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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I want to thank you for the vast about of information you have shared here. I have spent countless hours reading and learning. I bought a new to me 2019 High Top 136 WB two weeks ago today.
I am super excited to get started. I plan on being a part timer for roadtrips and vacations but still living full time in my house so I am planning a pretty simple build. Over my lifetime I've had 2 vanagons, I've traveled cross country in an old dodge conversion van 20 years ago with nothing more than a few tubs and camping stuff with the bed in the back, and around 2005 had a roadtrek adventurous which was a full b class with stuff I never used that was on extended mercedes sprinter model that I didn't like driving and stuff started breaking. But it had the sofas that converted to a bed which I hated. So when I had to sell it in divorce it was no great lose imo. It was just too much in a bunch of ways including cost, fun factor in driving, nuisance with bed/sofa and stuff I didn't use.

So when I started investigating I knew I wanted the shorter wheelbase and a fixed comfortable bed in my new traveling van plus a simple layout. I haven't thought of a name yet but me and my dog Daisy will be traveling together.

I was looking at the bed ideas and got out my measuring tape and if I put it on the middle cross beam which looks to be at 36" from floor once I add mattress and bedding it would just be way too high for me. I'm only 5'2" and have some hip issues so I don't want to climb or jump. I think I need the main bed platform at 24". So my question is what have you done or would you suggest I do to create a much shorter bed? I had it in my mind to go to ikea to get the Skorva bed rails but realized most everyone has been securing them into that middle support that is too high for me. Ideas or suggestions or links to your build? I'd appreciate any advise.

thanks
Cat
ps thanks for being here and being you
 

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Yes, at my particular height - my first order of business was to get running boards installed cause it was a safety issue since it was hard for me to get in and out - so I did that on Monday and they turned out really nice.

I've also ordered a maxxfan and my motion windows (getting a full for slide door and a half slider for over the bed).


60787
 

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At 5'2 you have lots of options. One might be to make 3/4" plywood half walls from the floor to the middle cross beam you refer to. Then just bolt some angle iron braces at the height you'd like the bed frame, and use the aformentioned slats to fill in the space.

You just need to clear the wheel wells. At your height, if you haven't started building yet, I would suggest you consider a "basement." In my build I put a second floor 6" above the van floor and use drawers (sliding boxes) to store lots of things. I'm 5'5" and there's plenty of fresh air above my head when I walk around.

The front floor is even with the back floor so there's no step (and you still have less step up from outsde than a Transit or Sprinter.)
If you do swivel seats, there's no dangling legs.
And, you could have a bed that doubles as a seating area because by adding a basement, the wheel wells are now 6" shorter!

More info and pictures, if you're interested, in the links in my signature

... and, Welcome!
 

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Thanks everyone. That basement idea is very interesting. I had originally thought to put dog crate under bed in center. Its 23 inches high and 31 long. So if course the 24" bed height is negotiable to accommodate that but need it to be removable as needed. But I might put it on side instead if in go with basement idea.
 

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So there’s a notch out of the basement where the crate goes.

Another option is drawer with lid that functions as step up to bed. As we get older, I may add one.

My bed assembly does not have to attach to the sides and could be any height. It was also very easy to make. See my build thread.
 

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Hello everyone,

I want to thank you for the vast about of information you have shared here. I have spent countless hours reading and learning. I bought a new to me 2019 High Top 136 WB two weeks ago today.
I am super excited to get started. I plan on being a part timer for roadtrips and vacations but still living full time in my house so I am planning a pretty simple build. Over my lifetime I've had 2 vanagons, I've traveled cross country in an old dodge conversion van 20 years ago with nothing more than a few tubs and camping stuff with the bed in the back, and around 2005 had a roadtrek adventurous which was a full b class with stuff I never used that was on extended mercedes sprinter model that I didn't like driving and stuff started breaking. But it had the sofas that converted to a bed which I hated. So when I had to sell it in divorce it was no great lose imo. It was just too much in a bunch of ways including cost, fun factor in driving, nuisance with bed/sofa and stuff I didn't use.

So when I started investigating I knew I wanted the shorter wheelbase and a fixed comfortable bed in my new traveling van plus a simple layout. I haven't thought of a name yet but me and my dog Daisy will be traveling together.

