Havelock for #VanLife
The Best Choice for Your Vehicle
Why should you insulate your van, bus, or camper van with Havelock Wool?
Moisture happens. You need a hygroscopic insulation that actively manages moisture, helping keep your van dry and free from mold, mildew and rust.
Havelock Wool measures at an impressive R Value PER INCH of 3.6. 2″ batts are R7. Thicker walls = higher R value.
Havelock Wool excels at absorbing road noise and reducing unwanted noise. All this makes your van, skoolie, RV a more pleasant place to be.
Havelock Wool is renewable, sustainable, biodegradable and compostable. It’s overall carbon footprint is extremely low.
Easy on the Wallet, Easy to Install
Because Havelock Wool insulates, absorbs sound and manages moisture there is no need for additional materials like sound deadeners or vapor barriers. The wool works best on it’s own. The result? A lower overall cost to insulate completely and a much easier one step installation process.
How Wool Compares
How does wool stack up against traditional insulators?
What Van Owners Say
Easy to Buy & Install
Install Havelock Wool in your van today.
Installing Havelock Wool is simple. Check out the official install video below!
Visit our Havelock Forum to connect with and learn from other Vanlifers.
Estimate Your Build
Use the chart below to estimate your build.
Numbers are approximate and vary based on specific van build-out. Note, they do not include floor measurements. Please measure for square footage and average cavity depth.
We proudly work with over 50 upfitters in the #VANLIFE space, including:
Advanced 4×4 Vans
Agile Off Road
Aspen Custom Vans
Automotive Designs and Fabrication
California Comfort Vans
Colorado Camper Van
Creative Mobile Interiors
Inner Space Designs
Oak Tree Vans
Personalized Vans & Trucks
Tera X Van Conversion
The Moto Box
Tiny Watts Solar
Vanco of Northern California
Whitefeather 4X4 Conversions
Frequently Asked Questions
Wool is the ultimate moisture manager. In the form of vapor, condensation or water- moisture will inevitably make its way into your walls. You need an insulation that actively manages that moisture, helping keep your vehicle dry and free of mold and mildew. Unlike any other insulation, wool is naturally able to absorb moisture while still retaining it’s high insulative properties. When the ambient air dries (>65%) wool will release the moisture into the air. The result is a long lasting, non-slumping, high performance insulation that keeps your walls dry and temperatures more constant.
The most common way to measure insulation products is by R Value which denotes resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Havelock Wool comes in at an impressive R Value PER INCH of 3.6. But R Value is not the only way to measure insulation. What happens when moisture is introduced into an environment? The R Value can plummet (as in the case of polysio board, the colder it gets, the less R Value). In order to sustain high performance (high R Value), your insulation also needs to actively manage moisture and stay dry. Havelock Wool does just that. Because wool is a hygroscopic insulator, it can absorb moisture without becoming wet to the touch and without affecting its superior performance.
A Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) is a rating for how much sound a material absorbs. Like a sponge absorbs water, insulation absorbs sound and the NRC tells us just how much sound gets soaked up. The higher the NRC rating, the better the sound absorption. So a material with an NRC of 1 absorbs 100% of sound. In the insulation world, NRC is an important factor because along with regulating temperature, insulation should also keep your living space quiet. Havelock Wool’s NRC of 90% beats most other insulation mediums. To be fair, there are some products with a slightly higher NRC but those tend to be designed specifically for sound absorption. As such, they fall short on other important metrics like R-Value…. not to mention moisture management, air filtration, and sustainability.
Havelock Wool is a truly sustainable building material, from its production to the end of its life. Our overall carbon emissions stack up extremely favorably compared to any other insulation material. It’s easy to understand as our raw material is not petrochemical-based and our process is not energy-intensive. We use repurposed textile machinery that runs on electricity. Further, wool is biodegradable and compostable unlike mainstream insulation which will sit in landfill, or, worse, on the ocean floor for the next 1,000 years. So after a very long life, wool can be placed back in the earth where it will break down on its own and actually fertilize the soil.
This answer is both simple and complex. The former is easy – the alternatives are toxic garbage. Conversely, there is nothing like a wool fiber. Nature’s R&D department looks back some 10,000 years. Wool fiber has evolved to protect sheep from the elements – hot and cold; damp and dry. The same goes for your van. Wool inherently manages moisture against 65% relative humidity (see below for more), absorbs harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, NOx and SO2, crushes road noise and can be reused or composted (to grow award-winning heirloom tomatoes) should you choose to move into a new rig.
