This is the next step we did in our sprinter van, after doing the insulation for the walls.

Since we have a Sprinter with the high roof, we have quite some space in the vertical dimension to organize some storage. Our goal is to have an elevated platform in the back area of the van where we can have a ton of storage under, and have our sofa/bed/table on top of that.

In this instructable, we show you how to make that back platform. When considering a comfortable height to build that storage platform, we settled on 17 inches, since it gives enough room in the sofa area, as well as storage space under. Most of the things we will store there are skis and snowboards, clothing, and camping gear. It is up to you to see what you want to store and what dimensions you might need.

To build the platform, we mainly used pine 2x3 studs, 1/2 inch plywood and carpet tiles. These are easy to find materials and not too expensive either. We are aware that this is adding some weight to the van, however, since it is a rear-wheel drive, we think this might actually be a good thing, especially for driving in snow! There are probably lighter ways to build this back platform, but considering our skills, budget, timeframe and accessibility to materials and tools, this was the best compromise for us.

It took us about 2 days to build the platform with 2-3 people. It cost about 100$ of materials (excluding the carpet tiles that we got for free).

DISCLAIMER: This is the first van conversion we are doing, so this is certainly a process of trial and error! We tried to describe at every step the reasons why we made the choice materials we made, so hopefully you can see that we used common sense to design this process. I am an industrial designer and design researcher and my boyfriend is a landscape architect with some knowledge in wood working. We see this project as an experiment and as a wonderful place to try out some ideas about design, materials and fabrication.

UPDATE: Since then, we have been doing some good progress on the van. Here are the next steps: Cedar panel walls, Bed-Table-Benches unit, and the cushions for the bed/benches !

If you are curious about the process, take a look at our timelapse videos!!

