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  • Writer's pictureRandy Reek

GoneCamper Retractable Bed for Full-Size Vans

Retractable Bed That Converts To A Couch - Maximize the Floor Space In Your Van!

GoneCamper began with the objective of creating a self-container camper conversion for minivans. The goal was to squeeze a full-size bed and a kitchen into the 4-foot by 8-foot cargo area of a minivan.

One year later, this objective has been completed and VERY well-received. Yes, you can camp comfortably in a minivan with the GoneCamper conversion! (See the series of articles on How to Camp In A Minivan.)

GoneCamper standard van bed

The GoneCamper minivan at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway, Dawson Creek, BC

In fact, the GoneCamper minivan completed a 10,000-mile round-trip camping adventure from Arizona, through the western U.S., through British Columbia to Alaska – and back in 2018 - and is now approaching 40,000 adventure-filled miles!

Now others have purchased their own GoneCamper conversions and are enjoying economical travel and comfortable camping in minivans. I have published many articles and uploaded many videos detailing the advantages of fast, simple, and efficient camping in minivans.

But I have also received numerous inquiries asking about using the GoneCamper conversion in standard vans. While there is no reason you can’t use the same minivan camping conversion in larger vans, there is a better alternative: the GoneCamper 2.0 conversion for full-size vans!

We have applied the same space-saving designs and quality cabinet building that has defined the minivan GoneCamper to create the new GoneCamper retractable bed for full-size vans.

GoneCamper standard van bed

The GoneCamper bed for full-size vans

The most obvious difference when designing a bed for a full-size van is the larger volume. Full-size vans (that is, Chevy Express, Ford Transit, RAM Promaster, and Mercedes Sprinter) have a cargo area that ranges from 6-feet wide by 10-feet to over 12-feet in length. This is a 25% to 50% increase in floor space, so a larger bed is possible. There is also much more headroom to work with.

However, we rejected the conventional (and simplest) practice of just building a fixed platform crosswise in the van. The GoneCamper bed for full-size vans is NOT a permanently-attached platform. Instead, the GoneCamper has designed a retractable full-size bed that converts to a couch. In addition, the GoneCamper bed is completely removable in minutes, freeing up floor space for work, recreation equipment, or even passenger seats.

Here are the reasons for this design:

1. While there is more floor space in a full-size van than a minivan, this space is still very limited. A fixed platform bed – that you will only use at night, and maybe not every night – wastes too much valuable space. There is NO reason to consume valuable floor space 24/7/365 with a fixed bed that is used AT MOST eight hours a day.

2. A fixed platform bed takes up too much floor space and reduces the seating options in the van. Sure, you can sit on the bed but that is uncomfortable. (How often do you sit on your bed at home?) A much better option is a couch for sitting, reading and even eating during the day. You also gain more floor space for additional seating, working, fixing meals, etc.

3. A fixed platform bed eliminates the option of using the van for other purposes when not camping. With a permanent platform bed you can’t easily haul lumber, dirt bikes, or bulky cargo. You also can’t install additional seats, in the case of a passenger van. If you need a van for work during the week, you will waste hours repeatedly installing the platform bed for weekend camping trips. Then you will need to remove the platform and store the bulky mattress during the week.

4. Finally, and this is most important, a fixed platform bed that extends crosswise in the van is TOO SHORT. All full-size vans are too narrow to accommodate a full-size bed INSIDE the structural ribs of the side walls. Yes, from unfinished wall to wall the width is just over 6-feet. But since most camper vans have insulation and finished side walls OVER these structural ribs, the usable space inside the van is just under 6-feet in width.

Now this is not a problem if you are around 5-foot 6-inches in height. But I am 6-feet tall and like to stretch out in bed – NOT have my head and feet touching the walls. I want the same comfort in my camping van as my bed at home! You will, too, if you want to be warm and comfortable in your van bed.

For these reasons, the GoneCamper bed runs LENGTHWISE. The bed is a full 6-feet 2-inches long. (Longer mattresses and bed frames can be special ordered.) Plus, the foot of the bed is open to the remaining living space, so you are not wedged between the van walls.

GoneCamper standard van bed

GoneCamper full-size bed for standard vans

The GoneCamper bed solves all these issues. The bed has plenty of length so you can stretch out. The bed, with the removable front platform and tri-fold mattress, retracts to a comfortable couch for use during the day, freeing up about 16 square feet of precious floor space. And the entire bed can be removed in minutes to transform the van into a cargo or people hauler.

GoneCamper van bed

The GoneCamper folding bed for standard vans

With the GoneCamper retractable bed insert you can transform your work van, cargo van or passenger van into a comfortable and versatile camper in minutes! No tools required.

Best of all, you can convert ANY full-size van into a versatile camper for under $1,000!!!

NOW there are TWO GoneCamper bed options for standard vans: WITH or WITHOUT a storage headboard.

Both GoneCamper beds address the other main issue with van campers (besides limited floor space), and that is the lack of storage. The GoneCamper bed fits between the wheel wells of the van. You can add storage shelving or cabinets along the side walls of the van.

The GoneCamper bed has a raised platform that allows for plenty of storage underneath. We use this space for folding chairs, a folding table, tools, and camping gear. This storage space is accessible from the front or rear of the van. Long items like lumber, skis or tools can extend all the way to the front seats without removing the bed.

GoneCamper van bed

The GoneCamper bed with storage headboard

The GoneCamper bed can also be designed with has storage built into the “headboard” of the bed. Compartments at the rear allow you to store tools, propane bottles, shoes, and more. A storage net helps control small items like jumper cables, maps, flashlights, and so on. Compartments at the front of the headboard hold your phones, books, medications, or other items you might want during the night.

GoneCamper standard van bed

Storage in the GoneCamper bed headboard - AND under the bed

You have the flexibility to position the GoneCamper bed any distance from the rear doors. We like to leave about 15-inches of space behind the bed for milk crates to haul a propane tank, firewood, and water jugs. You could place the bed tight against the rear doors to maximize floor space up front. Or you could move the bed farther forward to provide enough room for bikes, a generator or other bulky gear. Or – you could do ALL three. That is, change the position the bed depending on your needs for that trip, or portion of your trip.

You can’t beat the versatility of the GoneCamper retractable bed. You have a full-size bed when you are ready to sleep. You have a comfortable couch during the day and more floor space. And you have the option of moving the entire bed forward or back depending on what else you need to haul. Then, when not needed, you can remove the entire bed in minutes. (Optional quick-release attachment brackets are available to secure the bed frame to the floor of the van.)

GoneCamper van bed

The GoneCamper folding bed converted into a couch - shown with OPTIONAL 6-inch mattress

With the GoneCamper bed you also have a blank slate for other camper conversion options. The GoneCamper bed fits your van regardless of the ceiling height, floor covering, wall insulation or panels, or other options. All you need is a 52-inch open space down the length of your van. Everything else is optional. Plus, this also means that the GoneCamper bed is 100% removable should you sell or trade your van. (GoneCamper beds can even be resold if your needs change.)

Contact us for more information and to schedule the delivery of your new retractable GoneCamper bed!

Traveling Efficiently, Camping Comfortably, Living Frugally

GoneCamper standard van bed

#minivancamperbed #boondocking #vancamperbed #vancamperkitchen #vanlife #vancamper #ChevyExpresscamper #RAMPromastercamper #MercedesSprintercamper #FordTransitcamper

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