Everything You Need to Know for a Campervan Build

A campervan conversion is a very popular way to enjoy a summer holiday in Europe, and if you want to make the most of your trip you will need to know a few important things. In this blog post we will cover everything you need to know for a campervan conversion, from what kind of van to buy to where to go for a service, from which tools to buy to what kind of engine to run.

If you want to create a campervan that’s up to the task of long-term living, there are a few key decisions to make. Do you go fully-plumbed and fat-tired for a comfortable interior and maximum storage space, or opt for a more minimalist setup to save weight and reduce complexity? How much storage space do you need? How much do you want to pay for it? How much do you care about comfort and safety, and how much do you care about price?

A van is a great way to be mobile and have a place to sleep, cook, and store gear. It is a great way to stay mobile and have a place to sleep, cook, and store gear. And thanks to the many new camper van conversions you can find all over the internet, you can find them in a wide variety of colors. But it is not all about the color of the van. It is also about how practical it is when you look at all the options in your budget.

So, you’ve reached the point where you’re looking at wool insulation for your van? Congrats! You’re well on your way to creating the campervan of your dreams.

Wool van insulation has grown in popularity in recent years, and with good cause. It’s natural, environmentally friendly, simple to install, and hygroscopic, which means it collects water from the air. 

All of these are reasons why we’ll be utilizing wool insulation in our future vehicle. 

Havelock Wool is a sponsor.

Havelock Wool is a natural, long-lasting material that resists mold and fires. All writing and views, as with any sponsored material, are our own.

Some van lifers are undecided about whether wool insulation for a van is the best option or if they should go for a product like Thinsulate. I know a lot of individuals who spend a lot of time studying insulation.

We aim to provide you with all of the information you need regarding wool insulation for a van, as well as its benefits and drawbacks, in this post.

Where does a van’s wool insulation originate from?

Wool Van Insulation in Havelock is a good example of wool van insulation. Wool comes from sheep in New Zealand, where wool accounts for a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product. Wool that has been adequately cleaned and graded for professional construction may be mass-produced in the nation.

The United States and Canada do not produce enough wool to meet the demands of insulation businesses. Furthermore, wool from the United States usually includes 1.5 percent vegetative debris, including as burrs, seeds, leaves, grass, or twigs. Only 0.1 percent of this plant debris is found in wool treated in New Zealand. 

Havelock wool insulation is obtained from high-quality New Zealand farms for use in campervans.

Van Insulation at its Finest

Wool Van Insulation in Havelock

Are you considering using wool to insulate your van? Havelock wool resists mold, fire, and collects moisture before releasing it when the relative humidity falls below 65 percent. It’s also all-natural and sustainable, with excellent sound-deadening qualities. This is, in our opinion, the finest vehicle insulation available.

Advantages of Wool Van Insulation

Here are the major advantages of using wool to insulate your vehicle! 

It’s organic and long-term.

Wool insulation will be used in our Sprinter van construction primarily because it is natural and sustainable. Tom, my van life companion, is allergic to chemicals and synthetic fabrics. We can breathe better knowing that wool doesn’t emit chemicals or microfibers into the atmosphere.

We also like the fact that wool is a sustainable and ecologically beneficial material for vehicle construction. Wool is biodegradable and serves as a fertilizer when it is returned to the soil. If you ever need to remove it from your setup for whatever reason, or if you have leftovers, you may use it as composting.

When compared to synthetic fibers, spray foam, or foam board, this is a significant difference.

We care a lot about our environmental effect and strive to live sustainably as a couple who lives small in a campervan and on a sailboat.

Companies like 3M, which makes Thinsulate, are totally at odds with our values. The state of Minnesota is negotiating a $850 million settlement with 3M for contaminating ground water with cancer-causing chemicals. We find it difficult to support a business like that.

Everything-You-Need-to-Know-for-a-Campervan-BuildTwoWanderingSoles’ Kate and Ben used wool to insulate their Promaster.

“We selected wool to insulate our vehicle for a variety of reasons. We thought it would be a very simple decision after conducting some research. We didn’t have to worry about dealing with hazardous chemicals or inhaling them in over time since wool is a natural material. Another essential aspect for us is that wool is moisture resistant, which means we won’t have to worry about mildew developing on us when traveling through wet areas like the Pacific Northwest.”

Wool is excellent at wicking away moisture.

Let’s face it: moisture will collect between the outside metal shell and the inside walls of your vehicle. Wool has the advantage of absorbing moisture [without getting wet to the touch!] and then releasing it when humidity falls below 65 percent. The moisture evaporates and dissipates in the air.

