Ten days til I get home.... soooo new van ideas!

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • I have a king size bed in my Transit. It does winch up into the roof space. I like loads of headroom and good storage under the bed. I also have a 4 month old baby girl, so if you like your sleeping space and don't want to upgrade your vehicle to accommodate another passenger seat. I suggest single beds all round or get the snip. 😍

  • OK guys, here's what the brain came up with last night:


    Rather than raising the bed up high, I could keep the whole van wide open by having a platform/raised floor occupying half the van. The platform would be around 11/12" high, maybe, and would have a mattress inside it, with space around the outside of the mattress for storage boxes. In the day time, I could put three or four boards (maybe decorate the boards too, make them look pretty?) over the top as a cover, enabling me to use the whole of the van space during the day and then at night I could just remove the three or four covers and my bed would be right there all made up. I reckon I'd need to drill holes in the sides of this platform/bedbox and raise the mattress slightly on slats to ensure that there was enough air circulating underneath for mold prevention etc. This way I could have a full double bed in the van with it being completely hidden in the day time. What do you reckon? Hope my drawings are clear enough...



  • Can i ask, why hide the bed? I use mine as a sofa in the day time, like most girls I have a cushion fetish anyway so just pile em up with the dubet behind to make a mega comfy couch.


    Seriously, above all my advice for any full timer is the bed needs to be fixed, cushions, duvets, blankets, soft toys that seem to also skulk about, need somewhere to go anyway.

  • Can i ask, why hide the bed? I use mine as a sofa in the day time, like most girls I have a cushion fetish anyway so just pile em up with the dubet behind to make a mega comfy couch.


    Seriously, above all my advice for any full timer is the bed needs to be fixed, cushions, duvets, blankets, soft toys that seem to also skulk about, need somewhere to go anyway.


    I could never use mine as a sofa cos as soon as I lay down I fall asleep. It's guaranteed. Usually only takes a minute or two then I'm gone. I'm thinking of getting a couple of big bean bags to lounge around on :D

  • If I covered the bed in the day, one day I wuldnt be able to get in it! Its tempting to put stuff on top of it an then were dos that stuff go? If ya no ya wont do that looks like a good idea

  • What do you want the space for? If it's to carry large things then your idea might work, if not then why not make the bed higher so you can have a large storage space underneath? You could have your often used things slide out from the front, your water & gas accessible from the back doors & your less used things are accessed by lifting the bed. Depending what your bike is like you could get that in a slot accessible from the back.


    I like cushions too, defo a guy though. :p I hope yours aren't pink LV.

  • You could put piano hinges on those 3 boards, so that they folded up or concertinered (a bit like a small section of an accordion?!)


    If you're doing a large van, you could put a rock-and-roll bed sideways maybe? Except that wouldn't meet the requirement of it not being a sofa unless you did something to it to make it super uncomfortable :)

  • I could never use mine as a sofa cos as soon as I lay down I fall asleep. It's guaranteed. Usually only takes a minute or two then I'm gone. I'm thinking of getting a couple of big bean bags to lounge around on :D


    I still like the idea of a permanent raised bed with storage underneath, you be mega comfortable on that.
    are you going to have storage problems with the big bean bags?
    A fold up bike may be easier to store than a fixed bike ?
    Easier to clean under a raised bed, rather than one in the floor?
    I would rather just climb into bed rather than having to uncover and recover every day.
    Storage of "covers"
    Rather than sitting on raised bed and falling asleep, you could have a swivel passenger seat and sit on that?
    Still think you've come up with a good idea though, be useful if you need to transport "big stuff" during the day :thumbup:

  • I had this same doubt as Petew. Everyone seems to say the Transit with banana engine is the way to go, but at 6'1", I agree with Languid that the idea of being able to sleep accross the van is very tempting. To be able to leave a full size double (or at least 3/4) bed made up across the back would be my ideal. Raise it up a bit and you can have an enormous permanent 'boot', and with a long or even medium wheelbase, plenty of room in the front for a shower/wc cubicle, and the cooking area. If you don't need the permanent bed you could also make a real cosy "U"-shaped sitting/dining area at the back. You could fit a bunch of highlevel cupboards to make better use of the space. Here's my idea for a Ducato L2H2:
    L2H2.jpg


    I think you need to have a single passenger seat at the front so it's easy to walk through to the back, but if you want to travel with more than one passenger, that other pair of seats makes it a 4-seater (although still only 2-berth). If the front passenger seat swivels, then some sort of hinged table could make a dining area at the front.


    I'd be going for a stealth van so it would be a panel van with just one window in the sliding door. Not sure how I would isolate the back from the cab, though. I suppose it could be some heavy curtaining with velcro (not very good when it's really cold). Or maybe not have the swivel seat and use a standard bulkhead but with a door to separate the two areas.

  • Just remembered a funny cruising sailboat they sell in the USA, the MacGregor 26. The galley unit with the sink and cooker sits on a 'plinth', of exactly the same height as the rear bed base. The neat thing is that when you aren't cooking, the whole galley unit slides back on to the bed; the cushion that was on the bed then goes on the plinth, and gives you more seating room at the front. You can see the drawing here:
    http://www.macgregor26.com/drawings/drawings.htm
    Boats are great place to go for ideas as they share many of the same problems that van dwellers have - how to squeeze a whole 'home' into a tiny, mobile space.

  • danbrogan that boats amazin! Not shure how 5 ppl wud fit in a little space tho.... its a ggod plan tho apart from the slidin kitchen.


    I think the word is 'intimate'! The dining area actually turns into a good sized single, the area aft under the cockpit - popularly known as the 'iron lung' - is a good sized double but normally a bit claustrophobic, but by not dividing it off on this boat, it's actually kind of roomy. Up front is usually only good for a couple of kids, or a very short couple who like playing 'footsie' in bed! You could even fit another kid on the long seat across from the heads.


    The thing with boats is that while there are probably not more than a few hundred of us converting our own vans, the boating industry, especially in the US and Australia is enormous. This boat alone sold 38,000! That means a lot of designers trying to do miracles with tiny spaces.


    In the US the mobile home industry is also enormous, but so are their mobile homes! Size and weight are not considerations, so in the end it's harder to find good ideas that would work in smaller van conversions.

  • I get wot yer mean about where too sleep in a boat BUT wen yer up an about were do 5 ppl stand and moove about in a little boat? Eating at the same time must be a nitemare! :D Not like yer can set up a table next too it like a camper :D

  • We used to have 6 offical berths in my 1970 ish type 2 VW, 2 single bunk beds in the pop top, one across the front seats, double berth at the back and a mattress on the floor. still space for a fridge, cooker, some storage and a sink too.


    Spacious it wasn't. I can't imagine how claustrophobic it would be with 6 adults on a rainy weekend in August. The most we had was 4. But at least you can climb out of a van and use the outside sitting room.

  • You're dead right there, Vanman84. In warm climes, the inside of a boat get unbearably hot under a blazing sun. And it's easier to get sea-sick down below, so I figure most people would stay up top most of the time. But imagine that full of kids on a rainy day. Horrendous. You'd be shuvvin 'em over the side in no time.
    As most boat dwellers like to say: 'My house may be tiny, but just look at the size of my swimming pool!'