How to install DIY camper shell insulation?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “How to install DIY camper shell insulation?” We will discuss the simple steps that are required for camper shell insulation. We will talk about the required materials and tools for this process. Additionally, we will discuss the various types of camper shells.

How to install DIY camper shell insulation?

To install DIY camper shell insulation, you must follow the steps described below.

  • Choose the right insulation and material
  • Clean the camper shell
  • Measure the camper shell
  • Add the bracing
  • Add the insulation
  • Add finishing touches

Choose the right insulation and material

  • When choosing the right insulation it is always recommended to go for the higher R-value. It also depends on how often you travel and how often you camp. Where you camp and what climatic conditions are also other factors to consider when choosing the right insulation. If you are not camping too often, then you can go for a lower R-value.
  • Many people choose polystyrene foam board to keep their vehicles warm on cold nights. This also works the other way around as it can keep your camper cool on hot days. Polystyrene is cost-effective and easy to install. 
  • You can also install two layers of foam bed. You can use one-inch thick polystyrene and add another layer if required.

Clean the camper shell

  • Clean out your camper shell and look for any dust or unwanted debris. Make sure that your camper shell is cleaned and repaired before you start the insulation process. 
  • In case of any rust, be sure to get rid of those patches by using an angle grinder. Sometimes camper shells might have dents and these can go unnoticed. In case of small holes, be sure to get them covered.
  • In the case of a fiberglass shell, you can use a repair kit if there are any holes or cracks. You can also seal these holes by using spray foam. This expanding foam is useful in this process. You might need to trim the form with a utility knife after it has sealed all the holes. Remove all dust from other areas in your camper shell.

Measure the camper shell

  • Measuring the camper shell is one of the most important things that you need to do. You must measure the ceiling, walls, and windows. Once you have done the measurements, you will know how much material and insulation is required. Make sure that you measure the bracing and space the bracing at least 16 inches apart.
  • Start measuring from the tailgate so that you will get the spacing even on both ends. While insulating, it is always recommended to insulate around the windows and not over them. Only when you know all the places you need to insulate, only then you will be able to take the right measurements. Get some help for another friend or family member to help you with this process.

Add the bracing

  • The bracing is a pretty straightforward process. Before the bracing, you will need to add a layer of Reflectix moisture barrier. Once you have done that, you can go ahead and fix the wood bracing over it. You will also need to secure the wood bracing with a constriction adhesive. Try to use treated wood to avoid any rotting in the future.
  • To attach the wood bracing to your camper shell, you will need to use adhesive. You can also use a spray adhesive before switching to a construction adhesive. It also depends on the frame of your camper. If you have a frame that is perfect for insulation, you will not need to add extra bracing and this can save you time.

Add the insulation

  • Installing the insulation is the final process. Make sure to cut the insulation to the right measurements. You will need to cut the foam board into the right pieces so they could fit perfectly. By using foam-safe adhesive spray, you can glue the panels to the interior of the camper. You can use tape to seal the air gaps.
  • The same process is used for the ceiling of the camper shell. If you are planning on using another layer, you will need to repeat the same process as before. You can use foam-grade construction adhesive instead of spray since this is stronger and will hold it together. That said, you should be done with the insulating process.

Add finishing touches

  • The main part is complete and there is nothing much that you need to do with the finishing touch. Double-check if there are any spots and seal them back. Make sure to seal all the seams with tape. In case you want to add extra support to the insulation, you can add some metal strips. However, this might not be required.

Tools and materials for camper shell insulation

You will need the right tools and materials to get started with your camper shell insulation. It is always advised to get in touch with an expert to get the job done. Set aside some time to get this project done since you might need a day. Getting help from another person will make this project easier. Here are the tools and materials that are required for camper shell insulation.

  • Tape to measure (25 feet)
  • Utility knife
  • Felt tip a maker
  • Saw
  • Soundboard or plywood
  • Half inch wide aluminum strips
  • Foam
  • Screws
  • Power drill
  • Straight edge for drawing lines

The above tools and materials are the basic requirements for insulating a camper shell. Once you have the right tools, you can go ahead with the process of insulating the camper shell. Insulating a camper is a huge benefit and will help you maintain a proper temperature The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

Types of camper shells

Three types of camper shells are most commonly used. Getting your camper insulated also depends on the type of material that are camper shell is built on. You will need to use a stronger adhesive if you have a metal camper shell. The other two options that are common are Fiberglass and Canvas.

Metal camper shells

  • Metal camper shells are prone to rust, but the latest campers come with a protective coating to keep the metal from rusting. The only disadvantage with metal is that it can get heated up soon in hot climatic conditions. Most camper shells that have metal usually come with windows to keep proper circulation or air.

Fiberglass camper shells

  • The Fiberglass camper shells are non-conductive and they are more frequently used than metal. Fiberglass camper shells are also lightweight and are recommended for off-grid living. These camper shells can be customized. While it might not last you as long as the metal camper shells, there is no chance of fiberglass getting rusty.

Canvas camper shells

  • The Canvas camper shells are not meant for rough use or heavy-duty use. These camper shells are light and more maneuverable. Canvas camper shells are perfect for going down to the beach and they can also be removed with ease. However, you cannot use canvas camper shells in extreme climatic conditions.


In this blog post, we have answered the question “How to install DIY camper shell insulation?” We have discussed the simple steps that are required for camper shell insulation. We have talked about the required materials and tools for this process. Additionally, we will discuss the various types of camper shells.

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