An insulated double layer has always been one of my "one of these days" projects but never enough round-to-it. A couple of cautions:
The most efficient insulators, like those space age blankets, DON'T breathe so you will have a condensation problem which may cause damage, mildew, etc. The ideal would be a Gore-Tex thinsulate style inner lining.
The canvas is already your "keep dry" cover. Remember, canvas is not waterproof, it is water resistant so it will also breath. Don't defeat its purpose by covering with plastic, nylon or anything close.
I can't picture enough room in the closed position to carry a 2nd layer. I'd suspect the best solution would be a set of velcro attached "curtains" of thinsulate. I'm not even convinced the Gore-Tex would be required since it would be duplicating the canvas, though I concede it more efficient.
The latest hi-tech fabrics for hunter & outdoor wear is now called "Windstopper" which again allows breathability but stops wind infiltration. Godly overpriced and probably not worth it.
I've seen some decent thinsulate material in yard goods. Making a set of curtains wouldn't be that hard. Since heat rises, you really wouldn't need to attache the bottoms except maybe a tab or two to keep it from billowing with an open door.
Vanagons with the skylight would offer better ventilation options.
If I've misread your question and you're just wanting a cover for the closed pop-top while driving, don't bother. A good condition & fitting pop-top seal does all you need and the canvas stays dry.
I'm pretty certain that I saw some supplemental pop-top covers in GoWesty's catalog. As I recall, they go over and around the exterior of the pop-top, and one even appeared to have a vestibule that covered the luggage rack (so you could access it without getting drenched in a rain storm). Can't find them on-line just now, but check a catalog if you have one.
I knew I'd seen it somewhere and not on GoWesty. But I'm still trying to figure out "why?". I mean the canvas keeps the rain out. Since it's PVC (plastic), I bet it will have condensation problems that will be as bad as the rain. People put out one heck of a lot of moisture with just breathing, never mind heating water, etc. Every camping morning I have to dry the windshield and other hard surfaces even with the side windows, skylight & canvas window cracked open.
2000 GoWesty catalog, page 15... Looks like it's even $10 cheaper there, though it's clearly the same product (same photos even).
When we camp in winter we frequently don't pop the top due to heat loss. These covers probably help that more than provide protection from rain, though I always feel guilty closing a dripping-wet top. I expect it's rather bulky when packed...
Don't underestimate the the VW poptop's "seaworthiness." They are pretty remarkable. We've had some long camping trips with lots of wet weather where it was put up pretty soggy most mornings. But after a trip, I always pop the top, do a complete washing, and let her dry thoroughly. I've never had any mold or mildew. I usually give it a retreat with the spray silicone canvas treatment then, too. She's 10 years old now and still looks near new. Ditto my 12 year-old '79 when I sold her.
I too find the top bunk a little 'airy', so usually stay in the bottom. Also getting old enough I like the thicker mattress. We've found the watercooled Vanagons, with their open engine compartment, can get pretty cold up through the mattress and so put one of those space-age blankets underneath. We tend to save the top bunk for late night or wet set-ups, or for long naps in the rest stops when driving through the night. Otherwise, it's our storage shelf.
You're right about "Where do you store in the rest of the time? Too often what seems like a neat thing becomes a major storage headache. And you'd have to store it wet -- half dozen one or the other.
With all of the exceptional tent materials out there it seems like someone could use those materials and make a far superior poptop that breathes and is waterproof. I am going to attempt this very project out of Gore-tex including 3 windows with screens.
I'm with Capt. Mike on that one. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My canvas has never leaked and, aside from a little mildew, is in great shape (15 years old). I'd like the side windows, but not enough to spend the money on new canvas and risk damaging a proven-reliable installation. Gore-tex is good stuff, but I wonder about its durability compared to canvas. It's also likely to be expensive...
If my canvas was wrecked I might be tempted to explore options, but if that were the case I'd go down to one of the canvas shops at the marina and get a nice sunbrella canvas with some window/screen options (a zipper-removable clear vinyl window, maybe...).
COZMO: You mention your top isn't waterproof and doesn't breath? Am I reading that right? Insulation value of canvas not withstanding, if you are having trouble with leaks or breathing, it sound like something has happened to your canvas. The VW canvas does breath and although technically called "water-resistant", it will stand up to hurricane force driving rain without leakage.
Perhaps someone has put a non-breathable coating on it which both stops breathing AND prevents the fibers from swelling when wet which is where the waterproofness comes from. Some of the canvas treatments are waxes, oils or petroleum products that, though "waterproofing," do more harm then good. (Thompson's WaterSeal, for one.)
Even Gore-Tex, which I dearly love, will allow vapor passage BOTH ways -- it depends on pressure inside. In wearing apparel, the heat of the body tends to increase pressure within the garment and allows moisture VAPORS to push through the small holes, while larger water droplets are repealed. But that will not hold true if the pressure is reversed -- why you rarely see it in tents or awnings because they don't generate the internal pressure.
I think Gore-Tex would work in a VW pop-top because there is typically a high heat differential, with bodies, cooking & heat going on inside, to keep the outward vapor pressure.
Like nosliwmit, I'd like the side windows like the early Type II's so I could get a better cross-draft ventilation, but that will have to wait until a major repair/replacement. I'd be more interested in an insulation barrier.
With a waterproof silicon spray SPECIFICALLY MEANT FOR CANVAS. You don't want to lather it up with the stuff in the shop -- there may be driers or other additives NOT desireable in canvas. But you can get the canvas stuff at any Wal-Mart type store or a sporting goods store.
parking with something wrapped around their Pop Top that was obviously meant to insulate and prevent heat loss. I knew I needed one of those but it was late in the evening and I never got to speak with my fellow campers as to where it was acquired and how well it works.
I inquired at Go Westy but all they had were the Raincoats and thought it was a custom job.
I too am looking for an insulating device for the Pop Top but have been unsuccessful and am kicking myself for not leaving a note!
This insulator would most likely have to removed and stored during travels but would be worth the minor trouble for warmer nights and the room. I am trying to avoid making something but that may be the quickest solution.
Anyone know any green eurovan owners in BC? Please tell them we need a visit to the board!!
Howdy Campers, Capt. Mike, In my humble opinion, if the temp is below freezing, condensation is challenge to watch out for. Frozen canvas in the AM is very hard to fold. I'm using a Coleman Catalytic Heater (US$65 rated @3,000 btus) that runs for hours on those handy green cans. The heater is rated safe for use in small dome tents. So with the ventilation options in a Westy and a reliable CO detector there should be no danger of CO poisoning. There is plenty of heat to keep the interior dry with the top open and with the top down for snow storms it is really balmy. Next on the project list is fabricate, using a light wool felt,(see old wool blankets) cut match the lines of the canvas and fixed with Velcro. A double layer of fabric with moderately dead air in-between would allow greater thermal advantage. There may still be some condensation on the top but at least you can get it down.
I bought a similar heater, but have not used it as of yet. I belive I have the sport model, which is catalytic in function, but without the option of temp setting. I thought just opening a window, etc would regulate the heat. My plan is to use it to keep the westy warm at night with a CO2 detector. Your post was dated 2001, how has this worked in the long run?
Hi Guys and Girls
When we camp in the winter I have a hard board insulation made up to cover my canvas on the inside of our bus. It is silver back both sides. The insulation part is the same thing that coffee cups are made of. It is 3/8 thick and has a r value of 21. Along with my 1500 w heater (block style ) we stay real warm. With out electric ,I use my little buddy with a window cracked.