Introduction: Easy Camper Van Conversion

The biggest problem with converting your van into a sleeping machine is that you forfeit the ability to carry transmissions, beds, shopping trolleys, bits of lumber, and/or cattle, sometimes all at once. This is an easy removable sleeping platform. Simple!

Step 1: The Only Step!

Get four milk crates, and a piece of 18mm ply to fit the van. Remember - it must accommodate the inside diameter of the van door, or: make sure you cut it small enough to fit through the door!

You don't want it to cover the entire area, because that makes it hard to get in and out.

Then, place crates strategically and place board on top. I fill the crates with bottles of water (essential for my van which doubles as a high performance spa pool at times), tools, the jack, coolant, (as above) and other extraneous crap. This will weight them down a bit more too, as the entire arrangement does tend to leap into the rear view mirror when navigating potholes. However, once you pack the rest of your crap - surfboards and kiting gear and three square meters of sand - under the platform, they will move around less.

Step three - enjoy!

Comments

author
papashanty made it!(author)2017-07-10

nice and cheap tip!

author
cachesoul made it!(author)2015-12-10

I am doing this for my Chevy Avalanche where the mid gate will be folded down. Milk crates are cheap and strong; good tip.

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oravlalainez made it!(author)2011-01-14

this seems to be too much work for something that would be done by just putting the mattress on the floor.. please what is the point of this... to waist your time

author
cachesoul made it!(author)2015-12-10

If you are getting old like me, having it up off the floor makes is much easier to get in and out.

author
PeterP4 made it!(author)2015-04-07

If you just put your bed on the floor, you loose all that space for storage under the bed.

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coastrider made it!(author)2011-07-30

easier to just put a single bed into van & secure to seat tiedowns to limit movement

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shadowofblood made it!(author)2011-05-20

The problem with putting the mattress on the floor is you end up sacrificing floor space. The crates supporting the mattress provide a storage area for small items, while the space under the mattress provides a storage area for larger items. This way you can have your stuff and your mattress both in the back.

author
JakeBlanton made it!(author)2011-08-25

See if you can get some REAL milk crates, not the ones that they sell in stores for storage of folders and such. The REAL ones are seriously more sturdy than the imitation ones.

author
PeterP4 made it!(author)2015-04-07

True... and if you turn them sideways, you have easy access to your "stuff" without taking the crates out. I have been able to turn crates sideways and slide a smaller bin inside them so that I have "drawers" that slide in and out of the crates.

author
PikesPeak made it!(author)2009-07-28

Made one similar for my Ranger Longbed with topper. Used 2x4's for underwood frame support, and put heavyduty sheet of wood on top. Purchased replacement couch foam on Ebay, and sleep like a baby everytime I use it.

author
infernisdiem made it!(author)2014-08-07

you wake up every few hours in a wet diaper, screaming for food? I feel sorry for you, but it does seem to a nifty idea about how to change my conversion van bed.

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PeterP4 made it!(author)2015-04-07

Don't laugh... the condensation in a van is well known. It can make your bed wet. Keep good ventilation and try not to have too much of a temperature change in the van in order to keep down the condensation.

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PikesPeak made it!(author)2014-08-07

It's quite ok, your Mom changes me.

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infernisdiem made it!(author)2014-08-07

:D

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rob.gagnon.79 made it!(author)2014-11-05

Not to be flip but why not just sleep on a mattress on the floor? This is what I am pondering as I think of what do I really need to change my van into a camper...

