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Discussion Starter #1
I've got about all the things that I needed out of the way - insulation, floors, roof penetrations, etc. Next up are windows, and I'm worried about not getting this right.

The requirements are a rear dinette/lounge with opposing couches over the wheel humps with a table that converts into a full size bed. That one is easy enough.

The other is that I need to create a bunk bed for my young daughter, but ideally could sleep another 2 adults above since there's now room for 4 adult passengers. In my mind I had something like a military cot/rack which would lower from the ceiling or could be assembled and slide in.

My wife saw some couple on YouTube with a happijac installed in this kind of arrangement and was in love, but I think that'd add a lot of cost and complexity to something that can probably be done easier and cheaper.

Complicating things is that she's wants panoramic windows, which will run the cost up in a hurry. I'm more price sensitive than she is, but I'm more concerned about the engineering a bunk bed situation around the huge rear side windows that she wants.

I didn't want to buy windows in 2 separate shipments, but since I'm decided on windows in the slider and driver side by the back seat, maybe I should just start with those and reassess.

And as far as windows, if I went with fixed glass, it might look more stealth which is appealing to me and also cheaper, though motion windows would be a lot more functional for warm weather camping. On the other hand, if I'm camping in warm weather I'm probably going to have the roof vent open and maxxfan going.

This is getting really hard! :D
68991
68992
 

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I have a very similar (errr identical?) layout. I’ve converged on a solution in the rear. It’s a folding upper bunk that can move up and down (currently, hacky and manual, likely to just add 8020 slides). The key is that it folds in half (to 25” wide instead of 50” wide, with the removable bed support beam) so it doesn’t feel like a cave and goes above the windows in the daytime. Also, the folded set-up is a bunk for 1 person. Lots of different configurations are possible. It’s the best layout I’ve come up with. I’ll be adding details to my build thread soon. The main part I need to add is a removable rail so my kid doesn’t fall out! For day trips, it acts as an upper storage area. And is fully removable in about 2 min.
 

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I've got about all the things that I needed out of the way - insulation, floors, roof penetrations, etc. Next up are windows, and I'm worried about not getting this right.

The requirements are a rear dinette/lounge with opposing couches over the wheel humps with a table that converts into a full size bed. That one is easy enough.

The other is that I need to create a bunk bed for my young daughter, but ideally could sleep another 2 adults above since there's now room for 4 adult passengers. In my mind I had something like a military cot/rack which would lower from the ceiling or could be assembled and slide in.

My wife saw some couple on YouTube with a happijac installed in this kind of arrangement and was in love, but I think that'd add a lot of cost and complexity to something that can probably be done easier and cheaper.

Complicating things is that she's wants panoramic windows, which will run the cost up in a hurry. I'm more price sensitive than she is, but I'm more concerned about the engineering a bunk bed situation around the huge rear side windows that she wants.

I didn't want to buy windows in 2 separate shipments, but since I'm decided on windows in the slider and driver side by the back seat, maybe I should just start with those and reassess.

And as far as windows, if I went with fixed glass, it might look more stealth which is appealing to me and also cheaper, though motion windows would be a lot more functional for warm weather camping. On the other hand, if I'm camping in warm weather I'm probably going to have the roof vent open and maxxfan going.

This is getting really hard! :D
View attachment 68991 View attachment 68992
Have you considered foregoing the rear dinette idea? You already have the double (Transit?) seats and the swivelling front seats which can be used as a dinette, you just need to add a table. This would leave you more space and less complexity to create the "bedroom" at the back. Perhaps a double bed half way up the wall and and undermounted single bed on one side that your daughter could crawl into. I assume she will be going to sleep before you and that way you won't have to make up the bed every night and morning. Just a thought.
 

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Having your only ventilation up high will not give you the refreshing cool breeze of opening windows at bed height.

i second the fixed bed option. Making and unmaking beds soon becomes a real bother.
 

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The Design part of Design/Build is a very important part of it.

I think I spent more time “thinking or designing” than building. It is a real learning curve. I have only built 1 camper van, however when I build my 2nd one the thinking & design process will be greatly reduced & I will be able to capitalize on my previous DIY van and “real life van camping experience”.



If you can review your design concepts & keep these two things in mind;

- Keep It Simple

- Space should be as “Multiple Utilized” while “Keeping it Simple”




None of us DIYers get it 100% right on Van #1. A good thread to look thru is “Build Regrets”;



Another one that is sometimes overlooked is;



One More Thing; If you are seeking design input you will recieve far more advice / opinions from other forum members if you post your design in picture format rather than words. Sketch up you floor plan or sectional drawings & post them. If you have already done that place a link. We need to “see” not “read” your plans (at least I do).
 

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Or suspend a bed from the ceiling so that you can get a feel for what you want without having to build anything. Then you can build something more permanent after you’ve tested it out.

