The thought of abandoning traditional housing and switching to van life is gaining popularity with every passing day. The idea of living in a van has its perks. For example, it may help you save money, help you in exploring new things, reduce your debt, and whatnot. 

Living off-grid guarantees a minimalist lifestyle, and it helps you in curbing excessive expenditures, encouraging you to appreciate simpler things in your life. There might be several reasons why you want to spend some time in a campervan with or without your spouse. Nonetheless, those who wish to connect with nature find these vans to be an incredible asset for their journey. 

Once you decorate the campervan, making the walls and roof soundproof by using acoustic material, you make a great compound for yourself. In this compound, you can do everything you do in your home, it’s just that you are simply off-grid with no obligations to pay monthly electricity, water, and apartment bills. 

As fancy it may look on the outside, camper van life has its fair share of problems which you will have to look out for. One such problem is that they don’t block noises of traffic and outside environments. There are not heavy bricks and cement blocks used to block the noise; therefore these vans are highly noisy. It is because they are not designed for such luxuries. Therefore, soundproofing your campervan is probably the first you will have to do when building your campervan.

Fortunately, there are various techniques to reduce the sound coming from the outside of the van. But there is one thing that a person must keep in mind when soundproofing his van, which is to avoid adding layer and complexity to your setup. Doing this will create problems like increasing the weight of your van and much more.

Now, before going for a solution, let’s just discuss the types of car noises you may or may not experience. Typically, there are two main types of car noises that you will have to deal with. 

One is the road noise, which you will more likely encounter when you are driving. There can be multiple sources for this noise such as construction sites, honking of cars, trucks, vehicles, sirens. All of these collectively contribute to road noise.

The other main type of sound which you may encounter is the noise which might be coming from your engine. Apart from the standard engine noise, if you experience some irregular engine noise, you must get it checked.

General overview of insulating materials:

Properly insulating your van is a crucial element as it plays a big role in controlling the climate inside the van. For this purpose, you must have some background knowledge so that you may carry out the job effectively.

Following are some of the things you must know so that you may make an informed decision. 

  • Insulation materials are usually measured in R-value. The R-value denotes the heat-resisting capacity of the material. The higher is the R-value, the higher will be the insulating power of the material.
  • Most of the campervans face condensation issues, which means your insulation must be water and mildew-resistant. 
  • Insulations such as fiberglass contain toxic materials which are toxic in nature may demand special precautions during the installation process.

Types of insulating materials:

  • Thinsulate: It is a synthetic, non-toxic material which is also easy to install. It also has astonishing soundproofing characteristics having an R-value around 6. Therefore, it works best even in extreme weather conditions. Parking your caravan or campervan in the rain forest would not interrupt your sleep when it is raining or downpouring outside. 
  • Sheep’s wool: All natural-synthetic sheep wool is also an ideal pick for insulation. The fact that it is cheaper provides sound dampening characteristics. Additionally, it absorbs moisture, making it the best choice for insulation of the walls and roof. Its R-value is over 6, which gives you all the more reasons to go for it. The only downside of using wool is that it might attract bugs, making your walls and roof a comfy place for insects to live and thrive on. Since it is like cotton, it is also prone to fire. To deal with this, apply a small amount of boric acid to the wool.
  • Rigid foam boards are also a perfect option for insulation. When insulating your van, just look out for any material which may retain moisture, such as denim; using such materials can eventually wreck your entire setup.

How to soundproof your car?

The only way to properly soundproof your caravan is to place deadening materials in the right places, which eventually reduce vibration and sound leakages, if there are any.

You can start by selecting the materials you may want to use. But while selecting, do keep the following factors in mind.

  • Climate: If you live in extreme weather conditions, be it extremely hot or extremely cold, choose the soundproofing products accordingly so that they may perform well in extreme weather conditions. 
  • Van size: Camper van size also varies to a great extent. You must also keep this into account before buying material for soundproofing.

