DIY Campervan / Caravan Bed Frame

Easily, getting the bed in was the most important thing on my list. I figured I could handle any outdoor situation, so long as I had a comfortable place to crash at night. Million dollar question: could a carpentry novice build a bed that wouldn’t fall apart beneath her? Turns out, yes. And no.

Dismal swamp with a view

The Details:

East to west, my van measures 75.6 wide. That’s way longer than I am tall, so I designed my bed to run sideways (fits a standard full size bed), giving me way more north/south space. I also had to contend with the ridiculously high wheel wells. For anyone wondering, the wheel well in a 2017 1500 Promaster is about 19 inches.

Van bed build

Feeling pretty good about this, I head to Lowe’s where they laugh at my idea and shoo me away. After writing to corporate, I instead went to a local lumberyard, where I got 1 ¾ plywood cut to 74” (to hold the mattress) and a 8 foot 4×4 cut into 4 separate pieces for the legs. Now, that’s a little shorter than a full sized mattress, but only by a few inches on either side.

Just as I was all set to smack four legs onto a piece of plywood, my uncle stopped by (thank God) to save me from my general foolishness. After a solid good southern yell about weight distribution, he hauled me into his pickup truck and spent the next twenty minutes on a drive to his house for 2x4s. He’s the one who demanded I put in two more beams at the head and the foot, as well as a cross beam to stabilize it. As you can see from the pictures, instead of bolting the bed to metal, we used motorcycle ratchet tie-downs attached to eye-hooks on the four main legs and locked those through the bolt-y things that came with the van.

I should note that I was feeling pretty good about not having to cut the plywood again, on account of all my figurin’ and a-measurin’ at the lumber yard. However, I forgot to include the van’s interior rib in my measurement, thus resulting in a painful last second hack job. That, my friends, is what years of grad school education will get ya.

Run down of items

What’s next with the bed? I’m quite nervous about mold with that mattress. I’m looking at two options: plastic lattice fencing beneath shoved beneath the frame or Cobra Air Vent. It is simply a matter of which one I can find first. I’m pretty sure anything that allows air movement under the mattress will work just fine, but I’m happy to hear any thoughts!

Edit: I went with the Cobra Air Vent. Works like a charm!

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4 responses to “DIY Campervan / Caravan Bed Frame”

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