Campervan Ventilation

Campervan Ventilation

First Published: July 15, 2019
Post Updated: April 8, 2021
Post Author: Arron
Campervan ventilation condensation

Having the correct ventilation fitted in your campervan is one of the most important steps you can take to create a comfortable living environment while aboard your campervan. Unlike most modern homes, campervans are severely limited to the total amount of internal space. As a result, internal temperatures, humidity, and pollutants may build up in such a confined space.

Overview

To achieve a comfortable living environment aboard your campervan, it is important to have a way to regulate the airflow coming in and out of your vehicle. This is achieved by fitting the correct type of campervan ventilation.

Why should I install ventilation in my campervan?

why should i install ventilation in my campervan 01

There are three main reasons why you would want to install ventilation in your campervan.

  • To regulate the internal climate to create a comfortable environment.
  • Help combat the build-up of moisture, which can lead to condensation.
  • Combat any unpleasant odours and pollutants.

Below, we have covered each of the reasons in more detail.

1: Campervan ventilation regulates the internal climate

Campervan Ventilation

One of, if not the main reason to install campervan ventilation for your campervan is to regulate the internal climate. Due to the way heat works, cold air inside your campervan will naturally sink and hot air will rise towards the ceiling.

Furthermore, over a prolonged period, the build-up of hot air will make the temperature rise considerably inside the living space of your campervan. Therefore, the internal space may become uncomfortably hot and stuffy.

By installing an efficient ventilation system, in the right locations around your campervan, you can regulate the internal climate of your campervan. This will make living and travelling aboard your campervan a more pleasurable experience.

2: Campervan ventilation can combat the build-up of Humidity and Condensation

Let’s face it – having tons of humidity in a campervan sucks! That’s why it’s so important to remove as much moisture in the air as you can with the help of campervan ventilation.

Having a humid campervan can cause mould to grow in the vehicle as well as fabrics and clothing. Consequently, with high humidity, you’ll no-doubt create condensation. This can ultimately lead to the formation of rust in the interior of your vehicle.

3: Campervan Ventilation Help’s Combat Odour and Pollutants

If multiple people are living in an enclosed area for an extended period, you’ll soon find a build-up of unpleasant odours. Furthermore, this can be exaggerated in hotter climates where a human body sweats more. However, it’s not only us humans that create smells.

Animals, food and dirty laundry all can produce unwanted odours to the interior of your campervan.

By installing the correct campervan ventilation system, this should help combat the build-up of any unwanted odours in the interior of your vehicle.

Understanding Campervan Condensation

Campervan Condensation

What Causes Condensation In My Campervan?

Condensation is the process by which water vapour in the air is changed into its liquid form. In other words; Condensation occurs when warm, moisture-laden air comes into contact with a colder surface.

There are multiple ways condensation can form inside your campervan;

  • Breathing – Here’s a fun fact; Did you know, according to one study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, we exhale approximately 200 millilitres of water vapour per hour while we are awake and approximately 20 millilitres of water vapour per hour during sleep. Breathing inside your vehicle will add humidity in the air which will contribute to condensation.
  • Cooking – Any kind of cooking where you’ll be boiling food is going to be one of the fastest ways of introducing water vapour into the living area of the vehicle.
  • Natural Gas – If you’re using cooking equipment that operates of natural gas, then it will produce quite a large amount of water vapour which can result in condensation. Water vapour is produced during the combustion process between the oxygen, natural gas (usually propane), and carbon dioxide.
  • Personal Washing – Most of the time, this is going to be when you take a shower. The hot water will create steam which will increase the humidity in the air.

Where Does Condensation Usually Form Inside My Campervan?

Condensation typically occurs on uninsulated, heat conductive surfaces. In a campervan, these areas are generally;

  • Windows.
  • Metal panels of the internal vehicle structure.
  • Campervan furniture.

By installing the correct campervan ventilation system in the right locations around your vehicle, you can help combat the build-up of humidity, helping to combat condensation.

What happens if I have condensation over a long period?

Having condensation aboard your campervan may lead to some problems if you don’t get it fixed soon.