I think that’s the rub: how do you gain confidence in your design? Mental simulation is good. Cardboard aided design is better. Actually being able to use it and then change it with low initial cost/effort is best.
 

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Having your only ventilation up high will not give you the refreshing cool breeze of opening windows at bed height.
But, if you put the fan in the back and put screens in the front door windows... Voila! Air flow from front to back! We enjoy a nice breeze with that configuration.


OP, for a child, some have added a folding mattress that extends across the front seats. One of the RV companies offers it as an option (can't remember who)
 

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Agree with some of the others here about setting up and breaking down a sleeping area. Bought a used a travel trailer years ago that had the seat/dinette sleeping area along the side, and a couch in the back that converted to a larger bed.

It didn't seem like that big a deal and we thought it was great at first, but in either case you're forced to reconvert one useful area into something else at night, get your bedding out and set it up, then undo everything in the morning, fold bedding up and put it away, redo platforms/cushions, etc, just to be able to use that area you need during the day.

It got old very quickly and we sold it after a year. Surprisingly, the Coleman pop-up, tent-trailer we bought afterward was more enjoyable because you set it up once and then leave everything in place ready to use. Of course if you move every day with a pop-up that's not a good option either.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for all the replies.

Yes, we technically have a dinette area in the front once we add the table, so we wouldn't need one in the back. But, I was thinking that it really costs me nothing to build it that way. I guess I'd technically lose the storage space where the leg space would be with a dinette vs a fixed lower full size bed which would give me a full garage. I won't be living in it, so the additional storage is not a priority for me. And, if I needed the extra storage space, I could just stack our bags in that area anyway and leave it in bed configuration. I wouldn't have to break down the bed every day unless I wanted to have the 2nd dinette area, but I could also open it up if we ever had daytime company or wanted to use it for tailgating, etc.

Scott, your design looks pretty solid, but it looks like you built out your cabinetry under the bunk if I'm looking at it correctly. I might need the headroom of a vertically adjustable top bed if I want to use the bottom space for the dinette.
Edit: Scott I see now where you say it moves vertically also. Do you have a materials list and any kind of sketch or instructions of how you did it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a very similar (errr identical?) layout. I’ve converged on a solution in the rear. It’s a folding upper bunk that can move up and down (currently, hacky and manual, likely to just add 8020 slides). The key is that it folds in half (to 25” wide instead of 50” wide, with the removable bed support beam) so it doesn’t feel like a cave and goes above the windows in the daytime. Also, the folded set-up is a bunk for 1 person. Lots of different configurations are possible. It’s the best layout I’ve come up with. I’ll be adding details to my build thread soon. The main part I need to add is a removable rail so my kid doesn’t fall out! For day trips, it acts as an upper storage area. And is fully removable in about 2 min.
Hey Scott. The more I think about it the more I'm super interested in how your built your bed lift.

It looks like you used some sort of aluminum extrusion as the vertical rails with carriage bolts I assume to slide it the bed up and down. And do you just torque them down at whatever particular height that you want to set? How do you fold it into a twin bed? I could probably figure it out myself if you could give me your materials list and some back of the napkin instructions, but a full blown guide would be awesome!

Rich
 

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Hey Scott. The more I think about it the more I'm super interested in how your built your bed lift.

It looks like you used some sort of aluminum extrusion as the vertical rails with carriage bolts I assume to slide it the bed up and down. And do you just torque them down at whatever particular height that you want to set? How do you fold it into a twin bed? I could probably figure it out myself if you could give me your materials list and some back of the napkin instructions, but a full blown guide would be awesome!

Rich
Rich,

I built some bunk beds using L track. We keep the bed at the mid height usually, but when we bring friends or family we lower our bed and install the upper bunk. I did post some pics on another thread. Here is a link, Best Layout/floorplan w/ 2 passengers (family)
 

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Hi guys. There are definitely multiple ways to skin the cat (eg. using configurable L-track as in DonInLasVegas’ build - nice solution!).

Also, thanks for your interest Rich, it’s been such a big effort and it’s all we can hope that it could be useful to others’ too.

Sorry for the delay. You’ve exactly got the idea: vertical adjustability with bed in place by moving bed up and down along the t-track and stopping at a height by friction (I add hard stops at the lower bed position lest the friction fail). Of course, this is just a hacky diy version of the electric bedlift which is ideal but expensive. I’ll for sure iterate on this and get a better design, likely using 8020 style slides (from tnutz: (LM-015-B1) 15 Series Single Short Slider w/UHMW pad & hardware assembly | TNUTZ | TNUTZ) and some pulley/wench system for easy height adjustment. Would be great if you finish the design!

