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I have a Chevy Astro van that I love...awd is the best in bad weather, and when traveling down forest service roads or logging roads.  One down side - it is impossible to keep comfortable in extreme weather, hot or cold, no matter how high the a/c is turned or how much propane the heater is sucking down.  I have the wall panels insulated now but am reluctant to give up any more room inside the van for insulation.  So....thinking outside of the van, if I may borrow that expression...has anyone ever put insulation outside of the van?  I saw a rigid form of insulation, comes in sheets, that is semi structural, meaning that if you glue it to the wall you can put a nail in it to hang a picture, put up a light book case, etc.  My idea is to put 2" of insulation top and side outside the van 1 inch on the bottom, but that is easier to manage, and then cover the insulation with a couple of layers of fiberglass or some other siding.  Yes, it would be a lot of work, but each inch of space inside is just very valuable when you have so little to begin with.  Any ideas?
I throw an old sleeping bag or moving blanket over the top of my uninsulated steel pop top camper. It stops condensation during cold weather and keeps it much warmer inside. It also helps a lot in hot weather if parked in the sun. Give it a try, it'll give you an idea how well it works before spending a lot of time making permanent insulation.
(03-12-2020, 02:26 AM)pengyou Wrote: [ -> ]I have the wall panels insulated now but am reluctant to give up any more room inside the van for insulation. 

How about the windows?  Are they covered over with insulation,too?  

If not, you would have a lot of heat loss through the glass.
It is a cargo van.  The only windows are the windshield, the front two door windows and the sliding door window.  I have a wall made of 2" rigid foam insulation behind the front seats, that isolates the rear pretty well. The windows...that is certainly something to think about. I do have a 1" thick piece of insulation that I use to cover the sliding door window.
How cold are the temps you've been dealing with?
no matter how much insulation you have it does no good in the heat. in fact it is detrimental. the only thing that will help you for the heat is AC.

lets review,
what type of insulation do you have?
what type of heater is sucking down all this propane but not heating the van?
something doesn't seem right.

most of us go where the temps are not so extreme. after all we are mobile.

(03-12-2020, 02:26 AM)pengyou Wrote: [ -> ]it is impossible to keep comfortable no matter how high the a/c is turned

Going down the road or stationary?  I have a full-size van and even though it's been converted to R134a (less efficient) it still works OK when on the road. Maybe your A/C needs looked at.

Or do you mean when camped and run the A/C to keep cool?  That can cost a lot for gas. I never do that and look for shade and use fans. Or head to higher elevations when it's hot.
Thanks for your input.  I am still working and would like to live in my van to save $$ up for later.  I live in North Dakota, i.e. -20-40 sometimes in the winter.  I also love winter, and even when retired would love to spend my time up in the north in the winter...such beautiful scenery.
I have an astrovan too and covered the entire backend of my van with foam insulation. If you haven't yet cover all the back/sliding doors with foam, make it so its easy to remove. You need to make the van as airtight as possible. 

I didn't have good results until I covered over my sliding side door. Myself I prefer comfort over looks, I add more foam if I feel any cold/heat in a certain area of the van. Foam works great for the winter but in the summer it keeps the heat inside the van. On hot days I have to run my swampcooler all night long to stay cool.

I live in southern california, the coldest temp I encountered was about 32 degrees, without a heater the inside of the van might get to 55 degrees, too hot for a sleeping bag. It been almost 3 years since I had to use a heater. Before I covered the sliding door over, I needed a sleeping bag and a heater, inside/outside temperature were about the same.


some temps I encountered inside/outside (no heater in use)
I would certainly be very happy to give up a few inches of inside space if it meant being comfortable in really cold weather. You will get used to the slightly smaller interior volume.
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