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CalvinR1 made it!(author)2014-11-04

My wife and I traveled about 4,000 miles (6400 km or so) in a setup like this. We used nine milk crates (yep, the "real" ones) and a piece of 1/2" plywood the exact width of the minivan, cut down the middle for easier access to our stuff. We put the bigger items between the milk crates. Even with two of us, we always had empty milk crates.

author
dickebk made it!(author)2012-06-18

I agree this looks simple and effective. Thanks for sharing this. I wouldn't have thought of it. I will add my comments to these posts for future readers: I like the idea of using two pieces of plywood that Thaikarl mentioned so that the pieces can be propped up and stored until needed. I would think the ratchet strapping would be good to combine the two pieces like someone else mentioned as well. This works better for me having a Honda minivan because there are two U-shaped pieces of metal on either side just above the floor where the fold-in-the-floor seat latches on. I needed some temporary way to get above those and this will do the trick.

author
eyerobot made it!(author)2010-06-22

I dont have much trouble giving up the ability to carry cattle in my minivan. The only real problem I see, Is that I dont know of a single place where I would be allowed to sleep in my van. Unless I wanted to pay fifteen dollars a day camping fee. Or I could just pay the vagrancy fines, Which are probably cheaper.

author
Thaikarl made it!(author)2012-04-03

where do you live that has vagrancy fines? i've lived in a van for 5 years. being quiet and stealthy is key. industrial areas are usually good. walmart allows overnights. if you have a black curtain across behind the seats, and tinted windows or black curtains that are closed, you simply pull up to a spot, quickly climb in back and go to sleep. no one notices you, it's just a parked van.  don't park in front of somebodies house, even in the city.  although the streets are public, people expect to park in front of their houses.  do your teeth brushing, sorting out your gear somewhere else, then drive to your sleeping spot and sleep. move around so you aren't noticed as always parking in the same place. i cut my plywood into two long boards - easier to get in and out and put aside. i use same size storage bins to float the bed on. you can easily slide out one from the sides or back of the van to get to your stuff.

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gorgo333 made it!(author)2011-05-20

Walmart parking lots.

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Noodle93 made it!(author)2008-03-02

Only problem is, I'd roll of the bed and break who knows what bone in my body.

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Richie15 made it!(author)2009-10-28

You're not supposed to sleep in it while you're driving the feckin thing!

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qwertzui made it!(author)2009-10-14

I will be realistic in my comments. I think its a silly conversion.

best way:
Use marine Plywood. Light weight.  I have convereted a fewdifferent vans.  use simple L brackets.
If fitting dual battery systems , use redarc isolater, and AGMbatteries. with 16mm wiring. and earth back to battery.

Use led lighting.

Have fun.

author
qwertzui made it!(author)2009-10-14

BTW  with the marine Plywood you build a box system , that is lightweight and removable.

author
rambler23 made it!(author)2009-09-02

check this conversion out, it has free downloadable plans too: myminicamper.com

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misterquigley made it!(author)2009-08-13

This was inspiration for my van conversion - I used ratchet straps with flat strapping attached to the tie-down points and over the ply to stop it all bouncing when negotiating potholes.

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tehomet made it!(author)2009-06-05

Excellent idea. Simple but effective!

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lebowski made it!(author)2008-02-26

That's a pretty good trick. I had a toyota van back in the days for all my windsurfing gear. I always needed all the space I could get under the bed for the sails.

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ehmbee made it!(author)2009-05-07

NIce 'ible-if you are me, however, you'll need a fifth crate under your midsection somewhere or the whole works is caving in-but that's me, I'm a healthy, husky dude. I think if you tried to turn the crates on their side you'll lose the structural strength-they were designed to be stacked vertically.

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zzzxtreme made it!(author)2008-08-05

plastic crate as support, great idea. i'll be using them for my room

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abadfart made it!(author)2008-07-26

im going to do this with my 15 seater van and a full sized mattress then im going to leave 1 seats room in front and put a tv and stereo then blackout curtains

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bubblewrap74 made it!(author)2008-06-18

I would probably flip the boxes around sideways so you can store stuff in them more easily. Otherwise looks great. Too bad I don't have a van.

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carpespasm made it!(author)2008-06-09

You'd do well to drill out some holes you can attach the plywood to the crates with bungee straps or something so it holds together better and maybe something to hold the mattress down too.

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