The concept of sleeping in a car isn’t pleasant for most people.
But if instead of a car it’s a comfy conversion van, then things start to change.
With a van you’ve got the space for a proper bed frame and a normal-sized mattress.
I’ve already slept in my 1999 Ford Conversion van a few times, but I started with just my camping gear: a minimal sleeping pad and a cold-weather sleeping bag.
That combo worked well enough, but I didn’t sleep great (I never do when I camp). It’s just not enough cushion or bed space to feel comfortable.
So it’s time to build.
For this first customization to my van I’m keeping it simple. All I want is a slightly lifted platform to support a memory foam mattress and still give me storage space underneath.
For the frame, I’m following this setup shared by Exploring Alternatives:
I love the simplicity, functionality, and affordability of that style of frame. Eventually I’d love to have a futon frame so that I can turn the bed into a couch, but with an October road trip rapidly approaching I’ve decided to keep things as simple as possible for right now.
I was lucky enough to find a king-size memory foam mattress on Craigslist for $40. That’s bigger than I need, but since it’s memory foam I was easily able to cut it down to the size of the plywood I bought from Home Depot.
The plywood itself was a bit warped, which lead to a few of the corner legs hovering above the van’s carpet floor.
I’m not too worried about that because 1) it still supports my weight (and at least one other person) just fine and 2) with consistent weight I imagine it will settle down into a resting position.
I’ve now spent a few nights sleeping with this setup, and it’s soooo much more comfortable than what I had before.
So far I’m sleeping better in my van than I did in my old thin-walled studio apartment.
Next up: some containers for storage to use underneath the bed, and a few other drawers in front of it for more storage.
Progress feels good 🙂
September 15th, 2016