How To Soundproof A Campervan – Best DIY Solution!


Going on a trip in a campervan can be an extremely exciting experience for people who want to get out there and explore the world. Most people love the ability to drive anywhere and have a place to sleep at night, but it takes a special person to enjoy the outside and sleeping in a different setup.

The challenge becomes even more of a hindrance for a lot of people if they do not have a quiet option to turn to with their camper van. That is where the soundproofing aspect of a camper van comes into the equation.

If a van is already designed for camping, it probably has some soundproofing qualities installed. Others who have put together their own camper van might have very little whatsoever, so it is important to know all the can be done. These are a few ways to soundproof a camper van without having to spend a lot of money.

What sound is causing trouble?

Annoying sounds for a camper van usually coming from a few main sources overall. The first is vibrating panels inside the camper, causing a person to be very frustrated with simply driving around and moving.

There is also the issue of engine noise, which can get pretty loud if it is an older design with not a lot of coverage already. Finally, road noise is something that people deal with whether they are driving a car, or using a camper van.

Road noise can be extremely frustrating, and there are a lot of people who must do something with any vehicle so they do not have all those distractions.

Vibrating Panels

Soundproof Vibrating Panels in Campervan

Any time a camper van is in motion, the panels on the car will be vibrating to a certain degree. Every time it vibrates, there is some noise caused by the van.

The best way to solve this without having to spend a ton of money is to invest in sound deadening panels to add to any flat surfaces inside the camper.

Sound deadening panels will help with doors, walls, and other parts most vulnerable to vibrating. This effectively adds mass to the panels, and that will help to absorb vibrations and reduce resonance.

There are some pretty easy to install deadening tiles out there that will help with vibration considerably. Most of them are self-adhesive tiles, so they stick to panels of the van and stay in place.

Start with around 50% coverage, and add more only if necessary. Most people will be just fine with 30% coverage and notice so much of a difference that they do not need to go beyond that. (Source)

Engine Noise

Camper Van Engine Noise

An engine is going to cost quite a bit of noise in any vehicle, and to power something like a camper van, it requires a pretty powerful engine overall. The older a camper is, the harder it will be to control the sound and vibration of the engine, which is why it pays off to look into some tiles for sound absorption as well.

The same type of deadening tiles that work on the sides of the car will work well for the engine as well. Make sure to place them all around, especially in areas where they are easily covered up.

Most people will be surprised that engine noise can pretty much disappear with 100% coverage. The reason why it is worth going with 100% coverage, in this case, is because the engine is so close to the cabin people are in while driving. With so many sounds coming in one centrally located area, it makes sense to start at 100% coverage.

There are options to go with double layers for even more coverage, but keep in mind that it starts to get a little bulky if everything is covered.

Not only that, but the cost goes up, which is something to consider when buying too many panels at once. Try out a few different options at first and then see how effective it is.

People might not know this but constent engine noise can have an adverse effect on your health.

Road Noise

Finally, these panels are also great for handling road noise. When a person is driving down the road, there is bound to be a good amount of noise heard in older camper vans.

It can be extremely distracting, and a way to modernize the set up overall is to add some sound dampening material in that way.

The treatment for road noise is very similar to the treatment for engine noise, so go ahead and get full coverage as much as possible. This is the best way to do everything at once, as they usually go hand-in-hand.

The deadening tiles will work just the same, and they need to be in the most vulnerable areas. In the front of the camper van is usually where the majority of sound comes from, but the road noise can make it all the way back to the middle or far end of the van.

Soundproofing Windows in a Camper Van

Soundproofing Camper Van Window

A person can invest in all the material they need to help with soundproofing the walls, ceiling, and floor, but the windows are the most vulnerable areas for noise in a lot of scenarios. This is true in a home, and even more true on the road, as people do not have as thick of windows to rely on if they want.

When driving down the road, a person does not have much choice but to deal with some level of sound coming through the windows. There are ways to replace existing windows with something a little thicker (Amazon), but it is still going to make “some” noise.

When the car is parked, and people are actually camping out, that is when some window treatments can come in handy.

People want something that can be installed and then removed rather easily, as the last thing a person wants to do is waste a lot of time with set up when they are particularly tired.

The first option involves a little bit of do-it-yourself construction, but installing some curtain rods that will hold soundproofing curtains (Amazon) can be beneficial.

The only thing a person will need to do at night is pull the curtains and provides an extra layer that will kill sound considerably.

This helps not only to kill sound, but isolate people from the outside world. If a person wants to sleep in a bed even after the sun rises, these curtains are thick enough that they are going to block everything out.

Once they are installed, they are going to last a very long time, but it could be a little tricky to install curtain rods inside a camper van if they are not already there.

The second option is to go with a window plug or cover that can attach rather than hover over the windows like curtains. These are pretty easy to put up and are going to provide a little bit more coverage overall. That is because they are going to flush up against the windows, instead of covering them up like curtains.

These are usually made of a slightly thicker material as well, and can even have some reflective material on the outside to take care of any rays that might be shining in and trying to heat things up. They act as a way to keep the temperature under control, as well as killing sound.

If there is a downside to using window plugs or covers, it is that they are a little harder to install overall. Most people do not want to deal with much effort at all when they are setting up for the night, and this is just a little more tedious. They also need to be stored in a separate location, whereas curtains can just sit there idle when they are not in use.

