Everyone knows when you build a home, you need to put insulation in your walls and ceiling to make your house more energy efficient…warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
We learned that lesson as well in our home on wheels. Our first van “Tootsie” came with a factory-installed wall covering that doubled as a layer of insulation. The problem was there wasn’t anything in between the metal walls and the wall covering and it left the ceiling completely bare. The result was a very cold van in the winter and a van that heated up very quickly in the summer. We ultimately had to get a rather expensive Espar heater installed to make it through the cold weather. And we had to carry a portable air conditioner for the warm months.
So when we had to let go of Tootsie and picked up our new gas van “Tiberius” in August of 2019, we decided to go a slightly different route and get the walls and ceiling insulated. An acquaintance of ours who did the floor and e-track work and took my idea for a bed platform and ran with it in Tootsie, said it would be no problem putting in some insulation and walls in the new van. We brought him the van and the bed platform we stripped out of Tootsie over Labor Day weekend in 2019 and he went to work.
The new plywood floor and e-track went down and the insulation and walls went in. The bed platform followed as well as our Rubbermaid Fast Track for hanging stuff up as well as our overhead storage hammock for storing lightweight blankets and pillows.
After a year of use, we can say the insulation has paid for itself several times over. It kept the van much warmer and has allowed us to avoid an expensive Espar heater. The trade-off being that we now run just a small space heater with our portable generator to provide the heat. We still carry our portable AC and generator for the summer, but it now is able to keep up even on very warm days. In Tootsie, we usually didn’t make it much past 9am before the AC couldn’t keep up. In Tiberius, there have been hot days where we’ve been able to stay in the van all day without overheating. Insulation is the bomb!
Just in case you were wondering about our sleeping arrangements in the van, you can see the metal and wood platform folded up against either wall in the photos above. When we unstrap them and lower them over the wheel wells, four support legs fall to hold the platform up in the middle. The extra width then gives us room to inflate a queen-size air mattress so we sleep in comfort. It takes the two of us about 15 minutes to fully set up or take down the system, but we feel the extra comfort is worth the effort. It all results in what you see below.