The real benefit of this concept, IMO is that you can use the top bunk as either a 25” wide or a 50” wide bed - it’s so nice to sit at the back benches with only half under a bunk instead of the whole thing.

Here’s what I did:

(1) Two 25”x68” (ish) 1/2-in plywood with cut out ventilation holes (make sure they match when folded!, used 2” hole saw spaced min 3” apart, routed edges w/45 deg). (2) connect with piano hinge. (3) Modify 3 ikea skorva rails so they can be bolted down/easily removed (see pic). (4) Mount rear and middle skorva rails to side rails (right now they’re wood, will change later) and put folded plywood bed on (bolt one side to skorva beams to secure and bungee other side, allows for extension/contraction if vertical tracks not perfect).

Configs:
1. Rear Attic: Folded, 25” wide bunk. Place at 5ft high so gave 1ft of storage space. (as shown in pics)
2. 25” wide bed: Drop down to whatever height. We like around 45” high.
3. 50” wide bed: Drop down to 45” high, install 3rd skorva beam (slide into bolts and wrench, takes 3 turns of wrench) and fold out. Secure with a couple bungees. (in one pic, showed 3rd skorva beam where to attach)
4. 50” wide but rear 25” is storage and front 25” is bed: I need to install rails to separate storage and child. This would be the config we’d use if we take a trip for a couple weeks.

One last note: I too have a set-up very similar to DonInLasVegas in the front. We mostly use the front one (don’t have windows in the back - if we did, we’d be inclined to use the rear benches more. It’s all about multiple configs, keep it flexible. Change it daily or not, the choice is the key!

Oh, and those gray bags in the pics are the millard 25” wide trifold mattresses. FYI, had to modify a little to fit snug with the vertical tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi guys. There are definitely multiple ways to skin the cat (eg. using configurable L-track as in DonInLasVegas’ build - nice solution!).

Also, thanks for your interest Rich, it’s been such a big effort and it’s all we can hope that it could be useful to others’ too.

Sorry for the delay. You’ve exactly got the idea: vertical adjustability with bed in place by moving bed up and down along the t-track and stopping at a height by friction (I add hard stops at the lower bed position lest the friction fail). Of course, this is just a hacky diy version of the electric bedlift which is ideal but expensive. I’ll for sure iterate on this and get a better design, likely using 8020 style slides (from tnutz: (LM-015-B1) 15 Series Single Short Slider w/UHMW pad & hardware assembly | TNUTZ | TNUTZ) and some pulley/wench system for easy height adjustment. Would be great if you finish the design!

The real benefit of this concept, IMO is that you can use the top bunk as either a 25” wide or a 50” wide bed - it’s so nice to sit at the back benches with only half under a bunk instead of the whole thing.

Here’s what I did:

(1) Two 25”x68” (ish) 1/2-in plywood with cut out ventilation holes (make sure they match when folded!, used 2” hole saw spaced min 3” apart, routed edges w/45 deg). (2) connect with piano hinge. (3) Modify 3 ikea skorva rails so they can be bolted down/easily removed (see pic). (4) Mount rear and middle skorva rails to side rails (right now they’re wood, will change later) and put folded plywood bed on (bolt one side to skorva beams to secure and bungee other side, allows for extension/contraction if vertical tracks not perfect).

Configs:
1. Rear Attic: Folded, 25” wide bunk. Place at 5ft high so gave 1ft of storage space. (as shown in pics)
2. 25” wide bed: Drop down to whatever height. We like around 45” high.
3. 50” wide bed: Drop down to 45” high, install 3rd skorva beam (slide into bolts and wrench, takes 3 turns of wrench) and fold out. Secure with a couple bungees. (in one pic, showed 3rd skorva beam where to attach)
4. 50” wide but rear 25” is storage and front 25” is bed: I need to install rails to separate storage and child. This would be the config we’d use if we take a trip for a couple weeks.

One last note: I too have a set-up very similar to DonInLasVegas in the front. We mostly use the front one (don’t have windows in the back - if we did, we’d be inclined to use the rear benches more. It’s all about multiple configs, keep it flexible. Change it daily or not, the choice is the key!

Oh, and those gray bags in the pics are the millard 25” wide trifold mattresses. FYI, had to modify a little to fit snug with the vertical tracks.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. Here are my questions:

Does your aluminum extrusion go all the way to the van floor or do you just have it secured between the top and middle horizontal van ribs?
I don't own a router, but why did you route each of the ventilation hole edges at 45 degrees? Seems like a lot of work for what benefit? To make the surface a little smoother?
Did you say you only bolted the plywood down to the rear most skorva beam to allow for expansion/contraction and then bungee it down (looks like you have it going in a loop around the folded plywood) I assume to keep it held down while driving when you don't have cargo stored above weighting it down?
Did you buy the other rail parts that you used or did you fabricate them?
 
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