I spent this past weekend constructing the bed platform for my van. I did everything myself except Alan had to help me attach the legs because I somehow got shortchanged and don’t have three hands. 🙂
I built it in two pieces because the back of the van, where the wheel wells are, is about six inches narrower than the front by the sliding doors. I bought some pieces of metal strapping to join them together, but it turns out I didn’t really need them. Better safe than sorry, though.
I got some cheap carpet tiles to put on top the plywood. I didn’t buy finish-quality stuff, so it had a lot of splinters. The carpet works just fine and is very thin so it doesn’t add to the height of the bed.
It was a little tricky getting the two pieces into the van. I had the plywood cut at Home Depot, and the cuts were a little off (bigger rather than smaller), so the fit is pretty tight in the back. I discovered that I had to put the rear piece in first through the sliding doors and push it back, then put the larger piece in. But I got everything in by myself.
I’m happy with the way I organized the legs. In the front part, next to the sliding doors, the legs run down the middle from front of the van to back. This is so I have open access to slide my plastic bins in from the sliding doors. The legs on the rear piece are set up so I can slide long items in from the tailgate. I also made sure that no legs block the opening to the bed platform from the front seats. That way I can slide my backpack and whatever else I need easy access to under there.
I already had two mattresses. A twin memory foam mattress that’s six inches high and the tri-fold mattress I used on the cot in the van before. It’s less than four inches high, so I bought a two-inch topper and supplemented that with another piece of foam I had on the cot. The mattresses are level with each other, and the bed is really, REALLY comfortable. It’s be a bit tight when I’m traveling with Alan because it’s just a tiny bit bigger than a full. But when I’m solo it will be luxury.
I used an electric knife to cut the foam, and that worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I gave my old electric knife to the thrift store the last time we moved (I’d had it for 35 years and hardly ever used it). So I had to buy a new one, but I had enough points at Amazon that I didn’t have to pay for it. I guess I’ll keep this one. 🙂
I made up the bed this morning and tried what I’ve been worried about, given the height of this new bed. I was afraid that, with all my arthritis and bursitis, I’d have trouble climbing up on to the bed and, worse, getting from the bed to the driver’s seat in case of a nighttime emergency. But I practiced and I can do all of that without *too* much trouble. I’m not sure I’ll be very good at changing clothes on that bed, though. I can’t sit completely straight up because the Sienna doesn’t have a huge amount of headroom. But I think I can make it work.
It’s a good thing I decided to rehang the curtains. They’re above the level of the mattress now and won’t interfere with anything. I have to shorten the curtains that went behind the seats, and then I’ll be done.
As for the issue of using the luggable loo, I still have to figure that out. With the single cot in the van, I could use it inside and have all the privacy I needed. That’s no longer going to work. I bought a popup shower tent for that purpose when I took my first camping trip in the Prius, and it’s a giant PITA. It’s supposed to fold back up into a circle, and I’ve read the instructions and watched the video a bazillion times. Even when I force it to fold, I can still barely squeeze it into its carrying case. But I think we might have to use it unless I can figure out some other kind of privacy screen. Or we can just always park overnight in the wilderness with no other people around and not worry about privacy. 🙂
One thing I’m happy about is that I finally found a shorter bucket for the luggable loo lid. The 5-gallon bucket is just so tall and unwieldy. I had looked at Home Depot and Lowe’s and was going to try going to a bakery, as some people had suggested. But I found one at Walmart yesterday. Yes!