I was looking at the bed ideas and got out my measuring tape and if I put it on the middle cross beam which looks to be at 36" from floor once I add mattress and bedding it would just be way too high for me. I'm only 5'2" and have some hip issues so I don't want to climb or jump. I think I need the main bed platform at 24". So my question is what have you done or would you suggest I do to create a much shorter bed? I had it in my mind to go to ikea to get the Skorva bed rails but realized most everyone has been securing them into that middle support that is too high for me. Ideas or suggestions or links to your build? I'd appreciate any advise.

thanks
Cat
ps thanks for being here and being you
Hi Cats

The Primary Design consideration for our build was the bed. Everything came after that. Our bed parameters were queen width & 74” long so it fit lengthwise between the walls & permanently down. We used an 8” thick memory foam mattress.

ergonomics is very important, however the lower you make your bed & if your floor plan is similar to ours, the less “truck space” you will have (I say trunk as I access it from the rear doors). If you look at our floor-plan, we have a 2 seat bench right beside our bed. Other than the bench being used to sit on, it also stores our port-a-potty under & also can be used as a “step” or “stool” to get into bed. I did a-lot of measuring and thinking of our bed height, so I feel I know what you are thinking. Our bed platform is 25” off our van floor & 8” of mattress above that brings the top of the mattress to 33” above the floor.

Maybe consider a higher bed height so you have decent storage under & some sort of step (could have storage slide from under the step), to assist you getting in & out of the bed.

Also if you sketch up a floor plan & post it here, that might help us all help you (picture = 1,000 words)

You can see lots of photos of what we did on my build thread;

 

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Ha ha! We all have different methods. My new build is basically all done other than the bed! I know where it’s going but no real idea of even how I’m going to build it yet. When the time comes I’ll just start building it and figure it all out from there as I go along.
 

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We originally had the bed about 27” high counting our 4” mattress from IKEA built on their slats (best bed we own!) That was in order to have lots of storage underneath. Ours has half the storage inside and half from the back doors. Our dog bed/crate is inside underneath. We decided the compact-able bed we had designed to close to a couch/single bed was too high to sit at and so we lowered it to about 22 inches with the mattress. Now I can sit with my feet reaching the floor, the Ms., not quite. It is easier to get in and out and leaves about 18” below which everything seems to fit. We use those plastic bins everyone has for our stuff in the trunk part from the rear doors or the long milk crates. It’s a good compromise if you don’t have something tall like bikes to go under there. The bed sliding into a single has been great for when I travel alone, we want open space and seating, or just are using the van for daily trips.
 

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If you want a lower bed without sacrificing space, you could do a Murphy Bed design. With correct hydraulics, the effort to get it up and down is minimal.

Another option with minimal engineering is just to create a step so you don't have to climb or jump. Or just a folding stool for that matter.

For my van, I did both. I cut a full size mattress in two and each half folds into one side (down and up). I also built a box to house my little boat toilet which then functions as a seat and a step to get in and out of bed.
 

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I did a wood frame murphy bed, I'll post some detail pics of how I supported it, it is lower than the typical setup of fixed beds a lot of people have. Building out of aluminum or something would be pretty trick and lower profile! I'll go take pics now and put them in my build thread shortly.
 

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thanks everyone - I've been doing lots of measuring and thinking. I am still weighing all options as I read and read everyone's build threads. its so easy to go down the rabbit hole. I've also spent some time just hanging out in the van trying to get a feel for the space and how I want to utilize it.
 

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.....cut.....
So when I started investigating I knew I wanted the shorter wheelbase and a fixed comfortable bed in my new traveling van plus a simple layout. I haven't thought of a name yet but me and my dog Daisy will be traveling together.
.....cut.....

Have you decided on bed size? I don’t recall seeing what you need or want. A double or queen size in a van limits options and normally blocks normal traffic out back doors which is important to us; unless it’s an elevating bed (which is more complicated and costly to build).

If I were traveling alone I may consider a narrower bed placed lengthwise over one wheel well to open up more space on opposite wall.

I know this doesn’t apply to you, but my preference at this time for our next van would be elevated twin beds with steps between them, much like many European motorhomes that have bike garages below bed. They can be converted to a king bed, and can also serve as a dinette if not “permanent” beds. I mention this only to show that steps up to a bed is a common design, although if you have hip issues you may want to avoid steps altogether.
 

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One thing that highly influenced my bed height—if the bed were lower than the van's waist, I wouldn’t be able to look directly out from the bed. Couple mornings ago, the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was three deer grazing right by the van. If the bed were lower, I’d feel like I was in a hole.
 

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One thing that highly influenced my bed height—if the bed were lower than the van's waist, I wouldn’t be able to look directly out from the bed. Couple mornings ago, the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was three deer grazing right by the van. If the bed were lower, I’d feel like I was in a hole.
We all use our vans a bit differently. The “Nomers” have done a wonderful job building their van & from what I can tell it really suits them for how they use it.

It is best to draw out our design (floor plans, elevations, etc), and think in 3D. Ergonomic is also very important & it sounds like this is already in your thoughts. That being said, if you know the size you want your mattress to be, it sounds like many posts here recommend a 4” thick mattress. You could buy this mattress and test it @ home before incorporating it into your design. The mattress we bought was memory foam top & firm foam base & we cut 6” off the length (80” to 74”).

If you do draw up “plans”, if you post them here you will most likely get suggested design input from the members. That could be very helpful for you.
 
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