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Campervan Ventilation: How To Install A Wind-Driven Vent

Adequate campervan ventilation allows warm, stale air to escape from your rolling home while drawing in cool, clean air. As well as keeping the air in your camper fresh and clean, it will also keep condensation, humidity and pollutants to a minimum.

Without sufficient ventilation, the air in your camper can become stale and funky. Nasty smells will hang around for much longer and your beautiful camper may become a bit… gross.

Condensation and humidity will cause extra moisture in the air. This promotes the growth of mould and mildew (damaging fabrics and surfaces), as well as increasing the risk of potentially harmful mites.

If you plan on cooking in your van, the steam will cause additional humidity, cooking smells will linger, and pollutants (such as gas) can build up and potentially poison the air.

A kitchen in a DIY camper

So how can you avoid having an uncomfortable and polluted camper? Well, we can help!

This post is the ultimate guide to installing a wind-driven vent.

We’ll explain (with some simple science and diagrams!) how campervan ventilation works; the pros and cons of a wind-driven vent; and how this particular vent works to ventilate your camper.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the tools you will need, including a buying guide.

But that’s just for starters! We’ve also got for you an in-depth, step-by-step set of instructions, complete with labelled pictures and diagrams, so you can install a wind-driven air vent with confidence.

If you’ve already read our ventilation guide, and now know all about campervan ventilation, you can jump straight to the installation instructions.

If you don’t fancy installing a wind-driven vent, have a read of our aforementioned complete campervan ventilation guide, which takes a more in-depth look at the importance of ventilation, as well as reviewing 13 different ventilation solutions.

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you make a purchase after clicking one, we may earn some commission. This pocket money will help Vandercamp Adventures continue to grow at no extra cost to you. It’s a win win situation!! Learn More…

How Campervan Ventilation Works

Convection currents are the natural movement of air; warmer air rises, while cooler air falls. This constant movement of hot and cold air will circulate air in your camper.

A diagram of convection currents in a camper van, showing how hot air rises and cold air sinks

This is how all campervan ventilation works; giving the warm, stale air somewhere to escape, allows space for fresher air to draw into your camper.

When you install a roof vent, the rising warm air will escape out of it. This in turn draws in cooler air from outside, through another vent positioned lower down.

A diagram showing how the movement of air in a campervan changes when you install a vent, to expel warm air and draw in cool air.

However, if the van’s internal air temperature is similar to the outside air temperature, convection currents will be very slow, therefore providing minimal air circulation. (If it’s hot outside, it’s going to stay pretty warm inside, too!)

Our Campervan Ventilation

Here’s why we chose to install a wind driven, spinning, roof mounted air vent:

A window powered roof camper van ventilation
Internal spinning vent cover

Adjustable airflow – We can vary the airflow through the van via a rotating cover installed inside the van.
Price – This product is cheaper than other ventilation solutions, without compromising on quality.
Minimal noise – Stainless steel bearings silently drive the mechanism
2-year warranty – It’s always good to have cover!

We wanted passive ventilation that would work 24/7 without needing electrical power. Whether we’re asleep, away from the van, or have all the windows and doors shut, the vent continues to work.

Although there are other brilliant ventilation solutions, they don’t provide constant air circulation. Other types of campervan ventilation either need the vent open (e.g. skylight) or 12v power to work.


  • Passive ventilation is the most eco-friendly type of campervan ventilation
  • Because this vent doesn’t have a motor it runs completely silently.
  • Installation is straightforward and can be completed without any experience.
  • The ventilation circulates air 24/7. It works when you’re asleep and when you’re away from your van.
  • Unlike a skylight, it isn’t obvious that it’s ventilation for a campervan, so you can be more stealthy.
  • Constant air circulation reduces condensation and moisture build-up and keeps the air fresh.
  • Because there are no moving parts (other than the bit that spins) it doesn’t need maintenance
  • It doesn’t pose any risk to your van’s security, as it can’t be used to gain access to your camper.


  • Unlike a 12V fan, it isn’t powerful enough to quickly draw out cooking smells, steam or smoke.
  • The bearing inside will eventually become worn, which will make it noisy.
  • It needs to be paired with another ventilation solution (e.g. a floor vent) to work effectively.
  • More than one would be needed in a larger van to work effectively, as there’s more air space.

How Wind-Driven Campervan Ventilation Works

All four components of a wind driven roof vent
  • Vent cover: Sits on the vent base and has angled “fins” inside. (We’ll explain how this works below.)
  • Vent base: Fixes to the roof of your van and allows the vent cover to spin.
  • Gasket: Provides a seal between the vent base and the roof of the van, which prevents water getting in.
  • Fixings: The nuts, bolts and screws you need for installation and the bolt hole cap. (We also used self drilling screws to fix the vent base to the roof.)
  • Vent spacer: Creates a sealed air channel between the internal cover and the vent cover.
  • Internal vent cover: Fixes inside your vent to finish the vent. It can be opened and closed.