Once you are ready, you may choose from a variety of soundproofing materials such as dampening mats, sprays or soundproof coating, or soundproofing insulations, whatever suits you best. Once you arrange your materials, you will also need a few tools, which you will have to use during the soundproofing process. You might need the following tools as tape measure, knife, adhesives, acetone, pencil, roller, rags, tape, etc.

Products for campervan soundproofing:

For the soundproofing of your campervan, you must make sure that the products you use are lightweight and they don’t consume much space either. Following are some of the soundproofing products, which can do the job effectively.

Soundproofing your campervan:

When soundproofing a campervan, you must use a different number of products so that you may get the desired results and get the job done effectively. With the use of good sound deadening and insulation materials, you can also improve the interior of your van. Follow the following steps to soundproof your van.

Step1:

When starting to soundproof your campervan, start by putting a sound deadening mat on metal body panels to eliminate resonance and excessive panel boom. 

If you are tight on budget, use these on all metal panels on the inside. This way, you will get 50% coverage and will also be cost-effective. But, if you want to do it effectively, place the sound deadening mats on the outside panels too. By doing this, you will get maximum results and it will definitely be worth the effort. What makes these mats more unique is the fact that they can be used on any metal panel, be it roof, bulkhead, wheel arches, and whatnot. These mats can also be used for sound deadening of floors, but it is not a viable option, the reason being a lot of extra material will be used, and the floor pan suffers the least from such vibrations.

Step 2: 

Now we need to move towards soundproofing sides, roofs and doors of the van. For this purpose, you must use a closed-cell foam, which possesses high thermal and acoustic properties. The reason to use such foam is to reduce noise alongside insulating the vehicle to isolate the barriers and trimming panels. 

For insulating a campervan, closed-cell foam-based products work best. This is because they are waterproof and can be easily applied directly to metal panels. This causes them to act as a barrier to any incoming moisture, also insulates your campervan in one clean low profile layer. Due to this technique, ducting and cables can still be routed either through side or roof panels.

 For stage two, it is crucial to obtain correct measurements so that you are well aware of the exact amount you need to proceed with. Once you have the correct measurement, apply it like a blanket so that it may cover the entire area of the main panels. It is to keep in mind that quantity may vary and is contingent on the surface area of windows etc. A typical short wheelbase van may require 10 sp.m of insulation, whereas a typical long wheelbase van may require 15-20 sq.m of insulation.

For the side voids, you can strengthen it by using thermo fleece. It is because if you want to use the van as a full-time campervan, you will have to have the best insulation, which can last for longer periods. Thermo fleece can be easily inserted into deeper voids, ensuring strong thermal insulation. 

For floors, you have to prevent cold air from coming from under the van. For this purpose, a layer of closed-cell foam works effectively as it helps in insulating the floor completely. In addition, it will also make it easy for you to refit ply and side steps. This closed-cell foam also prevents the ply from producing creaking sounds, and on top of that, it usually acts as a floating layer. For flooring purposes, a normal short wheelbase van may require 4 sq.m of flooring, while a long wheelbase van may require a flooring of 5-6sq.m of flooring. 

Stage 3:

By adding an extra sound barrier to the floor, you will be able to reduce airborne noise by completely bearing frequencies that might be coming through the floor. Sources of such noises can be either road, exhaust, or tyres.

Costing:

You might have an idea by now that there are a number of ways you can build a camper van. The price of building such vans also varies to a great extent. If you want to make a simpler one, it will cost you several hundreds of dollars, but if budget is not an issue for you, and you want it to be luxurious, it may cost you thousands of dollars. 

Another thing which you must keep in mind is that the stark variation in costs is many times contingent on the materials you may use. 

Things to look out for:

  • Do Not purchase any product which offers a one-stop solution to all the issues you might face in soundproofing your vehicle.
  • Flashing tape has different properties than sound deadening properties. Also, flashing tape has a poor performance record in vobro damping and is more likely to decay over time.
  • Avoid using foil bubble wrap as insulation because this way, you will be compromising your vehicle’s soundproofing.