It can also make the van more energy efficient as it will require less energy to keep the van warm.

And when it gets a little too hot, you can use a ventilation fan to draw out the warmer air near the ceiling.

It will also draw cooled air into the vehicle from any low-lying vents or open windows, making the whole interior of the campervan cooler.

Understanding Campervan Insulation

INSULATION WILL SLOW HEAT TRANSFER. THIS WILL HELP MAKE IT EASIER TO MAINTAIN THE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF YOUR CAMPERVAN.

K-Value (Lambda Value, Thermal Conductivity, Λ)

K-value, also known as the Lambda value, Thermal Conductivity, and sometimes represented as the Greek letter λ, indicates the ability of such material to conduct heat.

Materials with lower K-value do not easily allow heat energy to pass through.

Ideally, you want to use material with a low K-value to insulate your campervan.

K-value is expressed in W/mK, which stands for Watts per meter-Kelvin. It means that if a material has a K-value of 1, a 1m cube of material transfers heat at a rate of 1 watt for every degree of the temperature difference between opposite faces.

Pro-Tip

The lower the K-value, the better it is at slowing heat down.

K-value Scale.
Remember, the lower the K-value, the better it will be for your campervan insulation.

R-Value (Metric)

R-value (RSI-value) refers to a material’s ability to resist heat transfer at a certain thickness.

The difference between the K-value and the R-value is that R-value takes in the total thickness of the material.

When looking for a material to insulate your campervan, materials with a higher R-value will be better to resist heat transfer via conduction.

A product’s R-value measures its thermal resistance in units of m2K/W.

How do I work out the R-value for my campervan insulation?

To work out the correct R-value for your insulation, you can do a simple equation.

You take the thickness in metres of the material and divide it by the K-value.

This equation will then return you the material’s R-value.

How to work out the R-value for insulation.
Save this image in your phone.

You can use this equation to figure out what is the best material to use when insulating your campervan.

For example:

If you divide 100mm thick mineral wool insulation (0.01) over its K-value (0.037), this will return an R-value of 2.7 per 100mm of mineral wool. Pretty simple, right?

Another way of using this equation is that you can compare different insulation materials and their thickness to see what is the best product to use when space is at a premium.

So now we will take a look at a generic 50mm thick polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation board (Kingspan, Celotex) with a K-value of 0.022w/M2K. Using the same equation as before, this returns an R-value of 2.3.

Comparing the figures, the PIR insulation board gives you nearly as much thermal resistance as the mineral wool, yet it is only half as thick.

Based on this equation, when choosing the insulation for your campervan where space is limited, the insulation board is going to be a far better material to use.

Pro-Tip

The best insulation will have a high R-value at low thickness. This indicates that it is just as good at reducing heat loss as its thicker counterparts.

Further Reading

If you want to read more information behind the science of these values, check out this webpage here.

Campervan Insulation: Thermal Bridge

Campervan thermal bridge.
Not insulating parts like the van frame can create a thermal bridge.

A thermal bridge also called a cold bridge, is an area that has a significantly higher heat transfer than the surrounding materials.

One common mistake when insulating a campervan is that people often insulate the internal frames only and neglect to provide adequate insulation to the frame ribs.

By doing this, you will create a thermal bridge.

How do I insulate a thermal bridge in a campervan?

You can insulate a thermal bridge in a campervan by stuffing insulation between your van’s frame ribs, as well as other nooks and crannies.

This will significantly improve the prevention of heat entering and leaving your vehicle.

What Should You Look for in Campervan Insulation?

Below, we have listed what you should look for when choosing the insulation materials for your campervan:

  • High R-value per inch – As mentioned earlier, the higher the R-value, the greater its insulation properties will be. And, because space is at a premium, choosing the highest R-value insulation will require less space. Winner!
  • Value for money – When it comes to insulating your van, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of cash kitting it out with the latest space-age technology.
    Having said that, be careful if you decide to go down the super-budget route.
    Some of the cheaper materials may not be up to scratch and could leave you with a headache further down the road. The best insulation materials do their job effectively and won’t break the bank.
  • It needs to withstand vehicle motion and vibration – Remember, you’re not insulating a static home. When driving, the campervan is going to vibrate and move around.
    You need to install the correct insulation that can withstand all the stresses of motion without falling apart.
  • Resistance to moisture, mould, and mildew – Either the material is impervious to moisture or has moisture control properties and is naturally mould-resistant (like sheep wool).
  • Non-toxic – As you’ll be living and breathing in a relatively small space, you don’t want harmful gases or microscopic particles from your insulation floating around the campervan. Make sure you check out what tools to use, including safety equipment.

