Are Azdel Panels Worth it for Your RV or Trailer?

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Since 2006, RV dealers and experts have been throwing around the word “Azdel” like some type of “mythical cure-all” material that all RV buyers understand. If you’re an RV veteran or have researched the material, you know that Azdel panels are worth it for your RV or travel trailer 9 times out of 10. 

Those buying their first motorhome or travel trailer may be on information overload due to figuring out the essentials; Azdel panels might not have made the top 10 list or been considered a high priority. We’re here to give you the “skinny” on why Azdel panels are worth in your RV without needing another dose of headache medicine.

We’ll show you what it is, what Azdel does for your RV, the material it’s replacing, and its limitations, so you know what you’re really buying.

6 Travel Trailers Made With Azdel?

There are over 30 brands that use Azdel panels in their travel trailers and motorhomes. You’ll find it in every category and sub-category in the RV market. Whether it’s a corporate name, subsidiary, or independent brand, Azdel is everywhere.

1. nuCamp [email protected] Teardrop

Travel Trailers Are Made With Azdel Panels nuCamp TAG Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels nuCamp TAG Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels nuCamp TAG Floorplan
  • UVW: 1,284 lbs.
  • Tongue Weight: 130 lbs.
  • Length: 13.7 ft.
  • GVWR: 2,200 lbs.
  • CCC: 916 lbs.
  • Sleep: 1-2

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

Teardrop campers aren’t usually known for their insulation. Historically, teardrops were limited to the RV camping season, depending on warmer and dryer weekends. So how can the nuCamp [email protected] keep its climate-controlled interior contained so well with a thin roof and sidewalls?

When paired with Azdel panels, the rigid foam insulation works in concert, keeping those inside warm or cool when the temperature outside is unbearable. Together, the heater or A/C units don’t have to work so hard, pulling valuable wattage from the battery to keep it nice inside.

2. ALiner Ranger 12

Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels ALiner Ranger 12 Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels ALiner Ranger 12 Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels ALiner Ranger 12 Floorplan
  • UVW: 1,450 lbs.
  • Tongue Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Length: 15 ft.
  • GVWR: 3,000 lbs.
  • CCC: 1,550 lbs.
  • Sleep: 1-4

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

Keeping a pop-up camper insulated against heat transfer and sound seemed like a ridiculous notion even in the Classic Era (1971-1989). Although the Apache hard shell pop-up used aluminum plates instead of canvas/vinyl, the special insulating coating they had didn’t work too well.

Then ALiner came along in the early 1970s and confounded that idea. Today, hard shell pop-up campers like the Ranger 12 have rigid foam insulation, and Azdel panels are nearly as thick as some travel trailers. So do you want to RV on Halloween weekend when it’s cold? Yes, you can do that in a hard shell pop-up camper. 

3. Lance 850 Truck Camper

Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Lance 850 Truck Camper Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Lance 850 Truck Camper Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Lance 850 Truck Camper Floorplan
  • Category: Three Quarter Ton
  • Cargo Bed: All Bed Lengths
  • Length: 17.7 ft.
  • UVW: 2,706 lbs.
  • Center of Gravity: 34 inches
  • Sleep: 2-5

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

Truck campers have always had it rough. At first, they started as truck bed caps with bench seats, but then people figured out they’d be great for camping. Later, construction workers, backwoods adventurers, and extreme sports seekers found that their portability is a real asset.

Azdel’s durability to extreme low and high temperatures was a perfect fit for Lance’s Truck Camper and Travel Trailer RVs. In addition, the 850 Truck Camper’s block foam insulation, Azdel interior walls, and other features make their campers all season vaults that can take the earthquake-like road vibrations of off-road travel in the cold north.

4. Coachmen Freedom Express 238BHS 

Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Coachmen Freedom Express 238BHS Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Coachmen Freedom Express 238BHS Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Coachmen Freedom Express 238BHS Floorplan
  • UVW: 5,314 lbs.
  • Tongue Weight: 694 lbs.
  • Length: 25.9 ft.
  • GVWR: 7,600 lbs.
  • CCC: 2,286 lbs.
  • Sleep: 4-8

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

Coachmen built its reputation on serving family RVers with affordable travel trailers that are top quality. The Freedom Express Ultra Lite Series continues that tradition with mid-length camper trailers that match up to mid-size SUVs and half-ton trucks.

The 238BHS is a bunkhouse travel trailer with an RV outdoor kitchen. There’s a residential queen murphy bed, full-size bunks, and the U-shaped dinette sits on a slideout for the most space possible. So how does Coachmen keep all of this “ultra-lite?” Sandwiching the sidewall insulation with Azdel lightens the load significantly.

