The most useful piece of camping equipment that I own is the camping van platform bed. We typically sleep 8-10 a night on camping trips. When it comes to spending money on camping trips, spare no expense for your sleeping equipment.
Camping Van Platform Bed Design
The design was more akin to origami than an actual bed frame. I used 8 door hinges attached to 4 equal pieces of plywood. It could be folded horizontally or vertically. Either way, it made the entire passenger part of the vehicle into a night time bed. Amazing! I would not suggest making the bed with so many folds. The easier method is building the bed to hing only 1 way.
This bed provides my wife and I about 50% more room than the platform bed installed in the rear of the van. There is plenty of room to sit up and read at night. Under the bed is built in storage with easy access commonly used items.
Here is the bed folding up outside on the patio.
I installed the bed in a few minutes.
I bought some cheap 1" foam online a the Foam Factory . It works great and keeps us comfortable. I used a sheet of 1" foam and laid our 3" camping air mattresses on top of the foam. We like a comfortable night sleep.
How To Build A Camping Van Platform Bed
Your camping van needs are unique. Let's keep this simple.
Buy 2 sheets of 4'x8' sheets of 1/2" or thinner plywood. Buy enough straight 8' 2" x 2"s for building the legs and lengthwise cross pieces.
Cut each sheet into equal lengths and widths. I had The Home Depot cut plywood for about $1 a cut. Most lumber yards charge about the same.
The final design for each half of the bed in the rear of the van is 65" x 25". For strength, I glued two 2"x2" studs on the edges lengthwise.
The beds are attached using three 3" door hinges.
I attached legs to both halves of the bed with Rockler Posi lock folding table leg brackets. You need a power drill for drilling through the 2"x2" for attaching the legs to the brackets. The photo below is self explanatory.
Here is the final product installed in the front of my Stealth Camper Van. The Ice Box is looking good!
Rear Camping Van Platform Bed
Here is the rear platform bed with a bunch of camping gear, auto parts, and junk. I am getting ready for our big cross country trip. We don't travel like this!
Redesigned Bifold Plywood Camping Van Platform Bed
I redesigned the bed that folds down the middle and rests on the second bench seat. Using 3/4" plywood supported by 2"x2" provides a sturdy surface that is nearly unbreakable for every day camping.
I used 1 1/4" EMT electrical conduit pipe for the legs and EMT set screw clamps to hold the legs in place.
Sliding Slat Bed For Van
This is by far the best design for a sliding slat bed. Pinterest and Google images provided the design frame work. This design is easily built with 3"x1" slats screwed and glued to 2"x2" frames.
Sliding bed deployed for sleeping.
Bed slid together for compact traveling. Deploys in seconds.