Intro: Chic Camping Mini Van Convert
This is a simple yet highly functional van conversion to make your van into a camping van complete with easy to access storage, a comfortable bed with the comforts of home, a simple kitchen. Best of all, when you're done with camping season you can RE CONVERT it back into a fully functional van for your daily needs.
Better than camping in a tent, cheaper than a hotel room, carry all you need not limited to one bagpack or suitcase.
Step 1: Cut Platform and Frame for Bed.
Platform for bed
- Buy a 1/2 inch or better yet a 3/4 board of pine (~$ 35-$50) and five 2x 4s with a length of 8 feet ($8 each).
- Cut it with a handsaw : 48 inches (4 feet) width by 90 inches length.
- Round edges with a sander. Do not skip this step! Sharp edges are no fun.
Frame for bed
1. Cut the 2x4 to a length of 90 inches. Cut the ends at an angle of 45 degrees.
You will need two pieces cut like this.
2. Cut the 2x4 to a length of 48 inches (4 feet). Cut the ends at an angle of 45 degrees. See image above.
You will need two pieces cut like this.
3. Screw the platform onto the 2x4 from the top.
4. Screw the frame together.
See image above.
Step 2: Screw Legs Onto Platform and Level.
1. Cut the 2x4 to lengths below (you can use the remainder from the previously cut 2x4s).
- The front legs should have a length of 18 3/4 inches. *
- The rear legs of the bed platform have a length of 14 1/2 inches .*
- These measurements will make the bedframe level and you will have tons of room underneath for storage and enough room to comfortably into your bed.
2, Screw the platform onto the legs .
*If you change the height of the bed to accommodate the height of your bins, you will need to choose a height for the front legs and screw on. Have one person hold the frame up until the frame if level. At the same time, you measure the distance from the floor to the underside of the bed.
Step 3: Secure the Bedframe.
1. Predrill the hole for the bolt.
2. Put a washer on the bolt and screw the bolt in. Put the bolt on and tighten with a wrench.
3. Use a hook to chain to the bed frame to the chain and the other hook to chain to the hooks in the van- in a Honda van there are lots in the front and one in the rear.
The front chain is about 15 inches long, the rear chain should be about 18 inches long.
Buy a 2 inch eye bolt and nut. When buying the hooks and chain, buy one capable of holding ~600lbs. This will keep your bed secure in case of an accident and it ill keep your bed from moving if you brake suddenly.
Step 4: Drill Holes for Hooks to Secure Blinds
- Mark the spots where you wish to put a hook to hold your curtains. You will want hooks both above and below the windows to keep the curtains in place and to ensure maximum privacy.
- Using a drill and a small drill bit (1/64or 1/32), drill the holes for the hooks for the blinds.
- Be careful to not break the plastic.
- Using a wrench to slightly close the hook, but not all the way.
- Carefully screw the hooks into place.
- Measure general purpose wire for side windows, two wires for each side curtain cut to a length of about 35 inches. This will give enough room to tuck the wire ends neatly around the wire itself. (No sharp edges.)
Step 5: Create a Privacy Curtain.
1. Cut the 1/8 inch dowel (~$1.00) at a length of ~ 50 inches.
2. The curtain width should be ~55 inches at a length of a minimum of 35 inches.
3. Affix double sided Velcro on the curtain and where it hits the side if the van: about about halfway along the width (~15 inches) to ensure complete privacy when closed.
Step 6: Create Curtains for Side and Back Windows.
- Measure and cut wire for the curtains.
Buy black-out curtains at a length of 80 inches x 35 inches. You will need 3 curtains. You can find curtains like this for $10 each for a total cost of $30 for privacy.
- Measure and cut the side curtains at a width of ~ 35 inches and a length of 30 inches.
- Measure and cut the back curtain at a width of ~ 50 inches and a width of 40 inches
2. Sew curtains. The curtains for the sliding door windows and the side windows can be made the same size to save time. Sew a hole for the wire to run through and leave about two inches above this to create a bit of a ruffle.
3. Tape the end of the wire before you feed it through the curtain or you may pull the fabric and ruin your curtain.
4. Remove the tape. Create a loop at the end of the wire using pliers.
5. Hang curtains.
6. Add some double sided Velcro halfway up the width and to the side of the window to ensure complete privacy.
7. Cut some ribbons as tie backs.
Step 7: Secure Storage at Rear.
Buy standing storage at a local that is no higher than the back window.
You don't want to block your view when you are driving.
Use a bungee cord to hook as shown above to prevent drawers from moving or spilling contents when you drive.
Hook cords to bedframe bolt and one on the drawer stand as shown above. Bag of bungee cords ~$ 10.
Step 8: Create Underbed Storage
Rolling storage containers are a must.
For objects not used everyday, used bins with lids.
Step 9: Create a Cooking Station.
Buy a water cooler, two tv stands, a coleman stove, butane tank, lighter and other general cooking needs.
Set up your kitchen in minutes.
Step 10: Make a Screen to Combat Mosquitoes.
1. Buy screen for home windows, Velcro and super glue.
You will need about 3 feet of Velcro for each window. Each packages costs ~$8 x 6 packages = $48.
The screen is about $50 for 25 feet at your local hardware store and you will have plenty left over, but it is super string and will prevent pesky mosquitoes from interrupting your precious sleep.
2. Put double sided Velcro on the windows.
The front windows are best as they allow for more air movement than the rear windows.
3. Have one person hold the screen while the other person presses the screen onto the Velcro.
4. Using the super glue, put a drop every few inches. For the top side, put super glue on a stick and then roll on the top part of the window. This will keep the screen and the Velcro together.
5. Cut off excess screen.
When driving you can easily take the screen off and put back for nighttime!
Step 11: Safety Precautions- Carbon Monoxide Detector, Fire Extinguisher
- Affix a fire extinguisher on the side of the bedframe (~$30).
- Drill two holes in the handle about the sliding door and screw the screws for the fire alarm and carbon monoxide ($ 65) detector in place.
Step 12: Add Comforts of Home
Using a carabineer, hook a solar powered lantern above your bed on the handle above the sliding door.
Add small storage bins for books, your wallet, iPhone, speakers and other small items.
You can listen to some music or even watch a movie in your comfy mini camper van.
Runner Up in the