Campervan Insulation Chart

#MaterialK-ValueR-Value @ 100mmRecommended Use
1Reflective Bubble FoilN/AN/AWindows
2PIR Foam Board0.024w/mk4.16Walls, Ceiling
3XPS Foam Board0.033w/mk3.03Walls, Ceiling, Floor
4EPS Foam Board0.036w/mk2.77Not Recommended
5Polyurethane Spray Foam0.025w/mk4.00Gaps & Fill-In, Adhesive
6Fibreglass Wool0.035w/mk2.85Not Recommended
7Rock Wool0.035w/mk2.85Door Panels
8Sheep Wool0.038w/mk2.63Door Panels & General

As you can see from this chart, there are a few clear winners when it comes to choosing the right campervan insulation product.

But certain types of insulation may be good for some applications and not so good for others. Below, we take a closer look at each of these materials and their recommended uses.

Common Campervan Insulation Materials

Common campervan insulation materials.
Common campervan insulation materials.

It can be quite a challenge when it comes to choosing the right insulation material for your self-build campervan project.

With many different types of insulation available on the market, selecting the correct type of insulation for each part of your internal structure can be a daunting task.

Thankfully, we have done that for you.

While there are lots of different materials out there to choose from, not all of them may be the best choices when insulating your campervan van.

Reflective Bubble Foil Campervan Insulation

Bubble foil insulation campervan
Good at radiating heat, not so good at insulation.

Reflective Bubble Foil – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
N/AN/AWindowsInsulation Superstore

Reflective bubble insulation is made from a polythene bubble membrane with two reflective aluminium foil surfaces on either side that act as a radiant heat barrier.

Although this type of insulation is used in many types of campervan conversions, it is also a little bit misunderstood.

Watch any DIY campervan conversion video on YouTube or read any of the popular conversion blogs online and chances are, you’ll see people time and time again installing the reflective bubble insulation directly up against the internal metal walls.

“INSTALLING BUBBLE INSULATION DIRECTLY TO YOUR VAN’S SURFACE IS SIMPLY NOT THE CORRECT WAY”

Reflective bubble insulation is primarily a radiant barrier.

It’s very effective at reflecting radiant heat, but this is self-contradictory as soon as you install the material onto a solid surface.

Since radiant heat only travels through air or a vacuum, it’s essential to allow at least 1.0 inch (2.5cm) of air space between the reflective bubble insulation and the panels of the van for it to have any effect at all as a radiant barrier. [1][2]

When you put bubble foil directly against your van’s solid wall, you’re now dealing with heat conduction, and the R-value comes into play. [3][4]

Bubble Foil Insulation Requires The Correct Amount Of Space To Radiate Heat Correctly.
Bubble foil insulation requires the correct amount of space to radiate heat effectively.

Although the middle layers of bubble film will give the structure added strength, and provide a little bit of a thermal barrier against conductive heat transfer, for the price you pay, many other materials will provide you with a higher R-value for much less cash.

On the one hand, bubble foil has some excellent uses.

Because it’s so good at reflecting radiant heat, it performs well when installed as a blind in a window frame.

On a hot day, use bubble foil to shield your windows from the incoming sunlight.

You’ll quickly notice a considerable difference in the amount of heat coming in your campervan.

Sources:
OUR VERDICT

We recommend using bubble foil insulation for window coverings and large cavities.

It acts as a great radiant barrier, but you’re wasting your money if you install it directly onto your walls.

There are much more effective and much less expensive insulation materials out there that have a much better R-value.

Products We Recommend:

Polyisocyanurate Board (PIR Board, Polyiso)

PIR Insulation Board Campervan Conversion.
The PIR Insulation board is king when it comes to insulating your campervan.

PIR Foam Board – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.024 W/mK4.16Walls, CeilingInsulation Superstore

Polyisocyanurate, known as PIR or Polyiso insulation, is one of the most popular insulation materials available.

PIR boards are created by blending a selection of materials together to create a rigid, single-core of Polyisocyanurate.

