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Reading Time: 5Mins 31Sec
I want to make sure that I have everything I need to get a good night’s sleep while I am on the road. Just because I am not in a traditional home, doesn’t mean that I can still get the same amount of comfort from my bed. In fact, I might be able to make this bed even more comfortable than any other bed I’ve ever slept in! I’m not particularly picky when it comes to sleeping arrangements, so I won’t be doing anything too fancy. I will be opting to put in more storage space in my sleeping arrangements. This means giving up some sleeping space, but it’s well worth it to be able to store more of the things I want to take with me!
While most van builds make the bed and sleeping arrangements pretty huge, it’ll just be me in the van. That means I can make it as small as I want to and make more room for other things that I want inside my van. I’ll get to the details of my most exciting part of the build at a later date. For now, let’s talk about the sleeping arrangements that i’ll have in my van!
Step #1: What Kind of Bed?
Now you’re probably wondering what kind of bed I could possibly fit into a van. Well, like I said earlier, I’m not looking to somehow squeeze a queen size bed in the back of my van. What I’ll be looking for here is a nice sized bed that has good support and will keep warm in the winter. For this, I’ll be looking at something along these lines. With a mattress this size, I can easily make room for way more storage space in the van.
What I’ll be doing for this step is making the frame to be able to snuggly fit the bed that I’ve chosen to put into the van. What this means is that I’ll need to build something that will give me the means of storing out batteries as I’ve previously discussed, but also allow me to store all the extra things that I will need space for.
I also need to pick out some nice blankets and pillows for the journey as well. That is a relatively easy task, but everyone’s taste in bedsheets and comfort items is different. For me, I’ll be going with something more like this. This is a good compromise in comfort and affordability. You may be asking yourself why I’m opting to go for a queen size blanket when the bed I want is a twin? Well, this is just a way to have more blanket to work with without needing to pile more onto the bed. With one giant blanket, I can fold it up when the nights get cold and spread it out on the more hot and humid nights.
The pillows are a little less important to me. I personally don’t care for how fluffy or numerous my pillows are so long as I have enough blankets to keep me warm at night! I might end up getting some extra pillows anyway, just in case my current one gets worn out and hard to sleep on.
Step #2: Building the Frame
Now I need to think about actually building up the frame. For this, I need to think about the kinds of materials that will be strong enough to hold up the bed and usa along with all the storage space I want. Naturally, the best material for this is wood with some nice metal brackets that will provide more support. This option is very heavy, but will provide me with the best possible support for my bed frame. I don’t want to cheap out on this part, because this frame will be holding more than just a bed. It will be housing my electrical house of batteries and wiring.
For the design, I’ll go with something very simple. A basic cubic style of boxes and cubbies to hold all of my items will keep the bed frame strong and supportive while giving a lot of room for all the things I want to store. It will be pretty high off the ground, so I may want to have a small plank that will act as a step to get up and onto the bed. For the most part, the bed will be very simple and all about getting that extra storage space!
The box that will hold my batteries is most important, so I’ll make sure that the sealant I use on the sides of the frame around the electrical parts is of a high quality. This is an example of what I will be using. The wood I’ll be using will most likely just be a few 2×4’s. For the wood that I’ll be using to lay on, I’ll support it with a few support beams, but for the most part will be a plywood that I cut up and place underneath me. I need to make sure this wood is good quality and not prone to rot or become weak over time.
I also need to make sure my frame takes into account the fact that I need an opening for my electrical work underneath me. This opening will be accessible when you open the back door of the van. For this to work, I will create a nice sealed room for my batteries, but when you open the back door, you can easily access all the batteries and wiring back there. I might consider putting some extra kind of door between the outside and the opened door. This is because I may open the door to just let in some air or get some items from storage and I don’t want to risk exposing my batteries to the open air and the elements. It will also help me prevent leaks from creeping their way into my van and hitting my precious batteries!
Step #3: Storage Space
The storage space part of this bed build will be fairly simple, like I’ve started to describe before. For this part, I will line the bed frame with a series of shelves that I’ll build with some 2×4’s and more plywood. Alternatively, I can go out and buy a cheap cabinet and cut it up to make a nice looking base and shelving space.
The real storage space will come from the height of the bed. Because I am putting the bed so high up, it gives me plenty of space to put a bunch of things underneath me! I’ll use this space to make room for any extra blankets I have or extra pillows. I can also use this space for my clothes and any entertainment items such as a kindle or a few hard cover books that I might want to read before bed. This will be a big part of all the storage I have in my van.
I’m not going to add TOO many storage cubes under the bed, because if I make the whole base into storage space then the supports will not be as strong. Of course, I will also line the base and the supports with metal brackets to help keep it all sturdy and in place.
For some extra bit of organization and storage space, I can go out and get some of these from Amazon. The storage cubes will give my van some added visual appeal. These cubes look created when put into a storage space that fits them properly. For this, I’ll need to make sure that they fit into my space correctly. If these don’t fit, there are sure to be some on Amazon that will fit or can be folded to fit correctly.
Sleeping arrangements in a van are pretty different when you look at all the different styles that other van lifers have. For this build, I am going very basic. I aren’t going to make anything too flashy for the bed frame or mattress, because that isn’t the main highlight of the build. For sme, the bed is everything to them. For me, it’s just a place that will be comfortable to sleep but also a nice area to store my valuables and batteries. I am going to make sure that my bed is probably placed in between the frame. I’ll need to measure out what bed I pick before I go about building the frame. Make sure you do the same before you start the frame build. The last thing you want is to build a bed frame that won’t even fit the bed that you buy!
The kitchen area will be the next obstacle to tackle in my quest to form the perfect van life vehicle for me. For some people, they really need a huge, fully functional kitchen. I’m more of a simple cook with some very small recipes, so i’ll only be opting to put in a very small kitchen and appliances. We’ll start going over all the details next time, though!