How to Insulate a Camper Shell

by Brandy Alexander

Most camper shells are designed for use in fair weather and are not insulated or shielded from the outside temperature. If you plan on doing any camping with your camper in a cold climate, insulating your camper's shell will make the time you spend there much more comfortable. Insulating does not need to be expensive, but to do it properly will take a bit of time.


Strip the interior of your camper of all furniture, cabinetry and other materials. You will need to have access to all interior wall, ceiling and floor areas; remove anything, including the carpet, that is not directly connected to the shell of the camper.


Remove all interior panels from the inside of the camper shell. As each camper will vary greatly from one to the next, there is no one guideline to facilitate this task. Most campers are built inside a shell, with furniture, cabinetry and interior panels connected using metal screws; loosen these with the use of a screwdriver, ratchet or open-end wrenches to provide access to the inside surfaces of the shell.


Carry a sheet of rigid foam insulation into the camper through the door and hold it up flush against a wall, ceiling or floor surface. Trim the sheet (usually sold in 4-foot by 8 foot panels) to fit flush to the flat surface using a utility knife. Insulation is rated by R-value, or the materials resistance to heat transfer; the higher the rating, the better it will perform.


Apply a thin layer of foam board caulking adhesive to the side of the panel you wish to install against the surface of the camper, then press it against the wall section.


Load further sheets into the camper applying the adhesive and butting the edges of subsequent sheets to the sheets previously installed, taping to the seams together with duct or other adhesive tape to prevent airflow between the panels. Press fit the panels so that they fit tightly against each other and the edges of each wall, floor or ceiling panel. Allow for 24 hours for the adhesive to cure and dry.


Replace the interior wall panels over the insulation using the hardware you removed or self-tapping screws where needed. Replace the carpeting directly over the insulation and replace the cabinetry and furniture. Take note that, if using 1-inch-thick panels, that the inside dimensions of the camper will be slightly smaller, making the fit much tighter depending on how tightly the initial installation was.


  • check Install a small heater inside the camper to heat the newly insulated space when in cold climes.

Items you will need

About the Author

Brandy Alexander began writing professionally in 1993. She has years of experience as a professional of the English language employed with the "Cape Times" and "The Mercury." Alexander holds a master's degree in English literature from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

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