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7 Easy Ways to Build a Campervan Bed

A campervan bed is pretty much the centerpiece of the entire build. Around it, all else is built. So in this guide, we will examine 7 ways you can build one! Cosy night's sleep incoming... 💤 We will look at how to build a campervan fixed bed, folding campervan bed, pull out campervan bed, and sliding campervan bed. ALL THE CAMPERVAN BEDS!

I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for many years, I'm the author of The Van Conversion Newsletter, the van conversion instructor at Udemy, and the proud owner of a beautiful self-build campervan called Beans. So let's jump in and learn about 7 easy ways to build a campervan bed!

7 Easy Ways to Build a Campervan Bed

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Design the campervan bed first!

Before hopping into building a campervan bed, it is essential that you mock it up on paper or with CAD software first! Here is a full guide on campervan design that will help you get started.

When working through the design of the campervan bed, there are a few things that you should take into account...

Account for the insulation & cladding

Make sure you take into account the depth of the insulation and cladding on the walls of the van - they will take away from the dimensions of the bed you are able to build.

Sleeping direction

Choosing whether to sleep length-ways or side-ways in a van is a surprisingly big decision. As a general rule of thumb, if you are taller than 5'9" (175cm), you will probably need to sleep length-ways.

I am just a hair under 5'10" and I need to sleep length-ways in my Ford Transit. However, different vans have different widths. You can find the dimensions of the most popular vans for conversion in this article.

You want to be comfortable while sleeping, a cramped sleep is a crap sleep. If you are intent on sleeping side-ways, there are two things you can do to give yourself more wiggle room:

1. Create cut-outs. This means, using less insulation at the head and toes of the bed in order to give more room. Needless to say, there are pros and cons to this.

Campervan bed cut outs

2. Install flares. Flares are protruding panels installed on your van which add more lateral volume. A van flare is installed in much the same way as a campervan window is. Here is a video on how to install van flares.

Campervan flares

In terms of campervan bed size, most people want a double bed of a comfortable size. Below is a chart of typical mattress dimensions.

campervan bed dimensions

With all that out of the way, let's hop in and look at 7 ways to build a campervan bed!

Campervan Fixed Bed

The campervan fixed bed is the most common type of bed found in conversions. There is no faff with setting it up, because there is nothing to set up!

Campervan fixed bed

If we put our x-ray glasses on for a moment, we can see how it's built...

The frame of the campervan fixed bed should be built with thick and sturdy carcassing timber. Bed slats are then installed on top to give a comfortable, springy feeling.

campervan fixed bed slats

One critically important thing that I want to point out when building a campervan fixed bed (or any weight-bearing surface for that matter) is the manner in which we join/screw timber together. Screws are not designed to take shear force. Weight-bearing timber should rest on top of the adjoining piece, it should not be screwed into the side.

You can learn all about campervan carpentry here.

How to screw wood together

Table bed

After the fixed bed, the campervan table bed is the second most popular choice of sleeping device. The table bed is the bed I have in my van.

Here's how it works: A table top is mounted on an adjustable marine pedestal. When the table is up, you have a place to eat, work, or have friends over. When the table is down, you have a big, luxurious place to sleep!

My van 👇