Step 1: Materials

You will need:
  • 16 x 2x3 pine studs
  • 3 boxes of 150 wood screws (8 3 1/2)
  • 2 4x8 feet plywood sheets (1/2 inch thick)
  • 16 auto adhesive carpet tiles (18 inches wide)
  • 4 brackets to secure the platform down and screws
  • L shape oak bracket
<p>Was really debating whether or not to raise up the back part on a storage platform, but seeing your setup decided it. Now I just have to decide how high... Yours can actually fit a bike sideways, but not a small grill you say. What height would you have made it if you re-did it?</p>
<p>Hi rruiz5,</p><p>We have decided that it was more important for us to keep some space inside for 'living space' so that we could hang out in the evenings when it is too cold or rainy outside (usually in winter). This decision influenced how high we put the platform. At this moment, with the benches and table added on top of the platform, I feel like we did a pretty good estimate for how much head space is needed to feel comfortable. That being said, if we had just measured the bbq (we have a small weber bbq), we would have seen that it is just 15 inches tall, so we are off just by a few inches.... I suggest you measure whatever thing you think you want to store under the platform and decide based on that. As for bikes, we have a rack in the back of the van where we can fit them no problem.</p><p>Hope this helps! and have fun with your conversion :)</p>
My fianc&eacute; and I just purchased a 2011 sprinter 170wb and are in the process of converting it to a liveable space so we can travel.. Your instructables are amazing to follow. We already put up the reflectix, denim insulation, and the vapor barrier. Our next step is to follow your steps to make the bed frame. I am just wondering if you would have done anything different with that and any advice going forward? Thank you for your time :)<br> -- Valerie from wi
<p>Hi Valerie9399,</p><p>Thanks for your positive feedback, we are super happy people find these instructables useful! We are pretty satisfied with the way we have built the frame and bed-table. All in all, it is very easy to use and offers a lot of space of hanging out as well as storage space. </p><p>There is one thing we should have thought out better: we have a small BBQ (Weber) that we love to bring when we camp. However, it is just to tall to fit under the platform or to fit under the bench in the back. So we end up just placing it on the floor behind the passenger seat when we travel. We wish we had thought about a place to store it. So I guess the lesson here is: figure out what you want to bring in your van when you are traveling and make sure you have a spot to store it!</p><p>Also, this is something we can still add and we might: in the back, under the platform, we could also add really long heavy duty drawers that slide in and out. This would make it pretty easy to search for things and store things away. Just an idea. Right now, we are using milk crates (which fit perfect, out of sheer luck!) to store things and classify them. </p><p>Last thing: when building different sections of the furniture, if 2 parts are really close together, but not attached together, they will likely make some cracking and rubbing noises when driving. Make sure either to leave enough space in between, or to add little foam or felt pads. I describe this in more details in the <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Bed-Table-and-Benches-for-camper-van-All-in-one/" rel="nofollow">instructables on the bed-table-bench construction</a>.</p><p>Hope this helps! and enjoy the project!</p>
I am dating myself here, but having constructed &quot;camper vans&quot; in the 1970's I have some important suggestions. The guy who commented on proper anchoring of your structure is correct. In an emergency stop, the mass of a wooden structure is immense, enough to rip out inferior fasteners. A length of 2&quot; X 2&quot; angle iron bolted through the van's floor into 4&quot; X 4&quot; backing plates then bolted to the platform's structure is a minimum. <br> <br>The more important thing is to angle saw any longitudinal boards so they do not become &quot;spears&quot; in an accident. You don't want to end up like an olive on a cocktail straw in an accident. Design your long boards and platform plywood as a series of short boards loosely joined. The use you are making of these boards needs strength mainly in the downward direction. The longitudinal force only needs to be enough to anchor the plywood. Your plywood platform could be several 18&quot; width boards with angled edges to allow them to slip under/over each other in an accident. The long boards on the edges at the very least should have cuts made 3/4 to 7/8 through on alternating edges so the boards tend to break rather than pierce human anatomy if a rear end collision sends them forward. An X pattern of supports is even better so you have no long boards(spears) pointed at the driver and passenger seats. <br> <br>My own design had a rolling platform under the bed platform that could be rolled out the rear doors to provide a table and cooking area for my Coleman stove, or rolled out the front of the platform to allow easy access to out clothes and personal items.
So, basically you have eight wood screws securing the entire structure in a crash. The wheel wells would just serve to launch the platform (and anything attached to it) up in the air, and the next stop would be your bodies. Please consider a more powerful anchoring method? Maybe 1/2 inch (grade five or better) bolts, six of them, with fender washers, down through strengthened sections of the floor frame into the van floor/subfloor? A crash at 35mph is the same as jumping off a three story building and landing face first on concrete. Think it over...
Thanks for all your comments and advice on this instructable! We will definitely think about the safety aspect more, this is really important.
Consider using aluminum edging. It's not a pretty, for sure, but way more durable. Oak turns black when it gets wet, too.
Adding two coats of wood sealer, clear or colored, to the platform surfaces would make the adhesive work much better, reduce dust and waterproof the wood against future spills, wet shoes, rain intrusion etc.
Adding felt or any fabric strips to the tops of all studs and braces would have eliminated many squeaks that you will have later. Also, adding power wiring now would be nice. Also, consider adding water tanks to the pockets around the wheel wells.
And, adding a thin (1/8&quot; is enough) sheet of plywood to the BOTTOM surface of the floor joists would GREATLY increase the stiffness of the floor, and further reduce movement resulting in squeaks and rattles. It makes the floor a sandwiched stressed skin structure, easy and quick.
Next time pick up a right angle drive for your drill motor, and then drive those screws! A pneumatic staple gun would have made a better faster stronger frame, BTW. (when used with glue and done well)
A more important function of these strips of carpet will be to reduce squeaks and rattles. Gluing all joints in addition to screwing them makes the structure far stronger, and far less prone to squeaking. Vehicles flex and twist. That motion will make sound.
Nicely done! I'm more than a little jealous of the extra head room you have in your Sprinter.<br> <br> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Bed-in-the-Back-of-your-Van/" rel="nofollow">We put a bed in the back of our passenger van </a>when we go on road trips, but it's built to be quick to put together and take apart and is no where near as attractive as your version.
Nicely done.
Been watching your Instructables for a while: keep it up! D'you ever think about using channel aluminum instead of wood?
Thanks for watching my instructables! We thought about aluminum, but in the end, we chose to go with the material we were the most comfortable working with (which was wood).
I am really enjoying your van instructables! Hope y'all get to enjoy it soon!
This is a good looking job u guys have done I love ur other van project too. Keep them coming cant wait to see the next project.
Thanks! We have started to work on the cedar paneling for the walls and ceiling. We should be finished in a few weeks!
Awesome Van! It looks like u should be ready to parking lot camp and be ready for first chair right in time for ski season! <br> <br>How does that beast drive on snowy roads?
Thanks! We are really looking forward to the first day on the slopes this year! Since we have been working hard on getting the van ready, we have not actually tried it in snow yet. We can't wait to do so. I know however that Mercedes Benz decided to do a real road test with some sprinters last year and they drove from Edmonton, Canada to Anchorage, Alaska and the sprinters performed pretty well... <a href="http://www.wheelstalk.com/2013/road-tests/sprinter-vans-were-game-for-alaskan-adventure/" rel="nofollow">http://www.wheelstalk.com/2013/road-tests/sprinter-vans-were-game-for-alaskan-adventure/</a>&nbsp;Looking forward to trying it ourselves!
I did something similar in the back of my suv to haul my tools.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an industrial designer, an interaction design researcher, a painter, a jeweller, a skier, a camping enthusiast, and I just love to make stuff!
More by AudreyDesjardins:How to sew cushions for a camper van Bed, Table, and Benches for camper van - All in one! Cedar paneling for van interior 
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