Bedrug VanTred Cargo Liner: Drop-In Floor Insulation for Vans?

Bedrug VanTred Cargo Liner: Drop-In Floor Insulation for Vans?

BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Review Heading
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We are getting ready to convert our second Ford Transit van, and we know how time consuming this project will be! Using the BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner as drop-in floor insulation can potentially saves us a few hours of work, since the contour is already trimmed and the foam backing matches with the corrugations of the floor. That sounds great, but does it come at the expense of insulation performances? Any other downsides? Let’s find out!

BedRug-VanTred-Cargo-Liner-Installation-3

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Portrait-FarOutRide-Van

1. About BedRug


BedRug is a sub-brand of RealTruck (headquartered in Michigan), a manufacturer of aftermarket accessories with a portfolio of brands that includes: Husky Liners, Retrax, Go Rhino, etc. At the time of writing these lines, BedRug is manufactured in the USA.

1.1. VanTred vs VanRug


The BedRug van cargo liners are available either as VanTred or VanRug, the key difference being found in the top material:

VanTred
  • Foam backing: 1/2″ thick polypropylene.
  • Top material: TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). A hard, uniform surface that resists to most chemicals (gasoline, oil, bleach, battery acid, etc.).
BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner (close up top surface)

(Fits: Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, etc.)

VanRug
  • Foam backing: 1/2″ thick polypropylene.
  • Top material: 100% polypropylene (plastic). A soft, carpet-like surface that resists to most chemicals (gasoline, oil, battery acid, etc.).

(Fits: Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, etc.)


2. BedRug VanTred Specifications


2.1. Dimensions and Fit


Here lies the two main selling points of the BedRug VanTred: it is pre-trimmed to match the contour of the van’s floor and the foam backing matches the corrugations in the van’s floor. That means insulating our floor is a one-step operation: unbox-and-drop! And as a bonus, the BedRug cargo liner can be used as a template to trim the next floor layers (plywood, vinyl, etc.).

2.2. Weight


At the official weigh-in, our BedRug tipped the scale at 26 lbs putting it in the lightweight category. On the other side of the ring, the Ford OEM floor is in the heavyweight category, with more than double the weight*.

* We couldn’t actually weight the Ford OEM floor, it’s like trying to weight a giant jellyfish. You just can’t grasp it, as it collapse under its own weight if you try to hold it. No human has ever successfully weighted it and ever will.

2.3. Top Material


The top surface of the BedRug VanTred is made of TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin): a hard, uniform surface that resists to most chemicals (gasoline, oil, bleach, battery acid, etc.).

BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Material (Top Surface)

2.4. Foam Backing


The bottom surface of the BedRug VanTred is made of polypropylene: a soft-ish 1/2″ thick foam that provides (to some extend): noise insulation, thermal insulation, impact absorption.

Note that the claimed 1/2″ thickness is actually thinner at the corrugations.

BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Material (Foam Backing)

3. What we like/dislike


3.1. Installation


Our Transit van came with the optional Front & Rear Vinyl Floor Covering (option Code 16E) which includes a cargo mat, slider door scuff plate, rear door sill plate, and rear wheelhouse covers. We first had to remove all of these. Here’s how:

The installation is nothing more than unpacking and dropping it onto the floor… and fight the d*mn thing who desperately wants to go back to its rolled shape 😆 Remember: the force of the BedRug is directly proportional to the extension of the BedRug, it’s Hooke’s law.

– OK it’s actually not bad, it took just a few minutes overall! –

Surprise
BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Installation
Despair
Hope
Euphoria
BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Ford Transit Vinyl Scuff Plate (rear door)
The rear scuff plate can be neatly reinstalled.
BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner Ford Transit Vinyl Scuff Plate (slider door)
The side scuff plate can be reinstalled, but with the BedRug on top.

3.2. Fit


As promised, the BedRug matched perfectly with the contour and corrugations of our floor (better than Ford’s OEM floor). It did take a while for the BedRug to become resilient and lay flat, so give it a bit of time!

Floor Insulation: To fill the “valleys” between the corrugations, or not?

There are two schools of thought that generate endless debates online:

To fill the valleys

Provides additional insulation and support, but condensation or water spills could potentially be trapped between the metal and insulation.

To NOT fill the valleys

A little less insulation, but better moisture management by leaving an air gap between the metal and the insulation (at the lowest point of the floor).

Both methods are commonly found in van conversions, but we still haven’t seen any real-world, long term evidence proving for sure that one method is definitely wrong… Let us know in the comments section if you do!