Simply put: to temporarily absorb excess moisture and then release it back into space when conditions change. Moisture in a cavity is inevitable, even an airtight one, given the simple properties of condensation and vapor drive. Taking its presence as a given, moisture needs an escape path. While in the cavity it can either be managed or degrade what it comes in contact with. If it is the side of your van, then rust enters the equation. If it is a sub-par material, then reduced efficacy and mold are both an issue. If it is wool, then you have a wildly dynamic fiber working in your favor. It will take moisture in when the ambient air exceeds 65% relative humidity. When those levels drop below the threshold, moisture is dissolved adding to temperature control and indoor air quality.
Wool has excellent sound deadening characteristics. You would be hard pressed to find a higher performing material for sound abatement. Noise reduction coefficients are out-performers when tested. Anecdotally we constantly hear folks telling us how quiet their vans become once the wool is introduced – note the ability to stuff wool in the headliner and voids indoors as a true difference maker.
Talk about a standout for wool. Other forms of insulation will emit something not good for you. Wool, conversely, will irreversibly bond with formaldehyde, NOx, and SO2. There is NO OTHER INSULATION material available that will provide this service to your space.
How Wool Compares
NO! Cotton absorbs water and is treated with chemicals to be temporarily hydrophobic. Fiberglass acts like a sponge and then turns into a moldy science project gone bad. Cellulose is paper, attracts moisture and this too will become a moldy disaster waiting to happen. Rock Wool is laden with chemical binders and uses an absurd amount of energy to create the product while emitting particulate and harmful chemicals into our fresh air as part of the process. And it does nothing to manage moisture. Thinsulate do not absorb water, but then where does the water go? It collects in the bottom of the cavity. Foam will not absorb water either but instead forces the water into the cavity to collect and corrode. Wool absorbs and releases moisture – absorbing too much when it is present and releasing it back into your space when dry.
No. Well maybe if you put it outside your van or in the windows. It is designed to reflect the sun. It has no place inside for all sorts of reasons – not least it needs an air gap to work properly, which is highly unlikely to be consistent in a van.
Thinsulate was originally purposed in automobiles for sound attenuation. Wool is a better insulator and also better at minimizing sound. Thinsulate is certainly the lesser of other insulation evil mediums but similarly under-performing by comparison to our favorite natural fiber. Also, why would you want to support a chemical company like 3M? They are trashing our environment. 3M / Thinsulate pollutes groundwater Demand more from the companies you support!
Yes. Why would you ever put a toxic, petrochemical-based material in a confined space? Foam is a nasty material that should be discontinued. It does not address moisture challenges, is unsafe to breathe, makes noise when driving and is likely to spend a few thousand years in the ocean once your van is re-purposed. Please use common sense and don’t use foam. Foam board is cheap! we get it. you may find that the lure of cheap materials is outweighed by the headache and time needed to install. Havelock Sheep’s wool is quick to install, you can’t get it wrong and is so much more effective in the real world environment of a van facing moisture challenges. Using 15 cans of “great stuff” to glue the foam board in seems very counter-intuitive to a healthy space.
Measuring and Installing
Easy. Use hugely versatile 2″ batts. They are fast and easy to install as they rip into “puffs” and can be peeled into thinner layers or layered to make thicker. Batts in walls, floor and ceiling and “puffs” in nooks and crannies. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative. A string can hold batts in place, you can stuff behind T&G boards or finished wall coverings as they go up. Said another way, we support creative alternatives over adhesives and other forms of ‘traditional’ methods.
Your insulation should be as thick as your build will allow. We typically see 2” batts used across the van. Some spaces more some less. There is a surprising amount of room in the headliner. Measure the square footage and note the desired depth; you will then know what to buy and how much. Each bag of 2″ covers 100 sq ft.
Casting aside complexities, the easy answer is to say as much as you can fit in the space. The structure is a metal box; it changes temperature rapidly. Mitigating contact between the living space and the exterior elements is paramount to an enjoyable environment. Insulation will help dramatically and should be placed across the entire thermal bridge for the best results. That said, there is a chart with suggestions that draws from our experience in the space on the Havelock Wool #vanlife page.