This is why I like to use wool underwear for outdoor activities such as trekking and camping. Wool clothing absorbs moisture well while still providing insulation, i.e. keeping me warm.

When moisture isn’t correctly managed in a van construction, it may lead to corrosion and mold. This not only damages your vehicle, but it may also result in poor indoor air quality.

The sound deadening qualities of wool vehicle insulation are also beneficial.

The sound deadening properties of wool insulation for a vehicle are amazing. Some individuals prefer to insulate only using wool rather than soundproofing materials. However, if you want to add further sound deadening to your vehicle, you may use something like Kilmat.

Wool van insulation can also reach those hard-to-reach places in your van that conventional insulation and sound deadening materials can’t, such as the headliner region.

Wool measures at 90% when tested using the Noise Reduction Coefficient (a measurement for how effectively sound is absorbed), which is a very high figure!

Wool Insulation for a Campervan Filters the Air

If you have sensitive lungs, you will enjoy the air filtering qualities of wool insulation. Wool binds to harmful pollutants including formaldehyde, NOx, and SO2 and prevents them from escaping into the environment. 

Researchers in Switzerland discovered that wool air filters collected 94-96 percent of pollutants over the course of six hours.

In our vehicle, we’d rather have a chemical-absorbing insulation product than one that emits them, as several alternative insulation materials on the market do.

In a motorhome, wool is quite simple to install.

You may buy 2” batts from a business like Havelock Wool to install wool in a motorhome. You’ll need to calculate the square footage of your vehicle, taking into account areas like the headliner. Each bag of 2″ batts covers 100 square feet if purchased from Havelock, as we intend to do.

It’s a good idea to get enough wool to cover all of the metal in your vehicle. You’re essentially living in a metal box, so it’s critical to build a barrier between the metal and your living area so you can keep the temperature in your van under control.

The versatility of the 2″ batts is remarkable. For nooks and crannies, they tear into puffs, and for bigger areas, they peel off into thin layered “sheets.” Many van lifers use rope to hold insulation in place on bigger van panels. 

Havelock advises insulating everything, including the ceiling and floor. 

The R-Value of wool is high.

The resistance of a substance to conductive heat flow is measured by its R-Value. The better the insulation, the greater the R-value.

With a R value of 3.6 per inch, wool insulation is a good choice. The R value of thinsulate, on the other hand, is 3.3.

The R value of wool insulation for a campervan does not deteriorate over time since moisture accumulation is not a problem. 

We’d much prefer use wool, a natural material with a high R-Value! What would you want to keep near your body?

Wool is mold-proof.

Wool is composed of keratin, which does not promote mold development. Wool can also absorb up to 33% of its own weight in water while remaining dry to the touch. Wool retains moisture within its strands, out of reach of mold spores. It insulates so effectively that mold can’t thrive in this environment.

1623677472_353_Everything-You-Need-to-Know-for-a-Campervan-BuildIn a panel van, Havelock wool is installed.

To assist circulate air around and disperse moisture, you’ll also need to utilize appropriate ventilation in your van construction. That requires a ceiling fan or two, as well as screen slider windows.

Wool vehicle insulation is resistant to fire.

Wool insulation in your campervan also has the added benefit of being naturally fire resistant. This is due to the high nitrogen and water content of wool. Before catching fire, it will typically simply smolder and burn away. 

Wool insulation for a vehicle has several drawbacks.

Each kind of insulation for a campervan has its own set of drawbacks. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to wool vehicle insulation.

It may have a barn-like odor.

Wool is derived from sheep, so it’s not unexpected that it smells like a farm, at least at first. The barnyard odor will eventually fade from your wool vehicle insulation.

Open the bag and allow the wool re-loft and air for a few days before putting it in your vehicle to speed up the process.

Most van lifers aren’t bothered by this, but if you’re sensitive to the smell of wool, you may want to avoid using wool insulation in your van.

Chemicals are used to cure wool.

To keep insects at bay, wool van insulation is sprayed with boric acid. Companies like as Havelock utilize a tiny quantity of all-natural, non-toxic boric acid to repel insects. Boric acid is found in nature and has been proven to have low toxicity when inhaled or ingested.

It’s not vegan.

Wool isn’t vegan, so it may not be the best insulation for you if you’re trying to avoid using any animal products, according to Kate and Ben of Two Wandering Soles.

It’s not as simple to install as other items on big surfaces.