5. Heartland Elkridge 37FBH

Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Heartland Elkridge 37FBH Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Heartland Elkridge 37FBH Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Heartland Elkridge 37FBH Floorplan
  • UVW: 12,905 lbs.
  • Hitch Weight: 2,660 lbs.
  • Length: 42.4 ft.
  • GVWR: 16,660 lbs.
  • CCC: 3,707 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-4

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

If the Landmark Newport rolling palace fifth wheel is out of your budget, but you fell in love with the floorplan, check out the great deal on the Heartland Elkridge 37FBH that’s over half the Landmark’s price. The best part is that the Elkridge has the same luxury master suite and you won’t be afraid to blemish anything with your fingerprints.

When you compared the two fifth wheels, you see that each one has the same essential components: thick insulation, a strong structure, 6-point hydraulic leveling, and other features. 

The two layers of Azdel panels that surround you also give you peace of mind because you know that as the years go by, moisture, mold, mildew, and other degenerative agents can’t get through.

6. Newmar London Aire 4589

Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Newmar London Aire 4589 Exterior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Newmar London Aire 4589 Interior
Travel Trailers Made With Azdel Panels Newmar London Aire 4589 Floorplan
  • Engine: Cummins X 15L I6 Turbo Diesel
  • Length: 44.10 ft.
  • Tow Capacity: 20,000 lbs.
  • Chassis: Shyft Group Spartan K3 605
  • GVWR: 54,000 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-5

Get upfront price offers on local new or used inventory.

Newmar’s London Aire 4589 is a luxury Class A motorhome with office space for those who want an executive RV lifestyle. You would think that this state-of-the-art near million-dollar motorcoach would have some type of next-level insulation technology. All Newmar motorhomes use Azdel panels in combination with rigid foam.

If you weren’t sure about Azdel, look at it this way: if top-tier luxury RV manufacturers use it in their RVs, you know it has to be good. This composite material’s sound muffling properties are one of the many components that enhances the smooth and quiet driving experience.

What is an Azdel Panel?

What is an Azdel Panel

If you were to strip the layers off of your flat laminated fiberglass paneled travel trailer, you would come to a polypropylene plastic and fiberglass fiber layer- the Azdel panel. Of course, the image above does this for you (the green layers).

In this particular image, there’s a white porous layer between two green layers. Many RV manufacturers in the 2022 model year and newer are placing a layer of Azdel on both sides of the rigid foam insulation now that it’s more readily available and has a better benefit. 

The thin Azdel panels do several things for your motorhome or travel trailer that its counterpart Luan doesn’t. Also, laminated fiberglass sidewall RVs use Azdel panels, while conventional “stick-and-tin” travel trailers with corrugated aluminum use Luan.

7 Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers

There are 7 main benefits that Azdel panels give travel trailers and motorhomes. All of which add to your RV’s trade-in value, lifespan, and RVing experience.

1. Azdel Panels are Toxic Airborne Chemical Free

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers Azdel Panels are Toxic Airborne Chemical Free

If you’re a legacy RVer or have been RVing for most of your life, you probably remember those days in the Classic Era (1971-1989) when you walked into a new RV on a dealer’s lot. As soon as you walked into a new coach, your eyes would water and smell that weird “new RV smell.” Guess what? That was Formaldehyde.

While it does occur in nature and short exposure is harmless, formaldehyde does create problems. Since the Neo-Classic Era (1990-2008), RV manufacturers have found ways to reduce or eliminate the use of this chemical, but wood is still wood. 

Azdel panels don’t decompose, giving off formaldehyde or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). In addition, you can feel safe knowing that Azdel resists decomposing organic growth like mold and mildew, so you won’t have to deal with the airborne gasses that they create.

2. Skip the Water Worry With Azdel Panels

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers 2. Skip the Water Worry With Azdel Panels

Any veteran RVer will tell you that moisture is the arch-nemesis of the RV lifestyle. Looking through any RV maintenance checklist, you’ll see that much of it deals with keeping your coach watertight. 

Azdel Panels are not only water-resistant, but they also prevent decomposing organics from growing. As a result, mold, mildew, bacteria, and other nasty wood rotters can’t survive on this composite material. 

3. Azdel Panels are Resistant to Camping Hazards

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers 3. Azdel Panels are Resistant to Camping Hazards

Besides moisture, Azdel panels are resistant to many real-world camping hazards that RVs encounter. This composite material has some protective qualities, whether common incidentals or rare problems. 

Before wrapping your kids in an Azdel onesie, the keyword is “resistant,” not “proof.” That’s why we want to demystify Azdel. For example, mold won’t grow on Azdel if moisture gets inside your RV walls, floors, or roof. But, after a prolonged period, that moisture can carry the spores to non-Azdel areas.

Azdel resists things like: 

  • Fire ignition, extreme heat, or melting at certain temperatures (not fireproof)
  • Resists puncture from branches
  • It doesn’t stain from typical household products and solvents
  • Azdel doesn’t delaminate as it ages

For further details about Azdel’s fire resistance, staining, and other information, you can read more on their Azdel on Board website.

4. Increase your Insulation Value with Azdel Panels

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers Increase your Insulation Value with Azdel Panels

Since the beginning, Azdel panels became popular because it’s has triple the insulation value of wood. Of course, RVs still need dedicated insulation, but these panels add a small but significant value when bonded to the rigid foam boards within RVs. 

