Last year my buddy Dan helped design and build a folding platform camping bed in the back of my Ford E150 Club Wagon. It was so successful that we built a folding platform bed for the front of the van.
Stealth Van Camping 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 that we installed in the rear of the van. We have enough room to sit up and read at night. We have easy access to a porta-pottie in the front of the van so we don’t have go outside at night. We can enter through the cargo door rather than climbing through the rear barn doors.
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.
Here are the basic plans that I used. The first set of plans are what I came up with for sizing the platform bed. The second drawing is my buddy Dan putting his brain in over drive by drawing a 2 way folding bed.
Here is the final product installed in the front of my Stealth Camper Van. The Ice Box is looking good!
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 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. I copied the design by looking at Pinterest images. I used 3″x1″ slats screwed to 2″x2″ for the frame. I glued and screwed all the wood for strength.
Sliding bed deployed for sleeping.
Bed slid together for compact traveling. Deploys in seconds.