We didn’t use the vent spacer because it wasn’t deep enough for cladding and insulation. We had to create our own sealed air channel to keep the vent working effectively.

The “fins” inside the vent are angled and spin when the wind hits them. This means that whether you’re driving or stationary, the vent will spin in the wind.

As the vent spins, the internal fins (also angled) draw stale air out of your camper.

A diagram illustrating a campervan wind driven air vent construction and air flow

Installation Time And Cost

The time it takes to install a wind-driven roof vent will depend on your experience and knowledge of the work involved.

If you have all the tools and materials required and you’re confident with the task at hand, it should take approximately 2-3 hours to complete.

Our total timescale = 2 hours.

The overall timescale will vary depending on what tools you need. Luckily, we already had most of the tools required.

Our total spend = £55.00

That’s roughly a £27.00 saving compared to the cost of other manufacturer vents.

Any tools you need for installing campervan ventilation you’ll also use for other camper conversion tasks. So when budgeting for tools, you can spread the cost over the entire build.

Tools, Materials And Accessories

Bear in mind that the items in the following lists are not exclusively for installing ventilation. They are all useful throughout your campervan build. So, we’ve included a handy column detailing their other uses.

Essential Tools

ProductDescriptionOther uses
Tape measure5m tape measure
- Essential tool for use throughout the build.
Marker penFine marker pen- Essential tool for use throughout the build.
Work benchFolding work station- Resting tools and materials on.
- Used for cutting wooden battens and sheet materials.
- Used throughout the build.
Metal file9" 3 pack file set- Filing the window cut out.
- Filing any sharp metal parts. e.g. protruding screws or bolts.
Brush1/2" paint brush- Painting the cut metal edge of the window cut out.
- General painting.
- Oil or varnish application to wood.
Sealant gunSealant/mastic gun- Installing and sealing the sink.
- Sealing the edge of the flooring and kitchen worktop.
- Sticking wooden battons to the walls, flooring and ceiling.
Ratchet screwdriver set- Used throughout the build.
- Fixing screws and electrical component connections.
Socket set1/4" Socket set 36pcs.- Flexible gas and water pipework jubilee/pipe clips.
- Installing underslung gas and water systems.
LadderAluminium telescopic extension ladder 8.5ft/2.63mAccessing roof of campervan.

Can be folded and stored inside van to provide roof access security.

Power Tools & Accessories

Cordless Combi Drill18volt combi drill with 2x batteries.- Essential van build tool.
- Drilling holes in wood and metal.
- Used as a battery screwdriver.
Hole sawMulti-material hole saw 92mm - Cutting hole for the wind driven roof vent.
Metal Drill Bit5mm HSS (High speed steel) metal drill bit- Drilling pilot holes in wood, metal and plastic.
- Drilling a pilot hole for a holesaw guide.


Degreaser cleanerHeavy duty degreaser 5ltr- Preparing the metal surface for the application of rust paint and sealant.
Waterproof sealant
Waterproof all weather sealant. For use indoors and outdoors- Creating a waterproof seal around the vent base.
- Can also be used around the kitchen worktop, sink and flooring.
Wire woolMedium grade steel wool- Cleaning metal surfaces for the application of rust paint.
- Can also be used for cleaning and preparing wood before oils are applied.
Metal paintRust protection paint
'Stops rust and provides 8 year protection'
- Applying to any exposed metal bodywork. Preventing the metal from rusting.
Screws4.8x38mm self drilling anti-corrosion roofing screws- Fixing the vent base to the metal roof.
- Also used for fixing wooden battens to the inside of the van.
TapeAluminium foil tape 50m x 75mm- Sealing joints and gaps between sheet insulation materials.
- Provide an excellent barrier to vapour.
Dust sheetCotton 12' x 9'- Protect the dashboard and seats from dust.
- Catch wood and metal cuttings.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

ProductDescriptionOther uses
Safety glasses Grade F low energy impact.
Clear and anti-scratch.
- Important when cutting metal.
- Protection from screws, materials and dust from cutting wood or metal.
- Comfortably wear them all day.
Ear defendersComfort ear defenders 27db- Drilling metal or wood.

BONUS - You're less likely to be bothered or disturbed by nosy neighbours when wearing them!
GlovesNitrile foam coated genral use gloves- Essential PPE for every stage of the camper conversion.
- Help to grip when lifting heavy items.
RespiratorP3 half face dust mask respirator.

- Important to protect from metal cuttings when drilling into the roof.
- Protect against fine dust particles like sawdust and insulation board.

NOTE - Not suitable to protect against organic vapurs and gases caused from paints and aerosols. Filters with an 'A' rating are required.