If you’re insulating a panel van, there will be a lot of metal that has to be insulated. If you’re using wool insulation in a vehicle, you’ll need to use thread or tape to keep it in place. Some individuals choose to use Thinsulate insulation since it may be applied directly to the bigger panels.

1623677473_394_Everything-You-Need-to-Know-for-a-Campervan-BuildTo insulate his vehicle, a man is cutting wool batts.

Using thread or twine to keep wool in place, on the other hand, is a simple installation. Two Fit to Travel utilized twine to insulate their van’s walls and ceiling with wool insulation. They also suggest crisscrossing painter’s tape over the wool to keep it in place.

If you’re putting wool insulation in a vehicle, you’ll need to set aside some additional time.

Its R value isn’t the greatest among all van insulation choices.

Wool doesn’t win if you’re searching for the greatest R value of all the campervan insulation choices. Spray foam has the greatest R value, approximately 6.5-7, but the cost is significant. You’re bringing chemicals into a small living area when you use spray foam. Spray foam may also harm your van’s panels if applied improperly.

It’s your decision, but if you go with spray foam, make sure it’s properly done by someone who understands how to insulate a campervan’s particular space and layout.

Top Wool Insulation for a Van Questions Answered

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding utilizing wool for campervan insulation that we’ve seen on van construction forums.

With wool van insulation, will I need a vapor barrier?

If you’re utilizing wool insulation in your vehicle, you won’t need to install a vapor barrier. The purpose of a vapor barrier is to keep vapor from flowing about. The idea is for wool to collect any moisture and then release it when the humidity level falls below 65 percent. That moisture has to be allowed to escape and evaporate. 

A vapor barrier would retain moisture, causing corrosion and mold to form.

Is it also necessary to insulate the ceiling and floors?

It’s a good idea to insulate as much of your vehicle as possible. Secure wool insulation to the ceiling and walls of your vehicle using thread or tape. The choice to insulate the floor is more of a personal one. In van living forums, we’ve encountered individuals who believe it’s not worth the effort.

If you intend on winter camping in very low weather, though, you may want to insulate the floor so your feet don’t freeze every time you go around. Wool will help retain heat from your van’s heater – ideally a diesel heater – for those really cold days.

Road noise is also reduced by insulating the floor. 

I’m looking for a place to purchase vehicle wool insulation.

Havelock wool is a good place to get wool insulation. This is a well-known business among van lifers, and Havelock even has its own wool-insulated campervan.

They provide excellent customer service and are willing to answer any queries you may have. This is without a doubt the business we’ll choose to insulate our campervan.

Van Insulation at its Finest

Havelock Wool Van Insulation

Are you considering using wool to insulate your van? Havelock wool resists mold, fire, and collects moisture before releasing it when the relative humidity falls below 65 percent. It’s also all-natural and sustainable, with excellent sound-deadening qualities. This is, in our opinion, the finest vehicle insulation available.

Wool insulation for a campervan conclusion

Wool insulation for a van is great if you’re looking for a natural, non-toxic, sustainable option for your van. Wool is mold-resistant, fire-resistant, and soaks up moisture without getting wet. Wool is nature’s insulation with an R&D timeline of many thousands of years.

Wool van insulation is easy to cram into nooks and crannies, and it may be taped or strung on the ceiling and in wall cavities. Wool’s sound-deadening qualities make it ideal for a quiet ride.

On our next campervan renovation, we want to use wool insulation. We hope that this information has helped you determine whether or not wool is suitable for you.

Havelock Wool sells wool vehicle insulation, which you can learn more about by clicking here. 

Check out some more van life stories:


Kristin Hanes is a journalist who started The Wayward Home as a resource for those interested in alternative lifestyles. She now lives on a yacht and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written pieces for Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire, and SF Gate on alternative living. Here’s where you can learn more about Kristin.

If you chose to build your campervan yourself, you’ll need to pick up the right bits, the right tools, and the right vehicle to do the job. There’s lots of advice online about what to buy, but you’ll also need to decide how you want to do the job. Will you be driving the van every day, or will you be doing some hard camping? What sort of van do you want? Will you need to tow other vehicles, or will you be driving it single-handedly? What sort of budget are you working with? What sort of lifestyle are you planning on having? Can you afford to buy a car first? Or will you be building your van to order?. Read more about camper van design app and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to build your own campervan?

It is cheaper to build your own campervan.

What do I need to prepare for a campervan?

Youll need to pack your clothes, toiletries, and any other items you might need for the trip. If youre planning on visiting multiple countries, its a good idea to bring some extra money in case of emergencies.

How much does it cost to build a camper van?

The cost of building a camper van is around $25,000.

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