This is then sandwiched between two high-performance aluminium foil facings.

The foil facings provide a radiant heat barrier, providing you install it correctly with the recommended air gap.

The whole manufacturing process creates a sturdy, durable and lightweight insulation board.

Most PIR boards also have a vapour barrier on either side to prevent the build-up of damp.

What Are the Benefits of PIR Insulation?

PIR boards are one of the most efficient insulation materials used in construction as they have excellent thermal properties.

Another excellent benefit is that these boards are unaffected by air infiltration. They are also resistant to the passage of water vapour and are simple to handle as the weight is minimal. This will make installation a quick and straightforward process.

That’s why PIR boards are the default material to use for many self-build campervan projects.

Is PIR Insulation Environmentally Friendly?

First off, PIR is completely non-toxic and doesn’t off-gas anything harmful. It’s also significantly more environmentally friendly than XPS foam board.

According to the Insulation Manufacturers Association, the net environmental effect of PIR insulation products is good news.

They say that over a 50-year period, PIR boards will save at least 100 times more energy than embodied in the fossil fuel used to produce them in the first place.

Additionally, since 2002, all PIR boards are manufactured without the use of any ozone-depleting substances.

This is really excellent news! And if you would like to a little more about the sustainability and environmental impacts of PIR insulation boards, you can check it out here.

Please Note: Although these figures are likely based on residential and commercial installations, and not vehicle installations, we still believe that this is good news for people who are more environmentally conscious when it comes to their van build or the environment in general.

 

OUR VERDICT

This is a top choice for many when selecting the correct campervan insulation as you get excellent value for R-value.

It is widely available in all DIY stores and is extremely easy to install.

XPS Foam Board – Extruded Polystyrene

XPS insulation board campervan conversion.
XPS insulation board is super tough!

XPS Foam Board – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.033 W/mK3.03Walls, Ceiling, FloorInsulation Superstore

Another popular type of ridge foam board is expanded polystyrene otherwise known as XPS.

XPS insulation is manufactured through an extrusion process. This manufacturing process involves melting together the plastic resin and other ingredients.

The liquid formed is then continuously extruded through a die that expands during the cooling process.

This produces closed-cell rigid insulation.

As for the price, XPS is cheaper than PIR foam boards but more expensive than EPS.

What Are the Benefits of XPS for Campervan Insulation?

XPS does not absorb moisture, preventing a favourable environment for mould to grow. In fact, it serves as a barrier against moisture.

Another excellent benefit is due to the way this foam board is manufactured; the closed-cell structure of XPS foam imparts superior long-term strength and durability that will stand up to the vibration of the van when driving.

OUR VERDICT

Use this if you can’t find PIR boards. Because of its high R-value per 100mm and its reasonably low cost, XPS is an excellent choice for your campervan insulation.

Even if you use PIR boards as your primary material, we recommend using XPS under your floor because of its higher compressive strength.

EPS Foam Board – Expanded Polystyrene

ESP insulation board campervan conversion.
Cheap but may deteriorate over time.

EPS Foam Board – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.036 W/mK2.77Not RecommendedInsulation Superstore

EPS insulation, otherwise known as expanded polystyrene insulation, is similar to XPS insulation, but it goes through a slightly different manufacturing process.

The insulation board is manufactured using a mould to contain small foam beads. Heat or steam is then applied to the mould, which causes the small beads to expand and fuse together. (It’s basically the same stuff as typical Styrofoam.)

Unlike XPS insulation, EPS insulation has small voids between the beads, where they haven’t completely fused together.

This means that water can slowly penetrate the foam board, making it less effective.

However, if you’re working to a low budget, you may opt for EPS insulation, because it is still thermally efficient. It also one of the cheapest insulation products available.

What are the benefits of EPS insulation?

Benefits of EPS insulation include its cost-effective prices, and its lightweight properties make transportation and handling super easy.

OUR VERDICT

If you’re going with foam board, there are much better choices. Although EPS is cheap and works fine as insulation, it has a higher K-value and will also degrade over time.

This is particularly amplified from the vibrations of a van when in motion.

Polyurethane Spray Foam (Expanding Foam)

Closed-cell PU foam.
Expensive, but offers excellent thermal resistance.