Wind-Driven Campervan Ventilation Installation

There are many different designs and types of wind-driven vents available. Even though this guide is based on the wind-driven vent we installed, each one’s installation process is very similar.

We recommend you read this guide thoroughly a couple of times before you begin, so you’re confident about what you’ll need to do before you start.

10 Step Installation Guide

STEP 1: Working Area

It’s a good idea to set up a working area, complete with all the necessary tools, when carrying out any installation work. An organised work area will keep you from frantically scrabbling for tools during the install.

A pop-up workbench, a table, or even the floor inside your camper is ideal for laying out all the tools and materials you need. If everything you need is close at hand, it will help you approach the task with confidence.

  • 1:2 – Unbox the roof vent and lay all the components out. Check that you have all the parts listed in the instruction manual.
The components of a campervan ventilation air driven wind vent laid out on a table
  • 1:3 – It’s a good idea to protect the interior of the van. We covered the front seats with dust sheets to protect them from any metal cuttings and paint or sealant drips.
  • 1:4 – Set up the step ladder for access to the roof to install the vent. The step ladder must be set up on a flat surface, and we recommend using a second person to hold it when climbing or working on it.
  • 1:5 – If you already have a roof rack on your camper, you can set up a working area on the roof. Be aware, if you don’t have one, most of the work will be carried out from the ladder.
Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


DO NOT stand on the van roof. It is not designed to carry your weight; therefore, it can buckle and cause bodywork damage.

STEP 2: Vent Location

To achieve the most effective air circulation, read our post on how to ventilate a campervan.

The roof has a ridged design that gives it strength, but as a result, it isn’t perfectly flat.

A campervan roof with the high and low ridges annotated

So, we recommend locating the vent on a higher ridge, rather than a lower one, ensuring water runs away from it.

A diagram showing where best to position a wind driven campervan ventilation solution

STEP 3: Measure

Pay attention when measuring and marking out to avoid the internal metal roof supports and any roof-mounted equipment.

The internal roof support beams provide structure and strength, so must not be cut through.

A labelled picture showing the inside of a campervan when it is insulated, with the roof support beams annotated.

If you are adding a roof rack, it’s beneficial to install it before you install a roof vent. That way, you can avoid the roof rack beams and supports.

  • 3:1 – The vent kit may come with a template for marking out the vent position. If not, we recommend making one to accurately position the vent and mark the holes to be cut out.
The roof of a DIY campervan with the wind driven air vent in position, but not attached
  • 3:2 – Put the base on a piece of card or paper and draw around the outer edge, inner vent hole and fixing holes. Then mark the centre of the inner circle for the pilot hole to be drilled.
  • 3:3 – The template can be marked inside or outside the van. There are pros and cons to both, which are below. The pilot hole will be drilled from where the template is marked.

Inside template: The work isn’t completed from a ladder. From inside, as long as you haven’t installed any insulation yet, you can easily see the support beams and roof ridges to best locate the vent.

Outside template: We’d recommend this way if you have a roof rack installed, so you can avoid its support beams and crossbars. Don’t forget you need to avoid the internal support beams, too!

  • 3:4 – If marking the template from outside, apply some masking tape to the roof for drawing the template onto. It’s easy to remove the tape if you make a mistake, otherwise, you’ll be removing the marker pen from the roof.
A drawn template of a wind driven air vet in marker pen on the campervan roof.


Use a strong hairspray to remove any marker pen marks from the bodywork.

  • 3:5 – Mark a rough location for where you want the vent to be positioned.
  • 3:6 – Double check there’s nothing in the way that might interfere with the functionality of the vent.


Build the vent and position it on the roof where you have marked the template. This is a practical way of making sure it is positioned without obstructing anything.

  • 3:7 – Once you have a position for the vent – mark around the template and the centre.
labelled picture of a wind driven air vet i on a campervan roof.
A sign saying measure twice, cut once

Take time measuring and marking out the location of the vent because you don’t want to have a van that looks like swiss cheese, do ya?

So, take your time!

STEP 5: Pilot Hole

  • 5:1 – Using the drill with the pilot drill bit – lightly and slowly drill the hole through the roof.
A drill drilling the pilot whole for a wind driven air vent


The pilot drill bit needs to be smaller or equal in size to the centre guide of the hole saw arbor. Otherwise, the hole saw won’t have a secure guide and may not cut properly.

An annotated picture from the inside of a campervan showing the drill coming though the ceiling.

STEP 6: Vent Hole

  • 6:1 – Use a 72 – 92mm holesaw. Slowly and with light pressure start cutting the hole out.
A hole saw cutting a hole in a campervan roof


If the drill has multiple speed settings, always use the slowest speed when cutting metal. This will ensure the cutter stays sharp and makes a clean cut.

