If you don’t get a good sleep how are you going to do what you came to do to your best. If the bed is uncomfortable you and your partner/guests will start to associate trips with being tired and worn out the whole time. If you’re trying to convince the not so avid family member to camp this is going to be the crunch point. The whole reason you’ve got the thing is to sleep in it, you would not believe the amount of crew that skimp out on this, the most important factor, the unconscious hours.
Here’s a really good pommie clip on some cleaver DIY beds
The minimum industry standard for a comfortable squab is100mm of foam, 150mm is premium. Standard size 1900mm long by 750mm wide. 600mm is the minimum width of a naval bunk. You can get custom squabs made easily from marine upolsters or Rv specialists like starfishinteriors.co.nz . Mattress foam does deteriote, so if you are buying an RV over 10 years old, you might have to account for new squabbing in the purchase cost.
Of course there are a whole bunch of stop-gap measures like mattress toppers. But these will take up extra storage and add another step to the bed making process. Keep it simple, have great squabs. If you are getting custom ones made consider using a marine fabric covers that can be used outside and have a high UV rating; nothing like a comfy siesta in the sun or in the shade of your awning. Also because campers generally have a lot of windows, sun fade on fabrics can be an issue.
If you’re DIY’ing your fit out then this is the starting place, and an absolute mind bender to get right. So don’t stress it, you’ll probably do it, then figure out a better way later. If you’re buying an existing set up keep in mind how many people you want to accommodate for. There’s not much point in having sleeping for four people if you only have seat-belting for three.
Lutons or cab over’s; these are the bubbles you see over the driving cabin of a vehicle. They are usually a double permanent bed. It’s of note that quite often the head space in a luton is the bare minimum [900mm]. That combined with the logistics of getting in and out of the bed and not disturbing your partner many Recreationalists abandon sleeping in them and convert them to storage areas. Still a great area for storage though. And the elusive permanent bed.
The most common and easy construction you’ll see. A simple bed platform; generally at the back of a van. It’s easy to build and provides a massive amount of storage underneath. Whether it’s a pimped out Burnster with an island bed, a Sprinter or a hiace, the concept is the same. The platform doubles as the lid to the garage where all the toys are packed.
If you’re going to DIY, remember to account for squabbling depth. Are you ok with the bed being above the window line? Do you want to be able to sit on the bed and not hit the roof with your head. How low can the platform be and still accommodate a decent amount of storage. A really good way to start the process is get a lot of cardboard boxes and use them to dry fit your camper. This way you can easily visualise how much room the platorm actually takes up. Will there still be room for a kitchen unit? Where are you going to sit during the day?
Check out Chris Turner’s profile in the Recreationalists HERE for a great kingsize platform in a Hi Ace.
Fold Away Beds
Welcome to the labyrinth. So, how about you decide you want to triple purpose the space in your camper, you want lounging, storage AND sleeping configurations. You want the option of a couple of single beds and a double bed. Now you are in the realm of calculating multiple squab sizes; how the day layout of the squabs fit snuggly to create the night set up.