Ventilation options for a camper van

Hi guys,

i have a renault trafic work van that i want to use for camping on the odd occasion, problem is when closed up when sleeping in it, there is no ventilation and is very stuffy.

could leave a door open but from a security point of view and also protection from the elements would much prefer to be closed in.

being a work van, would prefer not to cut into it for vents and have seen the window vents that sit in the window.

so question is, having window vents in the front, would that allow enough circulation into the back of the van with the bulk head seperating the front from the back or will i need to rethink it ?

what are my options, people’s experience ?


Work/cargo vans make for terrible campers, and there is no cheap or easy way to convert them. Unlike passenger vans, they’re simply not designed to keep people in the back comfortable.

If your bulkhead is solid, you could add upper and lower ventilation ports into it, lower to let cooler air in, and upper with a fan to pull warmer air out, then with rain visors for your front windows, each can be cracked about an inch while remaining weather proof.

Any other options are going to require you to cut holes into the outside of your van, or replace the side and/or rear doors with ones with opening windows.

If you’re only planning on staying in places you can pitch a tent, I would go that route because a tent would be MUCH more comfortable than a cargo van, just as easy to heat or cool, much more room, and give you standing height too.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller

Thanks Van_Dweller

it is only really for chucking a mattress in the back and sleeping in it over night, sometimes in a car park after being to a festival.

The bulk head has vents at the bottom which open up to under the front seats.

so you think leaving the front window cracked open would be enough if i put a fan vent pulling air out in the top of the bulk head ?


It might take a little bit of experimenting to decide whether blowing it in, or sucking it out works best, but heat rises so if it’s for cooling the higher the vent for going out the better. Either way a single fan should work for that part, then possibly a second fan in the back to actually circulate the air back there.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller

We use a maxxair fan in ours but even as a work vehicle we found that driving around brooklyn NY leaving the fan on low kept the whole van a lot cooler and it really didn’t add to much height to our van - takes up no space inside so doesn’t take up any room inside the cargo area.

Window vents on a still or rainy night wont help you from fogging up but the maxxair has options to push in air or pull out air - we leave ours on all the time when sleeping - you can also have it open in the rain and stay dry. Yes your’e cutting a hole into a van but its totally worth it and you will use it on your day to day also for sure

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I have roof racks for planks and trestles, roof mounted ventilation not really an option.

Was looking at something like this,

Not sure if it would be noisy though and if it is suitable for running for extended periods
Says they use them in prisoner transport vans :confused:


130cfm isn’t very much… I’d probably just go with a 12v clip on fan or two, for probably a lower power draw, and they could be easily aimed to blow either in or out or any other direction. I think my swamp cooler uses under 2 amps…


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller