a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Custom Van Bed
Custom Van Bed

Custom Van Bed

When designing your and laying out your van space there is a lot to consider. Should you build a permanent custom van bed and work around it? Should you build a convertible custom van bed, so you have more layout options inside your van? Here are the pros and cons that we considered during our build and what we ended up doing.

Custom Van Bed
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Custom Van Bed Design

Permanent Custom Van Bed


  • Use a comfortable matress instead of cushions
  • More garage (storage) space
  • You don’t have to convert anything before going to bed
  • You don’t have to convert anything in the morning
  • Fewer moving pieces


  • Limits inside seating
  • Limits inside eating/working area
  • Equipment is often stored on the bed during the day
  • You end up using the bed to sit on most of the time
Our Custom Van Bed

We decided to go with a semi-permanent couch/bed, constructed mostly of wood, that was higher off the ground (32 inches). We also moved the bed further forward away from the rear doors for inside bike storage.

Bike Storage
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Inside Bike Storage

There were two main deciding factors for us when we settled on building a permanent bed. The first was; we are lazy sometimes. We don’t always like to make our bed at home. Therefore, we knew that if we made a convertible bed in the van or if it was too much of a puzzle piece configuration, we would never actually convert or re-configure it.

Custom Van Bed for lots of Garage Space
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Honey Hiding in the Garage

The second deciding factor was; we needed more storage space. JoVanna is designed to be used for kiting, biking, and hiking adventures. For this reason, the garage (storage) space was really important for us. We needed as much space as possible for storing kites, bikes, boards, and other adventure sports gear. In the end, we were able to create approximately 40 square feet of storage space under the bed.

Folding Custom Van Bed

With our bed permanently in place, we decided to add a neat folding couch feature. Along the center of bed frame, we installed a 10-inch wide plank. On both sides of the plank, we added accordion style hinges. We then drilled small starboard discs and attached them to the walls on both ends of our bed. Using spring loaded latches, we can fold our bed both directions to create a front or rear facing couch. Although, we haven’t used it as a couch very much, we have used it more as an access lid to our garage space below.

What are you thinking about doing? Do you have a design that involves pulleys, carabiners, sliders, hinges, or even hydraulics? Is it made out of wood, aluminum or steel? We would love to hear!

Thanks for reading. ~KiteBikeVan

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