Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-06-2018, 08:48 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 9
Build without insulation

I've been reading multiple theories on insulation and many strategies. I cannot figure out the best option, the most used option, or the cheapest option...

So I thought I'd pose a few different questions.
Has anyone done a build without insulation? Are they happy without insulation?
What's the minimal amount and location of insulation suggested (i.e. floor is most important vs roof)

Right now we are just starting this van adventure. We got a van and started a tear down. We have been doing short (2days) type trips where we sleep in a Subaru Outback. Our initial thought is we can do without insulation but is this a mistake? Would love to her from people who skipped insulation (but also very much appreciate everyone's wisdom!)

Thank you ahead of time. I've been lurking for a while and finally decided to join!

Van-essa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2018, 10:51 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Oregon Ciry Oregon
Posts: 2,524
Part of it depends on where you live. Here in Oregon the insulation keeps condensation at bay. Have slept in vehicles without it and woken up in the mornings to wet walls and ceiling. It is amazing how much moisture the body produces while sleeping. One of two layers of Reflectix glued to the walls solve the condensation issue.

Have also lived in the south west in an un insulated van. No issues with condensation. The van would heat up very quickly and cool down slowly.

Where are you located? Post some photos of your van when you get a chance.

Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog,
Visit my Patreon page:
Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
larrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 04:40 AM   #3
Senior Member
Bbasso's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 1,258
In any climate I'd personally want at least one layer of insulation. I've been around the country twice and all sorts of weather related issues inside. The worst thing was lack of sound insulation.
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
Bbasso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 08:34 AM   #4
Senior Member
86Scotty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,607
I agree ^^. If nothing else get a couple rolls of Reflectix and glue it to the walls, ceiling and floor. for $20 more you can get some rigid foam board for the floor to go under whatever flooring you choose. It makes a big difference. really all depends on your use and where you live. If you're in San Diego then why bother?
Currently vanless. Weird.
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 09:28 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fruita, Colorado
Posts: 1,185
I would echo what others have said. Spend the extra time and money and insulate your build. You'll be glad you did at some point.
Desert Solitaire
2003 7.3L EB 4x4
Denver Fleet 4x4 conversion
saline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 09:37 AM   #6
Site Team
BroncoHauler's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 9,319
If you don't insulate and don't like the results, are you willing to remove the entire interior so you can install it afterwards? Seems to me a small price to pay to do it right the first time.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 09:40 AM   #7
Senior Member
boywonder's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,099
As Herb mentioned above.....really difficult to do after the interior is built out....

I used ultratouch recycled denim for insulation..available at Home and works great.
2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
2003 Honda Element
boywonder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 10:02 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fruita, Colorado
Posts: 1,185
Also to add...
I spent hours removing panels and interior parts on my 04' SMB to insulate it better. SMB did an absolute crap job from the factory and it was obvious.
Desert Solitaire
2003 7.3L EB 4x4
Denver Fleet 4x4 conversion
saline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 10:53 AM   #9
wanderers's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 93
I agree with larrie. Condensation can be a bad problem and even with insulation the windows will have a lot of water on them if you're sealed up in cool weather. Eventually you will probably want to travel into some mountain areas where it can get pretty cool even in the summer. I would go with the insulation.
wanderers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 10:48 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Sonoma County
Posts: 499
I looked at an Airstream B190 today that showed obvious signs of condensation seeping into and staining the wall coverings and headliner. I ran because to me that screams RUST and MOLD.

I'm going in the exact opposite direction with my build. Five layers of different types of insulation. Overkill? Maybe. But I really like the idea of driving a high speed quiet booth.

My first layer will be a gallon of this. Total moisture barrier plus sound and temperature insulation. Seems like it should be easy to apply too. Maybe try that at least?

FYI, the guy over at Sound Deadener Showdown has a super informative site. No way I can afford all his products, but if you understand the principles he explains, you can find much cheaper alternatives.

2003 Astro AWD
2005 Tacoma Access cab 4x4
1999 E350 RB 7.3 "Al B. Tross" aka "Exxon Valdez"
SteelheadJones is offline   Reply With Quote

insulation important, no insulation

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:43 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.