Friday, July 30, 2004

Soundproofing For Van Living
by Skald

The last vanliving experiment was, by and large, a stunning success. I managed to live a year in my van in a redneck suburban Georgia town... without ever being discovered... and without suffering any undue hardships. I was relatively comfortable throughout the hot Georgia summer and on even the coldest days of winter (the coldest being 7 degrees).

But there was one issue that plagued me.... one that I am determined to address when I make my third vanliving experiement: Noise.

Noise was the most stressful aspect of the last experiment. I was constantly woken up at night by people talking or arguing near my van. This was an especially big problem when I made one of my frequent visits to Athens... as I parked near a night club and would constantly be woken up by loud drunks.

The mornings were also difficult, as cars or machinery or the sound of people going to work disturbed my sleep. I was overparanoid about being discovered, so I found it very difficult to get back to sleep once I was woken up. Over time, this became very stressful.

So next time, in addition to sealing the rear area for light... I will also sound proof it.

Here are some ideas... gleaned from an excellent website on soundproofing ( ):

*Build a "room within a room" in the main compartment of the van. This could be framed with 2x2's. Foam core or plywood could be used for the interior walls... plywood for the floor. The space between the van exterior and the new walls would be filled with insulation.

*A door to the driver compartment would need to be cut in the front of the "room"... sealed tight with gaskets.

*Two vent holes would need to be cut in the front wall as well.... a small brushless fan could be placed in each one... one for intake, one for outtake. These vent holes could be plugged for high-stealth situations (watching a movie, sex, ect.).

*Attach ceiling acoustic board to all of the walls, floor and ceiling to further dampen sounds. Over this, hang curtains or tapestries. The gap between the tile-wall and the fabric will act as sound (and temperature) insulation.

Of course, the above modifications would also greatly increase the heat insulation of the van... keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Hopefully, sound would be greatly reduced as well.... helping to eliminate the primary source of stress that I experienced during the last van living experiment.

If anyone gives these suggestions a try.... please post a comment and let us know how they work.


Anonymous said...

Silly bugger! Do what I do when I stay in hostels and such -- EARPLUGS. Doesn't require advanced carpentry and is very effective. If you're hard up, you can even make them out of toilet paper and spit, which is always available.

Anonymous said...

Good point about earplugs.... but they didn't do the trick for me. The low level hum in the mornings wasn't so bad but the loud shouts & fights at night were.

Of course, the best solution of all is to find a reliable, quiet parking spot(s) --Skald