  • Promote the growth of Fungi (or Mould to you and me) as well as bacteria. For some people, this may cause an allergic reaction as well as respiratory problems.
  • It can provide the perfect conditions for dust-mites. This may affect people who suffer from asthma.
  • Odours build-up because of fungal growth.
  • Condensation forming on your windows, the vehicle structure and campervan surfaces.

What is the best type of campervan ventilation?

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.

Below we have listed the best ventilation methods you can adopt aboard your campervan.

  1. Opening a window.
  2. Installing wind deflectors + Opening windows
  3. Louvred air vents.
  4. Wind-powered rotary roof vent.
  5. Roof opening vent.
  6. Roof opening vent with an electric fan.

1: Opening your windows

campervan ventilation opening a window

Advantages

  • No need to physically alter your vehicle. Just roll down the window, and you have instant campervan ventilation.

Disadvantages

  • If you choose to leave the window(s) open overnight, you risk potential break-ins as well as damage due to changes in the weather.

First and foremost, opening a window is a quick and easy way to ventilate your campervan. This method will provide a way of ventilating your campervan, but this is only a temporary solution.

However, one problem with leaving your windows open, especially overnight, is the possibility of a vehicle break-in. Similarly, another reason you would not want to leave your window open for long periods is in case of any unexpected weather changes.

Falling asleep with an open window through the night leaves your vehicle at risk of rain entering the interior and potentially soaking your seats and cab electronics. There is nothing worse than having to drive a van with a wet seat! Trust us – we know!

And finally, a window that is left open only a few inches will not really provide enough ventilation to recirculate a large volume of fresh air around your vehicle.

Conclusion

Leaving a window slightly open is a quick and easy way of ventilating your campervan. However, it is simply not the best method if you’re serious about creating a purpose-built campervan ventilation system.

2: Window Wind Deflectors + Opening Your Windows

campervan ventilation opening a window with window covers

By using wind deflectors, you can leave your windows open if you plan on leaving your campervan for an extended period

Advantages

  • No vehicle adaption required. Simply click in and you’re good to go.
  • Helps disguises an open window from prying eyes. This reduces the risk of a vehicle break-in if left unattended.

Disadvantages

  • Relies on manual airflow. Without wind and/or vehicle motion, little to no air recirculation will be produced.
  • On the flip-side, the window has to be open. This could leave your vehicle easier to access if left unattended.

By installing wind deflectors on your campervan windows, you can now safely leave your windows slightly open without the worry attracting unwanted attention. Wind deflectors do an excellent job of disguising the widows when they are slightly open.

This method should hopefully deter any would-be criminals trying their luck at a visible open window and reducing the chances of a vehicle break-in. But once again, If your serious about installing the correct type of campervan ventilation, then you’re going to have to install some kind of purpose-built vent system.

Conclusion

Using wind deflectors to disguise the fact that you have your windows open is the next step up to provide adequate ventilation for your campervan.

Products We Recommend

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3: Louvred Air Vents

campervan ventilation vent

Installing a louvred air vent to your campervan is a practical way of creating a purpose built ventilation system.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive.
  • Simple to install.
  • Some models feature a manual open/close vent system.
  • Relatively secure.

Disadvantages

  • They can make your van appear like a factory-built campervan.
  • Relies on manual airflow. Without wind and/or vehicle motion, little to no air recirculation will be produced.

Fitting louvred air vents to your van walls will create a pleasant ventilation system that will allow fresh air to enter and warm air to leave your interior space. This method here will mean you’ll have to cut holes in the side of your campervan where you want to fit the vents.

It is recommended to install a fly screen behind each vent to stop unwanted bugs entering the interior of the van.

Conclusion

Louvred air vents are the first step to creating a purpose build ventilation system inside your campervan. They’re cheap to buy, simple to install and offer basic ventilation.

Products We Recommend

4: Wind-Powered Rotating Roof Vent

A rotating roof vent used for campervan ventilation

With a reputation for toughness, versatility and sheer reliability, a wind-powered rotating roof vent is a great choice where ventilation is required

Advantages

  • Inexpensive.
  • Simple to install.
  • Some models feature a manual open/close vent system.
  • Secure.