Use batts. They are versatile, meaning they can be used easily in any application. No chemical binders make for a pleasurable experience.
Yes, although time-consuming this is a terrific way to increase thermal efficiency and relieve your OCD tendencies.
Keep it simple. Measure the area you plan to insulate (height and length) and take note of the average depth. Once you have the square footage apply the associated depths and you will have an idea for insulation needed. An average build uses 2-3 bags of batts. Any overage should be used for stuffing all the various holes, door panels, headliners, nooks and crannies.
Insulate each of them with wool. Our experience would suggest building the floor up slightly from factory specs to allow for extra insulation to reduce road noise and minimize a cold/hot floor depending on the season. Walls can vary based on the finish – panels or T&G. The same goes for the ceiling. Wool does well in all scenarios, it can just require varied creativity to keep the batts in place until the finished product is installed. Call us for ideas
Everyone does it differently. However, we do believe that 2” batts are quite universal and can be peeled apart to create any thickness needed for the ever-changing thicknesses vans are known for.
Yes, if you are sleeping or cooking then you will want one of these. Again, you live in a metal box and it needs some ventilation.
If a highly conductive material like metal reaches from the exterior to the interior of a building it will carry temperature differential in either direction. To simplify, think of a metal beam exposed to the inside and outside of a building. Now imagine cold wintry temperatures. The beam will carry the cold exterior temperatures within an inch (or finished wall thickness) of your living space and create noticeable cold spots. This is thermal bridging in its most simplistic form. Now fast forward to your van. The whole thing is a thermal bridge. Ideally, you will find ways to create a gap or thermal break between the metal structure and your finished wall.
Condensation is the conversion of a vapor or a gas to a liquid. It most often refers to the cycle of water. Think of it this way: you just bought a loaf of bread at a bakery and are sitting at a table having a coffee in the sun. The bread and the (plastic) bag it is in started dry; as it heats in the sun, suddenly there is noticeable moisture inside of the sealed bag. Say hello to condensation. This is one example of many for this occurrence. Now think of the environments you and your van are likely to frequent and you’ll appreciate the inevitability of condensation.
Also, we suggest you let condensation concern you more than road noise. In the space between your van interior and the walls, condensation will flourish. If you insert the wrong materials so too will mold. Exposure to whatever grows inside your rig is unhealthy at best and dangerous at worst.
Put it in the garbage. Condensation is inevitable and entirely unavoidable. Plan for escape routes not a feeble, misguided attempt at barriers.
At a distributor near you or on our website. Or come visit us at the shop!
Shipping is a nuisance. Havelock Wool Shipping is NOT a profit center. We use Fedex and pass on our costs.
We compress two 2″ batt bags into one big bag before shipment to help make the package denser/smaller and cost less to you. When you receive the bag please cut open the outer compression sleeve immediately and allow the wool to expand into the larger inner bag. The wool might need to acclimate for a day to regain its loft.
Yes, we have a high-roof Sprinter 144 crew van. We fit it ourselves and are just now on a second round to enhance our experience. Note ours is more winter than summer given the passion to ski. Either way, we appreciate preferences vary and there is no playbook for how conversion should unfold.
That is a fair concern and easy for us to say, but assuming you have windows- it is rather easy to make Havelock Wool insulated blackout curtains. Also, there are so many places to stuff excess wool for more complete R value and especially sound attenuation.
The same principle applies for all insulation’s in hot or cold climates. It serves as a barrier for thermal transfer.
Insulation works both ways – keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. An additional benefit of wool: the release and capture of moisture will help modulate the temperature making you feel warmer in colder environments and cooler in warmer ones.
No. We apply a minor amount of boric acid (less than 1% by weight), which is all-natural and non-toxic, as an insect repellent. In addition, it is often the lanolin that attracts pests. Our wool comes from NZ where the most advanced scouring (cleaning) techniques in the world are employed to ensure a consistent, clean fiber is provided for our process.
Our wool may initially have a benign “barnyard” smell that will dissipate over time. Opening the bag and letting your wool reloft and breathe for a day or two will hasten this process. Not only will your wool lose all its smell, it will actually work to become an odor neutralizer.