Polyurethane Spray Foam (Open & Closed)- Key Facts

TypeK-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
CLOSED0.025 W/mK4.00Gaps & Fill-In, AdhesiveAmazon
OPEN0.035 W/mK2.86Gaps & Fill-In, AdhesiveAmazon

Did you know there are two main types of polyurethane spray foam insulation?

They are called ‘Open Cell’ and ‘Closed Cell’.

Deciding what type of spray foam insulation you should use for your campervan insulation may be trickier than it seems.

Both closed-cell and open-cell spray foam both make excellent insulation, but do it in slightly different ways.

Below, we compare open-cell versus closed-cell foam and help you pick the best product for your campervan build.

What is the Main Difference Between Open-Cell And Closed-Cell Foam Insulation?

Open and closed-cell foam are two different types of spray foam insulation.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and one is not necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to learning the benefits of open-cell versus closed-cell foam and deciding the type that fits your requirements.

The Cells

Spray foam insulation is referred to open cell or closed cell because of the difference between the little bubbles (of cells) that make up the foam.

  • Open Cell – This foam is full of cells that aren’t entirely encapsulated. In other words, the cells are intentionally left open. This then makes the foam a softer, more flexible material to work with.
  • Closed Cell – This foam is made up of cells that are totally closed. The cells are squeezed together, so air and moisture are unable to penetrate the foam. Because of this, closed-cell foam is far more rigid and stable than open-cell foam. Using closed-cell spray foam will also form an impermeable vapour barrier. This can shield your van’s metal walls from condensation.

R-Value

Closed-cell foam returns a higher R-value than open-cell foam. Closed-cell has a value of approximately 4.00m2K/W per 100mm of foam compared to 2.56m2K/W per 100mm of open-cell foam.

What Type of Spray Foam Should I Use for My Campervan?

Polyurethane spray foam comes in two varieties: the big spray kits that professionals use to insulate houses and the smaller cans of spray foam.

But, spray foam kits are rather expensive – foaming your entire van would cost upwards of £250.

Canned spray foam is relatively inexpensive and does a great job at filling gaps, cracks, and hard-to-reach areas like your internal van frame.

OUR VERDICT

Use canned spray foam to fill all the nooks and crannies in the van as spray foam is excellent insulation.

Regarding a full internal installation, if you’re okay with the extra expense and installation process, then it can be the right choice.

But rigid foam boards are much cheaper, more comfortable to work with, and almost as beneficial at insulating.

Fibreglass Wool

Fibreglass Wool – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.035 W/mK2.85Not RecommendedInsulation Superstore

Fibreglass insulation is one of the most popular types of home insulation, and it’s easy to see why.

It is super affordable, easy to install, readily available in a variety of sizes and, most importantly, a brilliant thermal insulator.

What are the Benefits Of Fibreglass Wool For Campervan Insulation?

Fibreglass wool is composed of fine glass fibres that are woven, lightly compressed and then cut into long rolls or batts.

This is really practical when it comes to using it for campervan insulation as it can be cut to shape and stuffed in hard to reach places.

And for the price, it is not going to break the bank.

But saying that, compared to insulation board, fibreglass has a relatively low R-value, meaning you’ll need more thickness to achieve the same insulation level.

What are the Negatives Of Fibreglass Wool For Campervan Insulation?

Fibreglass wool soaks up moisture, which you definitely don’t want sitting behind your interior walls.

It can also deteriorate over time and may eventually fall apart.

This can be accelerated with the vibration of driving around in your campervan, which can aid in the release of harmful particles into the air.

That is why it is vital to use the correct protective equipment when installing fibreglass wool.

You do NOT want to breathe this material in as inhaling tiny fibreglass particles can cause potentially life-threatening conditions, as well as irritating your eyes and skin.

Is Fiberglass Wool Sustainable?

Due to its composition, fibreglass is known for its low embodied energy.

This is the total energy required to produce the product from the raw materials stage through to the delivery of fibreglass products.

The main ingredient in fibreglass is glass. Since glass is made from sand, this is an abundant, natural, non-depleting resource.

So yes, fibreglass is a natural choice when seeking energy-efficient, green, sustainable solutions.

Is Fiberglass Wool Recyclable?

Fibreglass is designed, tested and built to last for decades.

That means there is less waste heading to landfills, as fibreglass products have extremely long life cycles.

