Insulating the Camper Van

As part of our amazing journey back, Nick and I realized that the camper gets very cold at night, in large part due to it being a van and not a house. But there was one key element we noticed was letting a lot of cold air in, the cooktop (stovetop) vent. Today, I set out to remedy the problem. I managed to do it all without spending any additional money by using things I had laying around the house.

First I cut down a piece of leftover hard foam insulation I had used to insulate the tire shed. I didn’t have a long blade so I used a technique where I cut it it along the line I wanted using an X-acto knife, put it over a counter top edge, and broke off the chunk I didn’t want. It doesn’t make for very clean lines, but more on that later.

Foam Vent Cover - Cut Outs After that, I pressed the foam up against the vent to mark the indentations in the foam. Then I cut out the areas around the indentation so the foam would fit flat up against the surface of the vent fan shroud (see the green boxes in the photo), preventing air from leaking through. When test fitting after making the cuts, the piece actually stayed in place tightly because it “tolerance fit”. However, to be a bit more secure and have the part last over multiple removals and insertions, I decided to install some magnets.

I took some fridge magnets off the refrigerator that we seem to have an abundance of and took the magnets out of their cases. I pushed them into the foam to create an impression (see the red circles in the photo). Using an X-acto knife, I traced the circle impression and then cut in at very shallow angles to remove the foam. I used copious amounts of gorilla glue and glued them in. I put a little extra around the seams (even though they were already pretty snug) to make sure these didn’t pop out while trying to remove the cover.


Finally, I wanted to keep the rough foam edges from fraying off and leaving tiny, clingy pieces of loose styrofoam every. To solve this problem, I was going to use some duct tape I had bought for the trip back from Florida. However, Jessica found the Refletix aluminum tape we had used to make tire warmers for the Hoosier’s used on the STI a couple seasons ago. It was the same width as the foam insulation edges! I lined the edges all the way around (even the smooth ones) to protect them from damage. Finally, I installed it in the van and took some pictures.

It doesn’t look too bad and it is definitely light weight — not bad for a hour or so of work. It kind of looks like I’m smuggling some drugs up there.