Soundproof Insulation for Campervan: How to Reduce Noise

Let’s make one thing clear, right off the bat. I understand perfectly the sheer controversy of even bringing this subject up.

A campervan is your baby, it’s what you use to travel around in style, see the sights of the world while not beholden to any schedules or need to stay at any hotels. Or it might be your way to earn money, to work and to live. Either way, very important.

So, obviously, I get that, as a fellow owner, I’m just one voice among many, advising this and that. Hell, I won’t even pretend my way might be the best single way for you.

There are thousands of different situations and types of campervan to consider when you give this sort of advice. What works for someone will possibly be someone else’s worst options.

soundproof campervan

That's why I'll do my best to give you multiple options or at least instructions that make sure you can modify them and try to make them suit your needs. The focus will be on soundproofing your campervan to avoid noise and also to insulate it, both from too much cold and too much heat.

These techniques might seem like they could be applied elsewhere, and you’d be right. There’s a bit of wisdom in borrowing methods used on houses or RVs and so on.

Overall, we’ll be focusing on soundproofing and insulation, as said before, but there will be some general tips thrown in for good measure. Let’s get started.

How to Get the Most Out of your Campervan

First of all, let’s begin with something easy to do and generally quite useful to know. You can prevent your campervan from overheating and the general byproducts of that using brighter colors for it.

White is recommended since it's good for both business vehicles and ones you use recreationally. Keep in mind that another easy to use solution is to avoid parking anywhere that has no shade.

Now, what do you avoid by simply using these 2 little tricks? Among other things, you avoid:

  • Overheating the van so you end up unable to use it yourself, whether to sleep in or just rest in there.
  • Damaging any goods or materials you might be transporting in it, for work. These things tend to be worse if exposed to baking heat within a metal box, which sufficient heat can cause.
  • Warping sensitive pieces of your vehicle, causing inconvenience and maybe even a need for repairs down the line.
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    Causing a lingering odor that would be hard to get rid of. The heat can “bake” parts of your campervan and then you’re stuck with a very inconvenient and hard to solve issue.

Now, let me make one thing clear. For true, quality results there is no one catchall product you can use and apply easily.

You will need two layers, to achieve both insulation and soundproofing, and how to apply them will be explained in the following steps.

Keep in mind that some of these are perhaps not necessary, and I will note when they aren’t, but overall it’s my personal opinion that doing all of it yields the best return. I’ll try to make the order logical and easy to follow, in hopes of making your job easier.

1. Soundproofing Doors, Roofs, and Sides

Resonance and panel boom tend to be an issue with the metal body panels. Using a sound deadening mat to resolve this issue tends to be your best bet.

Depending on your means, you have two options that you can consider. The difference tends to be whether or not you want cost effectiveness or full coverage:

  • Providing about 45 to 55% coverage on all metal panels gets you a solution that’s very friendly to your wallet.
  • Covering your outer panels completely is the more surefire and thorough but also more expensive job.

You can use a mat like this on any metal panels in your vehicle and it's largely up to your discretion to decide how to do so. However, there are obviously areas that are best suited to this, yielding the best results overall.

These are the bulkhead, sides, roof and wheel arches. You can’t go wrong applying the mat to these, but again, you’re welcome to apply it how you feel is best.

After all, you’re the one driving and using it, so you get the best sort of idea on where it will be most useful, over time. As a general rule of thumb, you can try to predict what your most pressing concerns and needs will be.

campervan soundproofing

Soundproofing the sides and roof is vital if you plan to sleep in it, whilst the wheel arches might be better to consider with heavier loads being transported. Again, just generalities to consider in your quest to soundproof your campervan.

Notice how I didn’t mention the floor? There’s a reason for that.

Typically, it’s the least of your worries when noise is mentioned and it would also be too much of an investment, for little gain. As a rule, you can just not think of it much.

Keep in mind that you will need a lot of matting to accomplish your task. Anywhere from 4 square meters all the way up to 12, a full three times that amount, is a possible necessity.

Insulation for These Areas

Now, to insulate these, you need to be well aware of your needs and wants as a campervan owner. Generally speaking, I would recommend a product like this.

The reasons I'd recommend it are simple. First of all, it's a closed cell foam that has a special formulation designed to give you the most for your money.

It has a great efficiency in both acoustic and thermal insulation, providing you with a very solid return on your investment. It can:

  • Insulate the vehicle in even the worst conditions with terrific efficiency
  • Isolate the barriers to prevent any undue mishaps
  • Reduce noise by quite a margin, with some people even claiming it gets rid of it all together, though that might be exaggerated

Overall, it’s one of the products you won’t regret buying, even if the cost might be hefty at first glance. The value for money proposition, however, makes it worthwhile and more besides.

These types of products also tend to provide an excellent defense against moisture and other dangers in that vein. Such a multipurpose barrier is almost a necessity for any sort of long-term use of your van.

It even has a naturally low profile, allowing you to fit panels easily and re-route things as necessary.

The application is fairly straightforward. Think of applying this like applying a blanket, as if you were trying to smother things almost.

Aim for complete coverage and make sure to have all the main panels covered. The amount needed for each bit will vary greatly, but in general, you won't get away with using less than 10 square meters and all the way up to twice that could possibly be needed.

2. Voids on the Sides and the Floor (Optional)

This isn’t a necessity in the process, but it’s a definite must for anyone wanting to use their campervan for sleeping. In those cases, you need the very best possible insulation, to avoid any troubles.

How you do that is simple. Fleece that’s been treated to be thermal insulation is your best bet.

Applying it to the voids that are deeper, on top of the measures you took before should guarantee you comfort and even safety from any hardships, down the line. Long-term use, even for sleeping, should be much simpler, with this application.

soundproof insulation for campervan

Again, if you plan to use the campervan for sleeping, you may need to consider doing the floors, now. As said before, they aren’t a strict necessity, even going so far as to make this not needed if you just spend one night in it, every blue moon.

However, if you’re planning to sleep in it regularly, then you may need to expand your application of the closed cell foam from before. Think of it as about another 5 to 8 square meters of material being needed.

What you get is:
  • A warmer floor, because the cold air is being stopped from below
  • A profile that’s still low enough to be customized
  • No creaking and other noise associated with sleeping on the floor
General Advice and Things to Avoid
  • No product is perfect and can solve all your problems singularly. Avoid those that claim they can.
  • Flashing tape is not the best choice for soundproofing by far, so if at all possible, steer clear of it.
  • Wool or glass fiber based insulations are very vulnerable to moisture. Be wary if you’re in a moist climate.
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    Bubble wrap foil is not good enough as insulation for a campervan. It may serve a purpose with other things, but not in this case, not even close to adequate.

Final Word: Soundproofing Insulation for Campervan

Whether your campervan is something you use to see the world and travel, sleeping in it or it’s your workhorse, something you use in business to transport goods is irrelevant.

You now have an idea on how to best treat it to ensure you both insulate and soundproof it superbly, ensuring it serves you well for years to come.