3.3. Durability


We personally tried the VanTred in our van (not the VanRug), which has a hard uniform surface made of TPO (thermoplastic). The top surface is VERY hard, very similar to the Ford Transit OEM floor. We have no doubts it would withstand the test of time. In fact, we would not hesitate to use the VanTred cargo liner if we had a work van.

3.4. Insulation


The BedRug is primarily designed as a drop-in flooring solution for work vans (or such) and we give it 5 stars for the application it’s intended for.

Using it as permanent floor insulation for a campervan is more like a “hack”, and as a downside it does not provide as much insulation as the other alternatives (see Contenders section below). This may, or may not, be a deal breaker for you depending on your application.


4. The Contenders


Below are the most common options that people use for their van conversion. Let’s examine their specifications, along with their respective pros and cons to help in our decision-making!

Foam Boards

Rigid foam boards are typically available as XPS, Polyiso, etc.:

Rigid Foam Board Van Floor Insulation
  • R-Value: ~ R-5 per inch.
  • Thickness: 0.75″, 1″, 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″ and more.
  • Pros:
    • Hydrophobic.
    • Available at local hardware store.
    • Low cost.
    • No framing required.
  • Cons:
    • Must be trimmed to match contour (time consuming).
    • Can potentially squeak if no care is taken.
Minicell

Minicell is a closed cell foam that is smooth and flexible:

Minicell-Closed-Cell-Foam-Sheets-Van-Floor-Insulation
  • R-Value: ~ R-3.5 per inch.
  • Thickness: 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 1.5″, 2″ and more.
  • Pros:
    • Hydrophobic.
    • No framing required.
    • Doesn’t squeak.
  • Cons:
    • Must be trimmed to match contour (time consuming).
Thinsulate

Thinsulate is a synthetic fiber insulation:

  • R-Value: ~ R-3.3 per inch.
  • Thickness: 1/2″, 1″, 1.75″.
  • Pros:
    • Hydrophobic.
    • Mold and mildew resistant.
    • Acoustic absorption.
    • Light weight.
    • Very easy to install.
    • Doesn’t squeak.
  • Cons:
    • It is compressible and therefore not recommended for floor (must be framed).
OEM Floor

The Ford Transit van can be ordered with floor protection:

Ford Transit OEM Cargo Floor Protection
  • R-Value: ~R-1.5 (final).
  • Thickness: ~3/8″.
  • Pros:
    • Pre-installed!
    • Offers temporary protection before conversion.
    • Great as permanent floor for work van.
  • Cons:
    • Backed with denim, which is not hydrophobic.
    • Not recommended as permanent subfloor.

5. Decision and Recommendations


Here we are:

With that in mind, we are pretty confortable making these recommandations:

Recommended
  • Work vans, contractors, toys hauler: The durability and chemical resistance of the top surface make the BedRug the ideal candidate for these vans.
  • “No-Build” and minimalist campervans: Some people just want to go on an adventure rather than spend time converting a van, and that’s fine! In this case, the BedRug is great as a drop-in floor.
  • Temporary protection and template: Not in a hurry to convert your van? Then the BedRug is great to protect your investment. As a bonus, you can use it as a template for your future floor!
Up to you!
  • Mild-climate campervans: The BedRug should work as first layer, beneath the plywood and final layer. Optionally another layer of insulation (e.g. Minicell) can be added over the BedRug.
  • Time vs money vs R-Value trade-off: If time is not an issue but money is, then skip the BedRug and use rigid foam from your local hardware store!
Not ideal
  • Harsh-climate campervans: If maximal R-Value is key, consider an alternative (e.g. rigid foam, minicell) or use the BedRug as first layer in conjonction with another insulation (e.g. Minicell) as second layer.

What about us?

FarOutVan #2 will be used as a basecamp-on-wheel for mountain-biking, skiing, and to travel to remote places. We definitely fit in the “harsh-climate campervans” and therefore we might opt for rigid insulation, because R-Value is key for us.

What about others?

Remember: don’t let others dictate your decisions. There is rarely one-size-fit-all solution, everything is a trade-off AND contextual. Only YOU know about your own situation and your needs! That being said, here is what others have to say about the BedRug:


VanTred

Hard, uniform surface.

BedRug VanTred Cargo Liner (close up top surface)

(Fits: Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, etc.)

VanRug

Soft, carpet-like surface.

(Fits: Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, etc.)

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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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