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.
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.
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
- 6-inch Memory Foam Mattress
- Ratchet Straps
- ¾ Plywood: $30
- 4×4: $11
- Anti-Mold Spray Paint (Kilz Brand)
- Additional “I can’t believe you didn’t think of this lumber”: Free
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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