What is the Best Wood for camper van?

What is the Best Wood for camper van?

As our travel rhythms are currently changing, the camper vehicles are on the rise. The search for "wood to camper a van" increases every day. Traveling by van allows us to travel the world at our own pace, we only need to turn it into our home on wheels for not missing anything on the road.

Just as we want the best camper van, we should also want the best camper wood.

The first step for camper a van is to choose the type of wood we want our camper furniture. The weight of this wood is a key point to take into consideration.

Why is it Important to use a Light Wood and Reduce the Weight of our Furniture?

The weight in the automotive sector is something of vital importance since there is a limitation of 3500 kg. We must bear in mind that the less our van weighs, the less fuel it will use and, therefore, our deposit will have more autonomy which will be translated into a significant and lasting savings.

This is why we must choose very well which wood-boards we want to use. We will need a light and resistant wood. Why? It will be explained in the next lines.

wood build van
wooden camper van

What is the best Wood to Use for a camper van?

Since there are different wood-boards to camper your van, we will describe the most relevant aspects and characteristics of each one. After reading this post, you will be able to choose the right wood board for your van.


The OSB board (Oriented Strand Board) or oriental fibers, is a board formed by layers of wood shavings of several centimeters oriented towards the same direction. This board has become very popular in recent years as it is cheap  and very easy to cut or mechanize. The big problem that OSB has is that it weights around 650 kg / .

OSB board
OSB board


The chipboard is made up of chips and sawdust glued under pressure. These boards are cheap but very heavy, 720-740 kg / m³, and they do not resist very well the humidity. There are also water-repellent conglomerates but the weight remains the same, therefore the chipboard is not a good option to camper your van.


Fiber (DM)

The Fiberboard (DM) is made up of wood fibers that are glued under pressure, the board is easy to paint, but it is not good for screwing or to withstand humidity. Finaly, the weight is excessive to camperize 675-700 kg / m³. There are also water-repellent DM fiber boards, which are resistant to humidity but, nonetheless, they have all the problems discussed above.

DM Boards

Camper Plywood board

The camper plywood board is made of wood veneers that give the board a lot of resistance and strength. They are resistant to screwing, easy to mechanized, and accept dyes well.

If we compare the woods most used in the camper sector, we can find: pine, birch, paulownia ...

If we compare the weight of these three woods, pine weighs 520 kg / m3, birch weighs 650 kg / m3 and paulownia weighs 270 kg / m3. In other words, it weighs half that of pine, so if we make all the furniture and structures with paulownia (a light and resistant plywood board) instead of pine, we will reduce the weight by half. We will recover the costs by saving fuel. Also, this saving will be beneficial for reaching the maximum legal weight by adding personal belongings.

This is the best plywood for van conversion. Example of a van camper with paulownia

Contrachapado madera paulonia
Paulownia Plywood Board

Stripped Natural Wood Boards for van conversion.

They are also a very good option for countless pieces of furniture, like the bed base, floors, walls and ceiling.

We should assess which wood to choose depending on the density of each type of wood. As we have seen, Paulownia is the lightest wood that we can find in form of plywood.

For this reason, the use of this wood to camper is increasing.

Alistonado paulownia
Paulownia stripped board

Paulownia, the Best Wood to Make the Furniture for your camper Van

As we have seenPaulownia is the lightest wood we can find to camperize a van without losing any of the properties needed, these being screwing, painting and mechanize. It stands out by being a wood clean of knots, the warmth of its color and the drawing of its grains. It is also a good acoustic and thermal insulator. We are dealing with a light and cheap wood.

Camper van furniture

Also, we must not forget that Paulownia is a natural materialmore ecological than any plastic and, of course, we must always take into account their FSC or PEFC certificates. This will tell us that our wood comes from a controlled plantation and that we are not financing the massive deforestation, one of the great problems of the 21st century.

Now, you can see a wooden camper van full of Paulownia wood. The kiri or Paulownia wood is the lightweight wood for camper.

Paulownia best wood for furniture of a camper van

Wood-Saving (Without Knots)

By using paulownia instead of other woods such as pine we will save on material waste, since paulownia or kiri does not have knots. This makes the structure stronger and, at the same time, it allows to use 100% of the wood.

Color and Grains

If we compare the three woods above mentioned, it can be seen they coincide in having a light colour, this is a good characteristic since in small area, it is essential to provide light to the space.

Probably, pine-wood has the best known grain pattern since it is the most used, however, this do not mean that it is the most beautiful one. In fact, birch-wood has a more organic grain pattern than pine-wood. As far Paulownia is concerned, it must be taken into account that despite it has a light color it usually has pink reflections which helps to bring warmth to the space. It also has organic and natural lines within its grains.

So, Paulownia is the best wood for campervan conversion

Best program for Designing the wood furniture of your camper Van

Hereunder we will provide you with a free design program. Through the following link you can download this program totally free and you can start designing your preferred furniture by using the right measurements. The program is really intuitive and you can find tutorials on YouTube for assisting you on your designs.

Video of the Camperization of a Van with Paulownia Wood

Link to a video of the complete camperization of a van with kiri wood. They manage to furnish the van with a lot of style and with a very light wood. The result of these guys is awesome!

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