Some manufacturers do offer to take back off-cuts, but this will depend on the quality of the material as well as the quantity.

Eventually, fibreglass reaches its end of life, and you may find it difficult to recycle. Many waste collection authorities will take in fibreglass wool for a cost, but unfortunately, it may end up in a landfill or incinerated.

OUR VERDICT

We generally don’t recommend using fibreglass in your van for insulation.

There have been recent studies done showing signs that the microscopic fibres from fibreglass wool may be dangerous if inhaled.

It can also be a pain to work with causing skin and eye irritation.

But those on a low budget may see its practical uses.

Rock Wool

Rockwool Campervan Insulation
An excellent ‘all-rounder’ campervan insulation.

Rockwool – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.035 W/mK2.85Door PanelsInsulation Superstore

Rockwool insulation, also known as mineral wool, is a rock-based mineral fibre insulation comprising of Basalt rock and recycled Slag.

Basalt is a volcanic rock abundant in the earth, and Slag is a by-product of the steel and copper industry.

The minerals are melted and spun into fibres.

What Are the Benefits of Rockwool For Campervan Insulation?

Rockwool has a similar K-value to fibreglass, but its rigidity makes it more durable and comfortable to work with.

It is also renowned for its excellent acoustic properties.

With its naturally dense, non-directional fibre structure, insulating your campervan with Rockwool will effectively trap soundwaves and dampen vibration to provide enhanced noise reduction.

This is useful if you’re parked up in a noisy part of town and want a relaxing night’s sleep.

What are the Negatives Of Rockwool For Campervan Insulation?

Compared to fibreglass, Rockwool is a lot more expensive, and the R-value per 100mm m2K/w is still a lot lower than its foam board counterparts.

Are There Any Hazards with Rockwool Campervan Insulation?

It is advisable to wear protective clothing and a face mask whenever you work with Rockwool, as the installation can be quiet an itchy process.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, another potential hazard of Rockwool is that inhaled Rockwool slivers may become lodged in your lungs.

There have been some indications that this can lead to serious health problems. [1]

Is Rockwool Sustainable?

The excellent news is Rockwool is entirely sustainable.

Rockwool is made from Basalt rock, which is continually replenished naturally from within the earth.

Volcanoes and plate tectonics produce around 38,000 times more stone material every year than used to make Rockwool products.

Also, Rockwool has a very long lifespan, performing to the same high standard for decades.

What Is the Environmental Impact Of Rockwool?

When producing Rockwool, high-tech filters, pre-heaters, afterburners and other cleaning and collection systems are used to ensure an environmentally responsible approach.

In the UK, Rockwool is also one of eight factories across the group that utilises rainwater harvesting for the process of water.

Rockwool is also fully supported by several external environmental accreditations.

Is Rockwool Recyclable?

Yes!

Waste material collected from refurbished and demolished buildings, along with off-cuts from the installation process, all can all be transformed into new Rockwool products. In fact, 100% of Rockwool’s production waste is recycled, and the material itself is 97% recyclable.

OUR VERDICT

Rockwool has a higher R-value than fibreglass, and it does a better job dealing with moisture.

This is a brilliant choice for insulating door panels and the internal van frames, but foam board is still a better (and cheaper) choice for the rest of your van.

Sources

Sheep Wool

Sheep wool campervan insulation.
The most natural type of insulation available on the market. Bahhh

Sheepwool – Key Facts

K-value (avg)R-value @ 100mmSuggested UsesWhere To Buy
0.038 W/mK2.63Door Panels & GeneralInsulation Superstore

For tens of thousands of years, sheep have been able to survive the harshest of elements thanks to their woolly coats.

The wool does a fantastic job of protecting sheep from the extreme cold.

Due to the cramped nature of wool fibres, they form millions of tiny air pockets that trap air.

This then helps to provide a brilliant thermal barrier, making this an excellent insulation material for your campervan.

What Are the Benefits Of Sheep Wool?

Sheep wool is an excellent alternative insulation material. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and has some really exceptional benefits.

Sheep wool can absorb moisture in the air without jeopardising its insulation ability. It will also wick condensation away from your van’s metal walls as well as being resistant to mould and mildew.

And if that wasn’t enough, it also has excellent sound-deadening properties.

Sheep wool is really a wonder material!