For people who really take soundproofing seriously, they can use a combination of both to get the right type of fuel for their camper van.

It just comes down to the level of overall protection that a person wants from the outside world. These panels are providing quite a bit of value beyond just soundproofing, which is why people will take their time to install the right options.

Ceiling

camper van ceiling soundproofing

If it seems like not much has been talked about with the ceiling in a camper van, it is because it is the least vulnerable area as far as coverage is concerned.

Most people already have a camper van that has a pretty solid ceiling overall, and it does not need a ton of treatment to work correctly. In fact, a lot of people will just put up one thin layer of soundproofing material on the ceiling at most, and call it a day.

Some people will leave the ceiling precisely as it is, and while that might seem risky, it is not that big of a deal. Most of the sound sources from outside are not going to come from above, and as long as there is some softness to the ceiling, sound will not bounce around too much.

While it is easy to overlook the ceiling, do not neglect it entirely. Ceilings can have some slight issues here and there that can frustrate a person using a camper van.

For example, most camper vans come with some layer already added by the manufacturer. They can start to sag after time, and ceilings are also easy to scratch.

Make sure that everything is kept up and not compromised in any way, because all of a sudden some sound might be coming from the ceiling if that is the case.

Additional Tips On Keeping A Camper Van Quiet And Soundproof

Sound deadening tiles are definitely a great way to go, but there are plenty of other solutions out there that help people as well.

Some of it involves adding additional material to the mix, while other people will need to keep up with some of the standard chores that go into having something like this as part of being an owner.

1. Keeping The Camper Van Clean And Tidy

Keeping Camper Van Clean

It is very easy with a camper van to get it filled up with a bunch of stuff that does not need to be there. Not only does that add weight to the camper van and put stress on the vehicle itself, but it can end up blocking some essential pieces as well.

The last thing a person wants is to cause their vehicle harm in some way just because they did not keep things clean.

Camper vans are pretty packed overall, and there is no reason to stock them up with a bunch of stuff. Try to live a minimalist lifestyle inside the camper van, and everything should be good to go.

Make sure that there are not any items blocking important parts of the camper van that could potentially put riders in any type of danger. 

Space Saving Vacuum from Amazon.

2. Keep Up With Maintenance

Camper Van Maintenance

Maintenance with any vehicle is important, but a lot can go wrong with a camper van. It is very easy to get behind on regular maintenance, but if something does go wrong, they tend to struggle if not kept up with overall.

Another reason why it is crucial to keep up with maintenance is that people will often ride their camper van during certain times of the year. For example, a family might go on a long trip and use a camper van for a month straight, only to have it sit around idle for a few months.

When that happens, more things can go wrong even if it is not driven at all. This is especially true if it is stored in an unusually cold or hot location.

Always make sure to do some regular tuning and even get a check-up before going on a long trip. The last thing a person wants to do is have to deal with some disaster when they are on the road and in a remote location.

3. Thermal Insulation Makes a Big Difference

Thermal Insulation Camper Van

On rare occasions, people have the exact type of weather they are looking for when they are in a camper van. While sleeping at night, people are trying to tweak the temperature inside to either warm things up, or cool things down.

One way to normalize the weather inside a camper van is to use some thermal insulation (Amazon). This is going to work very well in conjunction with soundproofing material, and even add an extra layer of mass as well.

This is going to save money on any fuel it takes to heat up or cool down the camper van. Make sure that all vulnerable areas are as patched up and protected as possible. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they are letting some outside air in when they do not want to.

4. Consumer Traps For Camper Vans

There might be some items out there that promise the world, but only certain products end up working for the majority of individuals.

Instead of spending a lot of money on material that just does not work, try to stay away from a few of these options.

5. One Size Fits All Fixes

If a soundproofing material sounds good to me to be true, it probably is. A lot of people will think that they can put one thin layer of mass on a piece of the camper van, and all sound automatically disappears.

For starters, that is not how any of the soundproofing material works, and it usually takes quite a bit of effort to get things quiet.

Even the best soundproofing material tiles are not going to kill sounds completely. While there are ways to make a camper van close to as quiet as possible, it involves a lot of money and effort to get to that point.

Not only that, but the actual living space will completely shrink in some ways because there will be so much out of material to the surfaces.

6. Sensitive Materials

There are certain materials out there that might work well inside a home or business, but they just are not going to do in a camper van.

That usually means that they are not able to handle extreme temperature changes for one reason or another. If the product is for inside use only, consider it a no go for a camper van.

One option that seems like it would be pretty good is glass fiber. Not only can it be toxic in some scenarios and dangerous for individuals to install themselves, but it is extremely sensitive to any temperature changes. People will be best off going with something a bit safer overall.

One Last Look At Soundproofing A Camper Van

Improving the sound quality inside a camper van is relatively easy, but it takes constant care and maintenance to make sure that it stays at a high-level.

Some people are satisfied with just some minimal changes, while others want to reduce down as much as possible so they get a good night’s sleep every single night.

The good news is that just about any treatment can be done without needing to hire a professional. Those people who have a few handy qualities to them can get things done and be on their way. It can be a little challenging in some aspects to get things just right, but a few tweaks here and there will usually be satisfying enough.

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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