Q & A: Why is the GoneCamper bed designed with a removable front section and separate legs? Why not make the bed simpler with a one-piece front section?
The GoneCamper folding and retractable bed has several design functions:
1. It converts from a bed (full-size or single width) to a couch when not in use. This provides a “two for one” advantage of freeing up precious floor space and provides a more comfortable place to sit than the flat bed for eating, working on the road, or just relaxing.
2. The bed frame is raised to provide storage underneath. Simply flopping a mattress on the floor creates the problem of storing your clothes and camping gear. Folding the mattress into a couch is uncomfortable if you are sitting on the floor.
But the main design element of the original GoneCamper bed was that the bed frame, tri-fold mattress and the rear kitchen all needed to fold and stack in the cargo area behind the second row of seats in the minivan.
Many part-time minivan campers needed to have access to the passenger seats between trips. With this compact design, the entire GoneCamper package could “live” in the minivan indefinitely. The GoneCamper did not need to be removed between camping trips and was immediately available. Just add food and water and you were ready for adventure!
To make the folding bed fit behind the middle seats, the front section is deeper than the back platform. This means it needed to be made in two sections (either two panels or a hinged platform) to store in the space available.
Over the past few years, this design has been perfect for scores of single travelers and camping couples. However, others have joined the ranks of minivan campers with different needs. Like us, they “survived” the child-rearing years without owning a minivan. Now, as empty nesters or retirees, they have purchased a minivan with the express purpose of travel and camping.
It is this new and growing group of #minivanlife devotees that has inspired a new GoneCamper bed variation. This new GoneCamper bed design still retracts to form a couch using the tri-fold mattress. The bed consists of a front section and rear section. But the difference is that the front section is one piece with the bed platform and legs joined together.
To make the original GoneCamper bed, you first attached the three front legs to the fixed rear section. Then you placed the front platform in place over the legs. This process takes almost longer to describe than to actually complete.
Now, if you prefer the NEW GoneCamper bed, you simply connect the front bed section to the rear section. It is ONE step instead of TWO. Instead of 2 minutes, it takes 30 seconds.
To convert the bed into a couch, fold back the mattress and slide the front bed section underneath – that is, on top of the rear platform. Or you can disconnect the front bed section and stand it up behind the front seats.
GoneCamper will continue to offer the original folding bed IF you want the option of using the second row of seats. This is especially popular with owners of the Dodge Grand Caravan or Chrysler Pacifica with “Stow-N-Go” seats. But owners of the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Kia Sedona MUST remove the second row of seats completely to provide room for then bed. These minivan campers seldom re-install the center seats. Extending the bed and forming it into a couch is easier with the new design. Installing the center seats is still possible by removing the GoneCamper bed, which takes less than five minutes.
In addition, over the years, many smaller campers have ordered shorter beds. The original GoneCamper bed was 6-feet 2-inches long. This long bed required a folding or two-piece front bed platform. BUT – if you don’t need a bed that long, the front section can be made short enough to store over the rear section – allowing for the new one-piece design.
When you are ready to order your GoneCamper bed, consider the following options:
1. Do you want a full-size (48-inch) or single (28-inch or 25-inch) wide bed? How often will you be using the couch? Note: the single bed can remain extended on the passenger side while driving.
2. The one-piece front bed section with legs will weigh more than the separate removable platform. Is less weight better (the original separate legs and platform) for you?
3. Will you be removing the second-row seats? How often do you need to reinstall them? Do you have the ability to store the GoneCamper if removed from your minivan?
4. Are you very tall? Do you need more storage space under the bed? The new GoneCamper design works best with a 6-inch tri-fold mattress and 8 or 10-inch legs on the bed to not sacrifice headroom when sitting.
I have also had some creative ideas for the fixed rear section of the bed:
· The top platform could be cut to provide “access hatches” to the storage underneath.
· A lock box (or wall safe) could be recessed into the rear bed platform to provide a hidden and secure place for valuables under the mattress/couch.
The new GoneCamper bed design will sell for the same price as the original. Simply specify your desired features and dimensions. No matter which design works for you, outfitting your minivan camper with a GoneCamper bed and couch is the FIRST step to a happy life on the road! We look forward to sharing amazing campsites with you!
Traveling Efficiently, Camping Comfortably, Living Frugally