What Are the Negatives Of Sheep Wool?

Compared to other available insulation materials, sheep wool does not have the highest R-value per 100mm – being a little lower than fibreglass.

But it’s relatively low price and its moisture management properties make it a really great option.

Because of its lower R-value per 100mm, you’ll need more thickness than you would with say PU spray foam or fibreglass.

And when internal space is at a premium, other products may offer better benefits, using less space.

Is Sheep Wool Sustainable?

According to the International Wool Textile Industry, sheep wool is a 100% natural product and highly sustainable.

The energy required to produce sheep wool compared to manmade equivalents is tiny. Most of the energy required to produce wool is the energy used to wash the wool before use.

Sheep are part of what is known as the natural carbon cycle. When grazing, they consume the organic carbon stored in plants and then convert it into wool.

A massive 50% of the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.

Is Sheep Wool Recyclable?

Wool will eventually come to the end of its life and when this happens, you’ll find it very easy to recycle. It is also worth noting that the wool fibre itself is naturally biodegradable.

How NOT to insulate your campervan with wool.
How NOT to insulate your campervan with wool!
OUR VERDICT

Sheep wool insulation is a brilliant choice for van insulation if you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of that precious space.

The beauty of sheep wool is it’s 100% natural, resistant to mould and mildew, and it can help with moisture and condensation.

If you’re concerned about VOCs, air quality, and condensation inside your campervan, and/or you prefer to use natural materials, then sheep wool is an excellent choice.

However, as wool has a lower R-value per 100mm than foam boards, this means you’ll need to give up more interior space to get the same insulating effect.

But depending on your needs and priorities, this trade-off may be worth it.

What We Recommend:

Campervan Insulation: What We Recommend

Campervan Insulation Suggestions
Campervan Insulation Suggestions

If you had to go with just one insulation product to install in your campervan, then we would recommend PIR insulation foam boards.

PIR foam boards have the highest R-value per 25mm of any common insulation materials and they are super easy to work with, non-toxic, and they are not too costly.

Our second choice would be extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam boards. Like PIR foam boards, they have a relatively high R-value per 25mm, as well as being a little cheaper than PIR foam boards.

Campervan Ventilation

Why do you need ventilation in a campervan?

Campervan Conversion - Insulation and the importance of insulation.
Ventilation is important if you want to keep the interior cool and stop the build-up of humidity.

Although we have done a really useful article covering everything you need to know about campervan ventilation, it is still worth a quick mention here;

To stay comfortable in your campervan when the weather is hot outside, having an electric vent fan that can expel warm air from the ceiling and draw in the fresh air from outside is an essential feature for creating a comfortable internal climate.

Also, as the internal space of your campervan is relatively small, breathing, cooking food and using natural gas will all produce moisture in the air.

The moisture in the air will eventually turn into condensation if the correct ventilation is not in place.

How do you insulate your campervan windows?

Campervan Bubble Foil Window Insulation

You can insulate your campervan windows by installing a radiant barrier like bubble foil insulation. this will help drastically reduce the heat coming in the vehicle.

In summer, the primary source of heat entering the vehicle is radiating heat directly from the sun.

If you want to do the absolute maximum when it comes to combating high internal vehicle temperatures, using reflective foil cut-outs that sit inside your window frames will make a significant difference.

They work by reflecting the sun’s rays from entering the vehicle, helping to reduce the internal temperature.

“Nothing is worse than spending your day in a hot steel box! – Use Bubble foil!”

Aftermarket kits are available for some van models. These are pre-made to the correct window frame size, but if you want to save a bit of money, then you could always make your own.

Buy some bubble foil roll online, cut the foil to shape and then glue to stiff cardboard.

Likewise, in winter, flip your foil inserts around so now the shiny side is facing in, and this should help keep the heat from escaping the vehicle.

CONCLUSION

We have tried to cover campervan insulation in as much detail as possible, but with a market that is constantly changing, always carry out your own research on what is the best product for your situation.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with people who are about to take on their own insulation? If so, please leave your comments below.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and share this article!

Recommended Websites

VanLife Blogs

Campervan Insulation Products

  • Insulation Superstore (UK) – This website lists all the products we have mentioned in this article. You’ll also find all the technical information with each of the products to help you choose the best product for your build.
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Campervan insulation guide

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