Should I Insulate Under My Circumstances ?

Bravo30

Active member
#1
heres the deal. this build is a multi purpose build. 50 weeks out of the year we will be delivering furniture. the remaining 2 weeks or so we will be van camping. we camp in the winter and have no problem with the cold. went a few months ago in -6 and we were fine with extra blankets. not warm by any means, but fine. my theory on insulation is to skip it an just add more heat if need be considering we camp now with neither heat nor insulation. if we were to add a heater in the future we should good to go. as far as condensation goes i figured the open space will allow it to dry out naturally like it does now if it were to occur. we don't cook in the van and will never use a propane heater. sound isnt an issue for me either. i play the radio will driving. the only issue i can see is radiant heat in the summer months.


thoughts?
 
#2
So, for 50 weeks out of the year you use the vehicle to move furniture, and 2 weeks out of the year (in the cold of winter) you will use the vehicle to camp out of? Do I have that correct or are you talking about 2 different vehicles? What kind of vehicle are you camping out of? Off grid, semi off grid (limited utilities), or on grid (water, electric, sewer)? What kind of heater are you going to use if not propane, other fuel, wood, or electric?

I am by no means an expert, but if it were me and the ability to insulate were not complex or expensive I would do it just to cut down on the heat loss while using in the winter. It may also help w/ excessive heat gain in the summer. My understanding is that different heat types are better than others for keeping up with the cold load. just like different fuels are more or less efficient than others (wood, gas, diesel, propane, electric) electric I believe is the least efficient choice.

I've camped in enclosed lean-to shelters in the winter, in below freezing temperatures, and simply lit a few candles in a tin can which provided a little light and heat, as well as seemed to help with the condensation from myself and the other mouth breathers.
 

Bravo30

Active member
#3
So, for 50 weeks out of the year you use the vehicle to move furniture, and 2 weeks out of the year (in the cold of winter) you will use the vehicle to camp out of? Do I have that correct or are you talking about 2 different vehicles? What kind of vehicle are you camping out of? Off grid, semi off grid (limited utilities), or on grid (water, electric, sewer)? What kind of heater are you going to use if not propane, other fuel, wood, or electric?

I am by no means an expert, but if it were me and the ability to insulate were not complex or expensive I would do it just to cut down on the heat loss while using in the winter. It may also help w/ excessive heat gain in the summer. My understanding is that different heat types are better than others for keeping up with the cold load. just like different fuels are more or less efficient than others (wood, gas, diesel, propane, electric) electric I believe is the least efficient choice.

I've camped in enclosed lean-to shelters in the winter, in below freezing temperatures, and simply lit a few candles in a tin can which provided a little light and heat, as well as seemed to help with the condensation from myself and the other mouth breathers.
2013 Spritner 170'' WB multi use van. ill probably end up doing closer to a month per year camping and other activities. you could call it semi-off grid. i am in the process of adding a 250AH lipo4 system electrical system (no solar yet) water tank with propane instant water heater and a compost toilet. the idea is to have the van set-up so that i can pull or add components as needed and return the van to cargo configuration for work. everything will be modular. no built in cabinets except for a sink base up front. in regards to heater choice? i'm just really not interested in heaters yet so i couldn't really answer you.

as far as the insulation goes i'm just trying to weight my options here. if my situation wont be affected by not having it then why spend the money and time? i need to be on the road in 4-5 weeks and so far i have the van gutted and fan installed. i posted this thread in the hopes that ill be exposed to different opinions and go from there. right now its just me an the echo chamber.
 
#4
As the van is already gutted , now is the optimum time to build for the future .

Yes , insulate , closed cell foam board is easy , helps with both the cold and hot , you will be using some light weight (thin) ply or similar as lining , so when you come to sell the van , you have an added sale feature too.
 
#6
Sounds to me, you guys are young now and like roughing it. Down the road, maybe kids who would like more heat. I'd think about insulating now if you wouldn't be able to later. I did the same in my shop, now I wish I had insulated, but can't due to built in shelves.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
#7
Well you didn't put where you are but nevertheless I'd insulate. I added insulation to most of the VW buses I had to not only help out in the winter but also help cut down on the summer heat. It also helps with road noise which contributes to fatigue. Your call but if you've got it gutted it doesn't take a lot of work to insulate, just money for the supplies.

This line- "... not warm by any means, but fine." is enough to say you ought to go ahead and do it. In my opinion, there's no good reason not to use a heater if you're careful. An electric heater is the easiest if you have access to an outlet otherwise a propane or gas heater can be used but they do add moisture and you need to have a CO detector. I'd run my Buddy heater at night before going to bed then pile on the blankets and or sleeping bag, read for a bit then cut it off. Snake an arm out in the morning and cut it back on and in a few minutes it'd be warm enough to get up and make coffee. :coffeedrink:
 
#8
Furniture blankets make for great insulation. Figure out a way to quick attach/detach to sides and roof (velcro/clamps) when camping and you are good to go. Pretty sure you have a few sitting around if you deliver furniture ; )
 

Bravo30

Active member
#10
you guys are right. i though about what was said here and what i had picked up via research and decided to insulate. i went with a semi complete 2'' XPS job in conjunction with spray foam for the gaps, ribs and taped any seems that i couldnt foam. i didn't do the bulkhead or the floor. i need access to the bulkhead in the event my led bar leaks or something.

the only thing that bothers me is that the foam is somewhat tight up against the sheet metal. the inside of the van will have furring strips so that will allow for a .5'' gap between the insulation and the interior wall paneling. im kind of burnt out from researching so i hope this wont be a problem.

thoughts >?

thanks for your time, Brad
 
Last edited:

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#11
That is a good thing to consider.
Condensation that gets trapped can cause mold to grow. So there needs to be air circulation between the walls and the foam. This air doesn't "need" to circulate inside the vehicle, just like your attic at home doesn't circulate into the house. But it does need circulation.
Hope this helps.
Good luck on the project. :beer:
 
Top