The Bulkhead – A Must Have for Stealth Camping

I just finished the bulkhead today.  It took most of the day to create.  Most of the problem is the curved walls.  I was surprised how easy it was though.  On the left you can see how curved the outside wall is. It’s like trying panel the St. Louis arch.  I measured the height needed at the doorway and the maximum width to the base of the curve.  Then it was a matter ot just taking a width measurement every 6 inches from the bottom to the top.  From there, all you had to do was connect the dots into an arc.  The wall fit like it was meant to be!  Then I just traced the wall board to make a second copy – for the backside.  I used 1.5″ insulation in the wall to add a little more peace and quiet.

This bulkhead is back a little farther than the vanilla version that many vans come with. The extra space forward of the wall was needed since my friggin batteries are HUGE!  If I put the wall further forward, the seat would have pinned me against the steering wheel.  Tomorrow the right side will be connected to the new bulkhead.  It will take some creativity but it can be done pretty cleanly.  The problem is that the bulkhead and the passenger seat belt cover do not line up neatly.  A little creative carpentry is in order!

It is the plan to have a curtain both in front of and behind the bulkhead wall.  This will allow twice as much opportunity to seal light leaks.

It is enouraging to see things coming together because each day’s work builds on the previous day’s accomplishments.

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

3 Responses to The Bulkhead – A Must Have for Stealth Camping

  1. texascom says:

    This is probably how I will deal with light leaks from the driver/passenger area instead of the complications from trying to completely seal the windshield and side windows with curtains etc. A curtain in front and back of the bulkhead is a good idea but I’ll be trying it with one curtain to start with.

  2. Bradford says:

    I ended up taking down the interior blackout curtain (using it in the back). Just having a good tight bulkhead and one blackout curtain in the front worked super. Friends are amazed when I open the van and the TV is running with a movie and all the lights are on… 🙂

  3. texascom says:

    Today I pondered a bulkhead for my minivan and after looking closely, it would be very difficult to make with wood. The position of the back of the front seats in relation to the rounded interior molding around the sliding doors make it iffy. I might could use pink rigid foamboard, which I could work with easier than wood in this situation. This type of foam board can be fiberglassed, which I have never done but might could pull off. Just a black curtain would probably do the job but I envision attaching some kind of track to the headliner. I assume the headliner has a thin layer of fiberglass under the cloth and not sure whether to use very short screws or use some type of glue. Minivans just don’t have good straight vertical surfaces to attach things to.