Vanlife: The van conversion pt 2: Bunk beds!

Fitting everything you need for four people into a van can be a challenge. You have to really think about what the necessities are, and then start to subtract… We have no oven and no freezer, no toilet nor shower inside the van, but of course, all four of us need somewhere to sleep. Danne and I accommodate on the sofas that can be made into a bed, that I wrote about in my first conversion post.

But unless we wanted to take turns sleeping, we needed two more cots. We decided to go with a bunk bed system for the kids and in our constant pursuit of saving space, we wanted the bunks to be removable so that we could put them away when they weren’t in use. Also, our van has lots of windows (there are windows behind the buffalo check fabric on the pictures below) and not much wall area, which made it a little tricky to mount the beds. So this is how we did:

Danne, who is a blacksmith/welder, manufactured brackets of stainless steel and attached them with screws, large washers, and nuts to the beams above the windows on both sidewalls. Between the brackets, we put four stainless steel poles with a diameter of 38 mm. Three of them have small hooks welded onto both ends so they don’t accidentally slip out. The fourth one, closest to the back, doesn’t need any hooks since its brackets have a different design.

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Danne didn’t want me to post the two pictures above. He says the welds are really ugly and made in a hurry… Well, at least they fulfill their purpose!

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I sew two “bedsteads” of heavy fabric, with channels that the poles run through. I used the type of fabric that awnings are made of, I made double seams and I also used an extra strong sewing thread. On top, we put foam mattresses or sometimes just sleeping pads.

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Even though both beds are removable, we usually leave the one closest to the backdoors in place and use it as a shelf to store our bed linens on. The other one we just roll up and strap to the ceiling.

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The kids are pleased with their bunks, and actually, it works for medium-size adults too.

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2 Replies to “Vanlife: The van conversion pt 2: Bunk beds!”

  1. Would you please tell Danne that I am very grateful that you posted all the pictures, even the ugly weld ones? I have been looking for someone who has done this, and yours are the only pictures I have found that really show the details. Thank you!!

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