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I'm just curious about this question (the thread about dark vs light colored vans got me wondering about it), and as I always say "There are few questions that can't be answered through the proper application of the scientific method....

Since I always head south for the winter and rarely see temps below freezing, I did not put any insulation at all in my van, and have never regretted it.  Indeed, it has always seemed to me as if "insulation" is..well..over-rated, and really doesn't have all that much actual measurable effect (and a sleeping bag does the job just as well).

Does anyone know of any measured data comparing the temperature difference between insulated vans vs non-insulated?
I've often wondered this myself. As far as homes are concerned, if you install it improperly or have gaps, even small ones, your insulation's R value plummets drastically. Seeing as how vans are a small space and you can't insulate them "properly" for lack of a better word, with gaps behind the rips, the driver/passenger doors get no insulation, single pane windows are a poor insulator, etc I've debated how effective it is.

I will say it def helps with noise, both on the road and when parked, but certainly doesn't eliminate it.

But I honestly have no idea how effective it is at doing what it's supposed to....insulate.
I also figured its real effect would be to dampen the noise. But I did not WANT to do that--one of the parts I like about van-camping is hearing the froggies and insects at night and the birdies in the morning.
I'm with you on that spectrum, I love the sound of nature and nothing puts me to sleep faster than rain drops on a metal roof, one of my life's simple pleasures.
Here is the thing, unless you insulate the entire van's surface in contact with the cold (or hot) air, then insulation is useless. That windshield that goes without insulation makes all the other insulation in our vans completely worthless. One must insulate even the cocpkit area of the van, or barricade it off from the living space of the van, which is do-able with a simple curtain.

Once in an insulated, and isolated, cocoon the insulation does work great and makes a huge difference. I have spent my fair share of nights in my van at below freezing temps, and although it is only insulated in the most basic of ways, it helped make it live-able. Mostly in the sense that I could heat up the interior space and it would stay warmed up. Without the insulation (and barricade) the cold temps would penetrate the walls and cool the air inside faster than my heater could have heated that same air. You can't live your day in a sleeping bag (as good as they are at keeping you warm).

But, if you are always above freezing and never had a need for it anyway, then I would agree that insulation would be of no real value to you.
(05-09-2017, 04:32 AM)Van-Tramp Wrote: [ -> ]But, if you are always above freezing and never had a need for it anyway, then I would agree that insulation would be of no real value to you.

Sitting in Q with the sun beating down, I was happy for the insulation.  (and the vent fan)

Think of it like a spare tire.  You try to never need it ~~~ but mother nature plays tricks.
I was hoping that Bob would chime in as he spent winters in Alaska.  He could tell you about how important and effective insulation is.  As to actual  measurement data, the home construction industry has a lot of studies that show the effects of different types of insulation, different R-values, and how much heat is lost through windows and other uninsulated openings.

Insulation is a thermal resistor.  It slows down the migration of heat from your warm van to the cold outside or the hot outside to your cooler van.  You still need to add (or remove) heat at the same rate you loose (or gain) it to maintain the temperature you want.  If you have leaks (windows, uninsulated metal) the heat transfers faster.

Your sleeping bag is a small enclosed insulated space.  If the heat migrates out faster than the furnace (you) can replenish it you are cold, if the heat migrates out slower than you generate it you get too hot and usually create a leak to get rid of the excess heat.

As to measured data, the SB home industry has a lot of data on insulation's performance, the RV industry should have some, the auto industry does that testing but I doubt that it is published, might want to look on cruiser forums or expedition RV forums.  The only data for RV's that I have seen is on Wander the West, where one poster borrowed a thermal camera and recorded the difference thermal insulation made on the soft sides of a pop-up camper.

If you are comfortable with outside temperatures insulation will not do much for you.  But if you want to keep your van at a different temp than outside, insulation will make it more efficient to do so.  How efficient is dependent on the type, thermal resistance, and fullness of the coverage of the insulation.

 -- Spiff
I've had one insulated and one not insulated, and the difference was like night and day, both in the Las Vegas, NV heat and the cool fall temps in the Oregon Cascades. I'm a believer.

I doubt that you're going to find much hard data on vans, because hard data costs money, and there just isn't much real payback in what we do (comparatively speaking).
(05-08-2017, 06:03 PM)lenny flank Wrote: [ -> ]I'm just curious about this question (the thread about dark vs light colored vans got me wondering about it), and as I always say "There are few questions that can't be answered through the proper application of the scientific method....
<-------->
Does anyone know of any measured data comparing the temperature difference between insulated vans vs non-insulated?

Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but good info nonetheless.
http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thre...Wells-Blog
Alas, while "theory" and "subjective experience" are always nice, being the sciency-type I always prefer hard numbers. And it appears there just ain't any--not enough interest for anyone to actually do the experiment, I suppose.
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