We could give you the facts and figures, but think of Azdel as that layer of long underwear and your RV’s insulation as a winter parka from a realistic approach. 

Walking outside in Upstate New York in your long johns only in January is terrible. But, going out there dressed adequately with that extra layer of long underwear will keep you extra warm. That’s what Azdel panels do for RVs.

5. Keep the Noise Down with Azdel Panels

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers Keep the Noise Down with Azdel Panels

Azdel has sound insulating properties too. Most campgrounds start their quiet hours around 10 p.m. Unfortunately, some guests choose to ignore it or don’t realize how loud they are. Azdel panels will muffle the party.

If your campsite neighbors have a rather loud disagreement, Azdel can’t work miracles. Hopefully, it’s raining that night, so you can enjoy the sound of the rain against the roof and let that lull you back to sleep. 

6. Azdel Panels Are an Excellent Lightweight RV Building Solution

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers Azdel Panels Are an Excellent Lightweight RV Building Solution

Now more than ever, lightweight RVs are in demand. So whether you’re trying to find a family-friendly travel trailer for your mid-size SUV or want a towable for your all-electric truck, Adel panels help keep your weight down.

7. During the RV Backlog, Azdel Panels Were Readily Available

Benefits of Azdel in Travel Trailers During the RV Backlog, Azdel Panels Were Readily Available

During the 2020 and 2021 RV backlog, Azdel panels were one of the materials that didn’t fall short. In fact, because Luan was on the backlog list, primarily due to transportation issues, Azdel was used as a substitute.

Is Azdel Worth It in the RV World?

After looking at all of the benefits of Azdel paneling, you can see why RV manufacturers have determined that Azdel is worth it in the RV world for manufacturing laminated fiberglass RVs. 

Azdel does have its limitations. For example, it can’t anchor screws or other hardware like wood. Also, the composite won’t hold paint or decals like fiberglass, wood, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

To counteract these limitations, RV engineers have to use anchoring materials like wood or metal plates for TV mounts or at specific points during the construction process when anchoring parts together. 

Azdel is so great for laminated fiberglass sidewalls and other parts. First, the framing, Azdel, insulation, wiring, and other components are placed against the one-piece exterior sidewall. Then a transparent lamination material is wrapped around all of it. Finally, heat and extreme pressure cement it all in place.

What is Luan?

What is Luan

We keep mentioning it, but up to this point, we haven’t fully explained what is Luan. Luan (also spelled Lauan) is a wood from the Phillapeans and other Southeast Asian countries. It comes from the Shorea family and has thousands of applications.

Luan is very flexible and has a nice veneer. Unlike Azdel, it has an excellent surface for paint and can hold screws and nails. It’s vulnerable to moisture like most woods, but its application in the RV world more than makes up for its downsides.

In the Remote Period of the Modern Era (2020-Present), you’ll find Luan in stick-and-tin towable RVs. The wood-framed and corrugated aluminum travel trailers require a lightweight anchoring medium. 

You’ll find Luan in the sidewalls, flooring, and roof. Some manufacturers may use Azdel in the sidewalls but still use Luan in other places in the RV. 

When properly maintained, an RV with Luan can last decades. The glue used to make Luan plywood is waterproof, and other measures, like seam caulk, seal up the coach for moisture prevention.

The bottom line is that Luan is still worth using in specific RVs. However, Azdel is better in others.

Azdel Panels are Worth It in Your Next RV or Travel Trailer

Azdel Panels are Worth It in Your Next RV or Travel Trailer

Now that you know what it is and the many benefits, Azdel panels are worth having in your next RV or travel trailer. You’ll find this composite material in every RV category, whether you’re looking at the big names or the independent RV companies. 

If you want Azdel panels in your coach, look for RVs with flat laminated sidewalls with aluminum framing. Compared to the conventionally built wood-framed corrugated aluminum-shelled versions, they’re easy to spot. 

The conventionally built travel trailers with Luan are still great RVs and have many advantages. However, as discussed in our conventional versus laminated discussion, the wood-framed RVs are better for some RV lifestyles.

The bottom line is that Azdel panels help by:

  • Reducing total RV dry weight
  • Enhancing the structural support and punctures
  • Aids with sound and temperature insulation
  • It doesn’t give off any VOC gasses
  • Protects your coach from moisture and decomposing organics
  • It was still available during the 2020-2021 RV backlog

If you think Azdel panels are right for you, make sure you add them to your needs or wants list when you start shopping for your next RV. 


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About the Author

About the Author:
Although he’s from Motown, Brian Newman is a legacy RVer that grew up on I-75. He, his wife, and two working-class fur babies have enjoyed the full-time RV lifestyle since 2017.

Like John Madden, he hasn’t “worked” in years because he gets to write about his passion. When he’s not working, he supports his daughter’s dog rescue efforts and disability causes.

Brian Newman and dog

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