Disadvantages

  • If not properly maintained, internal bearing may become defective.
  • Relies on manual airflow. Without wind and/or vehicle motion, little to no air recirculation will be produced.

A wind-powered rotary roof vent provides a high amount of ventilation powered by the wind. The extraction rate from Wind-powered roof vents is considerably more effective than louvred air vents.

Conclusion

Installing a wind-powered roof fan is an excellent way of creating additional ventilation in your van. They are simple to install, fully waterproof and secure. In addition, for the more stealth conscious self-builders out there, by installing rotary roof vents can help disguise your campervan when parked up.

Products We Recommend

5: Manual Roof Vent

campervan ventilation roof vent fiamma

A campervan roof vent can offer excellent ventilation but maybe a little more expensive than other ventilation methods.

Advantages

  • Allows natural light to enter the vehicle.
  • Certain models feature a manual open/close vent system.
  • Certain models feature an in-built fly-screen.
  • Relatively Secure.

Disadvantages

  • Certain brands can be expensive.
  • You will have to modify your vehicle to fit this roof vent. Some DIY experience may be necessary.
  • Relies on manual airflow. Without wind and/or vehicle motion, little to no air recirculation will be produced.

Installing a purpose-made campervan roof vent is one of the best ways to add ventilation to your campervan. They offer great ventilation and do an excellent job of promoting airflow inside your vehicle.

Conclusion

A manual roof vent should provide satisfactory ventilation for most campervan builds. Although installation will require cutting out a substantial opening in your vehicle roof, installing a manual roof vent will require no additional electronics.

Another great benefit is that a roof vent can increase the amount of natural light entering the interior of your vehicle.

Products We Recommend

BrandModelVent Dimensions (mm)Price
FiammaRooflight 28280x280 Check Price
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MPKSkylight 36360x320 Check Price
MPKSkylight 40400x400 Check Price
Dometic Mini Heki 40400x400 Check Price
Dometic Midi Heki 70700x500 Check Price

6: Electric Fan Assisted Roof Vent

campervan ventilation roof top fan powered maxxair
For serious ventilation – choose an electric fan assisted roof vent.

For the very best when it comes to campervan ventilation, install a roof vent with an integrated electrical fan for maximum airflow.

Advantages

  • Best in performance for moving air in/out of your campervan.
  • Fitting two will allow you to create an excellent air recirculation system.
  • Can be used while stationary.
  • Relatively secure.

Disadvantages

  • Most expensive option
  • Requires a 12-volt DC power supply.
  • Noisy when operating at high-power.
  • Will require vehicle roof modification.
  • Certain models can be obtrusive.

An electric fan-assisted roof vent is the ultimate way of creating a powerful ventilation system inside your campervan. In addition, some models feature an option to reverse the rotation of the fan.

In combination with the electric fan, you can now expel or draw air inside of your campervan at a much greater volume. As a result, you now have the option to either expel the warm air outside or draw fresh air in.

Create an efficient air recirculation system

By installing a second electric fan-assisted roof vent on opposite ends of your vehicle, you can create an efficient air recirculation system.

This can be achieved by setting one fan to draw fresh air in, and the other to expel the interior air out.

By using two electric air vents, you can create a powerful air recirculation system.

Products We Recommend

BrandModelDimensions (mm)Price
MaxxairDeluxe - 07500k400x400 Check Price
ThuleOmnivent - 40400x400 Check Price
DometicFantastic - 2250400x400 Check Price
Dometic Fantastic - 7350400x400 Check Price
FiammaTurbo - 40400x400 Check Price

How can I ventilate my campervan shower?

To ventilate your campervan shower and washroom, you should install a purpose made 12v extractor fan that can expel the air and any moisture you create when taking a shower directly outside.

As a result, the fan will dramatically help combat the build-up of moisture inside your vehicle, which in turn will help to stop condensation.

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Eifion Jones

These articles have helped enormously with the planning of my camper conversion ,thanks for your hard work .

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