Slow and fast speed settings on a drill
  • 6:2 – Make sure the hole is cutting evenly by keeping the drill straight, at a right angle to the roof. If it cuts more on one side, it could snag. (The holesaw could jump out of the hole and cause damage to you and your van)
  • 6:3 – When the hole is cut, the cut-out piece will be hot, so either wear gloves or put it in a safe place to cool down.
Annotated picture showing the foil insulation layer once a hole has been cut into the campervan.

STEP 7: Clean And Prep

  • 7:1 – Carefully remove any burs (sharp metal bits!) from the cut hole using a hand-held metal file.
Annotated picture showing which parts of the cut out hole need to be filed and cleaned
  • 7:2 – Lightly rub the cut surface with wire wool to provide a clean surface for the metal paint to adhere to.
  • 7:3 – Clean the exposed metal area to be painted using degreaser and allow to dry. This will ensure a good paint to metal bond.
  • 7:3 – Apply metal paint with a brush to any exposed metal edges to prevent rust and corrosion build up on the metalwork. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.
The cut out hole painted with Hammerite to stop rusting

STEP 8: Install The Base

The vent we installed is in 5 pieces: the spinning vent cover, base, gasket, vent spacer and internal vent cover.

All four components of a wind driven roof vent
We explain why we didn’t use the vent spacer in the How It Works section.
  • 8:1 – Using the degreaser, clean the area of the roof the base will adhere to. This removes any grease and contaminants that could affect the adhesion of the all-weather silicone sealant.
  • 8:2 – First, fit the vent gasket to the base. This gasket will help prevent any water from getting inside and leaking through the hole.
  • 8:3 – Using a sealant gun, apply silicone to the bottom of the gasket. This works with the gasket to make extra sure that you’ll have a water-tight vent.
A diagram showing the correct order of components when attaching the vent.
  • 8:4 – Position the vent base (and silicone covered gasket) over the hole and press it onto the roof panel.
  • 8:5 – Fix the vent base into position with self-drilling screws through the allocated fixing holes.
Annotated picture showing where the fixing hole on the air vent are located


Use a drill to install self-drilling screws. They don’t require a pilot hole because they drill their own one. You’ll need the drill to start them off.

  • 8:6 – Apply more silicone around the edge of the vent base, ensuring all gaps are filled. Don’t be shy with it as this will keep any water and moisture out. Remove any excess before it dries.
Annotated photo showing the gasket and vent base in place secured with silicone

STEP 9: Fit The Cover

The vent we installed has ball bearings in the spinning cover. This is good because it allows the top to spin smoothly and stay stable.

  • 9:1 – You’ll be able to see the bearings in the vent cover, you can smear some extra grease on them if you like, but it’s not an essential step.
  • 9:2 – Slide the vent cover onto the vent base.
  • 9:3 – Fit the nut onto the rod and tighten it (using a socket wrench) so the vent can spin freely with no vertical movement.
A socket wrench tightening the rod on the air vent.
  • 9:4 – Fit the bolt hole cap to the top of the cover.
A finished, fitted campervan ventilation wind driven air vent.

STEP 10: Internal vent

If you’re following our 5 Stage Build Guide, the internal vent will be added later, once you’ve installed your ceiling.

  • 10:1 – Remove the vent cover, so you are left with the base. You will be able to see through into the living area of your camper. 
  • 10:2 – Lift your ceiling material (for us, it was cladding) into place and hold it there while another person marks the vent hole from above. Alternatively, if you’re alone, tape or prop it up with a bit of wood while you mark the hole.
  • 10:3 – Once the hole is marked, cut it out.
  • 10:4 – Check the hole lines up with the vent base. 
Annotated picture of the vent hole from inside the campervan before cladding
  • 10:5 – Put the spinning cover back on the base (see Step 9)
  • 10:6 – Because we didn’t use the vent spacer (read How It Works to see why), we created an air-tight seal (to eliminate condensation and mould build up) using aluminium foil tape.
Annotated picture of the vent hole from inside the campervan after cladding
  • 10:9 – Fit the inner vent cover over the hole using screws in the fixing holes provided.
The finished, covered vent in the inside of a campervan.


Installing sufficient campervan ventilation helps keeps the air in your rolling home cool, fresh and clean.

Without it, a whole host of nastiness can arise, and make your camper a bit funky.

Condensation and humidity will lead to dampness hanging in the air, which can cause damage to furnishings, fabrics and your lungs – especially if you have asthma.

By following this 10 step guide, you too can easily install a wind-driven air vent that will keep air circulating in your camper using only passive ventilation.

The air will keep moving in your van 24/7 without the need for any power.

If a wind-driven roof vent isn’t the ventilation solution you want in your camper, check out other types of campervan ventilation systems here.

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